UNITED STATES—”Star Wars: Battlefront II” has a very high bar set before it; it is a “Star Wars” game, so it must appeal to the growing fanbase, it is a sequel to the popular “Battlefront I” and a continuation of the beloved ‘Battlefront’ series, and it is designed to fill plot holes for the Star Wars saga. It does all of this exceptionally well but, regardless, still falls short of the bar. This is not because it is a bad game. The problems and pitfalls that are present in “Star Wars: Battlefront II” can be surmised in one word: greed.
The game itself is incredible. The graphics are some of the best ever seen in a AAA game. Everything from small leaves blowing along the ground, to sparks flying off guns, to the iconic, shining stormtrooper armor looks so real one would almost think they were watching a movie. The gameplay, likewise, is terrific; all the weapons and actions feel responsive and smooth, either in first-person or third-person combat. The galactic assault game mode, in which the player takes control of a TIE fighter or X-wing in huge, epic outer space battles, is arguably the best part of the whole game. The game mode is very well balanced, easy to pick up and exciting from start to finish.
The game’s story is good, and a vastly needed detail that was entirely overlooked in the first Battlefront game (and the game suffered for it). It is not that long, though, and has a good amount of levels that all seem too short. The levels are all detailed and interesting, though, and some even allow players to take control of iconic characters like Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia Organa. The story does a nice job of filling in some plot holes, connecting the end of episode VI to the beginning of episode VII. The characters are interesting as well. Unfortunately, the lack of different types of enemies can make the battles seem redundant at times.
The real problem with this game, though, is not in the gameplay or story. It is in the controversy surrounding the game and in what the greed that many have blamed on Electronic Arts. EA, the game’s producer, greenlighted (and may have forced it upon the game’s creator, DICE) a system in which, upon leveling, players are allowing to open “loot boxes” that reward them with upgrade that can make their characters better when fighting in multiplayer. This gives some players, especially those that have been playing longer, an advantage over others. Furthermore, players can use real money to purchase the loot boxes as well. This has been declared a form of illegal gambling in Belgium, Hawaii and other places, as players pay real money just to have the chance at getting something good. EA took the feature out of the game following a huge backlash from players, but left it open as to whether they would reinstate it or not once the game had been purchased by more people. As a result, the game now has the lowest user-rated score for a AAA game (and second-lowest for any game) on Metacritic.
Furthermore, all of Star Wars’ famous characters, from Darth Vader to Yoda, are behind “credit” walls that require the player to grind though the game for upwards of 40 hours (for each character) or pay to unlock them right away. This is a huge detriment to the game; it seems wrong for players to buy a Star Wars game and not immediately get the ability to play Darth Vader. And although EA also reduced the needed credits for many characters, the time it takes to grind for them is still high. The lack of characters from the prequel movies such as General Grievous or Obi-Wan Kenobi is also disappointing. They will be released in later DLCs but will cost even more real money.
Overall, “Star Wars: Battlefront II” is a mixed bag. On one hand, it is a fantastic game with incredible graphics, gameplay and a decent, if short, story. On the other, it is plagued by many problems stemming from forced microtransactions and the developers’ greed. It is a truly terrific game, but doesn’t it seems wrong to pay $60 for a game that forces you to spend even more?