A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Star Wars Battlefront II is a first-/third-person action shooter game, and the direct sequel to EA's 2015 Star Wars Battlefront title. The game features content pulled from various eras of the Star Wars cinematic universe, with a single-player story that ties events from Return of the Jedi together with those from The Force Awakens and beyond. The story touches on themes of loyalty, redemption, and more, with a strong female protagonist leading the charge. Battlefront II is relatively easy to pick up and play, though some aspects of it have a steeper learning curve than others. Since combat is a central focus, violence in the game is a core part of the nonstop action. Even so, the violence is never graphic or bloody, with defeated enemies simply falling over and vanishing from the battlefield. Parents should also be aware that Battlefront II has an in-game market, where players use credits earned through gameplay or crystals purchased with real-world money to unlock additional content.
What's it about?
STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT II is the direct sequel to EA's hit 2015 shooter set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Once again, players take to the battlefield in epic sci-fi combat, with the fate of the galaxy at stake. Up to 40 players fight deep in the trenches and high in orbit above various locations from the Star Wars universe. Using expanded content from all the movies in the Star Wars franchise, the game features the armies of the Empire and the Alliance, joined this time around by forces from the Trade Federation, the Galactic Republic, the First Order, and the Resistance. Star Wars Battlefront II also includes a new single-player campaign mode, weaving together events that bridge the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. Players are introduced to Iden Versio, a TIE Fighter pilot and Commander of the Special Ops unit known as Inferno Squad. With the destruction of the second Death Star, Inferno Squad is called upon to implement Operation: Cinder, a failsafe initiative devised by Emperor Palpatine to wipe out his enemies on a cosmic scale in the event of his death. While executing her orders, Versio's loyalties and beliefs are put to the test. It's a tale of revenge and redemption, told from the other side of the galactic conflict.
Is it any good?
The Force is strong with this ground, space, and air-based shooter, which improves on the franchise in virtually every way, although microtransactions hurt its potential. When Star Wars Battlefront was released back in 2015, players got the thrill of being on the front lines in the battle between the Empire and the Alliance, joined by the various heroes or villains of the Star Wars universe. It was fast, frantic, Force-fueled fun in a galaxy far, far away. But, as good as it was, fans still felt like something was missing. With the sequel, Star Wars Battlefront II, EA looks to remedy all that, packing in a host of expanded content, extra characters, and new features, all to make a Star Wars action game with power to rival the Death Star. First and foremost, the game includes a single-player story mode, which introduces Iden Versio to Star Wars lore. Through the eyes of this Inferno Squad commander, players get the opportunity to see events from a unique perspective and to experience life on the other side of the battlefield. It's a rich story that feels satisfying, with characters that feel like they belong in the Star Wars canon.
Of course, one of Star Wars Battlefront II's biggest draws is its multiplayer component. While players can entertain themselves in solo or couch co-op, split-screen arcade matches, it's online matchups where the game truly shines. Whether you're fighting in small eight-on-eight strikes, 12-on-12 starfighter dogfights, or a huge 20-vs.-20 Galactic Assault battle, the gameplay is fluid and natural. It never feels like things are too crowded or too spread out, and you always feel like you're an integral part of the action. Plus, if you manage to earn enough points to enter the fray as a Hero character, you can't help but get a Sith-like joy from watching foes flee from your power. Unfortunately, this leads to the one glaring exhaust port weakness in the game: microtransactions. Upgrades to items and abilities are locked in the form of Star Cards, and have to be either crafted or purchased with credits or crystals. Credits and craft materials can be earned by playing matches and achieving specific career milestones, while crystals can be bought with real-world money. This means that new players will usually jump into battle at a disadvantage, unless they're willing to take the time to earn some credits via gameplay or shell out the cash for crystals. And though eight of the game's initial roster of 14 hero characters are unlocked from the start, the remaining six can be purchased only with credits. So if you want the chance to play Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader in a match, you'll need to grind through enough matches to earn them. And since credits are also used to purchase upgrades for the rest of your troops, it can take a while. It's not enough to blow the game apart like Alderaan, but it's still enough frustration to cause a slight disturbance in the Force.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about merchandising and consumerism. How much influence does licensing have on consumer interest? Does the fact that something is based on or tied into an existing franchise make it seem like a better product?
Talk about violence in media. What are some ways that violence in TV, films, and games impact a child's behavior? How does the lack of any consequence, such as when characters respawn after their death, or the overall genre (sci-fi, fantasy, etc.), affect that impact?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Electronic Arts
- Release date: November 17, 2017
- Genre: First Person Shooter
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Great Girl Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs, Robots, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: T for Mild Language, Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.