Star Wars Battlefront 2 (or STAR WARS™ Battlefront ™ II if we’re being pedantic) is the follow-up to the immensely polarising reboot of 2015. While many agreed that it certainly looked and felt like Star Wars, light content and depth equivalent to a puddle made it not last long in the memory.
With the sequel promising to be much larger without the need for DLC, this weekend saw the multiplayer beta and millions of players swarming to see if those promises rang true. Having played about ten hours or so of it, I can easily say that it’s a big improvement and one that I can’t wait to see more of.
With my dreams consisting entirely of Ion Disruptors and Darth Maul’s flailing limbs of death, here’s what I liked from the Battlefront 2 beta.
1. New hero system
In the previous Battlefront, playing as the franchise’s most iconic characters was one of the highlights. It’s a shame, then, that they were relegated to pickups that anyone could pick up, regardless of personal performance. Being one of the leading players on your team and not getting rewarded because someone got to the pickup first was a little hard to swallow.
Luckily, Battlefront 2 changes it up so that the first to play as heroes are typically the best performers. Using 5000 Battle Points, which are distributed pretty liberally if you follow objectives and rack up a few kills, you can call upon the likes of Rey, Darth Maul, Han Solo, and Boba Fett. The only caveat is that there can only be one of each in-play at one time which can mean that you have to wait around a little for “your turn”, but it’s still infinitely better than the setup from before.
Apart from a few Star Cards to change things up, the main gameplay experience of Battlefront was largely the same for everyone. It was all flat and a little predictable, matches regularly turning into a mass of grenades and chokepoints. Although that does still happen in Battlefront 2, the new classes mean that there’s often a tactical way to change the course of the match.
All the classes are more or less archetypes that you’ve seen a hundred times before. Assault has lower health, but “perks” more geared towards speed and health regeneration. Heavy players are slower, but come with more health and deadlier weapons. Officers are lightweight and come equipped with pistols, but they can rally teammates to give temporary stat boosts and some healing. Specialists are snipers, which means they’re better at long-range combat. Based on the Theed map in Galactic Assault, different classes are better for different stages of the match, which is a welcome switch-up. It’s definitely a little basic, but it certainly spices the formula up.
3. Added depth
Perhaps this is a good or bad thing, but there’s certainly a lot of systems in place with Battlefront 2. There really weren’t many hooks to continue playing the original Battlefront, apart from the grind to eventually unlock black-suited stormtroopers. The new Battlefront, on the other hand, throws new stuff at you all the damn time.
Emotes, poses, gun modifications, Star Cards, and more can all unlocked around with and while the beta does a pretty poor job of explaining what they’re all for and what they do, the promise of unlocking more and switching up your loadout provides enough of that all elusive hook to keep you invested in your tenth round of Galactic Assault in a row. Time will only tell how much of a grind it is to unlock new items in the main game, but it seems to be fairly rewarding so far.
This almost goes without saying for a AAA production with a budget in the millions, but Battlefront 2 absolutely looks the part. It was one of the saving graces of the reboot, to look and feel like you’re stepping into the Star Wars, and it’s one of the brightest spots here, too.
The soundtrack is as immersive as before and the visuals are as wonderfully shiny as well, though it’s the little flourishes that help Battlefront 2 to stand out. At the beginning of a round of Galactic Assault, Theed citizens scarper for their lives and birds scatter from their hiding spots. It’s not going to help Battlefront 2 become an all-round classic, but a little bit of flair never hurt.
5. There’s no I in team
Admittedly, Battlefront 2 could make the objectives of Galactic Assault far clearer – the MTT is the most prominent marker on the hub, but it’s the objectives either side are the main meat of what you have to do. That being said, the game does seem to nudge players more towards teamwork than before.
Similarly to DICE’s other “Battle” series, Battlefield, going on a solo rampage is a quick way to watch your corpse twitch around on the ground. Battlefront 2 instead asks that you buddy up with others (with a flyweight squad system) or that you defend others who have the Ion Disruptors. Likewise, later on in the match, it’s vital that you work with others to get past chokepoints, so that means Heavy players will take the frontlines while Assault and Officer classes work from behind, throwing grenades and rousing the troops respectively. It’s subtle and is likely to be overlooked completely by Rambo players, but teamwork is an absolute necessity to get the most out of Battlefront 2.
I mean, just look at that poetry in motion.
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