I know, I know…loot boxes and greed and ruining the industry. I get it. This is not what I want to talk about here. Loot boxes and their proliferation sucks, but they’re a reality in gaming this generation. I’ll address that at another time. For now, I just want to talk about the actual experience of playing Star Wars Battlefront 2. Let’s go.
Reviews for Star Wars Battlefront 2 are slow in coming out, mostly due to the fact that EA was late in sending review copies out. With only a couple of days under their belt, reviewers have yet to post their final scores. Personally, I’ve had only a few hours with the game, and the initial feelings I have are leaning negative, but not heavily so.
When I first got into the game, I immediately jumped into multiplayer. Having played a good amount of the first Star Wars Battlefront (SWBF) and its extra content, I figured I could bypass a lot of the single player stuff or training for now. I probably should have at least tried a little bit of the training. Right away things felt noticeably different, almost like an approximation of SWBF rather than an improved and updated sequel. It’s really hard to explain, but the game felt…lighter. I don’t know how to put it into words, but movement, aiming, firing, vehicles, and the sound package all felt less weighty. It’s like a tool that was previously made of stainless steel has been replaced with aluminum.
It’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy what I was playing, I did find the game fun, but it felt very phoned in compared to the first entry, that actually had a very positive first impression on me. I spent the majority of my time in the Galactic Assault mode, which puts you in the classic offense or defense positions across multiple objectives. If at any point the offense fails one of the series of objectives, the defense wins. It’s a staple in online multiplayer games these days.
The actual objectives across each and every map were fairly straightforward and lacked any nuance that would make them much more complex than team deathmatch with defined kill areas. Yes, at times you need to capture an area or destroy a specific target, but the format needs refreshing. Badly.
Strike, Blast, and Starfighter Assault did little to improve on the original SWBF offering, though there are a lot more characters and vehicles here. Problem is…they’re locked. Unlocking the content takes ages, and in a few hours I only managed to unlock a few basic things. Major (see: desirable) unlocks are going to take a lot of time. Admittedly, I have a lot left to dig into with this game, so I’ll refrain from commenting too much on the content.
But the gameplay…the gameplay just feels a bit phoned in. It all feels so by the numbers, and somehow a little less precise and tight as the original Star Wars Battlefield. My complaints about the “light” feel of the game are sure to be echoed when reviews finally come out, and I’m curious to see how others express that feeling. I have to think that patches will improve things as time rolls on, but on release day, prepare for a little weirdness.
Also, I ran into several performance issues on the PlayStation 4. I don’t know if those issues are unique to the PS4 or not, but I saw several. Among geometry clipping, I saw tons of pop in textures, a few missing textures, some big framerate drops, and a few audio quirks. The issues weren’t constant, but they were showing up often enough to stay noticeable.
The late review copies don’t instill a lot of confidence, and I’m starting to understand the delay. Maybe the game will end up great, but there is definitely a bit of an unpolished and unfinished feel to Star Wars Battlefront 2. Reports of the locked content came out ahead of release, and I’m assuming that EA would have much rather seen those reports come after all the preorders and day one buyers had pulled the trigger. Now that the game is on shelves and reviews are looming, we’ll see if locked content remains the big issue or if people will find fault in the gameplay.
I’ll keep plugging away for now and have a full review of the game when I feel comfortable with the amount I’ve played to give a definitive opinion. For now, I would hold off picking up the game if you’re skeptical and try to Redbox it for a weekend. I’m not upset by what I’ve seen, but I’m feeling fairly discouraged so far. I actually loved the first entry, so here’s hoping for a turnaround.