It's been a turbulent launch week for Star Wars Battlefront 2.
After facing heated fan backlash, EA has already made two huge changes to its long-awaited Star Wars shooter: first, reducing the amount of credits you'll need to unlock heroes such as Luke and Vader, and, more shockingly, completely removing paid microtransactions from the game.
With Battlefront 2's pay-to-win drama seemingly behind us, one question remains: Is the actual game any good? The answer is yes —
though there are some major caveats. We've searched our feelings, and here's what we love and hate about Star Wars Battlefront 2.
The single-player campaign (mostly) delivers. Playing as Imperial commander Iden Versio, you get to experience the aftermath of the Empire's final defeat through a 4-hour campaign filled with fun, varied combat missions and incredibly lifelike cutscenes. While the campaign has some issues (which we'll explain below), its sense of humor and adventure feels true to the films, and its thrilling final battle showcases the best of Battlefront's on-foot and vehicular combat.
It's the best-looking Star Wars game ever. From the cantinas of Mos Eisley to the sweeping forests of Kashyyyk, Battlefront 2's environments are jaw-droppingly gorgeous, and painstakingly reverent to the movies. The game's sound design is equally top-notch, with beefy explosions, authentic blaster noises, and signature Star Wars scores that make every multiplayer match feel like a movie scene.
It feels great to play. Battlefront 2's gameplay is a big improvement over that of the first game, with more fluid player movement and tighter, more satisfying shooting. Starfighter combat has gotten a complete overhaul, thanks to the folks at EA's Criterion studio giving you much finer control over how you weave your X-Wing or TIE Fighter around the battlefield.
There's way more to do this time around. Whereas Battlefront 1 launched in a woefully anemic state, Battlefront 2 is packed with fun things to do. The game's varied map selection now spans every era of Star Wars, and its multiplayer modes run the gamut from epic space showdowns (Starfighter Assault) to completely chaotic brawls (Heroes vs. Villains). Add in the single-player campaign and a decently robust offline Arcade mode (which supports local co-op), and you've got a healthy amount of Star Wars to sink your teeth into here.
The progression system stinks. Even with paid microtransactions out of the picture, Battlefront 2's progression system is still a confusing, unsatisfying mess. I'd need an entire other article to fully explain it, but the long and short is this: You upgrade your troopers, heroes and ships via Star Cards, which are primarily obtained via the randomized loot crates you'll earn as you play. This makes progression feel almost entirely luck-based. Instead of leveling up a specific class or character by simply using them often, you essentially have to hope you get good cards for them every time you open a crate.
The story mode's plot is underwhelming. As I mentioned before, campaign is a blast to play. But the game's actual story, which is being marketed as your chance to finally see things from the Empire's side, falls short of its promise. You spend nearly half the game playing as iconic Star Wars heroes such as Luke and Leia instead of as Iden — almost as if Lucasfilm and EA were afraid of devoting an entire campaign to an original character. And while Iden has plenty of moments to shine, her story goes in a disappointingly safe direction.
The game simply feels too unstable right now. EA has already made two sweeping changes to the game's economy before its official release, and while those were changes the community asked for, it gives the impression that any of Battlefront 2's key features could suddenly change on a whim.
Is Battlefront 2 worth your cash? It's still too early to say. If you're mainly interested in the short campaign, you're better off renting the game or waiting for a price drop. If you plan on sticking it out with the multiplayer, you might want to hold out and see if EA makes any improvements to the game's busted progression system.
But if you simply can't wait to play the big new Star Wars game, you'll still find plenty to like in its exhilarating multiplayer battles and gorgeous worlds. Just know that Star Wars Battlefront 2 is constantly evolving, and that the game you see now could look very different in a few weeks.