*There will be spoilers for Battlefront II*
Battlefront II is off to a rocky start, to say the least. On Metacritic, the game has a metascore of 68 and a user score of 0.9, which is ridiculously low.
Understandably, people are mad at the game and EA for all the controversy that popped up when the game was pre-released a couple of weeks ago. Since then, EA has changed a few things, most notably disabling monetary purchases indefinitely.
Does this mean that the game is fixed forever? Not really. We will still get some DLCs, like the one that’s set to be released on December 13. I am particularly excited for the new chapters for the game’s singleplayer campaign.
This campaign has been, by far, the only thing that has kept me hyped up for Battlefront II. I have played a few rounds of multiplayer and I’m simply not good enough yet to enjoy it properly. The campaign, however, is actually kinda fun.
(Maybe not Wolfenstein II fun. But Star Wars fun.)
A Story of Redemption, Again
Overall, the campaign has that same feeling as Rogue One. It’s a story about soldiers – Imperial soldiers – who are struggling with their own moralities. Iden Versio has been trained (from childhood?) to be the perfect Imperial commando. She is loyal, unquestioning, etc.
But that all changes when Death Star II explodes during the Battle of Endor and Iden starts thinking, “Holy crap, maybe the Empire is not the infallible super state I thought it was.” For this review’s sake, let us forget the fact that the first Death Star’s destruction didn’t cause Iden to question the Empire’s infallibility.
A few star weeks later, Iden also discovers something called Operation: Cinder, which is basically the Emperor’s final fuck you to the galaxy. It turns out, Palpatine had orders for the Imperial Remnant to go out to some strategic locations across the galaxy and PURGE THEM using weather controlling satellites.
Again, let us forget the fact that the Empire’s destruction of Alderaan didn’t cause Iden to think maybe she’s on the wrong side of the moral compass. Operation: Cinder causes Iden to think, “Holy crap we’re killing civilians, the Empire doesn’t do that!”
Oh, and of course, the first target of Operation: Cinder is Iden’s homeworld of Vardos. I guess that helps.
Redemption has always been one of the recurring themes of Star Wars, so of course it makes sense for this story to be about Iden’s discovering the truth about the Empire. At times, it feels like the Rebel Alliance is a bit too forgiving. But, their choice to accept Iden into their ranks is more for pragmatic reasons. She is one helluva soldier, after all.
In that sense, there are some major Force Unleashed vibes coming from this story. Except, instead of being an overpowered Force-user, Iden is an over-powered soldier. Then again, that’s the thing with all shooters – all their protagonists are one-person-armies, able to take down whole legions worth of enemies.
The addition of chapters where you play characters other than Iden is an interesting choice. Although, I would have preferred Iden to be involved in as many chapters as possible, since the campaign is so short and I wanted to get to know her as much as I could.
Out of all the “side-missions,” as it were, my favorite has to be the one with Luke Skywalker. Here, we see a Luke at his full maturity, when he has totally become a Jedi, like his father before him.
May the Nuance Be With You
I have written earlier that I really like nuance in my battles of good vs. evil. Battlefront II definitely has nuance. In this case, it’s the fact that not all Imperial soldiers are evil. Sometimes, they’re just following orders.
Except, let us do away with that apologist bullshit for a second. There’s something more than just that happening here. When Iden realizes the full extent of the Empire’s evil, she realizes that she has been complicit in all those actions herself.
She realizes and accepts that she has done wrong. She is also willing to take full responsibility for her actions, which is why she contacts the Rebels so that she can be… punished, I guess?
Sidenote – do the Rebels ever execute prisoners or kill innocent people, or is that just Cassian Andor?
Anyways. Once she turns herself in, the Rebels give her a choice. She can either go away a free woman and live a life where she’ll have to keep lying to herself that she was just following orders. Or, she can join the Rebellion and actively make up for her mistakes.
In Iden’s case, her choice was materialized for her. In other circumstances, we don’t always get to see our choices that clearly. In fact, sometimes we end up being under the illusion that there is no choice. Yet that’s clearly not the case. You either do something or don’t do something. If you do it, then you have chosen to do it. If not, then you have chosen against it.
As such, Iden chooses. She chooses to stop being a tool for the Empire and chooses to fix the mistakes she has made in the past.
Bite-sized Star Wars Adventure
So maybe it’s Battlefront II itself that needs to go through a journey of redemption. It is going to be very difficult for gamers to forget the sins of EA, but EA has to take the first step.
But there is still good in Battlefront II, as the singleplayer campaign shows. It’s not breathtaking or perfect, but it’s as good as any other midrange Star Wars story. And if you are a fan of Star Wars, you’ll definitely gobble it up.