The Star Wars: Battlefront II beta is only a taste of the full experience, but oh what a sweet taste it is. Star Wars: Battlefront II as far as the beta is concerned is the much needed step the original Battlefront (2015) needed. The introduction of the Clone Wars era alone was a much needed addition and in this very beta you get to either assault Theed as the Separatist’s droid army or defend it as the Republic’s clone army. This mode is called “Galactic Assault” but this beta is choked full of other modes (multiplayer and single-player) such as Strike, Star Fighter Assault, and Arcade (single-player or co-op). Each multiplayer modes separately gives a taste of each three (movie) Star Wars eras so Clone Wars or classic Star Wars era it is not limited.
STAR CARDS HAVE CHANGED
We will dig a little deeper into these modes and what all they mean but I first want to address the Star Card system that surrounds this game as well as overall game-play fundamentals. Before in Battlefront (2015) you could set a load-out that determined your “specialty” such as Scout, Bounty-Hunter, etc (which wasn’t a class per say but gave you buffs in that bane for doing well) and that also included two side-gadgets, like an ion torpedo or thermal detonator for instance. They could be mixed and matched and in-game you could even try out your partners cards. There was a little more to it than that but for the sake of time, that is the skinny of it. Star Cards can be assigned now sort of like before but they will be buffs to your current abilities or gadgets will the possibility of even a replacement gadget (however, there is always a base set of abilities you can go into battle with).
Before in the previous game you could earn them by doing well in games, earning credits, and using them to unlock new specific Star Cards. There is a system in place now that lets you do close to the same thing except its randomized. Similar to other loot crate system that have been popping up, the retail game will let you spend real money for a chance at getting good Star Cards for the category you choose (Vehicle, Infantry, Star Fighter, etc). Bare in mind you can now complete challenges and earn credits toward unlocking Star Card crates that you don’t necessarily need to pay for. The Star Card system also has a new addition of in-match Star Cards (as I call them) that let you become upgraded units during the battle (we will get into this later).
CLASSES AND PARTNERING
By far the biggest change in Battlefront II is the implementation of a class system. Much similar to the Battlefield games you have 4 basic classes (Assault, Heavy, Officer, Specialist) but not so similar is the stark contrast of each class. Each class has their own gadgets and perks which reflect the past Star Card system setup. You can change out your guns if you wish (there is a choice of two) and hopefully we get a lot more guns to pick from through class progression. With that checked off the list, let us talk about the new squad system.
REPRESENT YOUR SQUAD
It’s kind of messy. Ideally when you pick your class, you have a short window where you have to wait as other players who need to re-spawn will be grouped together with you to form a squad. Great idea in theory, because you are rewarded extra points for staying together. The problem is, you cannot tell who is a part of your squad and who isn’t unless you are in a party with friends. There is no color differentiation in icons over ally heads, so when you get into the thick battle and people rush through your gang… you lose track.
Of course in a perfect world you would stick together as all times and would be able to voice chat at least with your squad. Well that doesn’t happen with randoms and sadly there is no voice chat. These are TWO BIG NEGATIVES. No voice chat and no indicator of current squad member? At least Battlefront (2015) showed your partner with a yellow icon!
As for the voice chat… EA, Disney, or whoever… people say bad things all the time in other games (and you’re worried about that when you are playing a game about killing people) but you can’t have a team based game with everyone dead silent and expect good teamwork! Sadly, it most likely cannot be patched in… like ever and they wouldn’t anyway. Not sure if the PC version lets players type in a chat message but boy it wouldn’t be surprising if they didn’t. Kind of sad they didn’t learn with the first game.
Now back what I alluded to earlier, we will be talking about a new sub-Star Card system that revolves around player rewards in-game. While you play real-time in a match you also gain score for that particle game which doesn’t necessarily reflect the overall credit reward for completing the match. If you do well in Battlefront II and earn enough points, there are several rewards which replace the “Pick-Up System” of Battlefront (2015). If you want to pilot a star-fighter in the Galactic Assault mode for example, you can earn enough points and spend them towards becoming a star-fighter. This goes for special infantry units like wookies, flame-troopers, etc as well as the hero and villain characters.
You might be confused at first to see Rey fighting the droid army alongside the clones (and even Han Solo for that matter) but I’m thinking these are place holders and we might see more fitting rolls like Obi-Wan, Jango Fett, and even Count Dooku in the future for the scenarios (Maul is not so much a stretch as Rey or Boba/Han so I’m thinking the die hard fan base can accept that more). Once you actually get in-game though, these oddball surprise cameos didn’t really bother me as much as I thought it would. This game is a game and it accepts that, even if it tangles all the time-lines together with hero cross-overs. One thing I thought was really unfitting however was the Republic and Resistance officer uniforms. They are so copy and paste from the Imperial and First Order uniforms that I’m surprised the droid officers weren’t running around in their own suit too.
NOTE: Sure, it may be me nagging but as a Star Wars fan I feel a compromise for the officer uniforms could have been made. Perhaps the clone officer is a re-skinned specialist with Commander Cody orange paint and/or missing his helmet. Would this have been enough? I understand from a game design standpoint you wanted them to be more noticeable on the battlefield and if they all look the same then its unmistakable its an officer… but the droid looking like the other droids sort of threw that out of the loop. You updated Han and Luke’s skins post release for the first game… so maybe consider this?
Also General Veers AT-AT look for Imperial Officers. End of rant.
Where would we be without mentioning this. Since we’ve kind of ranted about the beta for a spill, perhaps we can end on a positive note. Yes, there are some bugs with the beta but that is to be expected. All in all, Dice with EA and their collective umbrella of studios working behind this title have really made another life-like game. The human and wookie face’s aren’t there 100% but they are close and the environments are actually pin-point.
There was so many times I had to stop playing just to take in the scenery. The castle alone in the Strike playlist had me ogling at the fine details in the stone work. Not many console games can deliver such a fidelity!
Those who thought the guns were too floaty in Battlefront (2005) will be happy to find that shots land more direct now to where you aim. This especially goes for farther distances. The time to kill seems to be about the same for most gun types but nothing concrete was really tested with it. All I know is that this game has some great maps and with that being so, it complements the gun-play even more so.
GO OUT AND PLAY
The beta should be live to everyone at the time of this posting so I’m suggesting you hit up the digital stores immediately if you aren’t already in the beta. If this is what the full game is like all the way through, I could easily give this a 9/10. We don’t rate betas at IRBGamer but hopefully that will give you an indication of how well of a time I had playing the beta. I played through all the modes and while Galactic Assault was my favorite, all of the other modes had something interesting to offer. Hoping the full game is just as much of a blast (pun-intended)!