The first Star Wars Battlefront that came out in 2015 was found lacking in some areas. As good as the graphics, sound and the satisfaction that comes with playing a Rebel or Imperial Trooper, it wasn’t long before I was bored.

There was a lack of depth in the game which hit me in my gaming soul. These flaws significantly shortened the game’s longevity, which in turn affected the size of the player base. I (tried to) started playing SWBF again over the weekend, and found myself stuck in the game lobby for a while before finding a match.

However, all is not dark. I can’t say I wasn’t skeptical when Star Wars Battlefront II was announced, but after playing the multiplayer beta, I feel there’s hope.

Content

Seeing as this is just a beta, it wouldn’t be fair to judge it thoroughly, so let’s take everything with a pinch of salt.

From what I remember, the Rebels lacked vehicles compared to the Imperials and the starfighter choices were sparse on both sides as well. As for the Villains, there weren’t too many unique ones, and there aren’t a whole lot of planets.

Thankfully, SWBF II addressed this by drawing content from the prequel, original, and sequel eras and the John Boyega-narrated trailer is promising regarding what’ll be available at launch. What better way to bolster content potential than with three studios, and work across three cinematic Star Wars eras? DICE will be handling most of the multiplayer, Motive Studios, the campaign, and Criterion Games is building all the vehicles and Starfighter Assault

SWBF II is going to have a story this time as well, huzzah! Which I think would boost the content even further, prolonging the longevity. The story predominantly follows Iden Versio, commander of the Imperial Special Forces unit Inferno Squad, this brand-new canon storyline is a bridge between Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi and Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens. Though I don’t have much intel on how the story is, it’s still exciting to see how Motive Studios is going to pan this out.

Playing different heroes/villains

Just like any other shooter with a multiplayer mode I’ve played, there is a class categorisation. You have a choice between Assault, Heavy, Officer, or Specialist classes. Each class has access to unique weapons and “perks” or “skills”, which prompts players to fall into its roles and fight at specific ranges. I have always been about the assaults, but this would be the first time I played all classes

This, in turn, encourages players to practice teamwork. Since I don’t have a party to play with, the forming of per-life ad hoc squads is a nice touch. However, I can’t say how it would be during party play. It seemed pretty messy in general when everyone’s gone guns blazing, but I did see some players working together, so I don’t think it was too much of a hassle to link up in game.

Though limited in its selection of weapons, maps, and Star Card unlocks, SWBF II still added some interesting characters for you to play. Each individual hero/villain can be “purchased” with battle points through the game, which is a change from getting tokens in the previous SWBF.

The good thing about Battle Points is that it’s a great risk/reward system. The choice is entirely yours if you want to spend them early for a quick advantage or save it for something more powerful, like a hero or villain (depending on which side you’re on). This point system, however, is frustrating for less-skilled players and players hoping to get onto the battlefield as an iconic hero or villain.

SWBF II also carried over the class system into Starfighter Assault, which also encourages different tactics as a pilot. Each class (fighter, interceptor, and bomber) again has it’s different “perks” or “skills”, which prompted me to change classes sometimes in the game and made it reasonably enjoyable.

I am hoping there’s a more significant range of Battle Points unlocks in Starfighter Assault. For now, it’s really just banking points for hero ships which I didn’t use too much.

Enhanced Combat?

If you’ve noticed by now, Star Cards are everywhere in Battlefront 2. After doing some trial and error, I realised that Star Cards are class-based, meaning that they’re designed to boost individual abilities for a specific class.

Star Cards come in two types, Boost cards and Ability cards. Boost Cards, which I’m sure you can tell by the name, augment or enhance existing abilities for your class or starfighter. Ability Cards, on the other hand, replace one of the class abilities with a different one.

Leveling-up individual classes also enable you to unlock additional customisable Star Card slots. Which was pure grinding for each class in the beta version. There is a possibility that they’ll introduce paying to unlock depending on the final microtransactions system. If this is the case, it’s catastrophic as skilled players would feel frustrated regarding the whole pay-to-loot.

It’s already stressful enough in a battlefield against highly skilled players, adding pay-to-loot players would be incredibly frustrating. Hopefully, the paying system won’t affect skills on the battlefield. Though I am glad I don’t feel compelled to spend real money, I still want to play without thinking, ‘what if I had that?’ It’s just more fun that way.

All in all, the campaign looks very promising, and the additional content makes the multiplayer appealing from what I’ve seen, but it’s just a dip into the full game. I am hoping for game changes to keep my attention on Battlefront II longer than the first one.

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