Star Wars Battlefront II – Not A Trap, Actually

Crush the Rebellion. Commander Iden Versio leads Inferno Squad from the written novel page to a breakout cinematic gaming experience that has to be played to believe. Combining the solid variety of multiplayer and arcade game modes of the first next-gen Battlefront reboot, stunning top shelf graphics and the A+ story mode the series deserves, EA’s Star Wars Battlefront II is the game we were looking for. Or, so the developer had hoped.

With launch week marred by a few wildly out of control fans threatening individual developers over micro-transaction related features, the opening cry of horns and trumpets felt more like a disturbance in the force. I feel this was hugely undeserved and representative of an increasingly toxic culture within gaming that has soured the launch of many titles the last few years, and in this case, it was over mostly bogus information. Even today I see negative comments about the game tied back to an idea that you have to pay real money to unlock certain heroes, which is inaccurate in more than one way.

Edit 11/17 – Huge Update: EA removes micro-transactions, for now

Heroes unlock via in-game credit system, NOT from real-world purchased currency.

Star Wars Battlefront II has two forms of progression, one represented by experience points earned only through multiplayer matches, and another measured by “credits” earned through all activities, including a big handful for story mode and more via tutorials, challenges in all game modes, and based on merit in multiplayer. Game Revolution breaks down specifically how long they estimate it would take to unlock all of the heroes, but not counting the large chunk of credits you’ll have after finishing the story and some arcade (from which you can definitely get your favorite hero), it is reasonable to expect you could unlock a hero in a night or two of regular gaming. Furthermore, none of the “crystal” credits you can purchase with real money can be used to unlock heroes, and the crates you can buy with those crystals will not unlock a hero, so there is literally no way to unlock the hero with cash. This is a far cry better than the “time saver” bundles available to be purchased for other EA shooters, which actually do unlock functionally superior equipment and loadouts other non-pay-to-win players have to earn via advancement.

Edit: As mentioned in a release day statement (11/17/2017), EA has since turned off micro-transactions and disabled use of the “Crystals” credit option, which will be reintroduced at a later date following review of the feature.

As Game Revolution also points out, there are other potentially more valuable things to spend your in-game credits on, like upgrading the loadout for the base troopers and vehicles you are leveling up, which gives players more choices on how to advance and get an edge in fast-paced multiplayer.

My officer is almost level 15

Crates, earned for completing challenges, logging in daily or when purchased via in-game credits or crystals, do contain Star Card upgrades that directly improve your loadout in multiplayer, so there is validity to the idea that you can buy superior gear with cash, but you get these so frequently there is hardly merit to dropping your beer night monies into randomly drawn upgrade cards you already get multiples of in an average gaming night.

Bomber with an astromech repair upgrade Star Card


No, seriously, these are the droids we are looking for

I am actively recommending Star Wars Battlefront II to all of my gaming friends. The gameplay is a fantastic mix of the more serious, gritty Battlefield 1 it shares an engine with and the lighter-hearted arcade feel I associate with Star Wars titles. The various maps and game modes draw from at least all seven main movies, and includes additional locations and references to anthology and novel locations including Christie Golden’s “Inferno Squad”. Every aspect of the game from the breathtaking cinematics and rousing story to the frequently cheeky humor in multiplayer and kid-loose-in-a-toy-store flight combat shows the developers share a true passion for Star Wars and for great gaming. The actor capture and performances make it feel like you are in the movie, and I was left stunned at its conclusion.

I hope to see you online in a galaxy far, far away!


look on the bright side – Greedo still misses

Starwars fans upset with Lucas, again? Nooooo!

Seriously, who is surprised Lucas made additional changes to the Starwars Trilogy for the blu-ray release? Are they really worse than the initial changes made to “A New Hope” and “Return of the Jedi”? Are all of the changes so inexcusable? Changes in this release include adding a single, shouted “Nooooo” to Vader’s dialog in the final battle with the emperor in Return of the Jedi, as he saves luke and sacrifices himself. Other changes were to replace the ewok eyes with CG rendered eyes, and a jarring change to the sound Obi-wan makes in A New Hope to scare off the sand people.

Fans have been particularly critical of the changes Lucas made to the Starwars trilogy, even though the business of changing movies for a re-release is not new business at all. There are FIVE versions of Blade Runner in the collectors edition. Lion King has been changed three times. Rob Zombie changed the entire ending of the newer “Halloween 2” in the DVD release. Peter Jackson changed his Lord of the Rings once between the theater and DVD and again for the butt-numbingly long (but good) extended editions (nevermind the changed between the print and his retelling….).

Don’t like it? When in doubt, don’t get your wallet out.

I am among the fans who did not like many changes to the original Starwars trilogy – my favorite catch-phrase after all is “Han Shot First”. I didn’t like the additional, poorly done scene with jabba the hutt, nor the changes to the hologram of the emperor and dialog. I am indifferent to the changes to the spirits shown at the very end of Return of the Jedi. (put your pitchforks down, guys). On the other hand, the numerous subtle improvements to image clarity and cleanup of special effects glitches were actually a big improvement, notably in the epic battle of hoth and pretty much every space battle scene in all three episodes. The sound is better in the new(er) editions – and being a bit of an audiophile it is hard to pass up the 7.1 stereo enhanced effects in favor of the barely two channel classic just in the name of protest.

I won’t get the blu-ray editions, but I’m not roasting Lucas and the franchise over the recent changes either. I am content with the DVD set that included both the special editions and original format bonus disks. If I want to relive A New Hope as it was meant to be seen, I can. If I want to enjoy my newer TV and stereo equipment, I’ve got the updated version. That’s good enough for me.

Concerned fans should speak with their wallets.

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