When I first saw Battlefront 2’s Galactic Assault mode during that half hour liveplay at the end of EA’s 2017 E3, I loved what I was seeing with it. I loved most of what I saw during that liveplay, but there were questions yet to be answered. Upon getting to play myself during the beta, some of those were answered.
But what was on offer – even in the full game – felt kind of lacking. I’m not talking about flooding the game with modes, but it felt that all of them were focused in on pinpointing the action to specific locations with the objectives. For as much as I loved Galactic Assault, I still wanted that freeform mode like Conquest.
It took more than a year, but we finally got such a mode with Capital Supremacy, which then started the slow change in focus to modes built off it. That gave players more freeform modes, but did also leave everything else in a state of no longer seeing support (which is sadly reflected in how the menu is organised).
Through all these updates across the two and a half years the game has been active, it has become a lot better. I’m starting to love it more. Even more than I did at its release. For this article, then, I’ll be focusing on those things I have enjoyed throughout my time with the game.
The first progression system I found fine. It wasn’t good, but served its purpose in terms of using scrap to upgrade cards. Any card could be upgraded, so even those units you had never used could see some upgrades. I used as much scrap as possible to boost Maul, even though I could rarely use him. The new system I was unsure of at first, since it removed the ability to do that. But then I felt it worked better.
If I wasn’t using a unit, there wasn’t much point to upgrading them. I was barely able to ever use a hero, and whenever I could I barely lasted any time at all. Everything could go into those units I used, so the Heavy soon had everything unlocked, with the Rocket Trooper not far behind. Even with Heroes vs Villains, those heroes were barely upgraded. Until co-op became a thing and I was able to easier learn how to use them in the field.
Galactic Assault was my original go-to mode, with those maps where there were transport defence objectives being my favourite. It called back to Walker Assault from the first game but more open, since you weren’t restricted to defending specific spots. A fair few maps had such an objective, and I do feel that out of all the maps, Naboo still remains my favourite.
Heroes vs Villains was a mode I enjoyed, as it was improved over the first game. Everyone was a hero, and you stuck with that hero instead of becoming a regular trooper. What wasn’t as great was the target system, where one person on each team was a target that everyone on the other side had to take down. It usually resulted in the target hiding while the others of the team rushed the opposing target.
The removal of the target system improved the mode, as teamwork then became a greater focus. It felt more like a team on team game, with everyone being an equal target and opportunity for a quick strike and run away. Another thing that also improved the mode was the health on kill being made a passive ability for all heroes, rather than being restricted to a card and on certain actions.
The start of the new additions brought Geonosis to Galactic Assault. The objectives within the map focused on the AT-TEs that would be dropped for the Republic, and provided a fresh perspective on the mode. But the larger addition was the new mode of Capital Supremacy, which brought a new map on the same planet – something I wished would happen for other planets.
Capital Supremacy was a breath of fresh air for the game as a whole, bringing a mode a lot like conquest. Five command posts, with the team that managed to hold more for longer being the winner. Or they would be, except there was a second part to the mode where the winner of the ground phase had to storm the opposing team cruiser.
This part of the mode originally felt more restricted, as both objectives involved setting a timer and defending that point. When the mode saw a revision after it first released, this phase became a lot more freeform, even if it still put focus on specific spots of action. The first objective became a capture point, with the second being to destroy the reactor of the cruiser, which felt a lot more satisfying to pull off than just holding a point until the timer went off.
Co-op followed Capital Supremacy once other Clone Wars maps had been added. I enjoyed this mode for the ability to get to use heroes easier, and keep them in use for longer. Four team members and a number of AI join together to attack or defend capture points from a full team of AI. It’s a good mode to level up units, but despite being against AI can get massively overwhelming.
Only one capture point needs to be taken for progress to be made, and on the first and last phases can be hard to manage. The first because there’s three points to defend, so your forces are spread thin, and the last phase as there’s only one. The improved AI these new modes have been given are pretty unpredictable, but Co-op is a little played mode by me, ever since Instant Action became a thing.
Instant Action took the ground phase of Supremacy (the mode dropped the Capital part of the name when adding the Original Trilogy maps) and put it as an offline mode. This is Conquest in all but name. New toggles have been added to make the mode even better, with improvements to the AI system allowing them to use heroes and vehicles effectively.
Since Instant Action has been added, the other modes have barely been played. This is the most freeform mode available, and the most customisable. I’m playing it so much I wish all the other maps can soon be added. Now that Supremacy doesn’t need the cruiser phase to be a part of the mode, I’d also want them added to not only Supremacy, but Co-op as well.
I loved Battlefront 2 on its release, but I love it even more now. The addition of the new modes, as well as the new units, have improved it greatly. It’s unfortunate that ship combat won’t get any new modes in this game, as I would have loved to see how DICE would have made a freeform space mode with the same quality as Instant Action.
All of these improvements, and the continued additions to the game, can help when the third game gets into development. If new freeform modes can be made that feel fresh, along with that freeform space mode similar to Space Assault, then the third will be even greater than the second.
For now, though, the second game of EA’s Battlefront series is well worth anyone’s time to play.