To start, two words; Loot Boxes.
There that should almost be enough explanation right there, to see such a great IP be whore’d out to such a degree and to be reduced to cash-ins as it has. Don’t get me wrong EAfront 2 is a massive improvement over the first one game play wise and actually has content in it, but to literally have a pay to win aspect built in there? Shameful. Now I know that being able to use real money has been temporarily disabled, but there is still this massive grind and degree of luck to get the upgrades that someone needs. For a franchise that has seen so many quality games it really is a shame to see it reduced to a shallow experience (again leagues better than the first.) Like the fact that there is some degree of split screen play is smart as it plays to one of the few advantages a console has over a PC, but certain game play elements are still lacking. I legitimately had lots of fun as the flame trooper burning those dirty resistance troops, and the special classes are cool. Though in what universe does a head shot with a sniper rifle weapon not instantly kill who you shoot it with? In a shooter? Ludicrous. It only rewards the grind, skill has been taken to a backseat in favor of having the right star cards. Let’s not forget how the developers attempted to paint themselves as the heroes recently since they said that they wanted to avoid cosmetics to preserve the canon. Well I mean having Yoda and Rey fight Boba Fett totally preserves that, good job guys. Not to mention skins are a thing which last I checked are cosmetics. In a universe where cosmetic micro-transactions are somewhat acceptable and you could play it in a way that allows for different races or something, pay to win cards were the complete wrong way to go.
Why does this bother me so much? Well besides being the picture perfect example of how big money is ruining video games and good licenses, Star Wars has a special place in my heart. Star Wars Dark Forces was the first game I played on a PC right there with Red Alert 2 and Baldur’s Gate, so it was something I grew up with. Not to mention the awesome toys like the light saber toys you could wail on your friends with, hell we used to wait for night time then have fully fledged light saber fights. Awesome movies, toys, games, books, comics and shows made it almost impossible to not fall in love with it; a sentiment that many would agree with. As of late however it has been painful to watch it commercialized the insane heights with those bloody annoying car commercials and the expanded universe being tossed aside just so they could basically take some of the ideas. Having great characters like Mara Jade Skywalker and Kyle Katarn be thrown to the wind just for one-dimensional characters like Rey is painful. Not to mention they claim the entire Empire was defeated at Jakku, that massive space-faring empire with the biggest fleet to exist, just basically gone… What?. Not that they talk about any of this in The Force Awakens probably because it had enough bad ideas on its own. I am not going to say The Force Awakens was a bad movie, I enjoyed it, but on the level of Star Wars movies it was just mediocre to me. The music was lacking, the main character was not compelling, there was no real danger as Rey was just so good at everything and the fake Death Star didn’t need to exist since they were going to go there to save Rey anyway. Now again I did enjoy the movie, Finn’s characterizing of a Storm trooper was awesome, Ren and Phasma were interesting villains (who need more done with them in the future,) the first order looks awesome (though their origin is crap,) Carrie Fisher was great as usual (R.I.P.) and they laid some great foundations for the future. The only worry though is that they won’t do what they can to make the best Star Wars film and will just take the safe generic plot that they did with The Force Awakens. Would be pretty sweet to see Rey fall to the dark side (power comes too easy and she is undisciplined) and see a redemption story for Kylo as he comes to terms with his own insecurities. Something like that, that feels more at home in one of the greatest licenses to exist. Rogue One was awesome as it went more in-depth with the Rebellion and characters who were more than just “good” or “bad,” those grey areas making things more interesting. I could go on and on about the newer Star Wars stuff like having Thrawn be reduced to just being in a children’s show and while those shows are decent, feels like a waste of a great villain who could have done so much more. Don’t get me started on what those idiots at WB are doing to Lord of the Rings.
As an end note this is my first blog post so I figured I went get into the meat of things instead of doing an introduction and all that, because there is an “about me” section if people actually wanted to know that stuff. Regardless of whether or not you agree with what I have to say here I appreciate people taking the time to read my ramblings. Also didn’t intend this to be so long, but guess I can really rant about Star Wars.
TLDR; EAfront 2 is just the latest in the series of weak attempts for companies to utilize popular licenses for quick easy money. Need to be more critical of things that come out of beloved series and buying a game that has loot boxes, but saying that you don’t need them so their existence is fine is just akin to ignorance. If you buy a game with loot boxes and shady practices, you are still supporting it. Don’t let bad companies get away with damaging our great franchise and licenses. Things like Star Wars need the loyal fans to actually be critical of the things we don’t like and not just accept everything because it is Star Wars, otherwise it loses what makes it great.
P.S. If you need some great Star Wars things to keep you busy until The Last Jedi? Here are some recommendations:
Star Wars Fan Favorites 1
Battlefront 1 & 2, with Republic Commandos? Those are the best shooters of the franchise and it doesn’t get any better.
Star Wars The Old Republic
Despire there being an EA logo slapped on the bloody cover, it is a really good game made by the once great company BioWare. Lets you have your own take on many classic archetypes in the The Old Republic era.
Star Wars Battle Front II : Inferno Squad
Now I hate doing this, but this is actually a pretty good book and if you are someone who liked the campaign in EAfront 2 give this a read.
Star Wars: X-Wing Miniature Game
Alright this is a really sweet and fun miniatures game with many options to play. Based in the Galactic Civil War, there are three factions to play around with all with their own unit options. Big perk? No need to paint or glue. Sad thing? Probably the only place one can consider Kyle Katarn to be canon.
Let me know if there is anything anyone wants to see/hear about next week.