The space encounters are the best part of an otherwise poor campaign.
Star Wars Battlefront II aims to rectify all the problems the audience had with the original. It now includes a full single player campaign, alongside the usual selection of multiplayer and coop modes. Unfortunately, Battlefront II consistently falters in many departments, resulting in a game that is pretty to look at but a chore to play.
The shooting in Battlefront II is not any better than the previous game. While it may stay true to the shootouts depicted in the feature films; that does not mean it feels good in a video game. It remains stiff and unresponsive. The issue is worsened when playing as a hero in third person, as you are playing an over the shoulder shooter with the mechanics designed for an FPS.
The single player campaign takes place between episodes VI and VII, in which you control Iden Versio, leader of an Imperial division known as Inferno Squad. You also get a chance to play as leading characters from the Star Wars universe like Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. You can use stealth to take down enemies and pass by without alerting others, in addition to customising your loadout which lets you equip cards as special abilities and weapons.
The overall structure of the campaign can be easily described as an arcade mode separated by cutscenes. Aside from the production values, it is the very definition of tacked on. You will fight in many straight corridors, small rooms and closed spaces while also taking part in different variations of turret sequences as well as wave defence. The game mixes things up by introducing space battles, but even those end with you fighting a seemingly endless wave of enemies. Nevertheless, the space encounters are the best part of an otherwise poor campaign. The dreadful encounter design is not helped by the equally boring missions. It does get better by the end of the campaign but that does not excuse the remaining 90 per cent of the missions. The voice acting is solid and the general direction of the story had some promise, but it is nothing but a mess hidden behind the impressive tech. In addition to the standard modes, you can play Hero vs Villain, Galactic Assault or Starfighter Assault in multiplayer.
Galactic Assault is a massive 40-man attack vs defence game mode featuring large maps across a variety of locations. But Starfighter Assault ended up being my personal favourite due to its tight controls and the ability to instil a sense of large scale space war. Starfighters are easy to control for newcomers but it is especially rewarding for skilled players. Performing well in any multiplayer mode gives you battle points, which you can use mid-game to play as heroes and other characters.
The game also comes with an arcade mode which is essentially an assortment of extra missions. As such, it is definitely more complete and feature rich than its predecessor. Star Wars Battlefront II masks it’s faults behind gorgeous graphics, stellar sound and authenticity. Aside from the thrilling space battles, it is not a well-designed game nor is it that much fun to play. Unless you absolutely want to play a Star Wars game this year, there is no reason to pick it up when there are much better shooters available in the market on all platforms.