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The stunning transformation of Star Wars: Battlefront 2

To say that Star Wars: Battlefront 2 has come a long way is an understatement.

After the disappointing shape that 2015's Star Wars: Battlefront arrived in, fans looked to the sequel as the ultimate return to form for the lauded Star Wars gaming franchise. But those hopes were quickly dashed at launch. A flood of negative reviews from publications like Destructoid, PC Gamer, and Giant Bomb tripped up EA's big-budget galactic shooter. It looked as if Star Wars fans would have to deal with another failed Battlefront comeback attempt from the gaming publisher many had grown to despise.

From 2017 right up until 2020, however, developer DICE went out of its way to right the many wrongs of its latest foray into a galaxy far, far away. Big changes were implemented in order to transform the game into the most satisfying playable Star Wars experience ever made. Judging by the updated scores for the game from IGN and Third Coast Review, it's clear that Star Wars: Battlefront 2 has drastically improved and morphed into something that fans can be proud of.

Here is a look look at the stunning transformation of Star Wars: Battlefront 2.

The pre-release beta brought worries over microtransactions

The fears and concerns over Battlefront 2's microtransactions started before it even came out.

During the game's open beta period in October 2017, its player base found issues with the loot box system, which is used to obtain in-game currency, crafting items, and Star Cards. Star Cards give players the ability to equip various character classes with different weapons and abilities. In order to obtain those collectibles, players must purchase loot boxes with the in-game credits earned from winning multiplayer matches (they also come as a loot box reward).

Polygon explained how the low payout of credits ("players have only received somewhere south of 180 credits") and high loot box cost ("crates cost 1,100 credits each") seemed to push players to purchase loot boxes with real cash instead. "[C]onsidering that Star Cards are the primary upgrade method in the Battlefront 2 multiplayer campaign, those who refuse to pay for loot crates could be at a disadvantage when facing those who have bought them and upgraded more quickly," the site said.

A pay-to-win mechanic was clearly rearing its ugly head early on during the open beta phase of Battlefront 2. But the worst was yet to come.

The EA Access release period presented hero unlocking concerns

EA Access subscribers got to hop into Battlefront 2 early back in November 2017. But they were none too pleased with the crazy number of hours it took to unlock a single hero.

A dedicated player on Reddit broke down the amount of playtime it took to earn enough credits for a new character. As it turns out, an average of 40 hours had to be played just to earn 60,000 credits for a hero unlock. Another Reddit user explained their anger over buying an $80 version of the game and still being forced to work overtime just to place Darth Vader into their hero rotation. An EA rep decided to respond to that poster's complaint, but that response ended up doing more damage than intended.

As EA's rep put it, "the intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes."

Players didn't quite buy EA's excuse and proceeded to downvote that Reddit post into oblivion. Battlefront 2's progression system remained a time sink that was far from rewarding.

Character unlocks became cheaper, but the credit payout for completing the campaign was reduced

It became increasingly evident that DICE had to make some changes in order to quell the backlash to Battlefront 2's credits system and the time it took to unlock each hero.

During the game's launch period in November 2017, DICE made the decision to cut the cost of each hero by a substantial amount. An official blog post from DICE executive producer John Wasilczyk announced the welcome change by stating his team was "reducing the amount of credits needed to unlock the top heroes by 75%. Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader will now be available for 15,000 credits; Emperor Palpatine, Chewbacca, and Leia Organa for 10,000 credits; and Iden at 5,000 credits."

While that revision seemed to change things for the better, another alteration came along to further frustrate Battlefront 2 players. A tweet from Stevivor confirmed the final credits reward for beating the single-player campaign had also been reduced. The original reward was 20,000 credits, but that was cut down quite significantly. So even though the heroes were relatively cheaper, the cheap credits payout struggle kept the lame gameplay grind intact.

Microtransactions, and the progression system at large, were altered

The fan backlash to Battlefront 2's microtransactions was unrelenting; so much so that, according to The Wall Street Journal, EA was forced to pull microtransactions from the game before it even launched due to pressure from Walt Disney Co.

Even though the microtransactions had been turned off for the time being, EA specified that they would return at some point. Fast forward to March 2018, and DICE had made two major adjustments to the loot box mechanics and availability of heroes and ships. An official blog update from DICE noted that "Star Cards, or any other item impacting gameplay, will only be earned through gameplay and will not be available for purchase." And most notably, all heroes and ships were now unlocked for everyone to enjoy. This major gameplay update also made an adjustment to the game's frowned upon microtransactions — players were now limited to purchasing cosmetic items only.

Along with that host of celebratory changes, this Battlefront 2 update added Bespin as a new selectable map for the Blast, Heroes vs. Villains, Arcade, and Jetpack Cargo modes for a limited time.

The Last Jedi season added campaign DLC and so much more

During the EA Play 2017 event, good news arrived in the form of free DLC coming to Battlefront 2 via free title updates and seasons.

The kickoff season for the game's delivery of free content was The Last Jedi, which was themed after the Star Wars: The Last Jedi film. A blog breakdown of what came with that splurge of DLC detailed new maps, heroes, ships, and more. In December 2017, players were now able to play Galactic Assault on Crait and Starfighter Assault above D'Qar. Tallie Lintra's RZ-2 A-wing became playable as a new heroic starfighter in Starfighter Assault, plus Finn (as a member of the Resistance) and Captain Phasma (as a member of the First Order) represented their sides of the galactic war as new playable heroes. The biggest addition that came with The Last Jedi season was an extra campaign addition entitled Battlefront 2: Resurrection, which was explained within an extensive blog post.

Battlefront 2's lofty promise of delivering worthwhile free DLC was kept. Not only that, there were more updates on the way.

Solo: A Star Wars Story arrived as the next season of DLC

During the month of May 2018, the Solo: A Star Wars Story movie became the driving force behind Battlefront 2's latest DLC season.

The first batch of DLC that came with the game's second season marked the return of Jabba's Place as a playable map. A new game mode called Hero Showdown also got thrown into the fray, which the game's official blog broke down in great detail. "Han Solo's rarely seen without the mighty Chewbacca at his side, and in Hero Showdown – a new round-based elimination mode in The Han Solo Season – you'll be able to take your favorite pairings into two-on-two Heroes vs. Villains battles," the blog said. New character skins arrived via Lando Calrissian's Skiff Guard disguise and Leia Organa's Boushh's gear, plus starfighters became playable as a part of Arcade Mode.

The second half of the Han Solo Season (which also got the blog treatment) arrived in June 2018 and brought with it a new map set on the planet of Kessel, the addition of Landa Calrissian and L3-37's Millenium Falcon as a playable ship, the return of the Extraction mode, and new character skins.

The Clone Wars season threw in a whole batch of content

The Clone Wars season for Battlefront 2 offered the most substantial update seen yet. Months before that season kicked off, Battlefront 2 received a collection of cool summer additions. In July 2018, a new 4v4 ship battle mode called Heroes Starfighters expanded the game's multiplayer suite. An array of game improvements were also introduced, such as players being able to switch their hero's lightsaber on and off with the press of a button. A blog post from DICE summarized Battlefront 2's summer update rollout and a sneak peek at the wealth of goodies coming in the Clone Wars season.

A follow-up blog post showcased most of the exciting Clone Wars content that arrived in the fall of 2018 and continued on throughout the majority of 2019. Some of the highlights included General Grievous as a playable hero, Clone Trooper skins, a new game mode, and the release of Geonosis as a new Galactic Assault map. As 2019 wore on, Battlefront 2 added even more Clone Wars DLC. The blog post that offered an explanation of what was to come even clued fans into what the next season would hold in store.

AI improvements made multiplayer matches flow even better than before

As Battlefront 2 continued to roll on with fan-friendly season DLC, updates to the game's artificial intelligence also arrived. An extensive developer blog post broke down how the game's AI-controlled characters played more intelligently over time. In early 2019, the game's Capital Supremacy mode introduced new AI tech that allowed players to battle alongside and against bots.

Later on during the September 2019 Cooperation update, the AI got the chance to play a bigger role thanks to their inclusion within two new modes: online Co-Op and offline Instant Action. The AI's decision making was now upgraded to be determined by the following elements: targeting and vision, weapons and engaging distances, and combat maneuvers and awareness. Battlefront 2's AI logic was greatly improved to the point where AI heroes provided a worthy challenge to the human players that confronted them.

Thanks to DICE's focus on making the AI of Battlefront 2 so much better, the game was more effective at creating iconic Star Wars clashes for every type of player. The tactical and strategic layers attached to the improved AI was a godsend.

The Celebraton Edition offered current and incoming players a nice upgrade

On the road to the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker season, EA and DICE decided to commemorate their two years of constant updates for Battlefront 2 with something grand. On Dec. 5, 2019, the digital Celebration Edition for the game was released. This celebratory bundle offered both current and incoming players a deal worth investing in.

A blog breakdown of that brand new edition detailed all the goodies that would become available to its purchasers. The Celebration Edition came with the base game, all of Battlefront 2's previous seasonal updates and access to future ones, more than 25 Hero Appearances, more than 125 Trooper and Reinforcement Appearances, more than 100 Hero and Trooper Emotes, and more than 70 Hero and Trooper Victory Poses. For existing players that wanted an immediate unlock of all the extra items that came with the Celebratory Edition, a discounted price was offered for all of them.

This special definitive package of Battlefront 2 was a good representation of how far the game had come and how much content had been added to it since 2017.

The Rise of Skywalker season kept the seasonal DLC coming

The Rise of Skywalker was the next Star Wars film to become the focus of a Battlefront 2 seasonal update. Before the film was released to theaters, Star Wars fanatics got a sneak preview of it within the game's latest slate of maps, heroes, hero skins, and so much more. On Dec. 17, 2019, players were treated to Ajan Kloss as a new locale, Star Wars sequel era Elite Troopers as new reinforcements, and new hero appearances for Finn, Rey, and Kylo Ren.

Another Rise of Skywalker content expansion (which Newsweek offered patch notes on) arrived months later on Feb. 3, 2020. Entitled The BB Update, players now had access to BB-8 and BB-9E as new playable heroes. In addition, three new planets became a part of the map rotation within the Supremacy and Instant Action modes, new emotes were given to Finn and Kylo Ren, and more.

The latest Star Wars trilogy got even more of a larger showcase this time around. What came next was the final batch of DLC that helped Battlefront 2 go out on a high note.

The original Star Wars trilogy wrapped up Battlefront 2's seasonal updates

During the months of February and April 2020, the original Star Wars trilogy became the sole focus of the game's final DLC package. The first half of those additions came with The Age of Rebellion update. Players now had the opportunity to revisit classic planets within Co-Op mode, utilize the Ewok Hunter and ISB Agent as new reinforcements, equip brand new weapons such as the E-11D Blaster, and compete on the MC85 Star Cruiser and First Order Star Destroyer in Heroes and Villains mode.

In DICE's thank you letter to the community and farewell to Battlefront 2, it detailed one last batch of updated content — The Battle on Scarif. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story's Scarif location was added to the game as a new map, a slew of new locales were added to Supremacy mode's map rotation, and Instant Action Missions became Battlefront 2's last new game mode. Also, two new maps came to Heroes and Villains mode, more Co-Op locations were thrown in, and new hero appearances became available.