The Battlefront Strikes Back


Courtesy of IMDB



   The dead speak! Nearly three years ago, Digital Illusions Creative Entertainment (DICE)  announced its next big release, “Star Wars Battlefront 2”. The game was promised to be the experience all fans of the Star Wars saga would enjoy. It included dogfights in space, large scale reenactments of iconic movie scenes and the ability to play iconic characters from the saga. However in January 2018, just two months after the launch of the game, the player base was next to nothing.

   Last year, at one of gaming’s biggest conventions, Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Executive Arts (EA) addressed the backlash received by DICE regarding the game.

   “It’s clear to us that players see the company differently than we do,” Patrick Söderlund, long-time executive of EA said.  “We have to take action and show people that we’re serious about building the best possible products, that we’re serious about treating the players fair, and we’re here to make the best possible entertainment that we can.”

   DICE set out to fulfill the promises Söderlund made by fixing many of the game’s major problems and adding tons of content. Three years later, “Star Wars Battlefront 2” has been able to redeem itself as the Star Wars experience that fans have been waiting for. 

   Just last month, DICE revealed the game’s high player count, and how it has surpassed the numbers of January 2018, which was just one month after the game was released. 

   On February 12, “Battlefront 2” will receive another big expansion to add to its ever-growing list of content with the new update, “The Age of Rebellion.”

   “Star Wars Battlefront 2” is the sequel to EA’s previous hit, “Star Wars Battlefront” and is an action-based shooter video game based on all three eras of the Star Wars films. It features a seven to eight hour single-player campaign following the life of Sith trooper Iden Versio, along with other iconic characters in the franchise. However, most of the spotlight of the game came from its diverse set of multiplayer game modes. 

   Upon its release, many players complained about the unfair microtransaction system that surrounded star cards and unlocking heroes. Star cards were special perks that significantly helped a player’s chosen character, by providing unique abilities depending on the playstyle. The microtransaction system allowed players to access these star cards and heroes through the use of real-world money. 

   Instead of needing to put hours of game into unlocking heroes or star cards, players could just use real-world money, which created a “pay to win” mechanic. Additionally, DICE designed a loot box system that randomized the chances of what star cards the player would receive.

   In response, DICE has removed this mechanic and replaced it with a more fair level-based system. Now, the only items real-world money can buy are cosmetics. On top of this, all of the heroes are free upon buying the game. As a character levels up, the player will earn level points, which they can spend on star cards. 

   In comparison to the past three years, my experience with this new system gave me more of an incentive to play the game. I can now choose the cards I want, and the 22 hours spent in the game felt worth it. 

   DICE also allowed players to buy a celebration edition of the game at $24.99 which unlocks all the cosmetic options within the game. 

   DICE also revealed the ending of the campaign of its single-player content, called “Resurrection”. The expansion was about one to two hours long and like its campaign, was quite disappointing. “Resurrection” followed the story of Iden and her daughter as they fight the First Order. The expansion featured almost nothing new in terms of map areas, mechanics and barely any character development in Iden. 

   All three missions of the campaign felt repetitive as many of the places and gameplay mechanics were already introduced in the original campaign. 

   Despite its failed campaign, most of the content in “Battlefront 2” comes from its multiplayer. Since its launch, DICE has introduced 5 new maps into the game: Geonosis, Kessel, Cloud City, D’Qar, Felucia, and recently, Ajan Kloss. 

   I found each of the new maps to be stunning in graphics and had some of the most exciting Star Wars experiences in them. From running on the rooftops of Cloud City to the chaos of the desert of Geonosis, each of the new maps were unique and different, which inspired that “just one more game” mentality. 

   Recently, DICE has added more iconic characters from the Star Wars saga into the game: General Grievous, Count Dooku, Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and BB-8 and BB-9E with the latest expansion. Despite the amount of backlash the game received at launch, DICE has always made characters that were exciting to play, and their latest characters are no exception.

   With the latest expansion, “Age of Rebellion”, DICE has added four new weapons, one for each class. Each felt nice to use and gave more choices to the already diverse set of weapons. 

   Since its release, DICE has added three new game modes to the game: Ewok Hunt, Hero Showdown, and Capital Supremacy.

    “Ewok Hunt” consists of an infection-like game mode, where stormtroopers attempt to fend off the invading Ewoks. Upon one’s death, the player respawns as an Ewok. While “Ewok Hunt” was a creative idea to add the game, I felt that the game mode was not intended for long hours of play but rather, a side event that helped add diversity to the “Battlefront” experience. 

   “Hero Showdown” is a three round, two versus two, elimination type game mode that pits iconic heroes of both the light and dark side against one another. After about 30 minutes, I found myself immersed and addicted to the lightsaber dueling combat system. 

   Over the course of my 22 hours with the new updates, I found most of my time occupied by the game mode “Capital Supremacy”, a 20 vs. 20 based game mode that focuses on domination over the control points to reach a certain score limit. Since I first bought the game, I had never experienced a Star Wars experience that was like “Capital Supremacy”. Running into battle with my 19 other squadmates with lasers flying past me, felt almost as if I was reenacting one of my favorite Star Wars scenes. 

   Though it took nearly three years, “Star Wars Battlefront 2” has been able to miraculously crawl out of its grave and give fans the Star Wars experience they have long waited for. Will the game ever be the breathtaking Star Wars experience that we all expected at launch? Will the game appeal to all fans of the Star Wars saga? Most likely not. But, DICE has given us a game that long-awaited fans of the series deserve. A game not filled with “pay to win” mechanics or ridiculous queue time, but instead, a game that lets us have a chance to enter our favorite galaxy.