Star Wars Battlefront II – Return to Mission Area!

This will be a review of the Main Story (yes, it’s called that) and the campaign Resurrection, which was added in a free patch. I have tried multiplayer before, but it’s just not for me. It’s too brain-dead and simple, so the focus will be on the two campaigns that came with the game. Star Wars Battlefront II starts in the Imperial age and lasts up to the god-awful First Order trilogy. You know the one, it has the discount emo Vader in the form of Kylo Ren.

This is where the fun begins (and ends)
You play as Iden Versio, commander of the commando team Inferno Squad on the side of the Galactic Empire. It starts at the heights of the rebellion insurrection, and soon you will find yourself on the ground of Endor fighting the rebels. Those of you that have seen the original trilogy know what this means. The Death Star blows up, and you get to witness it all from the ground. This of course shakes up Iden and her crew, spurring them to flee the planet in one desperate act. The emperor might be dead, but he has one final order: Operation Cinder – which turns out to be a scorched earth type of deal. This does not sit right with Iden, since it means that one of the most loyal planets to the Empire will be fried to a crisp. During a retrieval mission of a V.I.P. planetside, things turn nasty when it comes to a bunch of civilians and Iden with one of her squad members decides to defect and join the rebellion.

On Empire-controlled planets, it always rains. It’s the law

Battlefront II starts rather well since it’s fun to play as a random mook for the Empire for once. The moment of seeing the Death Star blow up actually feels a bit terrifying, if you let the larp grab hold of you. Unfortunately, the whole thing falls apart rather fast after that. I had a feeling that playing as the “bad guys” would be short-lived, yet, I didn’t think it would be this quick! Iden is presented as a fanatic supporter but gives up her beliefs at the drop of a hat. Sure, I wouldn’t feel too good about having the military turn on their own either, however, that order makes little sense. I can see the Emperor issuing the actual order, in case of his demise, but then having Imperial officers just turning away from the battle of Endor to nuke their own strongholds… excuse me?

Of course they crammed Luke in there too

I know the Empire is evil and all, and they needed a reason for her treason, but come on now. Another funny thing here is that Iden has killed an untold amount of rebels since she is a god among men when it comes to fighting on the ground and in space. Yet the rebels just accept her. She gets no time in jail or anything, she goes from being captured to working for the rebels in two minutes flat. And she has no trouble killing imperials either, I’m starting to think Iden might be some kind of psycho.

Tutorial hellscape
The writing is pretty terrible from here on out because the campaign works more like a tutorial and showcase for the multiplayer than actually having a good coherent story. The game is also filled with fanservice missions, which means you don’t get to play as Iden that much. Every second mission you play as one of the legendary Star Wars characters, like Princess Leia or Han Solo instead. I find this to be a major mistake, and it has me yawning through the missions. Will Star Wars ever be able to let those characters go? It also makes Star Wars feel incredibly small since everything involves the same people, it doesn’t matter what the situation is since these mythical heroes can apparently do everything.

I could probably accept the switcheroo much better if the game focused on Iden and gave her a personality beyond killing dudes, but that does not happen. If having the famous Star Wars characters take valuable time from the story wasn’t enough, the campaign overall is very short, even on the hardest difficulty setting. The narrative has no impact either as the remainder of the campaign is just clean-up duty of Empire forces.

Yeah, and by the way, the old man bit the bullet, eh, laser

Iden grows old
Then we have the Resurrection campaign that was released in a patch for free. It’s a continuation of the Iden storyline, which connects her life, and the republic to the recent threat of The New Order. As imagined, this takes place decades later with Iden and her crew still working for the resistance. How can it still be a resistance if they won the war? Anyway, she has a family now, a daughter about twenty years old that is a carbon copy of her. She can fight and fly just as well, I guess it’s the genes. Iden also has a husband, which unluckily enough gets kidnapped by the emo dark side user Kylo Ren. You can see what this leads to, hence the campaign name Resurrection. First and foremost it’s a rescue mission, and then a revelation of the resurrection of the Empire in an attempt to connect a few dots and make Iden have a bit of an impact on the main Star Wars narrative, even if it doesn’t lead to anything.

I got to say, this campaign is a lot better since it got some much more needed story beats, and connects the campaign in one order, but the characterization is as terrible as ever. Light spoiler here, but as it turns out her husband was killed, and Iden and her daughter have such a lame reaction to the news that I wonder if he meant anything at all in their lives. I understand this is Star Wars, and it’s just a shooter, but why even have a character and an attempt at a storyline if you are making it this poor? It’s clear there was a strive for making something semi-emotional here, both in the original campaign and in the addon, but it just feels flat. The games industry desperately needs better writers (come back Chris Avellone). They just as well could have made the campaign a bunch of random missions with a link to the movies, considering how little care was put into the story and its characters.

A blast to the face makes all the pain go away

Ready the blasters and thermal detonators
What about the gameplay? If you played Battlefront I or any of the modern Battlefield games, you know what to expect here. It’s competently made – the controls and the action parts, however, it feels very arcady, even if you go for the hardest difficulty. The game can’t be more pop-a-mole even if it wanted to. Even the space combat felt like this, if not worse. Just point and click at endlessly respawning enemies. The AI is suicidal, if not retarded, and the maps are incredibly cramped for the most part. You will be seeing “Return to Mission Area” a lot if you try to do any kind of flanking. And most of the missions miss the point of it being a “battle” game, like Battlefield, since you will for the majority be alone, or maybe have one single partner with you. There are a few missions that feel like a massive firefight, but for ninety percent of the game, you will be running and gunning down hundreds of enemies by yourself. It’s rather disappointing because the gameplay feels pretty tight otherwise, it’s just a shame that the game wastes it on boring missions, lackluster maps, and busted AI.

The rebels are always on coffee breaks

Visually, it looks fantastic, and for a game from 2017 is it very impressive tech. I would say the graphic engine still holds up splendidly and knocks it out of the park when it comes to modern game engines since it’s not only the good visuals, it’s the performance too. I played it on Ultra, and the only times I felt anything negative performance-wise, was the initial loading of the maps – when textures were loading in. At that point, I could feel a little stuttering, but it only lasted a few seconds. The sound holds the same quality, except we get the muffled underwater explosions here again. I do not know why that is a thing, but it is. The voice acting is also good, but it gets a little annoying with the amount of screaming in cut-scenes, however, the voice actors are not to be blamed for that, it’s the script. When it’s time to be upset, you better shout! The music is very Star Wars, and there is a few classic tunes from the franchise in here as well, so, nothing to complain about here.

I can’t recommend Battlefront II for the campaigns. While both of them have fairly high production values, the storyline presented feels utterly pointless, and the gameplay in itself is nothing special as it was mostly squandered on fanservice and solo-esque maps when it’s supposed to be a war. Big lost opportunity here, but the visuals are really good, however, I wouldn’t buy or rent the game for that aspect alone. It can be fun to shoot rebels or imperial stormtroopers for a while, yet, it gets boring pretty fast because they don’t provide much of a challenge. There are better games to fill that need, for example, Jedi Knight II – Jedi Outcast.

Thanks for reading.


2 thoughts on “Star Wars Battlefront II – Return to Mission Area!

  1. “How can it still be a resistance if they won the war” – Leia and her troupe are operating without New Republic sanction or support (At least officially on the broader aspect) reason why it’s called the “resistance”, because new republic was trying to deal in diplomatic terms aka being useless as usual with the New Order and other empire remnants warlords using the time to strenght and unify their forces (Infighting included).

    Liked by 1 person

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