EA DICE’s Star Wars Battlefront II has transformed from a beleaguered lootbox simulator to one hell of a Star Wars game. While the journey to success took over two years of trial and error, the title’s come a long way. The progression system has been massively overhauled, serious rebalances have stabilized the metagame, and most importantly the content is now substantially more enjoyable.
All that change brings with it an ever-growing skill curve. To help players adjust, DICE’s most recent update opts for a method like in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. In Black Flag, players could dive right into competitive play or play through an extensive cooperative mode known as Wolfpack. Effectively a hybrid challenge mode and tutorial, Wolfpack rewarded you most for playing like a pro. To score highest and keep going, you had to harness Black Flag’s stealth mechanics to their fullest, rather than just rush up and stab a target.
Wolfpack also taught you the map layouts by spreading objectives around, oftentimes in areas you’d normally miss in traditional competitive play. Battlefront II has done the same thing by converting all maps in the game’s marquee mode, Capital Supremacy, into cooperative adventures. You can play every unit, level up every class, and learn all you need to know before facing a human opponent.
During co-op missions, you’ll attack (and in an October update, defend) several command posts while being assaulted by hordes of enemies ranging from lowly grunts to AI heroes. Like in Wolfpack, you’re expected to work as a team in order to survive. The AI doesn’t overwhelm you, but it demands caution and strategy.
Capturing command posts, your primary objective, boosts your score. So does assisting your allies through deploying shields, healing, and marking enemies. The more points you earn, the sooner you can play as Anakin Skywalker or Count Dooku and experience the rush of effortlessly tearing through opponents. Compound this with a steady stream of unlocks that further enhance your favorite units, and you’ll soon be equipped with everything you need for PvP battle.
Star Wars Battlefront II has also brought back an Instant Action mode that lets you test and expand on the knowledge you gained in co-op by fighting over the full Capital Supremacy map without any ship segment. You can customize your experience by choosing the AI difficulty, disabling or enabling enemy heroes, and extending the match length.
Instant Action is the perfect sandbox to experiment in, giving you the feel and challenge of an online match without the pressure. If you lose, you still earned a new rank and are that much closer to unlocking a new rifle. The same principles from Wolfpack are melded with the bigger scale of online play, easing players into things.
That said, both modes could still use improvement. Instant Action is limited to Capital Supremacy maps, which means there’s no content outside of the Clone Wars era. Strike, Extraction, Starfighter Assault, and Galactic Assault are all worthy candidates for future updates, especially given fans have already created mods that enable Instant Action for Starfighter Assault.
Some of the co-op maps still have issues. Theed map ends in a glut of clones that it turns into a 20-versus-four fight, including enemy hero units and reinforcements that can decimate some teams. Felucia is very buggy right now, including a spawn glitch that cost my team the match because our view kept getting stuck in the skybox. Regardless of a few rough spots though, Cooperation is another solid update for Star Wars Battlefront II. Against all odds, the small yet valiant team supporting the game has found ways to enhance its longevity.