Sunday, July 29, 2018

BATTLEFRONT 2 (2017) review


    This is an extremely late review because the game had a kind of radioactive reputation due to its controversy. For those unaware of it, basically the game was deliberately designed around monetization to spark players to spend as much real-world currency as possible on in-game items. This included on loot boxes, your favorite characters, and so on.

    Battlefront II was a game which a lot of people were looking forward to, millions in fact, and the management of the game became an international disaster. Indeed, the combination of Star Wars being a beloved franchise with the greed on display resulted in Belgium and other companies banning lootboxes as a kind of gambling.

Anakin vs. Imperials!
    Honestly, Battlefront II was going to be a train wreck from the very beginning and the fact it was a train wreck in its "Pay to play Star Wars characters in Star Wars" nature overshadows its other failings. Which, admittedly, is a bit like talking about how the sinking of the Titanic overshadowed its food sucking. Still, as everyone has examined the money issues, here's my discussion of the other elements.

    First of all, WHY is this Battlefront 2? There's already a Battlefront 2! This should be Battlefront 3! I don't understand why the fact they did it this way. I mean, when Resident Evil 2 had Code: Veronica, they at least called it by a different name. Rename it Battlefront if you want to do a reboot. It's genuinely confusing to me here. It's nitpicking, I know, but I know it's a problem when I have an issue with the title.

    The massive multiplayer element is...okay. I mean, there's not much to say about it in terms of what it's about. You play Rebels or Imperials who shoot each other with the option of becoming your favorite characters you unlock. I'm not a big fan of these games but it seems to have worked out some of its issues. Even so, I don't think this wasn't a particularly great multiplayer game.

Released in 2005.
    So, what does that leave? The Campaign content, which fills a great deal like a Demo for the multiplayer segment. You play some trooper characters as well as some of the classics like Luke Skywalker, Leia, Han, and Kylo Ren. You don't get to play Darth Maul, Darth Vader, and Palpatine--which is a shame.

    The premise of the campaign is Iden Versio and her two squadmates are Inferno Squad. They are Imperial Special Forces who fought in the Battle of Endor before participating in Operation: Cinder, a plotline from Star Wars: Aftermath. Horrified by the destruction wrought on Imperial worlds, Iden and her friend Del defect while their companion Hask chooses to continue fighting for the Empire. The ending of it is missing and gets resolved in a three mission DLC called "Resurrection" that obviously was part of the original game before being taken out. [Edit: It turns out I was right about this.]

    The campaign is entertaining but feels unambitious. A pair of Imperials defecting after witnessing an Imperial atrocitiy is a very common story in the Expanded Universe. It's also not a bad story but I can't help but think the story might have benefited from being more intricate and complex. The entire campaign lasts just a little under four hours, which is about half of what I consider to be a decent single player game's length. The fact it was written by Walt Williams (Spec Ops: The Line) also hurts it as I know he could have done a better job than this. I suspect, though, they didn't want a game longer than four hours.
Do Imperials normally command their daughters?

    Indeed, I think the biggest issue with the single player campaign is it's not that the story is bad but it feels like we're just getting the highlights of it. The campaign goes from just before the Battle of Endor to the Battle of Jakku and the DLC ends at The Force Awakens. I feel like they could have included levels on the first Death Star (possibly as Obi-Wan Kenobi or maybe the Battte of Yavin). They could have also done something during the Prequel Era if they wanted and have us play Darth Maul massacring Naboo rebels until we fight Qui Gon then switch to Obi-Wan. I mean, this campaign feels pretty underwhelming even with the mostly likable Iden Versio.

    I like Janina Gavankar and think she did an excellent job with the character. It's nice to see the Empire have other than lily white dudes too. However, we don't really get to see why Iden was happy with the Empire after Alderaan but suddenly flips a switch when they destroy other planets. I think if I were to write this story, I would have done it with Iden Versio as part of Darth Vader's squadron and gone: 1. Tantive IV battle. 2. Battle on Tatooine against Sand People as well as Jabba's gangsters. 3. Battle of Yavin from the Empire's side. 4. Battle of Hoth. 5. Battle of Bespin. 6. The rest of the campaign. Maybe throw in some Prequel flashbacks too.

Good shooting for a stormtrooper.
    Part of my issues with the campaign are that not only is it just a snapshot of the Post-Endor world but it references a lot of the new EU but doesn't explore it. We could do a whole game about Gallius Rax, Rae Sloane, and the other characters mentioned but never met in-game. I also never got a reason to care about the Big Bad villain Admiral Versio and his henchman Hask. They were on screen too little for me to get a feel for them. Aside from the fact Hask seems to be in love with Iden as well as a fanatic, there didn't seem to be much to his character.

    Despite everything, it's a fun game for the short amount of time you get to play it (assuming you're not an addicted to okay but not spectacular multiplayer). The starfighter piloting is actually the best element and easily dwarfs the shooting segment. Admittedly, that's because I killed millions of people as a soldier in video games but done less so in a starfighter. The campaign seems aware of this and a lot of the missions are starfighter ones. In any case, the game is just not very good aside from its gorgeous artwork and all-too-short campaign.

5/10

2 comments:

  1. You lost me when you said,it,is based,on that travesty Star Wars:Aftermath's plotline. Ugh, Chuck Wendig was awful!

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    1. Well, Operation: Cinder was actually written for STAR WARS: SHATTERED EMPIRE.

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