Following the Light side versus Dark side challenge to tie-in with the new film’s release, Star Wars Battlefront II got some cool new content via the first of the game’s DLC packs. Anyone complaining about how it’s not much content should remind themselves that this is given to us players for free without the need for a season pass or shelling out around £12.
For the challenge prior to the DLC, I choose the Dark side as I’m sure most people did, given that they just look much cooler and the heroes seem tougher. The Dark side won, probably as a result. I’d go so far as to say that I find the rebels or the resistance generals who provide you with updates and advice over the comms channels during multiplier irritatingly whiney gits.
There was a bumper bunch of loot crates and freebies as a result of the Last Jedi challenges. I think I got about five crates, a couple of new heroes and at least one new Starfighter (currently locked). I’m not sure what I have to do to unlock the Starfighter, but to be honest Battlefront and Battlefront II have never really been about the Starfighter levels for me. Probably because I am lousy at flying games.
The two new heroes are shiny shiny Captain Phasma fresh from the trash compactor and Finn. Phasma has a rapid fire blaster, a temporary armour buff and a retractable staff for hilarious melee oops upside your head action. However the staff is as useful as a piece of wet celery against a Jedi’s lightsabre. Trust me, been there, didn’t go well.
Finn is rather like the officer class with a health buff for close team members which also removes all weapon cooldowns. he can also run faster for a bit and hide from detection on enemy radar. If you’re not used to playing as an officer then I wouldn’t bother with Finn – it’s a character for team-players not gung-ho aggressively plasma-hosing point-whores.
The DLC doesn’t add any new gameplay modes but does add the barren planet of Crait from Last Jedi to the first person shooter multiplayer modes and D’Qar to the Starfighter Assault mode. Crait is by far the the more impressive of the two locations. The salt flats are perfect for specialist sniping as long as the dust clouds kicked up by the speeders don’t get in your way. I’ve progressed massively with that class since the arrival of the DLC and I’m actually enjoying creeping around in a crouch and killing people at distance.
In the Galactic Assault mode, The First Order marches towards a resistance hideout with side-burned AT-ATs from the film and AT-STs for those with enough battle points to use. It’s quite like The Empire Strikes Back’s opening battle of Hoth, but with salt instead of snow and clouds of red dirt. The First Order gameplay seems pretty easy; I’ve never seen one of the chunky AT-ATs fall and the first checkpoint within the resistance base is pretty easy to take. The problems begin when you have to destroy three generators and there’s a big door sliding shut. Choke points a-go-go and I’ve not seen victory yet as a First Order player.
Defence of the Crait base playing as a resistance fighter involves being super-patient and playing it out until the action inside the base. I tend to snipe as many people as I can and then switch to heavy or officer class once we have to fall back to the base. The First Order troops only ever come from one direction and they’re easy to kill, but there’s the complication of people saving their hero character use until this stage and also a few AT-STs causing trouble. That’s why the resistance usually only win on the last stage when the First Order has to prevent the doors closing and destroy the three generators. Yeah good luck with that. Despite multiple entry points it’s relatively easy to defend.
The outside section of the level is very nice to look at down a scope or from the pilot seat of a Starfighter or one of the pretty pointless speeders. The white foxes from the film run around distractingly in front of you once you reach the base and the level of detail is once again immaculate. A top tip is to remember that the First Order are attacking the base and when playing as resistance specialist not stand in your bunker scoping out the base for targets. It tends to lead to a shot in the back of the head. Doh!
The DLC also includes an additional campaign chapter called ‘Resurrection’. At the end of the original campaign, Del, Iden Versio’s bloke, is killed by former Inferno Squad best-bud Hask. ‘Resurrection’ concludes Iden’s story, sees the demise of Hask and introduces her daughter Zey.
The graphics and voice-acting is once again very good. Shriv is back too, helping Iden and Zey uncover what Project Resurrection is all about. I thought it might be to do with that (now-non-Cannon?) story in which the Emperor is cloned. But it’s just a tie-in to the The Force Awakens, helping to explain Finn’s background, in which the First Order are kidnapping young children and training them up as Stormtroopers – and so resurrecting the fight against the Galactic Republic which culminates in them blowing the shit out of them with Starkiller Base.
Shriv isn’t as funny as he was when he was hanging with Lando and the gameplay in the single-player levels is pretty uninspired stuff. There’s a Starfighter level reminiscent of Star Wars Rebels where you dogfight against pirate ships among a bunch of asteroids; a return to an urban warzone covered in the atmospheric ash from Project Cinder; and an infiltration and then defensive mission aboard a Star Destroyer in which you hold off incoming waves of Stormtroopers while Zey sabotages the hyperdrive. It’s mostly a duck-shoot.
There’s a nice nod to The Force Awakens when we observe the destruction of Starkiller Base, but anyone expecting a quality story (and detailed connections to the film franchise) will be sadly disappointed. Talking of disappointment, Iden’s seemingly untimely death after saving her daughter from the clutches of Hask is all too predictable. I would’ve liked Iden to be in a year’s worth of campaign content instead of being nudged aside for a younger model in the form of Zey. Ageist much?!
On a wider note – about the game in general – I’m happy with the rate of progression of my characters and not overly bothered about the loot crate system being in place albeit without the hateful monetisation planned by EA. I won’t comment any more on the shit-storm surrounding the release of Star Wars Battlefront II , instead I’ll let the guys from Honest Trailers do what they do best: