It’s been a little quiet around here lately. I had planned to fill the gaps with reviews for the last two seasons of Game of Thrones, but by the time I got round to writing the season six review, I’d forgotten what exactly had happened in that season (like, I remember the events, but where did the lines between seasons five and seven end?) and so now I’m in the process of rewatching that.
But never fear, because Battlefront II has come to save the day, as the long-awaited new game mode has rounded out the second half of The Clone Wars updates.
So with three new updates since the arrival of Obi-Wan Kenobi in Battlefront II, there’s a lot of new content to unpack.
The first update was focused around the Sith Lord Count Dooku. The character came with a selection of abilities that were focused on making him a dominating lightsaber duelist and were also able to stun opponents with force lightning.
Out of the various new heroes to join the game, Dooku is probably the one I’ve played the least, but even with my low-level Dooku, a strategic attack and boosts from his various abilities allow him to take down higher level heroes with a few simple strikes.
His brutal attacks could have worked to sway battles in the dark sides favour, but a month later, Dooku was joined in the game by Anakin Skywalker. You could question how it took so long for one of the main characters in all of Star Wars to make it into the game, but that’s an argument for another time.
Anakin, unlike most heroes, actually has four abilities at his disposal. Passionate strike changes up lightsaber combat by allowing the player to break through an opposing hero’s block. Pull dominance leaves enemies helpless as Anakin uses a force pull to position opponents right in front of him. Heroic Might allows Anakin to take incoming damage to channel it into a powerful force push that could, before being tweaked, take out opposing heroes in one hit. The final ability, Retribution, unleashes a 360-degree force choke, but that last ability can only be used sporadically. Altogether, these abilities mean that even an Anakin without any additional star card power-ups could pretty much dominate, and in the hands of a good player, I’ve found it’s generally just better to just run in the other direction whenever you see him coming (although taking him out is very satisfying). Playing as Anakin is a very enjoyable experience. It doesn’t require much in the way of skill, but it can be a much more rewarding way of spending your battle points than, say, Chewbacca. In fact, at the moment, I think playing as Anakin may be one of the most enjoyable parts of the game. Just a shame it took EA and DICE over a year to get here.
Alongside these two characters have come a wealth of clone trooper skins to customise your players. However, while these are welcome, it is quite annoying that DICE’s current effort to go in on these new updates seemingly excludes all other facets of the game. Droids and Stormtroopers aren’t seeing any similar sort of updates, and the fact that Dooku, a character who was added two months ago, has more alternate appearances than Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, Bossk, Boba Fett, Darth Maul and Yoda – all of whom have been in the game since launch – is a bit annoying. Especially since his most recent appearance is him in his pyjamas. That’s not a joke.
Why not use the time it takes to create that skin and apply it to making more skins for primary characters, or giving characters like Luke, Leia, Han and Obi-Wan their elder (Sequel Trilogy and Original Trilogy, respectively) appearances? It’s weird choices like this that mean even when this game gives you what you want, it does so in an irritating way.
The final part of the ‘season’, which dropped today, is the release of a whole new game mode, replete with two new classes of soldiers. I’ve played a few matches of the new game mode, and the new republic class – the ARC Trooper, is a lot of fun. With dual-wielding pistols and a powerful alternate blast, he provides a fun alternative for when you can’t snag a hero, and at half the cost.
As for the game mode itself, Capital Supremacy, I have mixed feelings on.
The mode involves two teams, boosted by AIs, capturing Command Posts from one another in whatever order they desire. Once enough CPs have been captured, the battle is moved to one of two capital ships, where the attacking team has to systematically destroy the ship from the inside to win the battle. If they’re pushed back, the game moves back to ground level and the cycle repeats. And repeats. And repeats. Until one side finally destroys the opposing team’s ship.
The mode is fun. Moderately. When played only once or twice. However, it was announced a year ago, and now that it’s finally showed up, it feels slightly unfinished (the interior of the ship never loads in time with the cinematics) and somewhat barren. Plus, worst of all, it’s only on one map, so that adds to it getting stale quite quickly.
I’ve played it three or four times at this stage, and while I may go back to it eventually, I think I’m done for now. It’s taken less than a couple of hours to get boring, and that, I think, speaks volumes.
Fortunately, the update also came with changes to lightsaber combat and other small fixes that I think will, in turn, make the existing game modes more interesting. Plus, the fact that this is all finally out of the way means that the game can now build on the foundation it has and hopefully, continue adding content at the rate it has been.
But I won’t hold my breath.