When Star Wars Battlefront II launched in November of 2017, it was mired in controversy. The game brought loot boxes and microtransactions into the public eye, with the outcry reaching so far that it made its way to television news. Regular people news! My parents were asking me about predatory monetization strategies in a video game! You couldn’t go anywhere without hearing about loot boxes, pink Darth Vader, or “pride and accomplishment.” And on top of all that, the game itself faced technical problems and a serious lack of content and heart.
Now though? It’s not too bad.
Hold on, put the pitchforks down. Star Wars Battlefront II is by no means a perfect game. It still struggles today with echoes of the issues it faced almost two years ago. However, significant strides have been made to make the game much more enjoyable and actually worth the time of any Star Wars fan. There are a ton of new maps, modes, and heroes to enjoy, and the progression system has been completely separated from the game’s loot boxes. Loot boxes now only reward cosmetic items and credits, with Star Cards and other unlocks being acquired through a more traditional leveling system. This is the state the game should have launched in all that time ago, and it’s absolutely worth jumping into now.
Since launch, Battlefront II has been injected with numerous monthly pieces of content that really add up. Episode VIII content, Solo content, a bevy of prequel trilogy locations and characters, and a couple of new modes, with one that especially takes the cake, a mode that stole most of my playtime with Battlefront II: the newly released Capital Supremacy mode.
Capital Supremacy plays similarly to the Battlefront games of old. The mode sees players battling for control of various command posts littered throughout the map, and once one team reaches 100 points, things get interesting. The losing team boards transport ships to take them to their capital ship with the dominant team in tow. The dominant team then aims to overpower the opposition and destroy their capital ship by completing various objectives onboard. If the attackers are repelled, the fight returns to the planet’s surface, and this tug of war of command posts and capital ships continues until one team’s capital ship is destroyed. This means that a team has to win both on the ground and onboard the enemy’s ship to be crowned victorious, and it’s an exhilarating clash that rewards teamwork and is most importantly just a blast to play.
Other modes, like the close-quarters Blast or the more traditional Galactic Assault, are just as populated (particularly the latter), but other modes aren’t as popular with Battlefront II‘s dwindling (but still sizable!) playerbase. Ewok hunt, for example, is nearly impossible to find a full lobby for on PC, but it ends up not being too big of a deal considering how ancillary Battlefront II‘s other modes feel in comparison to Galactic Assault and now Capital Supremacy. There are people out there playing Starfighter Assault and Heroes vs. Villains, but make no mistake, Galactic Assault and Capital Supremacy are the main attractions here.
Gameplay-wise, a bunch of welcome tweaks have been made to streamline the experience overall. The squad system has been revamped to work like a more traditional squad-based shooter, finally including the ability to spawn on your own squadmates, a mechanic that was sorely needed at launch. As mentioned earlier, the progression system has been reworked entirely, with Star Cards and weapons being unlocked as you level up each of the game’s four classes as well as each hero. Star Cards still provide noticeable gameplay buffs, like improved grenades or reduced damage taken, but these are now unlocked reliably at a certain level instead of being obtained through loot boxes that people can pay for. More experienced players will definitely have an advantage over you starting out, but you’ll quickly earn your own set of Star Cards that’ll let you start building your own specialized character. The Star Card system still feels contrived, but it’s better now without the Cards themselves being randomly acquired.
Speaking of Star Cards, it’s a bit lame that each hero levels up individually and has their own Star Cards when they’re so rarely available compared to normal troops. You’ll encounter many a situation where you’ll have a souped-up hero that’s currently being played by someone else, so you have to either blow your hard earned points on a hero you don’t usually use or just stick to the basics. It sucks having to play as Count Dooku when you’ve sunk all your time into Anakin. Still, each hero plays quite differently from one another (Anakin, Dooku, and Grievous are all wildly different beasts), and having separate progression becomes a non-issue once you’ve leveled up a few heroes.
The loot boxes, instead of offering gameplay-centric items, now only reward cosmetic items. Most of them are lame (the four victory poses for Stormtroopers are laughably generic), but there are a few standouts here and there, especially for heroes. Anakin’s “this is where the fun begins” voice line and emote are pure gold. These cosmetics can be purchased directly with Crystals, the game’s premium currency. Customization on the whole is pretty weak, especially for regular troops, but options are constantly being added, like in-depth Clone customization.
The most enticing aspect of Battlefront II in this day and age, though, is the price point. While the game definitely wasn’t worth $60 at launch and still probably isn’t worth that much now, the game is priced nowhere near that. Being an older title that wasn’t received well when it launched, Battlefront II can be found in bargain bins everywhere. The game is currently $15 on consoles (and only $6 on PC!) at Amazon and $10 at Gamestop. For such a low price of entry, Battlefront II is totally worth it, even if you’ll only get a few hours of fun out of it.
The future of Battlefront II has me excited. This year has been great for the game, bringing Capital Supremacy as well as some of the game’s best heroes and maps into the fray, and there’s more on the way. Soon, DICE is adding new game modes for players who “want something besides traditional PvP.” The first of these is dropping in August, and the rest will be detailed then, too.
Battlefront II is in a good place right now, and it’s sunken its claws into me in ways I never thought it would two years ago. While I probably won’t still be playing it in a week or two, I’m enjoying the time I’m having with it now, and that’s all that really matters, especially with a game this cheap.
Now all they need to do is add Galactic Conquest and we’re set.