I'm Conflicted About Star Wars Battlefront II
If you're like me, you've probably come across a song, a movie, or a game that you wanted to support because of someone involved in the process. Whether it's friends who are creative and could use every bit of support they can get or just people you have followed on the internet, you want them to be rewarded for their efforts. But what happens if their individual efforts don't lead to a product that you feel is good? Maybe it's not their fault, which can easily be the case on a big budget video game made by hundreds of people. All these people are talented but sometimes the pieces just don't come together. This is my dilemma so let me give you some context.
Janina Gavankar plays Iden Versio in Star Wars Battlefront II and it's a big canonical role for her. You can watch videos and interviews with her about how excited she is to be in Star Wars. It doesn't hurt that Janina is also a huge gamer and nerd that has a passion for this project. So when you listen to someone like her talk about it, it feels genuine. I think it is. Janina is one of us. Who wouldn't want to play a part in fucking Star Wars? I'd cut off a finger or two to be a fat stormtrooper that gets shot in the first thirty seconds! Someone like Janina makes me want to throw all the support I can at Star Wars Battlefront II, but I can't.
Walt Williams was a co-writer on the campaign and I have enjoyed his past work. He wrote Spec Ops: The Line, an incredible look at the horrors of war. It's one of those games that really makes you think deeply about a subject. Not a lot of games do that. That list is growing but this is still a young medium and a lot of creators haven't quite found their voice yet in a very crowded space that is full of fluff. I want to support great writer like Walt, but I can't.
By now, you've probably heard about the controversy regarding microtransactions and how DICE and Electronic Arts chose a pay-to-win system for their online multiplayer. I agree with most people who don't want this in the game but it's not the part that conflicts me about whether to support it. EA and DICE fucked up, really bad. While I do think they have tried to fix that and I applaud them for trying, that's not the biggest issue for me. My hang-up is that the game just isn't fun. Battlefront II looks and sounds like a Star Wars game. I should be happy with that. I'm not. It's not fun to play.
I've played the game through EA Access/Gamefly and I'm so glad I didn't buy it. Star Wars Battlefront II is mediocre at best. The campaign is the right length but is very predictable and the gameplay is just meh. Meh is the best word to describe it. Meh shouldn't get your $60 or hell $80-100 for all the bells and whistles. It doesn't feel engaging. It just feels like a sterile experience. Where are the joy and wonder that are the core of Star Wars? The game's just not good. It takes a lot of talent to make what they made and I don't want to take away from that because the people behind it are great at what they do. I just think bad decisions were made at pivotal points and it takes away from the experience.
I really want to support people like Janina Gavankar and Walt Williams because their passion shines through an otherwise marred experience. They are great ambassadors for the projects they work on and I want to see them get more work. These are the kind of artists we should support, but I can't. I just can't shell out money for this one and I feel bad about it.
Agree or disagree with me? Let me know on Twitter @TrevorOsz