Playing the first three chapters of Star Wars Battlefront II back in October, I was extremely excited to dive deeper into Iden Versio’s story. The third chapter ended with a cliffhanger; Versio and the rest of the Inferno Squad were going to be shipped back to Vardus. From that brief two hour gameplay experience, I was hooked and couldn’t wait to see which side Versio would imminently choose in the end. In my eyes, the game started on a high note and sadly, did not live up to my expectations.
If you took a look at my previous impression article, EA Studios were given a big task in creating a single-player campaign that would live-up to what the fans of the series wanted. Fans want to play in the world; they want to embody a character, take over a story and kick ass. For me, Iden Versio was that character and in a limited amount of time together, I knew I liked her. EA wanted a character that tread on the line between good and evil – someone who can be taken as both different and relatable to fans. What would we do if put in a similar situation? This is what made Versio’s character intriguing for me. Within the very first moments, you head into a bloody battle, unafraid to pull that trigger. Versio does not question what she is doing – after all, aren’t they just a bunch of rebel scum? This forces players to see things from an Imperial soldiers perspective.
In the beginning, Versio is the type of soldier that the empire needs. She is dead set on destroying the Rebels – something players will grasp within the first minutes of gameplay. After those first few missions however, Versio’s loyalty begins to stray. It is Janina Gavankar’s stellar performance that made me relate to Versio the most. She was able to have an emotional pull on me and when Versio’s narrative takes a turn, I believed in her. Additionally, the writing in the game was a big plus for me. Versio ends up coming face to face with a major character in the Star Wars universe (whom I won’t spoil), and her decision to switch sides felt meaningful. Further into the plot, the story shifts and players can command other Star Wars characters. This changes the story’s perspective and gives players a chance to see the “good” side. But honestly, I was not really into that aspect. Sure, it was fun to play as someone I have grown up loving, but I was really invested in a new angle, like EA promoted. These parts of the story felt lackluster, as though they were solely implemented to please Star Wars consumers. We know how Return of the Jedi ends, we know the Rebels win, we didn’t need to see this yet again. I probably sound like a passionate follower of the Empire, but I was disappointed by not diving further into this plot.
As for gameplay, it does not rely heavily on its first-person shooter aspect. Yes, there is a multitude of guns to choose from but Versio does not remain on foot at all times. You can command characters that wield lightsabers and fly TIE fighters during the campaign. They do provide a break from the main gun play and did help me later in the arcade/multiplayer modes, but like I said, the story is what really pulled the single-player forward. The campaign totaled only four hours of gameplay and put too much focus on so many characters. Having it focus solely on Versio would have done it enough justice.The story was so smartly written, the character development felt real and Gavankar’s performance really encapsulated it all. It could have felt even more meaningful would it have been a longer campaign centered on her character.
Because of the game’s short campaign mode, the multiplayer is where you will get the most game time. There are four basic classes in the Star Wars Battlefront II: Heavy, Officer, Specialist and Assault, each having different weapons and abilities. Having limited experiences in multiplayer, it was nice to be able to play different classes and I never felt as though one class was more important than others. With the utilization of the game’s Star Cards, players can upgrade, helping class-specific abilities. But I found no real difference from other FPSs I’ve played except that Battlefront is set in the Star Wars universe…
Be forewarned, online multiplayer is the way to go if you want to experience different maps from the Star Wars universe. As someone who is often uncomfortable with playing online, the solo maps didn’t give me that nostalgic satisfaction. It was once I dipped my toes into the online mode that I was able to battle on familiar territories like Endor. The art of the maps are incredibly intricate and beautifully drawn that I did sometimes stop to look around. However, this became a problem as even crouching behind different items in the game was not enough to take cover from shooters.
In terms of my favourite, The Starfighter Assault mode was probably the most interesting aspect to play because the controls of the ships are a vast improvement from the first Battlefront. Shooting is much more forgiving this time around and I didn’t feel the need to be precise. I really enjoyed how the ship feels as it flies over and around obstacles.
The upgrade system is not a discussion I really want to get into in a review, but it is not hard to notice that the game caters toward benefiting those who paid, that is of course before microtransactions were removed. As usual, the multiplayer modes become frustrating to those who do not advance as quickly as others and it irked me as well. Although I understand that you are still able to obtain credits at a far more decent rate, it makes me feel uneasy. I can still enjoy playing Battlefront II, as some of the modes are fun and the art keeps me coming back for more but unfortunately, it will be hard for the game to shake off that feeling.
I know it sounded like I had a lot of complaints, but I really did enjoy my time with Star Wars Battlefront II. I think the game tries to do exactly what it set out to do: to be a fun, first-person Star Wars shooter. I just found the delivery to be lackluster. A single-player campaign mode was something that a lot of Star Wars fans wanted, yet we were only given a four hour experience. Having a longer campaign that furthered an already brilliant story, it would have made up for a lot of the game’s faults. Within the first week of launch, EA had to make two big adjustments to the game amidst complaints and after a shaky start, Star Wars Battlefront II doesn’t really live up to expectations. The game sets you up in familiar settings and charms you with characters you know and love, so I did end up enjoying my time playing but there is nothing really pulling me back in.
DISCLAIMER: Star Wars Battlefront II review code was provided by EA Canada. The opinions expressed in the article above have not be affected by, dictated or edited in any way by the provider. For more information please see Girls on Games’ Code of Journalistic Ethics.