Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Feature Article

Star Wars Battlefront 2 Campaign Impressions: Unimaginative But Intriguing

A long time ago at a preview event far, far away...

Star Wars Battlefront II's campaign was much requested by fans after the first game lacked any form of single-player. We already knew the sequel's offline portion would bridge the gap between Episodes VI and VII and would have you play as Iden, an Imperial special forces agent, but how's it shaping up?

We recently got the chance to play the opening three chapters from Battlefront II's story mode, so we thought we'd sit our two Star Wars experts down and let them chat about their experiences with the game so far.

Oscar Dayus, Staff Writer: My overriding feeling was one of, "I'm glad this exists, but it's definitely not the centerpiece to this game." It was fun--the characters seem pretty strong, it's obviously beautiful, and, you know, it's more Star Wars--but i don't think this will hold my attention for as long as the multiplayer. Then again, maybe it's not supposed to?

Miguel Concepcion, Editor: Yeah. It's easy to draw parallels between the Battlefront to Battlefront II and Titanfall to Titanfall 2 in terms of their respective studios adding a substantial single-player to the sequels.

Did your presentation include a point about how the single-player uses "elements" from the multiplayer? Usually that "selling point" is a red flag. So I was surprised and glad that--at least based off those first few chapters--it isn't just a bunch of MP maps strung together with a flimsy story.

Oscar: So far, I haven't seen anything here to suggest it will be as creative as Titanfall 2 on the gameplay side though. As you say, it seems more than just some MP maps stuck together, but I was kinda disappointed by the variety of stuff you were actually doing. It was all, "Blow these two objectives up," "Reach this point," "Defeat these enemies." I don't really know what I expected or wanted, but outside of the story it felt a little by-the-numbers. But yeah, the inclusion of Star Cards in the campaign is an interesting choice--EA told me it was so you could earn rewards that you could then go and use in MP, but it's hard not to be cynical about it.

Miguel: If the Star Cards can be used in both the campaign and MP, that'd be great. I was surprised how many cards you unlock in these three chapters. Makes me wonder how many toys you'll have by the time you complete the story. And will that make you well-stocked with those rewards for MP?

No Caption Provided
Gallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3

Oscar: That's true, I guess in that respect it could help prepare you for multiplayer in a more tangible way than just helping you get used to the guns. But at least some part of me was a little wary of whether microtransactions will now start having an impact on single player games as well as multiplayer.

And whether or not you use them will likely depend on what kind of player you are--I actually stuck with the same three abilities that I started out with, but if you're someone who likes to tinker you'll likely get a lot of depth out of playing levels in different ways with different cards.

Miguel: In the context of that hands-on, I was glad that I didn't have to think about the microtransaction implications.

Some abilities that stood out for me:

  • One of the grenade types really needed some finesse, especially when it took so long to detonate.
  • The scanner made some of the gunbattles really easy. On the flipside, it can make you feel overconfident.
  • I also liked having the turret, but I didn't get a handle on how effective they were.

Oscar: Yeah the scanner felt overpowered in combat--it worked well in the stealth section though. That whole sequence--escaping your cell and creeping your way around the rebel ship--was one I enjoyed a lot. The other levels felt more similar to the multiplayer in how large-scale they felt and the action gameplay you'd see online, but the sneaky section offered something that was genuinely different from that, even if the stealth itself was a little rudimentary when compared to a good dedicated stealth-oriented game like MGSV or Hitman or whatever.

Miguel: Rudimentary is a good way to put it. As I recall, there's a story-triggered alert mode, but I certainly did not stay as hidden as long as I could have. And yes, I did enjoy the linearity of the prologue, which was a fine contrast to the more open maps.

But even thinking about Endor, the story version of that map did not feel like a multiplayer map, in my opinion. I mentioned this to our World War II enthusiasts in the San Francisco office: fans know from the trailer that Iden watches the Death Star blow up. I thought this was narratively well executed in how that event was framed.

You start on Endor and Inferno Squad is optimistic as heck that the Empire will win. Then boom. The 'mop up period' reminded me of World War II, how the war wasn't immediately over the moment the Allies reached Berlin. It's not like the Stormtroopers were going to drop their arms with the Death Star gone. I love the shift to an evacuation.

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Oscar: Yeah, that was handled really well. I was worried the story--in bridging the gap between Episodes VI and VII--would feel redundant in the same way Rogue One did for me, since we already know what happens afterwards. But Episode VII is set so far after what Battlefront II is trying to show--the immediate aftermath of the Death Star blowing up--that it leaves Battlefront II a lot of room to maneuver.

Playing as the Empire is, so far, just as intriguing as I'd hoped. I like seeing the conflicts that go on between different characters within that faction, that the Empire is not just one faceless conglomerate, a single entity; rather a collection of individuals with their own views on how they should approach recovering from defeat and how they should treat the victorious rebels. The characters in particular seemed strong in the three chapters I played. Iden seems genuinely great, and it's weird kind of sympathising with a member of such an evil organisation.

Miguel: On that note, I was surprised how much the first story trailer conveyed her personal conflict with how the Empire is dealing with that aftermath. It's as if she guaranteed to help out the Rebellion-turned-Resistance in some capacity by the latter half of this campaign.

Oscar: Yeah. I mean, without playing more it appears the story can only go one of two ways: either she turns good or she dies. Who knows which, or if something else will happen, but even if they do, I think the story at least is shaping up to be a good ride along the way.

Miguel: This sampling of the story also made me optimistic about the space battles. Between remnants of the Death Star and the remaining space vessels navigating through the chaos, I wasn't hard on myself when I died once from hitting Death Star debris. I found the dogfight chases particularly thrilling. I wouldn't be surprised if the AI programmers designed the enemies to take scenic paths when pursued. I found myself nearly grazing the surface of a star destroyer during a chase. My favorite pursuit was down a narrow passage within one the vessels. As I took my target down, it felt serendipitous to find an opening to make my escape from the ship.

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Oscar: I felt the same way about the space battles as I did when I played them at Gamescom, and similar to how I felt about the whole of the the first game: they were great fun at first and in small chunks, but after a while the buzz of flying a TIE Fighter kind of wears off. Hopefully the latter stages of the campaign have some more interesting objectives than "Shoot these four dudes," or maybe the Star Cards can provide the depth this feels to me like it's missing right now.

Miguel: In all, I'm excited, speaking as a fan of single player components of shooters more so than MP. I'm also curious what new names and places will be added to the lore due to this game. I did chuckle that you go from Endor to "Fondor."

Oscar: Let's hope it continues to be Fun-dor when it launches next month.

(That joke would've been better if your name was Dor, I demand you change your name to suit my 2/10 joke.)

Miguel: LOL

For more on the upcoming shooter, take a look at our interview pieces, in which EA Motive calls the game's 'pay-to-win' accusations "hard to dodge" and refuses to rule out Battlefront II for Nintendo Switch.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Back To Top