Star Wars Battlefront II (PS4 Game Review)

It is finally here! It feels only like yesterday when I was at Star Wars Celebration in Orlando back in April of this year. Sitting in on the Battlefront II discussion panel with thousands of others, I was in awe of the stills and trailer we were given. The original Battlefront (original Xbox, PC, PS2) from 2004 is in my top three video games of all time. Its major flaw was controlling airborne vehicles, which was such a poor experience, but one that could be easily overlooked since the ground-based combat was such a thrill. Then there was Battlefront II. No, not the one just released last week, but the one from some years back which first introduced the opportunity to play as heroes and villains. Like the second Avengers film, it very much lacked the personality and feel of its predecessor. After a changing of the guard at Lucasarts via the Disney purchase, the long-awaited Battlefront follow-up arrived in 2015 for the PS4, Xbox One and PC. It was arguably the best one in the series (speaking of all titles in the series, let’s not forget the Playstation Portable version called Battlefront Renegade which never got much coverage). While individual classes were gone in Battlefront (sniper, heavy gunner, etc.), the fully customizable concept of building your character was a big hit and allowed for a wide array of soldiers on the battlefield. All of that recap brings us to the much anticipated Battlefront II of 2017. How is it, you ask? Let’s take a look

Continuing their strive to promote equality and strong female leadership, Disney and video game publisher Electronic Arts have brought us character Iden Versio, commander of the Imperial special ops group Inferno Squad.  This past summer, Del Rey published a novel of Battlefront II by Christie Golden that served as a prequel to the game’s solo player campaign.  The book proved to be a great read, but I digress, as we need to get back to the game.  Let me get straight to the point.  I feel the same way about this game as I did when I went from to the 2004 Battlefront to its sequel.  I am disappointed.  I dropped $80 on this game and have buyer’s remorse like no other.  The game is decent.  It’s not incredible.  It’s definitely not worth $80.  Here’s the rundown:


Hmm.  This game does not kick off things in the best way.  You’ve got a cool-looking title screen featuring the game marquee over a trio of Rey, Iden Versio and Darth Maul who themselves are standing over a collage of ground battles on Yavin and more specifically, the Massassi Temple.  Then after a rather lengthy bit of time, you’re still at the same screen.  After a little more waiting you’re still at the same image until the game has finally completed its earthworm-paced crawl to load.  From there, gamers are presented with the main menu, which, as Why So Blu founder Brian White stated, looks like an unfinished product.  I couldn’t agree more.  It’s blah, bland, plain, boring, uninspiring and just rather head-scratching as to why it was structured that way.  You have a thin horizontal bar of options at the top, then a few things at the bottom.  The vast majority of the screen is a location which appears to be on a ship while an astromech droid occasionally paces back and forth.  What EA supervisor said, “Yeah, that looks like it’s ready to go,” ????

Onto the game!  Let’s take a look at the solo campaign first.  While the aforementioned novel is certainly not necessary to read prior to playing the game, it does provide exceptional insight on who Iden Versio and the other two Inferno Squad members are.  I’m not going to talk too much about the in-game story here as I don’t want to give anything away.  However, it does provide for a decent lead-in to the new Star Wars trilogy without giving away any spoilers.  Picking up at the end of Return of the Jedi, you will be able to play as a variety of characters in a variety of ships and each level has connection to the next in the story.  Make no mistake, Iden is the star of the game (played by actress Janina Gavankar), but you will be able to commandeer some major players of the classic trilogy just the same.

Next is the heart of this game, the online multi-player.  It also happens to be where this title lets me down a lot.  I had a fighting chance in the last Battlefront.  Here, I have gotten riddled with blaster fire as soon as I turn a corner. Then I respawn and the same thing happens a few seconds later.  Wash, rinse, repeat.  Enough of my curmudgeon talk on gameplay, though. Like the last game, you can play massive 40-player battles, smaller heroes vs. villains battles or the mid-sized Blast option (whichever team runs out of 100 lives first, loses).  There is also the option to do dogfight only levels, which I’ve found to be a pleasant addition.

It was not a highlight of the previous Battlefront to go through a string of ground battles, only to have them interrupted by having to play a ship battle for 15 minutes before another ground battle opportunity came up.  Thankfully, that is now separated out.  Once you select what you want, the game thrusts you into the battle!  Not.  You are faced with more unfortunate load times which are only compounded by the extremely nagging 5 to 10-second wait times to respawn.  Why?  Just put me back into play already!  If another player pops up on the respawn screen with you, that just reset your 4-second countdown.  Again, who at EA thought that was a good idea?

Character classes are back and whether you’re the First Order, the Resistance, the Empire, the Rebellion, droids in the Trade Federation or clones in the Clone Army, everyone has a regular trooper (i.e. basic stormtrooper), a heavy gunner, a sniper and an officer.  Each has unique abilities to that class and points are earned for your kills that you spend at the respawn screen to come back as a rocket trooper (jet pack-enabled) or a real heavy hitter (like a Wookie warrior or a Death Trooper).  The same thing applies to ship battles as points can be spent for better ships as well.  Kudos to the development team for bringing back the classes but wow do they seem very uneven.  For instance, an officer can heal but they are weak, and at the end of the day, despite the team play, this is a game where everyone is out for themselves.  Why would I heal anyone when my weapon is a pea shooter?  The officers just seem to serve more as bullet stoppers than anything else.

Finally, and here is where this game loses mucho points and let me down the most, are the ability and equipment crates.  You get a free one daily that has a few credits and some spare parts which you can use to upgrade ships and characters (if you collect these everyday for the next 20 years).  You can also spend real money to get more of these things and get them faster.  That is a pure and utter money grab and it’s putrid.  It has existed in mobile app games for some years now, but it has seemed to have bled over into the console world.  I’m not talking about the DLC stuff you pay extra for.  No, ma’am.  No, sir.  This is a scam that not only does the opposite of leveling the battlefield, it just upends the integrity of the gaming experience.  If I’m a lesser player because I’m slow to react, that’s on me, but if I’m getting ripped apart in the game because someone else spent more money, that is forty ways of wrong.  Imagine if you bought Super Mario Bros. thirty years ago, but then had to spend another $5 to unlock the ability to get mushrooms in the game.  Can we all say ‘greedy’?


The environments are numerous in this game, and so far my personal favorite is running around through a gutted Star Destroyer that lies rusting away on the surface of Jakku.  Other locales include the treetops of Kashyyyk, the forests of Endor and the streets of Naboo, and that’s just scratching the surface.  Running through the landscapes or flying over them is a pleasantly distracting experience, if that makes any sense.  I often find myself looking around at the buildings and flora around me than at the doorway the shot came from that just took me out.

As far as game controls are concerned, controls are slippery, and while you can adjust them through an in-game menu, I’ve found that does little to aid my attempts at success.  The game is frantic, and a little too much for my tastes.  Maybe the sun is setting on my affinity for console games.  Maybe I’m just aging out of these sort of things.  Maybe the game is littered with 12-year olds who spend their days and nights playing this and doing nothing else and I can’t hold a candle to their skills.  Things are a little too loosey-goosey for me which often results in me dying about 5 times for every 1 kill I register.  In addition, the gameplay feels very hurried compared to the previous Battlefront.  It’s hard to say I love a game I don’t have much of a chance with. I know, I know…waaaaah.  Cry about it, Gregg.


The visuals of Battlefront II are a very noticeable upgrade from the last game in the franchise.  The cinematic scenes are good (although human skin looks more like formed putty), the in-game graphics are outstanding and everything looks extremely crisp and clean.  I just finished a dogfight level over Takodana that had me picking my jaw up off the floor from how gorgeous the planet’s surface looked as well as the animation of the Millennium Falcon flying over it.  The animation is all part of this optically joyous event where the undeniably smooth flow of everything adds an impressive bit of realism to the gameplay.  The color palettes vary greatly for each environment too, providing for an appropriate look for each landscape you run through or each bit of airspace you fly through.


To sum it all up, Battlefront II is disappointing and is likely the nail in the coffin for me buying console video games.  I’m more than content playing Jaipur or Colt Express on my phone.  It’s important to note those are also games that once you buy them, that’s it.  You have the game.  Period.  End of statement.  There are no additional things to buy to be able to compete with the rest of the masses.  I cannot stress enough how much that turns me off from future gaming since that is pretty much the state of things in the video game world moving forward.  I’ll finish the solo campaign to see where the adventures of Iden Versio land her and I’ll give multi-player some more opportunities (since I spent nearly $100 on this game), but I don’t see this climbing any ladder for me when it comes to entertainment value.  The last Battlefront was exceptional.  As the old saying goes, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.  Sequels are welcomed.  ‘Improving’ what works is not.



2 Responses to “Star Wars Battlefront II (PS4 Game Review)”

  1. Brian White

    There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of planets represented here especially in Blast mode. Seems like the 2015 game came with more no?
    Also where is the best match, Droid Hunt? I wish they had a Kill Confirmed match like the superior Call of Duty titles do.
    They removed the ability to pay to upgrade your stuff so now everyone must earn at snail pace.

  2. Gregg Senko

    Ah that’s right! Droid Hunt was great and they axed it. Booooo