If I’m being totally honest, when EA’s Star Wars Battlefront 2 launched in 2017 the crowd was going mild. And even that’s an understatement, as there was a plethora of rage surrounding this new entry. It was mainly the predatory, pay-to-win mechanics revealed shortly before the game’s launch that led to much of this ire. That said, there were features missing from this entry that were part of the original Battlefront series from the 2000s. Like the far-reaching yolk of the Empire, poor design coming out of EA and Battlefront’s developer, DICE, had no bounds. With all these negatives, is Battlefront 2 worth it?
So that was three years ago. While turn-around for Battlefront 2 seemed as impossible as the shot on the Death Star, the fact is, it has. The devotion and time DICE spent on Battlefront 2 post-launch has led to a fun, content-packed game almost unrecognizable from the original version. On top of the linear game mode, Galactic Assault, DICE has added the open-ended modes, Supremacy and Co-Op. While Battlefront 2 includes all three Star Wars cinematic eras, those are now available in each of these modes, fully rounding out the experience. The gameplay offers well-designed heroes and customizable playstyles, resulting in a casual but enjoyable experience. The additions included over time bring Battlefront 2 closer to the atmosphere of the original series and Star Wars as a whole.
When Star Wars Battlefront 2 first launched, it came with a series of game modes available for players to jump in and play. That said, Galactic Assault is the only one that offered the large-scale battle “feel” of the original entries. Due to the linear, scripted nature of this mode, Galactic Assault would soon wear out its welcome. Tight hallways and chokepoints dominated map design, resulting in a lack of variety and spammy mechanics, like endless explosives. The battles of the original games were of a smaller scope, but still felt more open-ended than Galactic Assault. In addition, the original Battlefront games included co-op against bots across all maps and modes, something missing from the 2017 version. The lacking and repetitive qualities had myself wondering if Battlefront 2 was worth the purchase.
Towards the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, DICE added game modes that were reminiscent of the original series. Thanks to these new additions, Supremacy and Co-Op, Battlefront 2 was salvaged from the scrap heap. Unlike the linear nature of Galactic Assault, Supremacy has two teams battling for control over command posts across large maps. This allows for flexibility in how players strategize, a marked improvement from the restrictive nature of Galactic Assault. Even more enticing is Co-Op, a mode which sees four players working together to attack or defend command posts from bots. Players can focus on upgrading classes without the stress of fighting others. These two modes de-emphasize rigid PvP, allowing players to immerse themselves in the Star Wars atmosphere rather than high-stakes competitive gameplay.
One thing EA’s Star Wars Battlefront 2 improved upon compared to their first iteration was content. Battlefront 2 promised all three Star Wars eras on launch day, a welcome addition. But it wouldn’t be until 2020 that all the eras were added to Supremacy and Co-Op. Originally, players could only enjoy Supremacy in the prequel series maps, and it got old… fast. Flash forward to now, not only are all the eras available for Supremacy and Co-Op, but players are given the freedom to choose. When booting up a game mode, players can choose between prequel, original, sequel queues, or even “play any” as an option. So now fans can pick exactly what they want to do, instead of being told. Although it took years to get to this point, Battlefront 2 is worth it for fans of any of the three trilogies.
Unfortunately, I can’t say with confidence that the mechanics in Star Wars Battlefront 2 are spectacular, but the gameplay is strong enough to immerse players in the Star Wars atmosphere. In the original series, each trooper had a specialized kit that supported its role on the battlefield. However, in EA’s Battlefront 2, DICE opted to give players the ability to upgrade each trooper class through “Star Cards”, which offer individual bonuses. Classes end up being jacks of all trades and masters of none, resulting in sterilized gameplay. In addition, new players may find themselves completely outmatched by those with fully upgraded cards. But the Star Card system does present players with something to work towards and customize, which can be more interesting than the static tool sets of the originals. Being able to choose how you play each trooper class makes the investment of time in Battlefront 2 worth it.
Along with the troopers, Battlefront 2 offers the best gameplay of Star Wars heroes. A power fantasy lacking this generation. So if you are looking to slice up droids as Obi-Wan or force choke rebels as Vader, look no further. Heroes each come with a personalized kit of abilities, allowing for them to stand out in the action. Players are bound to find one or two heroes they enjoy from the wide range of light and dark side characters. And with the Star Card system, players are given control over how they play as their favorite. By combining upgrades with the hero abilities, DICE manages to create a play style that is fun and flexible. Now that Co-Op has been added for all eras, players can upgrade their favorite without having to wait or get shot down as soon as they spawn.
While it wasn’t a revolutionary series, Star Wars Battlefront is a name that brings back great memories for gamers. It is a shame that the modern entries suffered from poor design and questionable mechanics. Unlike some games though, which disappear into the night after a negative launch, Battlefront 2 kept plugging along. Due to the hard work of the DICE developers, they were able to pull the game back from the brink. Available on multiple platforms for an inexpensive price, Star Wars Battlefront 2 is more accessible than ever before. Packed with content from Star Wars history and an eclectic suite of modes, Battlefront 2 is worth it in 2020.