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The Star Wars Battlefront II Beta Leaves Room To Improve Galactic Assault & Its Loot Boxes

A galactic assault on loot boxes.

On reflection, having had some more time to delve into what the Star Wars Battlefront II multiplayer beta has to offer, I don’t feel that this was the game putting it’s best foot forward. Where the first DICE-made Battlefront had the spectacle of Hoth and the Walker Assault mode to carry it, the Trade Federation assault on Naboo isn’t anywhere near as memorable and doesn’t quite have the same thematic hook to drag you along.

It’s also rather empty feeling, which is a shame when I’d hoped that it would be livened up during the full beta. The core problem is that the opening stretch sees the Droid Army trying to escort an MTT hover transport down the main street of the city, while the Clone Army are busy trying to bring up ion cannons to lower its shields so you can deal damage. The intention is for the droids to push up down either flank, heading round the backs of various baroque buildings to face off against clusters of clone troopers, before reaching the entrance to the palace and the parallel choke points on the way up to the throne room.

There’s no feeling of clearly defined objectives and goals in the long run to the palace, which isn’t helped when the clones pick up the ion cannons and start running around with them, meaning you’ve got shifting targets off in the distance. Additionally, while it’s a break away from having AT-AT walkers bearing down on the defenders, and offers a few differences mechanically, it just doesn’t feel all that different.

It also spread out too thinly for the 20 vs. 20 battles that are the pinnacle of Battlefront’s game modes, and I was often left squinting to try and pick out the enemies in the distance on the other side of the main road. When you do manage to get up close and personal, the relatively low time to kill means it can all be over rather quickly, sending you back to the new spawn wave menus.

The newly added class system helps to splinter off and better define roles on the battlefield. It’s no longer a case that everyone rushes to unlock the jet pack Star Card, because it’s the best for getting around, but rather about picking a job and doing it. The Specialist is a great mix of sniper and saboteur with its burst fire weapon ability that times out if you’re not constantly killing enemies, while the Heavy lives up to its name with a shield to soak up damage and the Officer’s place-able turrets can add fire to a particular chokepoint or room you’re defending.

Similarly, it feels better to earn the points that are required to spawn in with a vehicle, as a special character or hero character and get your few moments of glory as Darth Maul or Rey. It’s weighted so that these characters come to the fore later in a match, though if you’re having a horrid time of it, you’ll have to get lucky to grab your opportunity.

However, the beta also offers a glimpse of the potential progression system that we’ll see, which takes a less conventional route of tying this to loot boxes and drops. That’s certainly troubling, because the boosts you gain in loot boxes can improve the efficacy of certain abilities, the amount of damage you can take or dish out, and more, as opposed to being strictly tied to cosmetic items as in other games.

Needless to say you can earn these crates from playing games, levelling up classes and performing certain daily feats, but it’s a dangerous path to tread even without the microtransactions, as it can unbalance a game in favour of paying or veteran players over newcomers. When your fighter has 10% or 20% more health in Fighter Assault, that’s giving you a clear advantage over other players. However, as concerning as that might be, it’s also too soon to jump to conclusions on how it will be weighted in the full game.

While there’s a few things that more time with the beta did to temper my optimism somewhat, I’m looking forward to Star Wars Battlefront II. It still looks simply fantastic, from Theed on Naboo to Takodana and the space battles of Fighter Assault, there’s some good steps forward with the class system and the intent behind Galactic Assault, it’s just that the multiplayer beta shows some of the potential stumbling points that we hope DICE can react to and avoid between now and the game’s launch on 17th November.

  1. Avenger
    Since: Oct 2012

    I enjoyed it, mainly because of the reworked design with classes and heroes, plus the weapon balances.

    I thought the naboo level worked fine, not necessarily the ultimate showcase, but I enjoyed. I do agree with more players the map might have been a bit more fulfilling, but I came away impressed overall.

    Comment posted on 09/10/2017 at 12:40.
  2. leeroye
    Since: May 2012

    I enjoyed the few games i managed to play over the weekend. My main gripe so far is how slow aiming is when you aim down sights. Hopefully there is a way to speed that up, i didnt look.

    Comment posted on 09/10/2017 at 12:49.
  3. kjkg
    Since: Apr 2010

    I have to agree with Avenger, I really enjoyed it. Naboo isn’t the best known place but it was still rather stunning to be fair.

    As for the loot boxes making some people over powered, I do agree. However, the leveling up system seemed to reward you quite generously. You got xp for just shooting a guy even if they don’t die. So yeh, new players might struggle to get the kills but it probably won’t be long before they’re earning star cards of their own.

    Comment posted on 09/10/2017 at 12:52.
  4. MrYd
    Since: Mar 2011

    Something just feels wrong about it compared to the previous game. And deaths happen too quickly, for both you and the enemy.

    The change to how you become the heroes could well be a terrible idea too. Last game, the little things spawned, you collected them, and became a hero (or villain, or whatever). Now it’s based on your performance so far? Doing well due to skill and matchmaking not being based on that (which is a thing that always annoys me)? Or the cards from random lootboxes? Then you get to be a hero and get even more kills. At least in the last game, it was more random and could help turn the battle in your favour.

    And if you must have lootboxes in your game, at least let us open them instantly without silly animations, see what’s in them, and equip things if necessary before the next match begins. Unless I missed something, it looks like you can only open them from the main menu.

    It’s all gone a bit CoD instead of BF. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as both franchises have done good and not so good things. Just in this case, they’ve tried to do the not so good things CoD does. And not done a very good job of it either.

    Still, it certainly looks very pretty. And bonus points for the sound, of course.

    Comment posted on 09/10/2017 at 13:01.
    • gernboes
      Since: Oct 2008

      I have to disagre about the heroes stuff.
      In the first game, the system often had a negative impact on the gameplay because many people were swarming to the spawn points of the hero icons or simply hang around there, so there would be significantly less people playing the objectives.
      The new system actualy strongly encourages playing the objectives and contributing to your team. Im not the best shot, so thats what i did. Attacked/defended objectives, tagging enemies etc. and i often ended up with 2 or 3 kills, and still in the top 3 spots in my team, way above people with 20 kills or whatever.

      Comment posted on 09/10/2017 at 14:30.
      • Poetry and a Pint
        Since: Aug 2013

        Totally agree, running around for a damn token was painful!

        Comment posted on 09/10/2017 at 15:52.
      • Andrew
        Since: Jul 2014

        Yes i absolutely agree with you on this, over the past year of playing battlefront, I think ive been a hero once. I’m not interested in camping around hero icons for the chance to be one, i’d much rather play the objective and if i come across one then great, or whatever other power ups i would come across. The icons encourage people to not play the objective and just hand around spawn points to get some quick kills as a hero. The system is much better in battlefront 2, i can be a hero in almost every game with points to spare. Makes much more sense that people that are playing the objective and scoring points are rewarded with the strong and powerful characters, rather than the campers. I also like that im near the top of the scoreboard sometimes with only 1 kill. Simply because im playing the objective. Also, loot boxes….what is the big deal here? I get that people aren’t happy that some people can just buy these and get an advantage. But they have done this since battlefield 4 from what I remember, you could buy an assualt unlock kit that would immediately unlock you everything for that class. In battlefront, they have ultimate weapon and card kits, unlocking you a ton of weapons and star cards. It’s really no different, nobody is forcing you to pay for them. It’s an option that has always been there. I do think they should have class specific loot boxes so that you can get cards for the class that you play. I think over the past few days i’ve got specialist and officer to around rank 6 or 7, and i’ve not used them once. So I think class specific loot boxes would be a better idea, as sometimes your paying for a crate and not getting anything thats useful for the class you use. One other thing I think they should change, is the credits reward for each match, from what i’ve seen this is a flat rate no matter how good you do or if your team wins, this promotes people just leaving the game on to farm credits, if im getting 7-8000 points in a game, I think i deserve more credits than someone that has 100 points. Otherwise, I think the game is spot on. A huge improvement over the first one. Looking forward to seeing what changes are made until release.

        Comment posted on 11/10/2017 at 11:40.
  5. Poetry and a Pint
    Since: Aug 2013

    First time I have written on here with any real depth but afraid I have to disagree a fair bit on this one.
    From reading this early review it just feels a far to in depth analysis to find an excuse that they were not very good at the game or like some kid who gets everything wanting even more.

    The game was a huge leap forwards and even though it was just Naboo it was incredible to play.

    Havent spoken with a single person who felt it was bland and just seeing the options and amount of games and tweaks to these alone (kill in 20 seconds with Darth Maul was great little touch) that will be available on full release was amazing.

    It will be a big shame if this loses points/scored based on the need to want “even more.”

    Comparison should be based towards the first attempt and this is absolutely leaps and bounds, and the review should reflect that achievement. Feels like a clutch towards very minor details that fans of the first would not notice and even care about really.

    The loot boxes were great touch and made me feel excited each time .The point scheme was balanced perfectly instead of trying to run for a stupid token, this felt more in my control. (Kill more and work as a team to earn that hero or vehicle)

    Never once felt lost with objectives, nor hampered by the wait for a vehicle or hero.
    Even the offline Co-op on one map kept me and the kids hooked for hours.

    Im cetain others (already are doing so) will disagree there was much wrong on this 2nd outing.

    If your problem was you died quickly or couldnt get points… no offence, practice and maybe get better.

    Not individual criticism, just not sure how you can be so critical on a minimal beta that even as just that, is feeling better than the entire first game.

    We are a spoilt generation of gamers and this one here certainly shows to me we need to expect a little less to be rewarded more!

    Comment posted on 09/10/2017 at 15:50.
    • MrYd
      Since: Mar 2011

      Hang on, I’m confused now.

      Is it good that you have to get better at the game, or good that you don’t have to bother because they’ve made killing things so easy? Couple of shots from half way across the map and the enemy is down.

      Do that a few times and you get to be a hero and get even more ahead of the opposing team.

      It’s CoD levels of quick deaths and escalating advantages instead of the much slower BF style of gameplay (and BF1 had that lovely thing where the airship or train comes in to help the losing side making it much more fun)

      The last game managed to fit somewhere between the 2 styles and wrap it all up in a nice Star Wars package, which was what made it so much fun. But once again we get a sequel seemingly aimed at those who didn’t like the previous game.

      All evidence so far suggests it’s not going to be as good, but might keep some people happy.

      Comment posted on 09/10/2017 at 16:11.
    • Stefan L
      Community Team
      Since: May 2009

      A few points where you might have misinterpreted what I said. I didn’t have a problem in combat, and I like the classes and the way that you earn hero characters through scoring points. Those are great and so is Galactic Assault’s shift away from just being based around advancing AT-ATs.

      However the Naboo map is not the best example of what this game mode could be at release, because it is for the most part that same advancing threat of the MTT and it doesn’t do enough to concentrate the smaller numbers of players around cohesive objectives until you get to the Palace. Fighter Assault did a much better job of showing variety of objectives and it constantly feels very active and engaging.

      So yes I’m critical of this one map, but I also say I’m hopeful for the other maps for the final release.

      Comment posted on 09/10/2017 at 19:07.
    • Nate
      Since: Apr 2010

      I’m all for constructive criticism and debate, but when your arguement takes on a more personal tone such as branding Tef as “some kid who gets everything wanting even more” and imply the reason for his opinions is due to him being bad at the game rather than entertaining the idea the game may have some issues it makes you sound like the spoilt generation you reference.

      Comment posted on 10/10/2017 at 10:45.
  6. Starman
    Since: Jul 2011

    Don’t like the change to set classes, preferred picking your favourite abilities and weapons. Also – bloody loot boxes.

    Comment posted on 09/10/2017 at 16:25.
  7. double-o-dave
    Since: Nov 2008

    I lasted about 1 minute playing the multiplayer before quitting. Just doesn’t feel right – I think its TOO casual for my liking. I also tried some mode where I was running around with Darth Maul attacking people which just seemed pointless, then a timer ran out – no idea what was happening. Visuals were pretty good though.

    Comment posted on 09/10/2017 at 16:38.
  8. Lieutenant Fatman
    Since: Jul 2013

    I like the fact I don’t have to be good at the game and can just pay to win with loot boxes. Brilliant idea, whoever thought of that should get all the medals.

    Shame they didn’t rename it Battlefront Loot Boxes, I would have bought two copies in my excitement.

    Comment posted on 09/10/2017 at 18:18.
  9. ron_mcphatty
    Since: Sep 2008

    Not as good as Battlefront, mostly Agee with Avenger, somewhat agree with MrYd, less impact so far, more Star Wars needed. It could definitely be improved upon, but at the same time it’s an improvement on Battlefront in a lot of ways. The second album is tricky, I’m hoping for an awesome tracks one and three.

    Comment posted on 10/10/2017 at 02:03.