The Tragedy of Star Wars Battlefront 2’s Excellent Lore Revealing Campaign
Before proceeding, this post will provide heavy spoilers for Star Wars Battlefront 2’s campaign, so proceed at your own risk.
No matter how you slice it, Star Wars Battlefront 2’s launch week was tragic. The game had been marred in controversy due to its use of loot crates and a system that favored a pay-to-win formula for its multiplayer modes. Even with EA and DICE’s move to remove these types of crates from the game right before its full launch couldn’t save it from the public relations disasters that preceded it. Gamers felt betrayed and angry over how this game’s mechanics have been handled, and it ultimately cost Battlefront 2 favorable review scores. While I put the blame on the publisher for this PR mess, I do feel bad for the developers and talented artists that worked on bringing the title to life. If you can look past the whole loot crate debacle and the insane progression requirements for the multiplayer mode (hey I guess there’s a ton of replayability right), Star Wars Battlefront 2 is a solid Star Wars game that has a fully fleshed out and relevant campaign, as well as plenty of multiplayer activities to keep you busy with its universe for the foreseeable future.
The campaign in particular is the biggest loser in the controversy surrounding this game, because now many casual and hardcore Star Wars fans will probably skip it due to the backlash this game has received from critics and gamers alike. I get that the Battlefront 2 franchise is all about waging war with others online to feel as if you’re taking part in the same galactic conflicts that made you a Star Wars fan in the first place, but in this sequel, it also features a well thought out and lore laden campaign that just shouldn’t be missed by serious Star Wars fans.
After completing the campaign, which lasts anywhere from 5-8 hours depending on skill and difficulty, I couldn’t help but feel bad for those Star Wars fans who are opting to skip out on it over their disgust for EA and DICE. At the same time I understand their decision and respect their boycott. It really is a tragedy though, because the campaign is loaded with interesting Star Wars lore, which is all canon by the way, and it provides plenty of solid connections between the end of Return of the Jedi, and the period just before the start of The Force Awakens. You meet interesting new characters on both sides of the galactic conflict, and you even get treated to a few nods to the new books and characters that only superfans may be aware of. There’s just a ton of fan service provided, and not at the expense of the narrative, which remains interesting throughout.
Battlefront 2’s campaign also excels in introducing new characters to the franchise, and Iden Versio — the game’s lead — makes for a very interesting and complex protagonist. For the first few missions you get to experience what it was like to be in the Empire leading up to and during the Battle of Endor. She provides great insights into how Imperial forces felt about the Rebellion, which to them were nothing more than terrorists trying to break up the righteous Empire. Her disdain for Rebels is palpable, and it just goes to show that even good natured, level headed people can do horrible things if they’re raised to think what they’re doing is the right way of doing things. I just found this perspective to be very fresh for a Star Wars game, and it provided more than a few insights into the inner workings of the Empire as it began to crumble thanks to the death of the Emperor.
Iden, along with fellow Inferno Squad member Del Meeko, eventually come to the realization that they’ve been serving the wrong side all along, so they reluctantly join the Rebellion, but even this betrayal offers interesting insights into the timeline just after the Battle of Endor. It showed that not all Imperials blindly followed the orders of their fallen Emperor and took part in carrying out Operation Cinder, and that even the most loyal and deadly of Imperial forces could have a change of heart once they saw the error of their ways. Iden and Del’s defection allowed the campaign to provide more insights into what the Rebellion was up to after its huge Endor victory, so again, for a Star Wars fan, this type of content is all that we’ve been looking for in a Star Wars video game, so it’s sad that this one has been tarnished by stupid design and business choices for its multiplayer modes.
While characters like Iden and Del bring the freshest feel to Battlefront 2’s campaign, it may be the franchise stars that seal it as being one of the best Star Wars video game campaigns in years. Throughout the campaign you get to control heroes like Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, and Lando Calrissian, and each of their missions is packed full on interesting and sometimes very revealing Star Wars lore. The most revealing hero mission is Luke’s though, because you get to see what the hero was up to after the Battle of Endor, but more importantly you’re given clues as to how he ended up finding the first ever Jedi temple on Ahch-to. So not only does Battlefront 2’s campaign fill in some gaps for the end of the original trilogy of films, it also plugs some holes, or at least shows the beginnings of how certain things came to be in the latest Skywalker-centric trilogy of films.
The other main character missions aren’t just filler either. Han’s mission not only sees him at Maz’s castle to provide more connections to that character and location, but it shows him with a beard, and features him looking for a way to free Kashyyk. Chewie and him helping to free Chewie’s home planet has always been a part of Star Wars lore, so now we get to see a bit of backstory on how they went about doing it.
For Leia’s mission you get to see her defend her Mother’s home world, which may not reveal a ton of lore, but the idea that Leia goes and protects her Mother’s home world is pretty fun for a Star Wars fan. Leia also brings up the New Republic, and offers Iden and Del a place in it, so clearly lore gets fleshed out left and right in this campaign.
Lando’s mission on the other hand helps to setup the Battle of Jakku, which we know from promotions leading up to The Force Awakens to be the final straw that breaks the Empire’s back, so it’s yet another major Star Wars lore story point that gets more meat on its bones thanks to this game’s campaign.
As the campaign closes you also get more information about the early events of The Force Awakens from the perspective of one of the new main characters from the current trilogy — Kylo Ren. You play as Ren and figure out how he got a lead on Lor San Tekka’s location. It is revealed that none other than Del Meeko, a character from this game, had a heavy role in trying to hide Luke Skywalker’s location from the First Order. This scene not only fleshes out some lore for The Force Awakens, but it also reinforces the importance of the characters first featured in this game. Both Iden and Del go from being Imperial badasses to key figures in the Rebellion and more than likely the Resistance, and each has multiple impacts on the main characters from the original trilogy, as well as the new one currently being explored. It’s also revealed through Kylo Ren that the two fathered a daughter, and while I believe this daughter is meant to be a red herring for the mystery of Rey’s parentage, the fact that she is brought up by Kylo and featured in this game’s campaign, only goes to show how important its story and characters are to the overall Star Wars universe.
No matter how you slice it, the events surrounding Star Wars Battlefront 2’s release are tragic at best. I completely understand the backlash from gamers over the use of a pay-to-win loot crate system, but at the same time I feel bad for the creatives who poured their hearts and souls into bringing this game to life. In particular, those who crafted its rather well done single-player campaign, which I have found to be one of the best Star Wars video game campaigns ever. Now my opinion of it is mostly based on the quality canon-based story, because the gameplay is average at best, but when it comes to providing an entertaining and eye opening Star Wars story, Battlefront 2 excels and should be experienced by anyone calling themselves a Star Wars fan. Is it worth $60? That’s up to you to decide and how you breakdown the value of entertainment. When movies these days can cost upwards of $20 to watch in a theater, I can justify spending $60 on a game that gives me over six hours of Star Wars entertainment (not to mention all of the replayability in the multiplayer modes), but that’s me. I know we aren’t all alike. Either way, if you are a fan of Star Wars and its many stories and characters, I’m asking you to trust me and the Force on this one, and spend the money to experience Battlefront 2’s campaign. I do not think you will be disappointed.
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