Battlefront 2's Starfighter Assault Mode Should Be Its Own Game

I have no need for the petty foot-based battles of filthy rebels and shiny Stormtroopers, adorable prequel droids and Order 66-awaiting clones. My Star Wars take place in the heavens of Battlefront II's Starfighter Assault mode, so good it should be its own game.

Star Wars has a history of producing very good games focused solely on space battles. The X-Wing series, Rogue Squadron, Starfighter — these are games that delivered the experience of participating in the starborne battles that set my young imagination on fire back in the '70s and early '80s.

Then there are games that treat space battles as more of an afterthought, catering mainly to the fans who like to dress up in robes and armour and swing around replica laser swords (good, fine people).

Games like 2015's Star Wars: Battlefront, in which a well-meaning EA Dice turned air battles into games of "whoever can spin the longest without throwing up wins."

Battlefront II's Starfighter Assault mode is part of a larger, mostly foot-based endeavour, but it feels like a standalone space combat game.

It's the sounds of the ships screaming through space, the "plut plut plut" of the lasers. It's the sense of speed when the boosters kick in, the light and imagined heat of a narrowly-missed explosion.

It's the way the camera moves around the ships, as if everything's moving so fast that whoever or whatever is filming it all is struggling to keep up.

It's Criterion Games, is what it is. The studio behind Burnout - no stranger to speed, funky cameras and explosions - got its hands on space combat this time around (Criterion did the speeder bikes in 2015's Battlefront), and they did a bang-up job.

It's near-sensory perfection, or as perfect as flying an imaginary spaceship can get. Combined with outstanding maps that have players flying through massive Star Destroyers rather than just near them, dodging the scenery instead of admiring it, Starfighter Assault is one of the best arcade-style spaceship dogfighting games ever made.

Only it's not a game. It's a mode in a larger game, one with some serious customer satisfaction issues.

It could and should be so much more. Maybe next time!


Comments

    You shouldn't be able to publish positive news about BF2 at the moment - it's just weakening my resolve to boycott it over EA's anti-consumer practices. It's like advertising a new hilarious-looking Louis CK special.

      If you buy it you can thank yourself in a few years when games get as bad as mobile games with endless cool downs and micro transactions.

      Don’t do it, stay strong.

      Don't worry, it'll still be just as good in 6 months when it's selling for $15. There are plenty of other good games to play until then.

        Yeah luckily my package from nzgameshop arrived yesterday. Wolfenstein 2 and Shadow of War should tide me over.

    Don't give EA ideas, they will charge full price for the same mode with no new features and riddle it with micro-transactions.

    The controls for this mode are woeful, this game is such a dissapointment.

    Seriously I cant stop playing this mode. Wish there was way more maps. Now we just need a new version of Xwing VS Tie Fighter, X Wing Alliance type of game with this engine... a sequel to them is way overdue.

    The controls are just stunning and so responsive. Though I am playing on PS4, so cant talk for the PC crowd.

    Have to say the funniest most confusing bug (and actually the only one after 20 hour) I have seen was went I loaded in as a Tie Interceptor but for whatever reason it was actually Darth Maul's ship with a Tie Interceptor skills. As bugs go it was pretty hilarious.

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