There’s been an awakening
Two years after the original, EA DICE is back with Star Wars Battlefront II on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. It aims to make amends for the oft-criticized skimpy content of the first title with much more this time around. In that regard the game delivers: Battlefront II is jam-packed with single-player, co-op, and competitive online modes.
The stand-out feature of this second entry is a robust single-player campaign featuring Imperial Special Force leader Iden Versio. It takes place during the 30-year gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. Battlefront II‘s story is considered official Star Wars canon, making it all but essential for franchise faithfuls. Let’s take a closer look at the campaign, and the rest of what the game has to offer!
Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
To begin, let’s go over the different versions available for Star Wars Battlefront II. For starters, the Standard Edition comes on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. With this version you’ll get access to all the single-player, co-op, and competitive online modes.
The next step up is the Elite Trooper Deluxe Edition, available on physical disc for PS4 and Xbox One. This version includes The Last Jedi Heroes DLC, featuring themed looks and epic Star Cards for Kylo Ren and Rey. You’ll also get an upgraded First Order ship, and instant access to the Millennium Falcon with updated sounds and appearance. Finally, it comes with 4 Upgrade Packs for each trooper class: Officer, Assault, Heavy, and Specialist.
PlayStation gamers also have the choice of two console bundles. The first is the PlayStation 4 Slim 1TB Star Wars Battlefront II Bundle – Jet Black. Inside you’ll find a PS4 slim console and regular edition copy of the game. Your other option is the PlayStation 4 Pro 1TB Star Wars Battlefront II: Elite Trooper Deluxe Edition Bundle. Pictured to the left, this limited edition bundle includes a custom PS4 Pro console with matching DualShock 4 Controller, and the Battlefront II Elite Trooper Deluxe Edition. This is the ultimate PS4 bundle for Star Wars fans!
Story – Wield the power of the Dark Side
As mentioned, the key addition in Battlefront II is its all-new single-player campaign. In it you play as Iden Versio (Janina Gavankar), leader of the Imperial Special Force group known as Inferno Squad. The story begins moments after the destruction of the second Death Star and takes us all the way to before the events of The Force Awakens. If you’ve been wondering what transpired between the original and sequel trilogies, this game fills in some of the pieces.
As a whole, the campaign story is rather uneven but the incredibly authentic visuals help make it a memorable experience. I say uneven because, well, the individual missions have you jump between multiple iconic Star Wars characters. While it’s supposed to be telling Iden’s journey you’ll find yourself suddenly controlling Luke Skywalker, Kylo Ren, or Lando Calrissian. It’s not just brief segments either—entire missions are for these characters, and others. As a result, Iden’s story gets pushed to the background, which is a shame because she’s a very interesting character.
The good news is the campaign locations are gorgeous and will surely delight any Star Wars fan. From participating in the Battle of Endor to storming the royal Naboo city of Theed everything looks stunning. It’s not your standard AAA fare either, these are some of the best visuals every produced in a video game. Vehicles and blaster weapons are another high note, which are precise down to their grooves, lines, and insignia. No exaggeration: you will feel like you’ve stepped foot into the Star Wars universe. It’s awesome.
Multiplayer – epic 20v20 matches
In this new Star Wars Battlefront installment multiplayer, of course, makes a huge return. The 40-player, Galactic Assault mode is the main offering, serving up huge 20v20 conflicts in iconic Star Wars locations. From the high-tech Kamino cloning factory to the crowded streets of Mos Eisley, each map is created with impressive detail. With 40 players active on the battlefield, combat is destructive and chaotic—exactly like you see in the movies. This really is the closest yet to actually stepping inside the Star Wars universe.
Where things begin to breakdown though is on the game progression side. As has been widely reported, Star Wars Battlefront II progression revolves around grinding and loot boxes. Staple characters like Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker are initially locked and it takes hours of gaming to access them.
Same goes for class and character abilities—it takes dozens of hours to acquire even a basic set. Battlefront II takes an enormous commitment to unlock the best characters and perks, which is a drawback for the casual type who like to drop in to play a few rounds. Plus if you pick up the game after release you’re already at a big disadvantage; the community will already have better characters and perks than you.
Characters from all three eras
Speaking of characters, Star Wars Battlefront II features a stellar line-up. You’ve got original heroes like Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian, and Yoda. They’re joined by dark side forces including Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, Boba Fett, Bossk, and Darth Maul. You also characters from the new trilogy, such as Rey and Kylo Ren, as well as the all-new Iden Versio. It’s a great roster, and a lot of effort was done to ensure authenticity. Kylo Ren, for example, possesses his iconic crossguard lightsaber, while Han Solo wields his pistol blaster.
Epic space battles
For me, the galactic-scale space combat is the stand-out multiplayer mode. Called Starfighter Assault, these 12v12 space battles are visually arresting and are thrilling to participate in. You can jump into iconic starfighters—like A-Wings and TIE Interceptors—and do battle against rival ships. To mimic the scale of real Star Wars space battles each side is given an additional 20 AI ships.
The backdrops for these battles are also quite impressive. Imperial Star Destroyer ships, asteroid fields, and nearby planets are just some of the eye candy on display. Imagine skimming the exterior of a massive capital ship at top speed, dodging laser fire, then locking on and blasting a TIE Fighter. The thrill of these high-speed dogfights is palpable and kept me coming back for more.
Star Wars Battlefront II as a whole is enjoyable, despite being a little uneven at times. The story being official canon alone is probably enough for most Star Wars fans to be tempted. Graphically, the game is a beast, easily the best-looking Star Wars installment yet. I enjoyed the gameplay, however, the snail-paced progression takes away the luster. Overall I had fun with Battlefront II though, and the promise of free future updates sounds exciting.
+ Best-looking Star Wars game yet
+ Campaign gives insights into the new trilogy
+ Gameplay feels excellent
+ Galactic Assault battles are very authentic
+ Starfighter Assault is thrilling
– Story meanders too much
– Very slow character progression
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 3.5/5