2015’s Star Wars Battlefront sported plenty of polish and skyrocketing production values, but it was a little light on content. Most notably, the competitive shooter set in a galaxy far, far away lacked a dedicated single-player, story-driven campaign.
Battlefront II remedies this by not only including a 12-chapter narrative path, but one that’s considered official Star Wars canon. As Iden Versio, commander of the Empire’s spec ops Inferno Squad, fans play through events unfolding between the conclusion of Return Of The Jedi and the start of The Force Awakens.
The 30-year span is absolutely brimming with fan-service, from cool call-outs to existing lore to some compelling new characters and plot twists, faithful Force followers will have a blast playing through. Just getting to dog-fight among the second Death Star’s debris — following its destruction over Endor — for example, will be worth the price of admission for hardcore fans.
Playing from Iden’s perspective, watching her progress from loyal servant of the Empire to an antihero treading a morally ambiguous path, also puts a fresh spin on the sci-fi saga’s familiar storytelling. In fact, the campaign’s biggest flaw is that it occasionally shelves this engaging new protagonist’s journey to put players behind the lightsaber or blaster of more iconic characters.
Of course, Battlefront II‘s story mode is merely an appetiser to the game’s multiplayer main course. The online offerings present ample, varied opportunities to shoulder authentic blasters, wield lightsabers, pilot ships, and even ride tauntauns in detail-drenched environments ripped right from the films. Galactic Assault and Starfighter Assault stand out, as they stage massive, objective-based battles that truly recapture the magic of the movies’ most epic skirmishes.
The competitive play is sullied, however, by an overly-complicated character progression system, as well as insidious microtransactions that, in their current state, give an edge to those willing to plunk down extra coin for quicker access to perks. These issues are still a work-in-progress, as publisher Electronic Arts and developer DICE continue to tweak them in hopes of striking the right balance but are an unnecessary blemish on an otherwise excellent title.
Battlefront II is not without its flaws, then, but it is leaps and bounds ahead of its predecessor. An easy, fan-pleasing recommendation for those looking to get a fix of the Force before The Last Jedi lands next month.