One of the things I love about playing the 2005 version of Star Wars: Battlefront 2 (which I still maintain is one of the best Star Wars video games of all time) is the feeling that you are a minor player in the bigger scheme of the story. As a soldier of war, you’re along for the ride as you navigate iconic battlefields from the franchise. Even brief stretches of playing as a hero (or villain!) character and unleashing devastating Force abilities on the battlefield doesn’t change the feeling of witnessing second-hand some of the most crucial galactic conflicts of the Star Wars franchise. Star Wars: Battlefront 2 is well-loved and invokes nostalgia from many fans—myself included.
Even 17 years after its release, the game holds up extremely well, and its popularity and replayability value is a testament to the creators behind Star Wars: Battlefront 2, as well as a small but dedicated modding community who enhance the game with additional content.
Developed by Pandemic Studios and published by LucasArts, Star Wars: Battlefront 2 was released for PSP, Playstation 2, Xbox, and PC in 2005. The main campaign and story of the game center around the elite 501st Legion as they participate in battles near the end of the Clone Wars and the fall of the Jedi Order. Eventually, the campaign takes the player through the events of the rise of the Galatic Empire and the birth of the Rebellion, all while transporting players to familiar planets like Coruscant, Naboo, Tatooine, and Yavin 4, among many others.
The campaign is exciting and fast-paced, and the mission objectives the player must complete are a nice addition to frantic battlefield action, but the real meat of Star Wars: Battlefront 2 lies in the game’s various other modes.
Galactic Conquest, Instant Action, and Multiplayer ensure there’s enough content to keep players busy—although multiplayer is no longer supported unless you have mods on the PC. In Galactic Conquest mode, players can choose a faction, whether it’s the Rebellion, the Empire, the Clones, or the droid armies of the Separatists, and traverse a map of the galaxy, fighting in battles and claiming planets as your own. Instant Action allows players to curate a playlist of matches and contains mini-modes, like Hero Hunt, Capture the Flag, and Space Assault.
All the modes are similar in that once players choose a planet to battle on, they also select a faction to join, which presents players with several characters and infantry units to choose from. Some characters and character classes need to be unlocked by completing specific match requirements. Each unit has different equipment and abilities, and together, they give off the feeling that Star Wars: Battlefront 2 is a team game, even in solo mode.
Snipers provide excellent support for the infantry ground units, while the assault class can easily take out enemy vehicles with rocket launchers and grenades. Engineers drop ammo for the other classes and can repair Health Droids, turrets, and ammo dispensers. Bothan spies use stealth and subterfuge to sneak behind the front lines and capture enemy bases. Wookies use their bow-casters to deploy recon droids which can wipe out entire groups of enemies.
Star Wars: Battlefront 2 does a great job of making each unit feel necessary for the upcoming battle. Switching between character classes to complete different objectives gives the gameplay some variation. Thankfully, switching between characters mid-match using your ally bases is easy and doesn’t count as character death, unlike in the first Star Wars: Battlefront game. Once players choose a faction, they have four character classes to choose from. As you earn points throughout the match, two additional characters become available. Typically, these additional character classes wield more powerful abilities and weapons than the other units.
Players can also unlock hero characters who have some of the best weapons in the game (what’s not to love about hurling your lightsaber into an oncoming Droid horde). The Jedi characters, including Mace Windu, Yoda, Luke Skywalker, Aayla Secura, and Ki-Adi-Mundi, can also supplement their lightsaber combat with Force Abilities, like shoving enemies off platforms, healing the troops around you, and buffing your allies’ defenses. They can run faster and jump higher than other units, especially the Jedi and Sith characters.
Other hero characters, like Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Boba Fett, use powerful blaster pistols and rifles, which tear through enemy infantry units like they were nothing. Hero and villain characters can only be played for a short time, but you can increase the amount of time by killing enemies. There’s much fun to be had in leading your squad right into a horde of enemies and unleashing chaos amidst their ranks.
Star Wars: Battlefront 2 isn’t just a squad shooter game, though. The game requires strategy with Galatic Conquest mode and even allows players to engage in fast-paced battles in space. The space battles are intense and exciting, and there’s different methods for taking out enemy ships. One of my favorite things to do during a space battle is to fly several of my teammates to the enemy capital ship and take out the shields and the engines from the inside.
All in all, the various game modes, factions, and time periods to choose from give the game plenty of replayability value. I’ve been playing Star Wars: Battlefront 2 since I was a kid, and it’s crazy how often I come back to the game. There’s no microtransactions or loot boxes to worry about, making the game feel more authentic and less like a cash grab than later entries in the Battlefront series. It’s easy to tell this game was created for Star Wars fans by Star Wars fans.
This isn’t to say Star Wars: Battlefront 2 is a perfect game—although it is pretty damn close. The AI on your team is sometimes quite glitchy. Several of the missions in the campaign mode are incredibly difficult because the AI units are so incompetent and will sometimes stand around shooting at nothing while the enemy steals your bases. it’s kind of funny but after awhile it gets frustrating as enemies swarm you and you have no support from your team.
Not only do you, as the player, have to do everything yourself, but you also have to contend with overpowered enemy units trying to kill you. I overlook these minor flaws because the game is so much fun. It looks great, it plays great—-it’s just great.
Star Wars: Battlefront 2 took what worked with the first game, refined it, and added extra content. It’s a thrilling fast-paced adventure set during the first six films in the Star Wars saga and has plenty to offer for fans of the franchise. It was my first Star Wars game I played and it will always be near and dear to my heart. If you haven’t played this game, I highly recommend it. It’s a love letter to all things Star Wars. Now…enough writing. Let’s go boot up the game and destroy some clankers!
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