- Release Date: 2017-11-17
- In-universe Date: 4 BBY - 34 BBY
- Name of Series/Era: Sequel Trilogy Era
- Media Type: Game
- Genre: Space Opera
- Writers: Mitch Dyer, Walt Williams
- Publishers: Electronic Arts
- Timeline: Star Wars Canon
Embark on an endless Star Wars action experience from the bestselling Star Wars HD videogame franchise of all time. Rush through waves of enemies on Starkiller Base with the power of your lightsaber in your hands. Storm through the jungle canopy of a hidden Rebel base on Yavin 4 with your fellow troopers, dispensing firepower from AT-STs. Line up your X-wing squadron for an attack on a mammoth First Order Star Destroyer in space. Or rise as a new Star Wars hero-Iden, an elite Imperial special forces soldier-and discover an emotional and gripping single-player story spanning thirty years. Experience rich and living Star Wars multiplayer battlegrounds across all three eras: prequel, classic, and new trilogy. Customize and upgrade your heroes, starfighters, or troopers, each with unique abilities to exploit in battle. Ride tauntauns or take control of tanks and speeders. Down Star Destroyers the size of cities, use the Force to prove your worth against iconic characters such as Kylo Ren, Darth Maul, or Han Solo, as you play a part in a gaming experience inspired by 40 years of timeless Star Wars films. You can become the master of your own Star Wars hero’s journey.
Well, there’s finally a proper canon video game in the Star Wars universe. Star Wars has had many good video games in the past, all of which are now labeled as part of the “Legends” classification of canon. Current canon has had little in this arena yet, unless you count the mobile game Uprising which had a small story.
Yet for being a canon story and having some redeeming qualities, Star Wars: Battlefront II fails to deliver on several aspects, something that pains me to say. As with most of my game reviews, the focus for All Timelines is the story. So while there may be other things to say about gameplay and multiplayer, those are not the focus of this review (though I will touch on them).
But since I don’t want to be a downer, I’ll start with some things that really were amazing about Star Wars: Battlefront II. First of all, the graphics were incredible, just as they were with its predecessor. The lighting and environmental effects match perfectly with the aesthetic we’ve come to expect from Star Wars. It looks real. I could have used more 4K enhancements since I was playing on an Xbox One X. That console was made for games like this. Hopefully, we’ll see some 4K updates in the near future.
Secondly, I was very impressed by how much the story meshed with other narratives that take place at this same time, chronologically. There are clear nods, and even sometimes direct adaptations of scenes from the comic Shattered Empire, the Aftermath book trilogy, Lost Stars, and more. It takes more than a Lucasfilm story to create this kind of cohesion. The authors were obviously well aware of other stories surrounding this one.
I enjoyed being able to explore a wide variety of environments with this game. I especially appreciate being able to explore Maz’s castle and fight on the surface of a Star Destroyer.
I thought the characters were one of those things that sort of straddle the line between good and bad. Iden Versio was clearly the standout character, the only one to really show any depth. Her compatriots of Del Meeko and Hask seemed like stock characters to me. That said, they got the legacy characters just right with Luke, Leia, Han, and Lando. Luke particularly stood out to me as being exactly who I imagine him to be post-Return of the Jedi, even though we only get to play him briefly. But for Inferno Squad, I could have used a longer campaign to flesh out their characters a bit more.
For example, when Iden and Del have their little fight with Hask, which ends up leading to their leaving the Empire, I found it hard to believe that they would defect to the Rebellion so quickly. It made sense that they would disagree with an order enough to disobey, but to leave behind everything they’ve been brought up on and join a side they were fighting until just recently, I found that hard to believe. That is just one instance of where I could have used more story to flesh out those relationships and personality. It made the campaign feel rushed. The finale also felt this way, like suddenly we were at the climax of the story without any real sense of having climbed to get there.
Gameplay for this game was okay. I’m no expert in the specifics of gameplay, but it felt very ordinary to me, with nothing groundbreaking. I was content to just sit behind cover and pick people off one by one. It lacked a certain adrenaline rush that I get from charging into battle on Halo or other first-person shooters. But that’s really all I’m going to say about gameplay because like I said before, this is a website about stories, so we’ll stick to the story.
Overall, I thought it was a fine game with many redeeming qualities that made up for its rushed, poorly-paced, cookie-cutter storyline. But that won’t stop me from probably playing it again sometime, or at least picking up and playing the free DLC. It is, after all, the first and only real canon video game in the Star Wars universe. May it be the first of many.
The single-player campaign only.