The holiday season is almost upon us, and that means some big games are on the way. Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4 and Assassin's Creed Odyssey are already here, and a new Super Smash Bros. will release before you know it. It's enough to make one forget about the hits of early 2018 (remember God Of War?) let alone last year's big games. But there is one 2017 game that is worth remembering, even if it's a story EA won't tell you.
I speak, of course, about the tragedy of Star Wars Battlefront II the greedy.
It was a game with a galaxy's worth of hype behind it. It was meant to give fans what they wanted– the prequel era and a greater diversity of game modes. It would have a story mode that told things from a Stormtrooper's point of view, something rare in Star Wars. But then micro-transactions struck. The gameplay was great, it had that clone action, but the best bits were locked behind hours of grinding or a paywall. Fans were not happy. Reviewers were not kind. And a game that seemed a surefire hit turned into a cautionary tale about the dangers of corporate greed.
Now, almost a year later, developer DICE has done a lot to turn Battlefront II around. More content was added, more is coming, and the micro-transactions are purely cosmetic. So is it time to give the game another chance? In the words of Jedi Master Mace Windu: "Not. Yet." However, things are looking good for 2019.
This Is Where The Fun Begins
A video game needs content to succeed. This was something DICE learned from 2015's Battlefront. The team decided to focus on the original trilogy for that game, making it a polished but bare experience. Sure, it felt like you were in the movies, but it also got old fast. More maps and characters were added with DLC, but that method was downright insulting. Why was Chewbacca of all characters locked behind a season pass?
Battlefront II, meanwhile, has all three eras of Star Wars. The clones and battle droids are back, alongside newcomers like Finn and Rey. There's also a good collection of ships, from the iconic Millennium Falcon to the beloved Naboo Starfighter. A fair amount of skins, ranging from Donald Glover Lando to camo clone armor, give the game a varied look and give fans constant unlocks to strive for.
When it comes to gameplay, Battlefront II isn't slacking on that front either. The standard team deathmatch and objective modes are represented, as well as the epic Galactic Assault which replays some of the most notable battles in Star Wars. Game modes that are uniquely Star Wars, such as a mode where one team is Ewoks who hunt unsuspecting Stormtroopers, can keep you busy when the usual gets tiresome. Single-player story returns, as well as an arcade mode for those who just want to blast some mindless A.I. foes.
On top of all this, DICE has been updating the game with free post-release content. There's no paid DLC, a change made to address complaints of Battlefront 2015 putting core Star Wars characters in a season pass. A Resistance vs. First Order event was held in tandem with The Last Jedi's release. Solo was celebrated with a brand new mode and character skins. Most promisingly, a whole new batch of content is coming based on the fan-favorite Clone Wars.
Unfortunately, that's also where the problems start...
Twice The Content, Double The Wait
The Solo content, Battlefront II's last big update, only really amounted to two skins, a new ship, and one new game mode. That game mode was fun, but with only two maps it got stale before summer ended. After that, DICE has released a few clone trooper skins sporadically. Minor events, such as increased XP weekends, are nice but don't do much to cover the fact that the game is almost a year old.
Despite what looked like a wealth of content at launch, Battlefront II regulars have found themselves bored. Many have already achieved max level with their favorite characters and ships. Others have done enough grinding (or spent enough money) to get all their desired skins. What they need, and what they've asked for, is new stuff.
Fortunately, new stuff was exactly what DICE announced during E3. Dennis Brannvall, the game's direction, announced game-changing Clone Wars content. He teased a new map, Geonosis, which he called “the largest level we have ever built." There were also four new heroes announced, including the much-anticipated General Grievous. While there was no specific date given for these additions, it was inferred that they would come before the year's end.
Except... all of this content is being painstakingly drip-fed and delayed. General Grievous is releasing by himself at the end of this month, with Obi-Wan Kenobi and the Geonosis map coming next month. A new game mode teased at E3, along with Anakin Skywalker's playable debut, was pushed back to 2019. The content that could revitalize this game always seems to be just beyond reach, and all patient fans have to show for their dedication are a few clone outfits.
All of that brings us back to the big question: is Battlefront II worth it now? Not quite, because the content just isn't there yet. Early next year, when all the new heroes, Geonosis, and the new mode are playable, the game will likely be in fine form. It's already a great shooter that captures the Star Wars feel. It just needs that jolt of newness to energize its player base and round out its content offerings.
Is Battlefront II worth it now? Not quite, because the content just isn't there yet.
The Force isn't strong with this one yet, but it will be after some fine additions to its collection.