Star Wars Battlefront 2 might finally be worth revisiting. Maybe.
Electronic Arts has just unlocked all of the heroes in the game, meaning you will no longer have to go through Battlefront 2‘s awful progression system to play as Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader — beloved characters who were available for FREE and without all of the extra work (or cash) in the first Battlefront. This doesn’t excuse Electronic Arts for its initial plan to drain players of every last penny with its predatory microtransactions, but it’s something.
Battlefront 2 actually has a pretty extensive lineup of characters from all three trilogies: Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Han Solo, Rey, Lando Calrissian, Yoda, Boba Fett, Bossk, Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, Kylo Ren, Darth Maul, Finn, Captain Phasma, and more. You’ll now be able to play as any of these heroes in the multiplayer.
It’s a real shame that it’s taken EA this long to make a decision it should’ve made when it was clear the microtransactions weren’t going to fly with players. After all, in the weeks before it was released, Battlefront 2 looked like a return to form for Star Wars games — a complete experience with both single-player and multiplayer modes across all three eras of the film saga, and even a story campaign featuring all of your favorite characters. There was a glimmer of hope that Battlefront 2 could at least remind us of the golden age of Star Wars games under LucasArts. The microtransaction controversy has now all but diminished the fandom’s trust in EA.
The game’s microtransactions, which are making a return this month, have received a bit of an overhaul. Players will be able to spend money in the game again, but the loot boxes will only contain cosmetic items and credits (the game’s in-game currency).
Before EA unlocked all of the heroes, it was damn near impossible to earn them through the game’s original progression system, which demanded that you play countless hours of the game in order to earn enough credits to purchase additional characters. By some early estimates, it could take players up to 40 hours to unlock Luke or Darth Vader, originally two of the most expensive heroes (who were, again, FREE in the first game) at 60,000 credits each before EA lowered the price to 15,000 credits during Battlefront II‘s preview period in November.
Or you could skip the grinding and use REAL CASH to buy “crystals” that you could then use to buy loot crates, which sometimes dropped credits that *takes breath* you could spend on heroes. There was no direct way to buy heroes outright with real money. But between the time spent grinding and navigating the game’s convoluted economy, players could end up playing and paying way too much for characters that should’ve been part of the package in the first place.
That wasn’t even the most offensive part of the game’s microtransactions, though. Players with money to spend could also buy in-game perks (“Star Cards”) that gave them an advantage in multiplayer, meaning that you could simply pay to win matches by having the best gear and abilities. It’s no surprise that this caused a bit of a balancing issue for the game. Players who didn’t spend any money (on top of the initial $60 for the base game) would never really have a chance in the competitive modes.
Fans were justifiably outraged and when EA tried to do some damage control on Reddit, the company’s statement became the most downvoted comment on the website’s history. Pushed into a bit of a corner, EA was eventually forced to turn off paid microtransactions altogether (reportedly at Disney’s behest) hours before the game’s official launch. Things got so bad that even EA’s stock took a hit at one point.
It’s unclear what the future holds for Battlefront 2 — whether this overhaul will be enough to bring players back to the game, which failed to meet EA’s sales expectations after the loot crate fiasco — but you’ll at least have an easier time playing as Luke from now on. Hardly a consolation prize so many months later, if you ask me.