Saying nice things about Battlefront 2 is pretty unpopular, because there's plenty of justified, legitimate complaints against the game. But the campaign still has some visually spectacular moments that developers quietly slaved away at to create, so let's take a moment to appreciate some of their work - because it's pretty bloody good.
The first Battlefront reboot stood out thanks to some cracking photgrammetry tech from DICE. Put simply, it's technology that scans and meshes a ton of photographs together, which form the basis of a 3D landscape that can be replicated in-game.
What you're seeing here is a process known as "scanning", or "photogrammetry". It's not new, having already been used to generate the landscapes in games like Star Wars. Battlefront, but as you'll see, as the technology involved (and the skill of artists) advances, so too do the results.
The tech also works for smaller objects, like helmets, weapons, starfighter models and so on. DICE simply has to put the object on a turntable in front of some cameras, and the photogrammetry software will then look for points to stitch the images together.
So in other words, when you see a helmet in Battlefront 2 and think "cor that looks good", now you know why. As a note, I captured all the screenshots below on a i7-7900X/GTX 1080 Ti/16GB RAM rig, running at ultra settings with the resolution scale upped to 150%.
The landscapes are nice enough, but what I'd really like to call out are the facial models. In a year where EA in particular copped a ton of flak for crappy player animations and rubbery faces, Battlefront 2 knocks it out of the park.
The campaign runs through a lot of cinematic close-ups: shots of Iden Versio talking to her squad, or fan favourites Luke, Leah, Lando talking to the player character. It's basically an opportunity for DICE to flex their wrinkle and pore recreation tech as much as possible, which is the level of production you'd really expect from a flagship Star Wars property.
None of this, of course, excuses how Battlefront 2's loot crates and progression system are structured. But AAA titles, Battlefront 2 and others included, are the byproduct of hundreds of illustrators, coders, environmental artists, lighting artists, and so on, who all bring this together.
The anger around Battlefront 2 means a lot of their good work will go unseen. Which is a shame, because the environments, models and overall look of Battlefront 2 is probably a level above anything we'll see this year.