Continuing with our sequel spree in April we’re going to take a look back at Star Wars Battlefront II.
Battlefront II felt like an absolute necessity to a game which really didn’t have any need for a sequel. Without any particular plot lines to develop, beyond the movies, and not developing much in the ways of game engines it felt like Battlefront could have just been a stand alone game.
The surprise when Battlefront II came out, improved several aspects, added in lots of new content and even made an attempt at a storyline that I’d not seen before was pretty intense.
I suppose I should talk about some of the improvements that were made in the context of what was in the first game. We have multiple new maps such as Felucia, redisgns of Kashyyyk, Mustafar and Mygeeto. These were planets that weren’t really seen in the movies all that much and, without looking at the extended universe, most fans wouldn’t be too familiar with.
Battlefront II opened up a window for me to peer into worlds that existed outside of the movies and showed me what could exist beyond the main series. Of course these were all rendered in PS2 and original Xbox era graphics so they might not look all that impressive now, but at the time it blew my mind.
Ground combat remained relatively unchanged with some new classes added in and progressive weapon unlocks. The enemy AI was greatly improved though still had its dumb moments of running into walls and crashing the AT-STs into trees. The biggest change to me was the space combat.
Dogfighting had been something that the films had always made a big deal out of. Most of the Star Wars films, if not all of them, have some huge dogfighting section involved.
Having the ability to leap into the cockpit of an X-Wing or a Tie Fighter and effectively control the flow of a space battle was an opportunity that wasn’t missed.
The space combat was done very well for the time and it felt like the battle you were taking part in was something epic, despite it just being two static objects firing at each other with small ships buzzing around them.
Fighting in space was fun, but I do feel they did miss an opportunity for a “Destroy the Death Star” mode where rebels had a set number of lives to try and make that trick shot into the main reactor of the Death Star to finish the goliath off, or even just a set amount of time before the station blows up their base planet.
It’s a novel idea, but hopefully something we might see in the sequel, sorry reboot.
The presence of the 501st story, which spanned from the Clone Wars to the Galactic Empire, was another great addition. The first Battlefront, for me, was just about doing the various battles over and over again. Sometimes it would get boring.
The original Battlefront campaign mode was nothing new and was just a few excuses to get the various armies clashing with one another. But the 501st campaign followed a story which showed just how emotional the clone troopers could be, despite just being throw away soldiers.
Of course Galaxtic Conquest being revamped was another great feature, but it did feel like we were playing a big game of Star Wars chess. At least a Wookiee wasn’t going to tear my arms off when I won.
One thing which stuck out in everybody’s minds when the game came out was the heroes. Running around as Obi Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader, Han Solo and other established characters from the lore was a big feature.
Some heroes made appearances in the first Battlefront game but they were NPCs and they were completely over powered. In the original game they couldn’t be killed, no matter how much you shot them. The only way to kill them was to force them out of the bounds of the map. Blasting them off the Bespin Platforms with the giant Anti-Aircraft guns was one of my favourite methods.
Assuming you couldn’t do that though, you were screwed.
In Battlefront II they were rebalanced, blocking was an active ability which drained stamina for Jedi and Sith characters, and they had a health/time meter to how long they’d be in the battle.
Of course they were still incredibly over powered.
To me the inclusion of heroes was good for a few laughs if you played the assault mode where all the good and evil heroes faced off against each other in a team deathmatch scenario, but on the actual battlefield they were annoying and a sight to be hated.
But I think I’ve rambled long enough about Battlefront II with no real agenda to speak of.
The game doesn’t hold up as well today as it used to, it looks somewhat dated on consoles and the AI are dumb as a bag of wet mice but it’s a classic and enjoyable even if it’s only for a short session.
With the new Battlefront coming soon there are a few things that need to return, especially offline multiplayer featuring improved AI for the bots. A mode where you and some friends can fight a team of bots, possibly with a handicap, is another necessity.
Bots have become a thing of the past in modern shooter gaming, and they need to make a full-fledged return. Online multiplayer isn’t the only way to go and there needs to be more respect for offline gamers.
Did you love Battlefront II? How did you like it compared to Battlefront I? Let us know in the comments below.