A massive offering with a few small issues.
With Star Wars Battlefront 2’s multiplayer, DICE has clearly taken fan’s feedback to heart. We recently got some extensive hands-on time with the multiplayer, and what we found was a robust offering with some healthy variety in modes and maps. While we walked away impressed overall, another issue that sprang up throughout multiplayer is how convoluted and confusing the game’s progression system can be. We’ll go into detail on both Galactic Assault and progression, along with what works and what doesn’t.
Not every mode has returned from the previous game, with things like Droid Run dropping by the wayside. This isn’t a problem, however, as Battlefront 2 has the core modes along with some big alterations to space battles and Walker Assault. You have Strike which is an objective-based infantry match, Blast which is basically Team Deathmatch, and the ever-popular Heroes vs. Villains. All of these modes are good for jumping in for some quick matches, and Heroes vs. Villains is as much chaos and fun as you’d expect. The big additions here, however, come with Galactic Assault and Starfighter Assault.
Galactic Assault is a massive 40-player mode has one team attacking and one defending, with the attackers having to clear a series of objectives in order to win, and the defenders needing to reduce the other team’s life count. This mode is where Star Wars Battlefront 2 really shows off what it has to offer. These battles are absolutely massive and chaotic, doing their best to emulate something you’d get out of a Star Wars movie. Star Wars Battlefront 2 also just feels faster than the first game, both in the way it plays and how objectives are set up during matches. This time around there are four classes to choose from, instead of building your character how you want. You can see a bit more detail on the classes here. Starfighter Assault also follows this same formula and gets some important changes. It’s the mode that stuck with us the most, so you can check out all the details here.
There’s also a fair amount of variation between maps in Galactic Assault. We played on Kashyyyk, Endor, Hoth, the Death Star II, Kamino, Jakku, Tokodana, and Tatooine. Each of these maps have different objectives and styles. Some like Kamino and the Death Star II are entirely infantry-based, with heroes and special units coming into the mix. Others like Hoth and Kashyyyk allow for vehicles and ships, tasking one team with taking down a Walker before being pushed into a base. The variation here is nice, and it’s especially good with the three different eras bringing visual and aesthetic changes. However, Galactic Assault can feel a bit uneven. For the most part, I had a blast with the mode and liked how varied each map was, but Kashyyyk and Hoth were a bit troublesome for me.
Each of these maps have you taking down a Walker or enemy tank. To do this, the defending team needs to pick up rocket launchers scattered on the map and use them to hit the tank, opening it up to damage from the team for a short time. Opening the Walker up to damage had a time frame of maybe 10-15 seconds, meaning you won’t do much of anything if you don’t jump right on it. It’s also a problem if no one on your team cares to play the objective and find the launchers. In all the matches I played of this type, not once did the defending team bring down the Walker or tank. This would be fine as a way of setting up the intense battle that came afterward, but it just lasted far too long.
At the same time during these matches you’re earning Battle Points for all of your actions, which can be redeemed in-match for vehicles, special classes, or hero characters. The heroes all play differently, but generally have the ability to absolutely wreck normal soldiers. It’s great fun to bring the imposing Kylo Ren or Luke Skywalker into battle, freezing enemies with the former and force blasting people all over the place with the latter.
Battle Points work as a much better system for getting these heroes than the pickups from the first game, as it means each player realistically gets a chance to play as a hero or special unit. Although this wasn’t a problem I saw, I could imagine it being an issue where players of a higher skill level earn more points and get these unlocks way earlier than the other team. The good news is that playing the objective gives you just as many points as getting kills.
Character progression is also a big part of Battlefront 2, and takes effect in Galactic Assault and every other mode in the game. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the biggest problems I have with the game so far. Each class, starfighter, vehicle, and hero in the game has their own set of Star Cards to unlock and equip. There’s not a lot of explanation on how you unlock Star Cards, or what a Star Card level even is without doing some figuring out of your own. You can get Star Cards through the game’s loot crates, or by purchasing them with scrap. Scrap can be gained by again purchasing loot crates with credits earned in-game or through completing challenges.
Simply put, the entire progression system is overwhelming, and a bit convoluted. With so many Star cards for so many aspects it’s hard to know where to put your priorities. Do you want to specialize in one class, or unlock a few for each? Should you focus on cards for one hero? There’s just too much to dig into, and you can easily spend a lot of time in menus. It’s unfortunate that the progression system is such a time sink, as players that have unlocked all Star Cards will get a slight boost in battle. The changes in the cards are generally small enhancements or different equipment, but it’s still an advantage you’ll have over players that just can’t afford to put the time, or money in.
Another baffling decision comes with how you get rewarded for challenges. The main menu has an option where you can view all the game’s challenges, how to complete them, what your reward is, etc. In order to get the reward, you have to navigate back to the challenge menu once you’ve completed a challenge, find that specific challenge, and then hit the triangle button to get the reward. It’s strange that the game doesn’t just let you grab the reward after you complete it at the end of a battle, and it means you’ll be jumping into the challenges menu quite often.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 really does look like it’s improving on the first game in most aspects, and the amount of content and variety in the game’s modes and maps is impressive. Map designs and the objectives therein are nicely varied, and the differences between the modes, is enough to keep you going for a good while.
There are a few issues that crop up here and there in multiplayer, and there certainly seems to be far too much time spent navigating menus. Still, Star Wars Battlefront 2 seems like it could be a real treat for Star Wars fans. Battlefront 2 just oozes Star Wars style with its look and feel. Just like the previous Battlefront game, you’d be hard pressed to find anything else that more closely matches the look and sound of Star Wars, and visually its’s a stunning game, especially in heavily forested areas like Kashyyyk. What kind of legs the game could have remains to be seen, but at the moment Battlefront 2 is definitely a multiplayer shooter worth keeping an eye on.