On November 17th 2017, the world was ready and waiting to jump into a galaxy far far away with Star Wars Battlefront 2. Advertised to be a huge leap forward for the series, Battlefront 2 was set to be a huge success for both developer Motive Studios and publisher EA Games. Unfortunately, instead of the wild success we all expected, the game set fire to our world in a way we had never seen before.
For years, I have put off this game because of the massive amount of blowback it received at launch. I refused to support a developer that made the decisions that were presented in game upon release. What I didn’t know, however, is how far the game has come since then. With the release of the new Celebration Edition, Star Wars Battlefront 2 is shockingly better than I could have imagined.
With all of the changes made since launch, I figured it was worth taking the time to look back and see how this whole saga began, how things have shifted since launch, and to evaluate where the game is now. In my opinion, few games have dug themselves out of a hole quite like Star Wars Battlefront 2. If you slept on the game like I did, it’s time to take another look.
I’ve Got A Bad Feeling About This
More than any game that came before it, Battlefront 2 created a shockwave through the gamerverse that set everyone’s hearts and minds to a singular dark focus: lootboxes. Upon release, players were able to drop into the multiplayer mods with only a few of the series’ well-known heroes. The rest were locked behind a huge wall of RNG (random luck) that would take literal years or thousands of dollars to fully break through.
Immediately players flocked to the message boards to voice their concern. Rage, mockery, memes, everyone was unhappy at what they had found within the new fully-priced game. Not only were playable characters locked within the lootboxes, but class progression as well.
Every class (Assault, Heavy, Specialist, Officer) has a set of Star Cards that are used to make each character stronger. These cards can increase health regeneration, decrease ability cooldown times, increase ability effectiveness, and other buffs. Upon release of the game, these cards were randomly dropped from lootboxes purchased with either earned in-game currency or with premium currency bought with cash.
In response to these complaints, developers went to Reddit to try to quell the anger of the masses. They gave a pretty general response about listening to the community and looking at the data, etc. About what you would expect from a developer in crisis management mode. The formal response posted by the developers, however, was not met with understanding. In fact, that Reddit comment went on to be the most downvoted comment of all time. It actually still remains in the top five. Needless to say, fans were upset.
A New Hope
In truth, the developers at Motive were able to turn things around surprisingly quickly. A few months after release, on March 21st 2018, Motive released a fully revamped Multiplayer Progression System. This was basically a ground-up redesign of how the ever-important Star Cards were earned. Instead of being found in random drop lootboxes, Star Cards would now be earned through gameplay. There was actually no way to acquire them in any way through money.
The gameplay loop of the multiplayer changed instantly. No more grinding a few modes as efficiently as possible to get the most currency. Players could now play exactly how they wanted. Spending time in game as a specific class leveled up that class to where more cards could be earned and more points could be applied to those cards. Players could now see meaningful progression based on their gameplay instead of their luck and perseverance.
The acquisition of cosmetics was also changed. Players could still acquire different appearances, emotes, poses, and more from the lootboxes, but these items could also be purchased directly with in-game currency. This meant that if there was a specific look you wanted, you could work straight towards it and buy it immediately. Gone forever were the days of crossing your fingers and hoping you got a roll in your favor.
The Game Awakens
Since that first major update, the game has also received some huge content additions. Introductions of new large-scale game modes, PvE modes, specialty modes, and more have all kept the game fresh and growing for more than two years now.
Over the past couple of weeks I have been working to dabble in all of these modes and there are a lot of them. Capitol Supremacy is the largest PvP mode to ever come to a Battlefront game. The 20 vs 20 takes place on multiple battlefields with many objectives. If an objective is lost, the entire fight is moved elsewhere. These huge battles include multiple heroes, vehicles, objectives, snipers, heavy units, choke points, power plays and more. The conflicts are are extremely dynamic and can last longer than an hour if the two teams are evenly matched.
Battlefront 2 also added a PvE Co-op mode as well. While not a co-op of the campaign, players can team up against the AI of the game to fight on the multiplayer battlefields without the pressure of PvP. Think of the standard arcade mode but much more casual with only four players teaming up to take on smaller fights together.
Take these, in addition to 4v4 Jedi vs Sith fights, straight up team deathmatch, infection-style Ewok hunts, Extraction, Tie Fighter vs. X-Wing dog fights, and you’ve got one crazy package. There’s so much to do in this game. And with the way it is structured, everything you do provides progression in some way or another. Every match is rewarding.
All of this is without even speaking of the campaign. While it came out to mixed reviews, I thoroughly enjoyed the story. Starting with witnessing the destruction of the Deathstar from Endor, the campaign follows an elite agent as she struggles with how the Empire seeks to maintain order post Return of the Jedi. The story bridges the gap from Jedi to The Force Awakens and has implications all the way to Rise of Skywalker.
EA Strikes Back
Star Wars Battlefront 2 is a true story of redemption. When people think of games that fell flat at launch then crawled back to life, names like No Man’s Sky, Rainbow Six Siege and others come to mind. Never Battlefront. Unfortunately, even now it remains lost in the shadow of its own release. We can only hope that when we look back ten years from now, this is no longer the case.
Like I mentioned, I was absolutely hesitant to jump in even in the face of some great friends telling me it would be worth the leap of faith. I get it. What EA has now, however, is so fundamentally different than what was released back in 2017 that it should be treated as an entirely different release.
Last month, Motive released the Celebration Edition of the game. I initially scoffed at the notion that the game should be celebrated considering the circumstances of its release. Now, however, I am now a firm believer that this all encompassing GOTY-esque version should be taken very seriously. Without a doubt, there’s dozens, if not hundreds of hours of content to experience along with tons of character customizations.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 is the definitive Star Wars game in my book. I know I’ll set some heads on fire giving this title to a game other than Jedi: Fallen Order, but to me, the answer is clear.
Battlefront 2 allows you to swing lightsabers as a Jedi, blast Tie Fighters as an X-Wing, defend your base on Hoth against AT-ATs, protect Maz Kanada’s cantina from Imperial assault, attack storm troopers with spears as an Ewok and everything in between. If you’ve ever seen something in a Star Wars movie and thought “I wish I could experience that in a game,” it’s probably here.
Luke Skywalker had the heart to give someone as dark and notorious as Darth Vader a second chance. Be like Luke. Find twelve bucks and some time this week to hop into Battlefront 2. And may the force be with you. Always.
*This is article is not sponsored by EA Games or Motive Studios in any way. I literally just picked up the game and loved it.