Star Wars Battlefront 2 – 1 Year Later

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Where do I even start when talking about Battlefront 2, it’s a title shrouded in controversy. Upon it’s release on November 17th 2017, it was thrashed by both critics and users alike. You only need to scroll through the endless pages of user reviews on metacritic to know how the public felt about EA’s newest title. With it’s whopping 1.0 score it seemed that Battlefront 2 had no future, that the game was seemingly going to die before it had even started. But, to my surprise, it didn’t. In fact in 2018 EA is still pushing out content, not paid content, but free content at that.

But lets start at the beginning, after EA and DICE’s successful Star Wars Battlefront which released in 2015, which sold over 12 million copies worldwide, EA teamed up with DICE yet again to make a follow up Battlefront game that would improve on everything about the first game. And they did exactly that. When Battlefront 2 was released on November 17, players were given a brand new original story (something the first Battlefront was missing) and an absolutely beautiful looking Star Wars game. I don’t think anyone can dispute that DICE really nailed the look, sound, and feel of the Star Wars universe. From the way blasters sound and fire to the way X-Wings and Tie-Fighters dogfight around each other, I still get shivers when I hear Slave 1’s seismic charges detonate while in “Fighter Assault”. The way characters move to the way you see Darth Maul catapult himself, his double edged lightsaber spinning so fast they are just a blur into a group of clone troopers is absolutely thrilling, and of course nostalgic.

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But it’s not only how the game looks and sounds, it’s the way it plays. EA and DICE have crafted an amazing first person shooter, taking all the good things from Battlefield and putting them into Battlefront. Mechanically it plays like Battlefield, the player has 4 different base classes to choose from – Assault, Heavy, Officer, and Specialist. These all have different weapons and abilities that help the player defeat their enemies. But unlike Battlefield, the player gains points by defeating enemies or completing objectives, and with these points the player can choose from a variety of Star Wars Heroes and Villains, as well as different vehicles, this is a drastic improvement on the original Battlefront in which heroes and vehicles could only be played if a specific token appeared on the map and the player picked it up. The new system allows anyone to play as their favourite characters. It’s a thoroughly engaging experience and just downright fun.

But that leads me into the controversial part of Battlefront 2. The level up system and of course…. lootboxes. When Star Wars Battlefront 2  was released players that jumped into multiplayer found that the progression to level up was slow, very slow. But even worse was the fact that some of their favourite Heroes and Villains: ie Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, were locked until they had the correct amount of credits to unlock them. Now this wouldn’t of been a bad thing, but the price for those two character was 60,000 credits each. A user on Reddit called TheHotterPotato found out that if a player earned 1,370 credits per hour it would take 40+ hours to unlock either Vader or Luke. This of course caused outrage amongst the fans. But the anger only increased when players found that they could buy lootboxes with real-world currency that would allow them to buy both Vader and Luke quicker, but it would also help unlock abilities quicker for players, making the game pay-to-win.

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Due to the chaos caused by the backlash, EA cut the high price for characters down by 75%, and even went as far to completely get rid of the option for people to buy lootboxes with real-world money. They’re still there of course, but you can only purchase them with the credits you gain through gameplay. But it was already too late, the damage was done. All hope was lost for Battlefront 2, even I stopped playing it after I completed the story mode. I played it here and there with a friend of mine (Ewok hunt was amazing as well as the inclusion of the Crait map from the Last Jedi) but never bothered to play it anymore then that. But then a month ago I heard that one of favourite characters, General Grievous, was coming to Battlefront 2. But not only that but Obi Wan Kenobi was also going to be added, alongside a whole new map, Geonosis. This spiked my interest to try and return to battlefront. And to my complete surprise I managed to get a game of Galactic Assault almost instantly with a full lobby of players. And I’ve got to say, it’s hell of a lot of fun playing it again. On Xbox not once have I struggled to find a match. I’ve heard the same for the PS4 as well. PC however, the game is dead. According to what I found online no one is playing at all, and anyone who does try and play is lucky to even find a game.

swbfii-clonewars-grevious-obiwan-body.jpg.adapt.crop16x9.1455w  Star Wars Battlefront 2 may of had a rocky release, and may of shaken the game industry as a whole when it comes to lootboxes in videogames. But EA and DICE have done their best to try and bring the game back from the dead, and they have succeeded. It looks like EA has plans to release new content all the way through 2019 as well, including Anakin Skywalker and Count Dooku, as well as a “new large-scale, non-linear game mode” according to EA’s official road-map. I would recommend anyone that is a fan of Star Wars to give Battlefront 2 a go in 2018, because from here on out it’s only going to get more and more content. So do yourself a favour, and play it.

And of course, may the force be with you…. always.

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