REVIEW – The moment of truth has come. It is time to settle disputes and to gauge the real value of what EA and DICE have presented in their final exam. In this elaborate review of Star Wars Battlefront II, you will be able to find the opinion of PS4Pro on one of the star releases of this year. The idea was to improve the offer of the first part, by offering campaign and giving away the DLC. Has everything been in order?
No matter what it is, hitting the first is usually not easy. Even with DICE’s experience in the field of online warfare, 2015 left us with a Battlefront that, while not bad, seemed bland both mechanically and regarding content. A couple of years have sufficed Swedish company to be able to collect and address the main criticisms and demands of the community. Star Wars Battlefront II has not been free of controversy, but after immersing ourselves fully in its science fiction universe, we can breathe easy: without being perfect, it is a video game more complete than the original. Is it also rounder? That answer has something more complex.
Graphics of in fact, multitudinous battles and much affection for the universe Star Wars Battlefront II are already marks of the house, and we can translate this release in a “more and better” that collects characters of all the ages, greater variety of ways including a campaign alone and, to the delight of many, a business model that will incorporate new content over time, leaving behind the DLC and seasonal passes in favor of a less harmful booty system that was raised months ago and that we will deal with more in-depth.
On the table, Star Wars: Battlefront II is everything the fans asked the point of looking like a game made to the letter. However, if we just give what they ask us without more, obviously we will find numerous failures here and there. As they say, who covers a lot, little squeezes. It is a game that is exceedingly satisfactory regarding content, yes, but we would have liked to see some more work in some aspects of the debuting modes such as the campaign and Assault of Starfighters. As Master Yoda said, “do it, or do not do it, but do not try it.” In some parts, we have something lame in effect as if seeking to give what we asked for the letter, without more. However, the game’s grace is rather to recreate great battles of the Star Wars universe, and in that sense, it fulfills everything that is expected of it.
The Force is Strong in You
The name of Star Wars had traditionally been linked to quite estimable story modes (some of them brilliant as those of KOTOR, to give just one example), and it was striking that for the first major production of Star Wars in hands Electronic Arts will renounce completely to have this alternative. With the second episode, and with the intention of fighting against the negative predisposition of the fans, it was decided to eliminate in a stroke any kind of doubt and to announce from the beginning that Star Wars Battlefront II would have a proper campaign and, in fact, good part of the promotional phase focused on making known its protagonist: Iden Versio.
The leader of the Infernal Squadron is an interesting character in a sense, that we can see how a figure develops from a less usual side regarding the frequency of its appearance in Star Wars: The Empire. The title intends to give a certain depth and three-dimensionality to his figure by leaving it in the shadow of Garrick Versio, his father, and a well-known admiral, and also by having the company of Hask and Meeko, his escorts in the squadron. The thing is that, as we all imagined, the journey of Versio is one of personal discovery since it is a figure that asks questions and that is full of doubts about its role in the galaxy.
The quality of this fairly well-treated story in a shooter everything that seems to be a surprise especially in light of that with SW: Battlefront 2 both EA and Disney to have everything tied together. There are so many things at the service of the wink to the fan as I expected, but these do not seem to be stuck with a shoehorn and help to thicken the narrative and to feel something that seemed very important to me: the universe of Star Wars is the well-taken advantage of. Of course, not everything is positive, of course, and some things admitted improvement, for example, that the development of characters seems cut abruptly by a somewhat abrupt end when things got interesting. In this sense, scriptwriters are less guilty, rather it is due to the fact with its five hours it is just a thrown-in campaign to accompany the multiplayer, so they had to squeeze in the best content possible with four or five hours of gameplay.
As far as the gameplay is concerned, there is not so much good news for the offline side, and the best that can be said about the game is that it tries to achieve a certain variety in its rhythm. To do this, it alternates with intermediate skill some phases in which we are encouraged to use stealth, with others of pure and hard action and sections in which we pilot spaceships. The fact is that none of them has much depth since at the end of the day it simply has a part that serves as an elegant staging of the maps that we will visit in the multiplayer, and it serves to learn their mechanics. Moreover, of course, the thing works regarding offering very spectacular sections and make us feel within the world, but the direct implementation of a simple action style as is the online and having such an ineffective enemy AI causes frankly irregular results.
So the thing is funny when there are galactic battles, although not too deep clear. On the other hand, it drops noticeably when it forces us to go from point A to point B, destroying everything, because neither the locations seem specially designed to take advantage of them alone nor do they offer the necessary dynamics to maintain interest. Moreover, the sections in which we are encouraged to make our way without alerting do not work properly either since stealth is as rudimentary as you would expect from a video game-focused so strongly on being an online shooter.
Of Soldiers and Heroes
Currently, the world of video games goes through a trend of absolutism. In the forums, it is often read that LawBreakers or Battleborn did not triumph because they entered a space that only Overwatch could cover, and with the MOBA it happens more or less the same. Gigantic or For Honor put interesting ideas on the table, but they did not finish regarding popularity in a genre that already dominated DOTA 2, League of Legends or Heroes of the Storm. Moreover, if we enter an environment divided between Call of Duty and Battlefield, where is this Star Wars title? Maybe it is too early to tell, but we have the feeling that Star Wars Battlefront 2 is a whole step forward in this quest for personality.
Moreover, we can only define it with those two adjectives because we could never use the words complex or profound. The game is resolved in relatively simple shootings in the first instance that, however, gain strength and pace if we strive to exploit the potential of the different customizable skills we have, both in the role of soldiers and heroes, as well as an Evasion movement that adds some spice and gains in utility controlling those prominent characters in the saga.
It is necessary to acquire practice with each one of the relatively scarce arsenal of the main character classes, since there are no longer any scanned shots, and it is necessary to pay attention to the dispersion of the bullets and the recoil, as well as to measure the distance with respect to the objective before open fire. As a whole, it offers a curve of difficulty and mastery that, without inventing the wheel, does reward the most expert players with the possibility of deploying the best available units beforehand.
Here, we find a reasonable variety of characters to play with as we progress through the game, each of them with improvable abilities. We never get to see the level of complexity or variety of a ‘hero arena’ like Overwatch or Paladins, of course; but many of them do manage to feel different and unique at the controls. In this way, Leia and Han Solo resemble each other as much as Kylo Ren and Darth Vader, but all have exclusive abilities that more or less justify their presence within the game. So, for example, we find that Rey can reverse the controls of his rivals, Luke Skywalker can push them with the Force, Kylo Ren can freeze in time several soldiers at his reach and Palpatine can chain lightning between several soldiers at the same time.
However, no matter how spectacular the heroes are, the key to everything continues to reside in the Star Charts, which serve to modify the behavior of the abilities of all the units that we can deploy, including ships and heroes, and that we think they give the game the plus of complexity and variety necessary to have your personality. The novelty here is that unlike the first Star Wars Battlefront, both ships and foot soldiers are divided into classes. It’s inherited directly from Battlefield – although the Swedes have never completely defined each of them – we find the stormtrooper (damage), heavy (tank), the officer (support) and specialist (sniper) in all the fighting at the foot of the multiplayer, and three different ones in space battles. By carefully choosing our deck, it is possible to give our soldiers new passive skills, change what they have for new ones, or improve any of them. If we can get along with their random sense of progression, we will find here many hours attached to the screen to improve our soldiers. If this is not the case, then we will probably live some bitter first steps.
The Progression of Discord
This rhythm, this balance, this balance between deploying units and maintaining tension between points is achieved by implementing a series of improvements in the approach of the game itself. For example, everything you do, from hurting enemies to getting casualties, interacting with the target or helping a partner, is valued at cumulative points that you can only use within the game itself and that you will invest in deploying the unit that you prefer once you have died. It is an alternative to the system of power-ups that we feel is fairer for all, although it brings with it a series of new deficiencies on the table: to deploy a hero, you must first unlock it. Although most of them are already available from the beginning, for the most attractive you have to pay a certain amount of credits that originally ranged around 40,000, with extreme cases like Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader reaching the chilling 60,000, and which has recently been reduced to 10,000 or 15,000 in most cases. These are much more reasonable figures, of course, although it must be made clear that the analysis cannot be subject to these modifications because otherwise, each change in the valuation of the characters would force us to review the note constantly. If something is valued, it is more a general notion of the business model that uses the title and, moreover, about the idea that assumes it.
It is easy to acquire these credits, but the process is slow and tedious. They can be obtained as a reward at the end of a game, as well as completing internal challenges of the game and inside loot boxes that contain not only this coin in-game but also different playable bonuses, gestures or aesthetic changes. Considering the fact that most of these “loot boxes” are bought with the credits themselves, it is hard to give up a great source of Star Charts and cosmetics for a while to get that hero that we like so much, although with the current adjustment of prices we insist that we move in margins much more sensible, logical and, finally, not abusive. The most serious problem with this unlocking system is probably the approach it had in the first place.
Let’s briefly touch that polemics of loot boxes, okay? As originally devised, it was possible to obtain weapons, Star Charts of all kinds and other collectible elements within them. It is what is commonly called ‘pay to win.’ After DICE listened to the criticism and concerns of a community that was soon radically opposed to testing the beta, the mechanism managed to block the rarest objects behind challenges. The final result is the following. Imagine that the loot boxes are a black hole. Now the whole system of progression continues to orbit around that black hole but strives not to fall into it. Do you like to play as an official and want new weapons? Well, it is your turn to limit yourself to one until you complete 50, 100 kill challenges. Moreover, they are not worth assists.
Do not get us wrong: it is not all bad. Giving options to the players is fine, and there is always some charm in that healthy pique that occurs when you say “ok, today I do not get up from the chair until I make such a challenge with this kind of character.” However, it is clear that it is not all good either, because during the first hours until you manage to amass enough Star Cards, heroes, and weapons, you are quite limited. However, when you begin to accumulate in your power several important figures and a deck of useful enhancers, things start to get interesting. Everything revolving, as always, around those points, that we obtain within the own games and that end up becoming something so capable of unbalancing games as are the gusts of Call of Duty, for example.
Is there a balance behind this madness? It is a matter of perspective. If you have accumulated many points in a game, you have the opportunity to play as your favorite hero or heroine and, if you do it right, improve your balance between casualties and casualties at an astounding speed. The other point of view is that of the novice in the skin of the soldier who, without eating or drinking it, finds himself face to face with a hero and does not have the opportunity to look for another path before being beaten.
That is why there was a strong concern in certain circles for what certain users could get paid when breaking the balance of the games. More than that, which is also something that bothers us, what is really delicate is the random component of the whole thing. Okay, the heroes get paid with in-game credits, but since the possibility of making the cards is useless after a few hours of play, the rest is something entirely subject to chance with the chests. That is, you open a box paying a few credits (or as the case, a few euros) and do not know if you will find something useful to enhance your favorite class or hero or cosmetic nonsense for a character that does not even interest you. What does this mean? That except the boxes of heroes and some other details, you are seldom controlling your progression, which together with the fact that the prices of these boxes are high causes that are opening them will give you more dislikes than joys.
So, the game never allows you to specialize because it will seldom give you what you want for your favorite class, and the overall feeling is not very positive because it is not that you have the option of being an SUV to take advantage of many of the letters … is that it directly makes it an obligation. However, in short, we find again the same case of the heroes: we cannot judge the value of the title for prices because if tomorrow EA decides to adjust the cost of the boxes, we would have to change the numerical rating of the analysis and also the sensations of the text. What we judge here is the mechanics of the progression system and, encourage the use of microtransactions or not, it has seemed to us that this does not do the game or the community any favors. In the end, the progression mechanics in the multiplayer shooters were born to reward the player, and here it does not happen.
New Game Grounds
As for playable modalities and alternatives, there are some fresh and others that are recycled but, in general terms, it supposes the generous range of options and alternatives that is a classic of EA at the time of keeping us glued to the screen. Galactic Assault is, without a doubt, the star mode of the video game thanks to the epic battles that generate their excellently well-measured confrontations for 40 players. In a similar way to what Conquest means to Battlefield fans, Star Wars fans can find here a fun, varied and rejuvenate proposal. Each map is translated into a small network of objectives that advance linearly to conceive a fairly simple story. It is not about any revolution in the genre nor is it something that DICE has not already done in several games in the past, including the own Battlefront of 2015, but it is undoubtedly here where it unfolds with more grace and interest. The linear structure of the maps, the variety of these and the composition of characters and vehicles dance a spectacular choreography of destruction to which few hits we could put. We could ask for something more original, or maybe some shocking scenario that we remember fondly of some movie, but where Star Wars Battlefront II feels more authentic is here.
On the other hand, the great novelty in the proposal is Assault of Starfighters, which is a response to fans who wanted to see the war in space. Control ships in Battlefront are nothing new, but it is the five open maps that Criterion has been responsible for developing in parallel to fly at ease. The new mode will satisfy those who want to explore in depth the possibilities of the ships without restrictions by means, and the certain thing is that the experience is not bad at all: they exchange objectives to us habitually, and the maps are quite well differentiated from each other. Sometimes we will have to slow down to avoid debris floating slowly in space, and in another map, we will have to maneuver skillfully to destroy targets inside a huge ship. Moreover, there are also heroes available in this mode: it is entirely possible to pilot the Millennium Falcon as Solo and Chewbacca, for example. We have found that it offers satisfactory, intense and explosive space battles and, as always in these cases, it is appreciated that the community has been heard.
It is worth emphasizing, though, that if we focus too much on this mode, we may get tired of it sooner rather than later: since the game starts, the maps are invariable and, of course, more limited than the ones we visited. Foot. Again, we find a testimonial proposal that does the homework but leaves us a bit with honey on the lips. Something more ambition and movement on the screen would have made it more memorable. Considering the politics of the game as a service, it is likely that in the future we will see ships and locations that are large and spectacular, or at least more mobile.
Heroes and Villains
On the other hand, we also have Heroes and Villains, an alternative whose name is quite self-explanatory: it faces two teams of four players where a target of each side is marked periodically. Undoubtedly it is a good way to test the characters that may not give you time to take out in the multiplayer, although there are limitations in this respect. You can not play with characters that you have not unlocked, nor can you use two equal heroes. It is a limited way in possibilities and without too much interest to have the situation balanced, but it is certainly fun enough to make us disconnect from the most intense battles.
Less interesting are the Attack and Burst modes, which are equivalent to the duel to death and assault of all life, oriented for those who wish to play on a smaller scale and in more traditional ways. The Arcade mode is something newer. As its name suggests, it encourages us to improve our scores of numerous challenges for both sides of the Force. The AI is not particularly intelligent in any of the three difficulty modes in which it can be configured, although it does significantly increase its accuracy and response time in the highest. The truth is that the developers themselves offer the easiest challenges as a way to familiarize themselves with the game before entering the multiplayer. We must recognize, however, that the split screen cooperative in the PS4 and Xbox One versions give it a plus in this way, and that you can set up a personalized game with many options. When asked, a complete editor of levels would have suited him, because beyond a spontaneous “pique” to complete challenges or play with someone in the console; he does not offer much more.
There are some other less interesting parts such as the Arcade, which invites us to fight alone against soldiers led by the AI and that allows us to fight with heroes of the Luminous or Dark Side in different scenarios with the incentive to face specific challenges or others entirely personalized. As we said before, opening this section of the review, in the end, Star Wars Battlefront II gives us many channels to spend hours and hours of entertainment and, if this were not enough, this time includes all the free DLC for the future, as well that you sense a few months full of content with which to continue feeding your proposal.
Inside the Film
From a technical point of view, the game presents an enviable audiovisual finish and is among the most advanced titles that can be seen at the moment. The good work of the Frostbite engine leaves us beautiful prints, perfectly detailed models and an extraordinary level of optimization for both the PS4 and the PS4 Pro. Although there are also some somewhat irregular parts, and certain sections of the campaign, for example, are not up to the rest of the facets of the program and some animations that allow more work to match the realism of the beautiful prints that surround them. For example, the armor or the effects present an aspect of an astonishing veracity, nevertheless as usually, it happens in cases of projects so great not everything is at the same height and, for example, the portrait of the faces is surprisingly poor.
On the other hand, performance on both the PS4 and PS4 Pro is quite excellent, both in-game and at the cutscenes, which is a relief as the PC version have some issues in the latter.
This type of things generates that scenarios such as Naboo Palace or the lively streets of Tatooine are already recorded for the memory, although if anything can match the visual fidelity of Star Wars: Battlefront 2 is its sound section. DICE has been maintaining a high standard in this aspect for many years, and in this release, they have not lost a bit of quality. Any staunch fan of Star Wars could easily identify the sound of the engines of each ship and the roar of each cannon, and on more than one occasion we were also perplexed to feel familiar from the first moment with the sound made by the ships when we cross with them. If you have some experience in the film saga, then it is very likely that you feel at home in your science fiction world. Of course, the game has its shortcomings, but it does not stop showing an exquisite respect when it comes to recreating each element.
Star Wars Battlefront II seems to have been born to fulfill the wishes of fans. Without being the height of depth, the multiplayer is colossal regarding epic, and the campaign, without being memorable and with significant playable deficits, can please the most fans. However, people also wanted things such as free downloadable content or galactic battles, and the DICE game has responded decisively. That yes, in return have been implemented debatable progression mechanics, and has left almost everything in the hands of a random component of loot boxes that do not seem the best way to reward the player. So, from all this we extract a valuable lesson: be careful what you want.
+ Quite a few ways and alternatives to allocate many hours to the game
+ The visual section is one of the most advanced of the moment
+ When the game appeals to the epic, it does it in a big way
– The system of progression chosen more than reward can frustrate
– Giving so much weight to loot boxes generates imbalances
– The gameplay itself of the campaign leaves a lot to be desired
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release date: November 17, 2017