Gaming

Star Wars Battlefront II – a constantly changing disaster

  • Platform- PS4, PC, Xbox (played on PS4)
  • Price: £54.99
  • Released: Friday 17th of November 2017
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts

I really, really wanted to enjoy EA’s new Star Wars game. Even though it had many problems (and released as an unfinished-feeling game) I loved Battlefront 1 (2015), I spent near countless hours working towards the platinum trophy, and enjoyed almost every second. When I heard that the sequel would have a load more content, including a full story campaign mode, I squeaked like the nerdy child I am.

So, when I started the game up for the first time a few days ago– well, I wasn’t happy in the slightest. At first, I sat down and played through the campaign, and finished it in five hours. The story was one of the weakest I have seen in a modern game, acting as nothing more than a setting to show off the heroes and game mechanics.

Every twist and turn are telegraphed from the second it appears. (I won’t ‘spoil’ these plot twists for you, as the game is very new, but you’ll see them coming a lightyear away).

Problems didn’t only come from the story however; bugs and glitches riddle this game like a disease. I had to restart the game more than half a dozen times whilst playing through the campaign because I repeatedly got stuck on the scenery, rocks, pipes, even the floor felt like hands grabbing at my character model, trying to trap me.

Whilst playing one of the many flying sections, my Tie Fighter or X-Wing would shake and vibrate around on the screen causing me some eye problems. I couldn’t possibly list to you all the glitches I experienced, but these are the main ones I had appear more than once.

Campaign

Credit: EA

And we get to the multiplayer, and it was – ugh! Despite what some defenders of EA may say, it is (or was at the time of speaking, we will get back to this) pay-to-win. Almost all progression in the multiplayer is built around loot boxes and “star cards” in an unavoidable way.

At the end of each multiplayer match, and after completing campaign missions or certain challenges, you are rewarded credits, with which you can purchase heroes and the aforementioned loot boxes. The rate at which you earn credits is laughable, originally (before EA cut it by 75%) Darth Vader would apparently take as much as 40 in-game hours to unlock.

All of this being said, the multiplayer is much bigger than the original Battlefront (2015), lots more content is available, which was one of the biggest complaints I had with the original. Many more heroes, maps and vehicles are available to play with, and yes, space battles are finally part of the multiplayer experience, unlike the 2015 game.

Space Combat

Credit: EA

Arcade mode is annoying for me personally. I enjoy the short battle scenarios with the ability to play through as heroes or villains across all current canonical eras of the Star Wars universe. That being said, EA managed to mess up the arcade mode as well, hurray!

They decided to limit the amount of credits you could earn via completing the arcade mode missions on a timed basis. Concerns around this were raised during the disastrous Reddit ‘Ask me Anything’that took place just the other day, a question about progression through arcade mode gained this response: “As we want to let players earn credits offline via a more relaxed game mode, we needed to also find a way to make sure it wouldn’t be exploited in a way that would impact multiplayer.

“Because of that, we made the decision to limit the number of Credits earned to stop potential abuse.”

EA wanted to stop potential abuse taking place by playing the game as intended. This is the same EA that were happy to include a system where people could pay real life money to gain an in-game advantage? Seems reasonable, right?

During the EA early access this last week, players have been able to purchase crystals via microtransaction. These crystals also act as a currency other than credits to spend opening loot boxes, allowing players to pay money, to gain a tangible, proven advantage over other players. Thanks to the PR disaster this has caused too, EA released this statement: “But as we approach the worldwide launch, it’s clear that many of you feel there are still challenges in the design.

“We’ve heard the concerns about potentially giving players unfair advantages. And we’ve heard that this is overshadowing an otherwise great game. This was never our intention. Sorry we didn’t get this right.”

After this, very corporate sounding apology they revealed that they were temporarily removing microtransactions from the game. I also believe that calling it “an otherwise great game” is a bit of a push Mr. Gabrielson.

“We hear you loud and clear, so we’re turning off all in-game purchases. We will now spend more time listening, adjusting, balancing and tuning. This means that the option to purchase crystals in the game is now offline, and all progression will be earned through gameplay.

The ability to purchase crystals in-game will become available at a later date, only after we’ve made changes to the game. We’ll share more details as we work through this.” – Oskar Gabrielson, General Manager at DICE

Though this could be proof that EA intents to fix the issues involved with the game, I don’t really believe that this will be the case. Loot boxes are an integral part of the progression of Battlefront II, in its current state, there would be no way to have the game without the issues around pay-to-win mechanics. The in-game earning of upgrades and new weapons are focused around the loot boxes, and as long as there is an option to pay money for these boxes, it will be unfair for players unwilling to pay for an upper hand.

No Content

As the game and controversy around it seems to be changing every five seconds this week, some of the information I have passed on here may become out of date rather quickly. To combat this, I may do a follow up article in the coming weeks to provide the most up to day information I have available to me.

To draw a conclusion, Star Wars Battlefront II is a broken disaster of a game which should never have been released in the state it is currently in. Unlike what EA said in their statement, this is not “an otherwise great game” hidden beneath a sea of anti consumer pay-to-win mechanics. It is a broken one, where the salt in the wound is the loot box system. I haven’t even touched on the laughable load times, constant disconnection issues or any small problems the game has, if I was to do that, I would be writing a 10,000 word dissertation.

Rating: 2/5

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