Despite all the negative press and Reddit-rage over Star Wars Battlefront II, I’ve had a great time playing it. The campaign, which can be played through in a few short sittings, is well produced. The flight sim multi-player (I’m personally not interested in the FPS multi-player) is the best Star Wars space sim arcade in a long long time. TIE Fighter was better as a single player game, but shooting down human opponents in some X-Wing against TIE Fighter missions is just excellent.
The single player campaign’s best moments are when you get to play as motion-capture acted new Imperial characters in the aftermath of the Battle of Endor. The slow points are all when you play as heroes from the first trilogy. The whole thing has the highest production quality of any movie series tie-in game I’ve ever played. SWBFII is a technical and artistic marvel at the top of its craft.
After crushing the single player in a sitting, I moved onto the flight sim multiplayer which has a half dozen or so missions spread from Episodes II to VIII (luckily with no spoilers) I gave up trying to play with a gamepad, which felt more like flying and switched to a mouse and keyboard. This killed some of the immersion, but was very important to being able to aim against other PC players with the same advantage. It took a few nights (I’m not much of a competitive gamer) but I got to the point where I could shoot down a few enemy fighters each time I spawned.
The gameplay has a lot of leading the target using a red guide and I’d be interested to play in more simulationist battles that turn this off. I should probably also figure out if there are ways to reduce the amount of HUD items to a bare minimum. I rarely say this about games, but the multiplayer is actually fun.
The loot crate system and randomized card collecting is dumb even after the removal of micro-transactions. Honestly, I’m not sure why it makes sense to let players level-up in a multiplayer action game. This isn’t an RPG. This isn’t WoW. Why can’t we all play on the same level. Skill is rewarded with in-mission perks, why does it make sense for people who play every night to have space ships with more hit points and faster weapon-cool downs? Imagine playing a card game in a new casino and the dealer telling you that another player gets to play with different rules because they are a regular. It doesn’t make sense and plays into the same psychological manipulation that got others upset with the pay-to-win loot crates. I’m just taking it a step farther and saying I don’t even like play-to-win mechanics. Bring me back games like Left-4-Dead, where the game starts on an even playing field every time.
All in all this is an excellent game. I probably just have more problems with the direction that video games are going.
Imagine a remake of TIE fighter with this game engine. Imagine if it also had a VR cockpit simulation. Why haven’t they made that game yet?