Monday, January 8, 2018

How can a death star miss?

I will hear no complaints about the length of the single player campaign in Star Wars Battlefront 2. It is no shorter than the average Call of Duty campaign and it accomplishes the same purpose: it gives people who eschew multiplayer a way to see the pretties and maybe get a little dose of story. Of course in Battlefront 2 is also doles out just enough credits to unlock a hero or two, but that is a discussion for later. Truth be told my experience was in no way hampered by the loot box heavy nature of unlocks, but I never took the game online, so take my opinion on the 10% I did play with a big grain of salt.

I will however be accepting complaints on the story content of the single player portion of the game. We were promised in the trailer a new view of the conflict: that of a commander in the empire. It does deliver - for about two chapters. Iden Versio is an ass kicking, name taking special ops commander who delights is snuffing out rebel scum. Her story begins at the end of Return of the Jedi when she witnesses the destruction of the second death star and the panicked reaction of the empire. It is interesting to see the empire morph from evil to super evil as it becomes the New Order but Iden immediately defects and the story becomes the same as every other Star Wars side story.

It gets worse when the campaign diverges further from her into cameos by Luke and Kylo Ren. The lightsaber combat is not a good time. At least other cameos by Leia, Han Solo and Lando Calrissian are more fun to play through but they still pull the story away from the interesting new character. It is certainly a missed opportunity.

Vehicular combat, specifically the x-wings and tie fighters, were the highlight for me. It takes me back to the halcion days of Rogue Squadron on the Gamecube or Jedi Starfighter of the PS2 and I would gladly play an entire game of it. Sure, it would require more varied environments and more ships to choose from, but come on, why has it been several generations since the last one.

The shooting feels a bit floaty when compared to other AAA shooters, specifically Wolfenstein II since that is the last one that I played. Wolfenstein was certainly more difficult but the difficulty was never in putting the bullets where I wanted. Headshots are a must in Battlefront II and the targeting reticle always feels just slightly behind where you want it. This was not terrible in the campaign as enemies were content to leave themselves just exposed enough for just long enough that I could get them but in arcade mode it was not so easy.

Arcade mode takes the player through light side and dark side combat scenarios ripped from the movies. There are no objectives beyond 'kill 50 of the other guys' or 'kill 20 of the other guys before time expires.' That when combined with repeated areas meant I did not play it for long.

As a single player game Battlefront II is certainly beautiful but it does not have the same roller coaster effect of the (better) Call of Duties or Battlefields. It missed out on fleshing out a new character in a new way in favor of sending a new character on the same journey as dozens before (Iden is Finn minus the cowardice) and the spectacle was not spectacular enough. And I never touched the multiplayer. If I wanted to be bad at an online game I would play Overwatch.

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