Star Wars: Battlefront 2 came out way back in 2005. Not only have we had many Star Wars games since then, but we’ve even had new iterations of this series from EA.
It can be hard to figure out if it’s worth grabbing this game when there are so many alternatives out there. So, is this a more elegant game from a more civilized age, or something only a scruffy nerfherder would still play?
Let’s find out!
Many fans of Battlefront 2 remember the campaign mode quite fondly. That is a large part of why fans responded negatively to EA’s first Battlefront game having no campaign mode at all (something that was fixed for the sequel).
If I’m being honest, though, the campaign was pretty basic. It is basically a glorified tutorial for the rest of the game, giving players a chance to try out the various units, vehicles, and gameplay modes before they dive into multiplayer.
The campaign does stand out in some positive ways, though. The narration by Temuera Morrison (who played both Jango Fett and the clones who were based on that character) makes everything feel very grounded and authentic. And it’s fun to walk in the clones’ shoes as their mission slowly shifts from supporting the Jedi to wiping them out.
The campaign mode of Battlefront 2 is situated firmly in the prequel era. However, the other modes of gameplay allow you to play both the prequel era and the Original Trilogy era.
This is a great way to keep Star Wars fans happy. And due to the nature of the maps, it’s a great way to play some “what if” style missions.
For example, a small handful of maps allow only one era to play (such as Hoth, which only allows Original Trilogy skirmishes). But the vast majority allow any faction to play. Want to see what happens when droids have taken over Jabba’s Palace or the Empire makes a stand on Naboo? This game helps make that happen!
Enter the Heroes
Like in the first game, you spend most of this game fighting as generic trooper units. However, this game introduced playable heroes (and villains) into the mix.
If you are playing well enough in a multiplayer match, you’ll get a chance to play as a hero unit. The better you play, the longer you play: it’s possible to extend the heroes’ life meters by slaying enemies in combat.
Some units are better than others (for example, the Jedi are comically more powerful than heroes without the Force), but this ended up being a welcome addition to gameplay. It meant that each multiplayer match had the potential for the kind of epic duels that Star Wars is best known for.
Take to the Skies
The first Battlefront game had Starfighters, but they were basically just vehicles that controlled poorly on the game’s ground levels. And with no space levels available, you were likelier to crash well before you killed anyone with an X-Wing or TIE Fighter.
In the sequel, you can now play in space missions. However, they are a mixed bag: the space controls are like a simplified arcade shooter, which will be particularly disappointing to fans who remember the intricacies of the X-Wing and TIE Fighter PC games.
And the space missions are partly ground missions anyway. This is because most of them revolve around getting inside a capital ship and doing damage from the inside on foot.
Ultimately, these missions were disappointing and very basic even when the game came out. Fortunately, EA would add much more engaging space missions later on in this series.
While the campaign was a fun addition and it’s possible to play skirmishes against the AI, most players play this game for the multiplayer. That leaves an obvious question: is the multiplayer any good?
For the most part, yes. Players take control of different kinds of troopers who specialize in different things. Rebel Vanguard can take down vehicles very easily, sniping Scouts can pick troops off, and so on.
This allows each player to find a trooper class they like best. And it also forces competitive multiplayers to constantly shift their classes and styles to deal with evolving threats.
As you score more points, you’ll have access to more specialized units. This includes Jet Troopers, Destroyer Droids, and even Dark Troopers (a throwback to another classic Star Wars game, Dark Forces).
Gameplay mostly revolves around Conquest, a mode in which you capture bases and whittle enemy forces down. However, there are a few other modes that include capture the flag, Assault, and even a Hunt mode that lets you play as Ewoks, Geonosians, Wookiees, and more.
Battlefront 2’s final mode is an interesting addition: Galactic Conquest. This is a mode that turns gameplay into a kind of galactic gameboard in which capturing key areas gives your faction more territory. Capture it all and you can triumph over either the AI or another player.
This mode is fun on paper, but if two players are evenly matched, you may find yourself playing for quite a while before anyone can triumph.
So, do I still recommend the original Battlefront 2?
Before you shoot first, I’ll just say “yes.” The game is rough around the edges and inherits some flaws from its predecessor. But it adds so many fine features that everyone can find something to love. This game remains one of the best ways to relive your favorite planets, characters, and battles from different eras of Star Wars.