With Disney acquiring the Star Wars license in 2012, it was only a matter of time before a wave of new Star Wars video games would release. Striking a deal with EA, Star Wars Battlefront was announced and released in 2015. Though it had some potential, it failed to live up to the legacy of its title. In November 2017, EA and Dice had another go, producing Star Wars Battlefront 2, which suffered one of the most infamously terrible launches of all time. But five years later, Star Wars Battlefront 2 may finally be a game worthy of the title.
Releasing on November 17 2017, Star Wars Battlefront 2 had a lot riding on it. EA and Dice's first attempt at a big Star Wars game was met with a disappointing critical reception, and both publisher and developer knew they had to do better for the sequel. A full campaign, multiple game modes, sprawling maps, and a return to the class-based gameplay of its original inspiration - Star Wars Battlefront 2 promised a lot before launch, but it left out the part about microtransactions.
Infamous for its greedy business practices, EA had snuck microtransactions into Star Wars Battlefront 2. For each class and hero in the game, players can unlock a variety of "Star Cards." Each of these Star Cards increases a certain trait of the class or hero, or adds a new ability, for instance, one of them increases the base health of the Assault class. While players could grind each character out and unlock these Star Cards, they could also pay real cash to purchase the most expensive tiers, giving them an immediate edge over the competition.
Though this was already enough to cause a stir on the game's launch, it was about to get a whole lot worse. Upon starting the game, players soon found out that they couldn't play as some of their favorite heroes or villains. Some of the most iconic Star Wars heroes and villains were trapped behind a pay wall. Some Redditors did the math and worked out that it would take roughly 40 hours of grinding to earn enough in-game currency to unlock Darth Vader.
Naturally, this caused a backlash of monumental proportions, with every corner of the internet banding together to condemn EA and Dice's approach to microtransactions. As Star Wars Battlefront 2 launched, Dice announced that it was lowering the cost to purchase heroes by 75%, but it also lowered the amount of Credits players would receive upon completing Battlefront 2's campaign. Just a few days later, Dice announced that it was scrapping microtransactions altogether, after an unprecedented amount of negative media coverage.
Aside from its disastrous launch, Star Wars Battlefront 2 was a marked improvement over its predecessor. There were more maps, more game modes, more heroes and villains, more weapons, and more variety in the game's overall design. But to many, Battlefront 2 still felt lacking. Its heavily anticipated campaign ended up being a short, lackluster, predictable experience, and though it had more game modes than 2015's Battlefront, that wasn't saying much. But the bones of a good game were certainly there, with tight gameplay mechanics, phenomenal visuals, and maps that truly captured the essence of Star Wars.
Over the last five years, Star Wars Battlefront 2 has done a lot to redeem itself in the eyes of fans. Beginning with the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Battlefront 2 has added a slew of new content to the game since launch. The first major update added The Last Jedi's salt-mining planet Crait, along with Finn and Captain Phasma, and a whole campaign epilogue.
A major update would also release alongside Solo: A Star Wars Story, adding new appearances for a range of heroes and the Millenium Falcon, a Jabba's Palace map, a Kessel map, and the new Extraction game mode. The Ewok Hunt infection-like game mode would also appear as a full-time mode soon after. The end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019 saw multiple major updates release, all themed around The Clone Wars. General Grievous, Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Count Dooku were all added as playable heroes, along with a range of cosmetics for the Clones, and an expansive Geonosis Galactic Assault map. These updates also added the huge Supremacy game mode, where teams of 20 battle it out on both the ground and on a capital ship in an extensive large-scale battle.
The updates didn't stop there. Over the next year or so, Dice added even more content to the game. A range of co-op missions were introduced alongside the Clone Commando troop type and the Felucia map. Battlefront 2 received new cosmetics, playable heroes, and maps based on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, too. In April 2020, Battlefront 2 received its final update, bringing Rogue One's Scarif to the game, and some additional fan-favorite appearances for heroes like Rey, Palpatine, and Darth Maul.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 may have made the worst first impression it possibly could, but over the last five years Dice has worked tirelessly to make sure that it's a game worthy of the Star Wars license, and the legacy of the Battlefront name. For the most part, it's succeeded. For Star Wars fans, Battlefront 2 can feel like a dream at times, with beautifully-rendered maps and character models that capture the essence of the saga perfectly, large-scale game modes that imitate the chaotic action of the movies, and the ability to play as a plethora of iconic Star Wars characters.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 is available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.