Gameplay-wise, it also offers a different approach to multiplayer, which makes it a refreshing spin on the core mechanics. Being able to sneak your way through decent chunks of missions, and make use of different abilities and weapons which you may not find as useful against human players, means it’s far more enjoyable than I expected. The sheer variety on offer keeps the campaign fun, and there are plenty of winks and nods to the franchise that’ll keep fans happy.
While the campaign may be short, it’s clear that DICE has every intention of releasing single-player DLC in future updates, and that’s great news.
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Once you’re done with that it’s back to multiplayer, and there’s far more content to enjoy right off the bat. We get returning fan favourite maps like Hoth, but now we finally get to enjoy some incredible matchups from the prequel trilogy and also the forthcoming movies, too.
There are 11 locations in total for ground combat and five for Starfighter matches across six multiplayer modes. The maps are distributed evenly across each of the sagas, and all of them are superb. Everything from level and sound design to visual spectacle is as brilliant as you’d expect from a DICE multiplayer experience. From running around the marketplaces on Tatooine or battling in the cloning facility on Kamino or rushing around in Maz Kanata’s bar on Takodana, the developer has paid painstaking detail to every inch of every world, and each locale shines.
The maps feel alive, too, with animated NPCs and wildlife featuring heavily at the start of battles, and just adding that little bit of authenticity that DICE is so well known for.
Six modes may not sound like a lot, but all the best game types from its predecessor are included, from the large-scale Galactic Assault right down to the TDM-style Blast. It’ll be nice if we see a few more modes in future updates, especially along the lines of the absolute bonkers Heroes vs Villains, and perhaps one that just lets everyone jump into ground vehicles and have at it.
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The character and ship classes feel more balanced (before Star Cards get involved, which we’ll come to in a bit), with each offering a distinct role on the battlefield that places an emphasis on having a varied team. I’ve found myself teetering between Assault, which offers heavy fire from close range as well as lethal grenades, and Officer, whose deployable turret and lethal pistol prove an excellent combination, plus you can rally the troops to increase the health of your squad. However each class has abilities that feel useful in combat. The same is true in Starfighter Assault, where I will frequently swap between Fighter, Bomber and Interceptor depending on the situation.
Speaking of which, Starfighter Assault is the absolute shining star of Battlefront 2. Handled by Criterion, the studio responsible for Burnout, the sheer scale of the action is incredible. The control scheme has been revamped, if it takes a little getting used to. The right stick is used to control pitch and yaw, while the left now controls your roll.
In the beginning you’ll be crashing into things a lot, particularly because there’s now far more to crash into, with asteroid fields, and debris around particular maps like Death Star II, making combat that much more exciting. Once it clicks, however, it makes this section of the game so much better. There are also settings which ease you in, like auto-adjusting the ship to the horizon and auto-rolls, but you can also turn these off once you become a bit more accustomed to it.
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So far, so good, right? Well, unfortunately, all of this excellence counts for nothing when you get into the meat of the game – or, more specifically, its shoddy progression system and metagame.
This is going to be a long and complicated explanation, but stick with it. In Battlefront 2 there isn’t a traditional progression system; instead each character and class is tied into Star Cards. Star Cards are boosters for every character and vehicle, such as granting additional health or different weapons and faster ability cooldowns. These can be unlocked via Loot Crates, which can be purchased using Credits, earned by playing the game, or with Crystals, Battlefront 2’s currency which can be bought with real-world money. Star Cards can also be crafted using Craft Parts, the third in-game currency, again unlocked via loot crates.
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There are three types of crates, one primarily for Trooper cards (most expensive at 4000 Credits), one for Starfighter cards and finally one for Hero cards (cheapest).
Each Star Card has four levels of rarity: common, uncommon, rare and epic. The fourth tier isn’t available in loot crates, and can only be crafted using Craft Parts. You also can’t craft higher level cards until you reach a certain Card and Player Level.
Card level is determined by how many cards you have in your inventory for a class. The higher your level, the more cards you can equip, up to three. Player level is earned through XP. You may need to be card level 10 and player level 15 to craft the Rare form of a given card, but you could also get it in a loot crate and equip it before you reach the sufficient rank. But because payouts are so low, you’re likely going to find yourself reaching for your real-world credit card.
Battlefront 2 is incredibly stingy when it comes to rewarding players. Arcade mode is the perfect example. Arcade mode features 16 Battle Scenarios (split evenly between Light and Dark Side missions), each can be played at three difficulty settings, playing at harder difficulties earning another ‘star’. For completing any one mission you only receive 100 Credits, regardless of difficulty.
You can only earn 500 Credits per day before the game locks Arcade Mode rewards for 24 hours. This is supposedly a way of stopping people using Arcade Mode to quickly earn Credits to buy Crates, but let’s not forget you’d have to play 40, yes FORTY, rounds to afford a Trooper box.
Then come the rewards for actually taking part in multiplayer matches, which are equally tight. The most I’ve earned in any one match is 380 Credits. Unlike other games where your individual efforts at least feel somewhat rewarded, in Battlefront 2 it feels like you’re simply earning a wage for time served rather than anything you actually do.