Do You Believe in Second Chances?
Two years ago, Star Wars Battlefront 2 was released to a storm of controversy. For the first time in recent memory, a AAA game had microtransactions that directly affected gameplay. You could buy loot boxes and they’d give you random perk cards. You could also earn these cards via normal gameplay. However, it quickly became obvious that this system was not balanced in any way whatsoever. To their credit though, DICE has made some relatively drastic changes to Battlefront 2 over the past two years. The most notable of these changes is that perk cards are no longer in loot boxes.
Basically, loot boxes have been adjusted so that they can only drop cosmetic items. Perk cards are earned via a traditional class leveling system. While new players can and probably will get steamrolled by veteran players and their collection of perk cards and weapons, this is hardly a problem that is exclusive to Star Wars Battlefront 2. The silver lining is that no one has an advantage from having a bunch of disposable income. If you want better gear, you'll have to earn it through regular gameplay. As such, pay to win loot boxes can now be considered a non-issue for the game. To make it absolutely clear, the only things that can be bought with money in Battlefront 2 are cosmetics like skins, emotes, and voice lines.
As far as gameplay is concerned, Battlefront 2 plays more or less as it did since the beta. For all intents and purposes, the game is still basically Star Wars meets Battlefield. There’s vehicles, large lobbies, and a huge emphasis on cinematic squad based combat. The addition of new maps depicting both land and space battles from the Clone Wars era to the sequels certainly puts an emphasis on the cinematic nature of the game. There have been new gamemodes as well, but they are the typical objective based modes that one would expect from the developers of Battlefield. That being said, it can be argued that Battlefront 2’s most noteworthy gameplay feature is its ever expanding roster of special units.
These special units include some of the most iconic characters of the Star Wars franchise. At release, you had the standard assortment of original trilogy characters like Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. Since then, a variety of new Heroes and Villains have been added to Star Wars Battlefront 2. This includes Clone War era Jedi like Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, Separatists like Count Dooku and General Grievous, and sequel characters like Captain Phasma and Finn. A variety of special Troopers have also made their way onto the roster including Clone ARC troopers, Death troopers, Droidekas, and Commando Droids. Playing as these special units is the highlight of any match, though their power can lead to snowball situations.
Now you may be wondering if it's a good idea to pick up a game with such a bad reputation. There's no use denying that Star Wars Battlefront 2 is not highly regarded. It would also be sensationalist to say that DICE aren't doing their best to salvage the game. After all, the inevitable arrival of the Clone Commandos later this year is clearly intended to appeal to fans of Republic Commando. The Galactic Republic's TX-130 tank certainly didn't come from the movies. Ewok hunting definitely isn't something that comes to mind when one thinks of the post-Disney acquisition landscape. With that in mind, it seems like most of the game's major updates was developed to please the Star Wars fanbase.
Given the luxury of time, it's evident that a large amount of the game's notoriety came from its lootboxes. Now that they are no longer an issue, a clearer image of Star Wars Battlefront 2 can be seen. It isn't the pay to win clown fiesta that everyone was afraid of. Instead, it's actually a fairly decent game. Perhaps not the best or most innovative multiplayer game of this generation, yet undoubtedly above average. Indeed, there's not that many significant gameplay flaws with the multiplayer in the grand scheme of things. Of course, it'd be great if balancing, bug fixing, and general feature updates were released more frequently, but such is life. The single player campaign lacks the same quality unfortunately, at least in terms of the writing. Then again no one is buying Battlefront 2 specifically for its single player features.
If DICE set out to create the most immersive Star Wars multiplayer experience possible, then they did a good job. Compared to the old gen version of Battlefront, the modern iteration provides an objectively similar, if not superior gameplay experience. Both games offer similar gameplay, both are presumably intended to be love letters to Star Wars fans. Neither really push what is possible as far as gameplay mechanics are concerned. Put aside the nostalgia and sometimes good enough really is good enough; a statement which some can argue is reflective of the Star Wars franchise as a whole—one the modern Star War Battlefront 2 practically embodies.