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By the Way: ‘Battlefront II’ and the death of ‘Star Wars’ video games

Like countless people my age, video games were a big part of my childhood. Though I spent hours and hours outside, the best hours were spent with a controller in my hands.

I still get chills when I hear the iconic PlayStation startup sound. It brings back memories of games like Ape Escape, Rayman and the original Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater

When I was a child, I had pretty strictly enforced guidelines on how long I could spend playing video games each day. (The absence of such a rule is one of the few things I enjoy about adulthood.) Because of that limit, I had to be selective about which games I played. 

2005’s Star Wars: Battlefront II was one of the games I sunk hours and hours of time into. Great graphics (for its time) were paired with challenging gameplay and a variety of game modes.

For me, the most important quality a game can have is replayability. Lots of Star Wars games have had replayability: the Knights of the Old Republic series, Republic Commando and even the Lego Star Wars games.

The original Battlefront II had that replayability. Its successors, the Electronic Arts reboots Star Wars Battlefront and Star Wars Battlefront II, don’t.

What the hell happened?

I’ll give them credit where it’s due: The new Battlefront and Battlefront II are both gorgeous games that feel less like a video game and more like an interactive movie.

But that’s not exactly a good thing. The campaign tells the story of Iden Versio, who (spoiler alert) goes from elite Imperial trooper to Rebel commander. Aside from the campaign’s brevity and lack of gameplay depth, it just feels forced and scripted. Nothing you do is creative or unique — you just follow the directions to complete the mission.

The saddest part of it all is that EA combined a shallow game with one of the worst public relations disasters in, well, ever.

Before Nov. 12, the most downvoted comment on Reddit was this comment, where the posting user quite literally asked people to downvote the comment. That comment has a score of about negative 24,000.

EA — already under criticism from video game fans and critics for Battlefront II’s progression system and pay-to-win microtransactions — responded to an angry post on the game’s subreddit, saying that certain hero characters were locked to “provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment.”

That comment now has a score of negative 669,000.

The progression system has now been fixed and microtransactions have been removed, but that doesn’t matter — the PR disaster ensured that Battlefront II was dead on arrival. 

Fixed or not, the game still doesn’t have much to offer. The campaign and its downloadable add-ons are short and uninteresting, and the multiplayer — though fun at times — is just more of the same, over and over. It’s repetitive and unengaging.

With all its resources and creativity, EA had a chance to make a gorgeous, deep Star Wars game that would have evoked nostalgia in gamers’ minds 10 or 20 years from now.

Instead, Battlefront II will just leave us wondering what might have been.

Alex McCann is a junior studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. What do you think of Star Wars Battlefront II? Tweet Alex @alexrmccann.

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