It’s no secret that neither of EA’s rebooted Star Wars Battlefront games has been a huge success (at least critically). The first game, which launched shortly before The Force Awakens, was praised for its graphics, setting and pitch-perfect sound design, but critiqued for having no story mode and not enough content. The second game which followed two years later and looked to solve lots of those initial problems with a dedicated storyline, along with prequel based content (which was completely omitted from the first game), more challenges, new modes and plenty of DLC. But although everything looked promising for the sequel, Battlefront 2’s problems came with a severe backlash to the use of microtransactions within the game.
It became clear during the second game’s beta period that much of the game’s content was locked behind a system that would require either real money to unlock or an estimated fourty hours per character. Although not an uncommon system, the problem was that most of the games characters, ships and appearances were locked within this system, and it was main characters like Darth Vader, thus requiring hundreds of hours per player to unlock items (essentially forcing payers into paying even more money).
Although the game completely removed micro-transactions before launch the damage was done and both critical and social media response to the systems shrouded its release with negativity. In fact, EA’s reply to a reddit thread complaining about how long unlocking the characters would take, which stated that “the intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes”, holds the Guinness World Record as the most downvoted comment on the entire site. For context, the post has 683,000 down votes compared to the second most downvoted which is at 88,906 votes.
And yet despite the huge public backlash and resultant bad press for EA the game sold relatively well and placed highly amongst sales charts for both 2017 and 2018, and as such has been continually tweaked and added to.
Aside from the standard practice of continually tweaking characters, game modes and maps that most multiplayer games see, Battlefront II has seen a massive amount of free DLC after the paid season pass was abandoned (thanks to the bad press).
Most games with such a bad launch don’t continue to support the game so heavily afterwards, and although one backed by EA would likely be an exception anyway, the continued support and effort has resulted in the game cultivating a dedicated core fan base, one that has been continually rewarded with numerous content updates that span new game modes, characters, character appearances, and maps – overall EA DICE has given players countless reasons to jump back in.
The initial wave of DLC was to coincide with The Last Jedi (named ‘The Last Jedi Season’) and saw new maps, vehicles, heroes like Finn and Captain Phasma (as they appear in episode VIII) and an epilogue to the story campaign. Smaller updates followed which brought with them new appearances for characters like Luke, Han, and Leia, and modes like Ewok Hunt, which sees a stormtrooper squad ambushed by Ewoks on Endor.
These smaller updates led right up to the next large wave of the ‘Han Solo Season’, which, as you’d expect, launched around the time of the Han Solo based spin-off Solo: A Star Wars Story. This add-on saw the introduction of a beautifully rendered Jabba’s palace, and Kessell, a Skiff Guard outfit for Lando, and the Boushh costume for Leia (both from Return of the Jedi), more new modes, as well skins from the Solo movie for both characters and ships.
From there more new cosmetics were added that see Clone Troopers take on differing appearances like those seen in the movies and Clone Wars series until new characters and large scale maps were introduced towards the back end of 2018 and early 2019. Theses included Geonosis and Felucia as playable planets, with multiple maps and game modes. Characters such as General Grievous, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Count Dooku, Clone Commandoes, and Anakin Skywalker were also added, each with numerous cosmetic appearances and unique abilities.
In addition to this the fall 2019 update sees the addition of a new PVE co-op mode ‘Instant Action’ which is akin to the mode in the original series of games where the player is able to jump into a large scale offline match against AI enemies and simply enjoy the game itself, and the 2019 winter update will focus on The Rise of Skywalker.
In short a huge amount of content has been added to the game, admittedly much of it was likely in development and planned for the paid season pass, and the return of a loot box system has likely led ton increase in revenue fro the game – but the fact still stands that all of this content has been added for free, and so now is the perfect time to jump back in, which isn’t something you can say for most online shooters two years after their launch.
The addition of new modes provides a number of new challenges and interesting takes on the usual multiplayer modes, particularly in the case of games like Ewok Hunt. Beautifully rendered recreations of planets like Geonosis, Felucia, and Kessell add to the already extremely impressive roster of maps that throw the player into the middle of their very own Star Wars battle, looking as good (if not better) than they did in some of the movies. And the addition of new droid and clone classes, hero and villain characters like Dooku, Grievous, Anakin and Obi-Wan all total to plenty of reasons to dive back into Battlefront 2.
Two years after it’s release, Battlefront 2 is better than ever, microtransactions and loot boxes have returned to the game, but they are nowhere near as intrusive as they were planned to be, every character is available immediately, with only their cosmetic options along with in-game perks and upgrades available at a real-world cost to the player. Although the game is still missing some of the features that made the original Battlefront games so good, a conquest mode for example, it’s extremely impressive that not only is Battlefront 2 still going, but the game has been fine-tuned into one that is worthy of being called a Battlefront game, and is more than worth jumping back in during the lead up to The Rise of Skywalker.
For a full guide to what is still to come in Battlefront 2 check out EA’s own Roadmap HERE and for more Star Wars on The Opinion Arcade see our Breakdown for the final Rise of Skywalker Trailer HERE, our Podcast episode on the Dumbest Star Wars Spinoffs you can imagine HERE, and Everything We Already Know about Obi-Wan in-between Episode’s III and IV HERE