The STAR WARS Battlefront Series

Star Wars Battlefront II (2017) was originally released on November 17th, 2017 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. It’s the sequel to the initial reboot of the Star Wars Battlefront series from 2015. Developed by DICE and published by EA, Star Wars Battlefront II has had one of the most dynamic and controversial lifetimes in video game history. Battlefront II (2017) took many of the features from Battlefront (2015) and expanded on how much farther the game could go. Deeply criticized for a variety of reasons at its launch, it’s received numerous free updates over the years that have kept many people playing to this day. The game has also just gained a fresh new wave of players since its addition to the lineup of games on EA Play. Regardless of how it was received by consumers at launch, it’s clearly generated a great deal of interest among shooter fans and Star Wars fans alike. So what went right and what went wrong with Star Wars BattleFront II?

Battlefront II lets you play as some of the minor characters from the newest movies, even Captain Phasma.

13 Years to Build On

To appropriately judge Battlefront II (2017), let’s look at what came before it. The first Star Wars Battlefront game came out in 2004 for PC, PS2, and Xbox. It was developed by Pandemic Studios and published by LucasArts. It’s a Star Wars FPS game where you play as a common soldier in the Star Wars universe thrust into a team-battle. There are multiple classes, factions, and maps to choose from. Star Wars fans will love to play on their favorite planet with their favorite army. Shooter fans will love choosing their favorite play-styles and weapons, then jumping right into non-stop action. But the 2005 version of Battlefront II pushed the game to the next level. One of the reasons for the high level of discontent among fans at the 2017 release may have to do with the high bar set by the original Battlefront II.

The original Battlefront II lets you fly your own ship into an enemy flagship and blow up the critical systems from the inside.

An Ever-Expanding Galaxy

Incredibly, even the original Battlefront II still has a player base to this day. How can this be? What made the original Battlefront II shine? It starts with how much content the developers made available to the player. The original Battlefront II added a story mode where you could play as a clone/storm trooper that follows the events of the movies. Starting at the battle of Geonosis, you’ll eventually fight on the Death Star and deeper into the original trilogy. The original sequel also added various other game modes that added endless replayability to the game. The game featured space battles with numerous flyable ships. The game had hunts that pitted aliens versus the traditional armies. It added hero battles where iconic characters joined the fight. It even had a galactic conquest mode where all of the game’s planets were shown on a large map and you had to systematically conquer the galaxy, one battle at a time. The original Battlefront II was loaded with content that showed how much the developers cared about improving the game through its latest release. What about Battlefront II (2017)?

I can’t imagine being forced to spend dozens of hours grinding in the original games just so I could unlock my favorite characters one by one.

The Dark Side

Let’s start with the problems because that’s how the game’s lifecycle started. Hands down, Battlefront II’s progression system upon release was the most egregious sin committed by EA. This was among the most predatory tactics ever attempted to try to extract additional money from players who already payed full price for a game. Upon release, Battlefront II featured a progression system that required the player to use an in-game currency to unlock characters and purchase loot boxes. Opening the loot boxes had the potential to unlock new abilities for units or new cosmetics. What was so egregious about this? There was the moral argument that several national governments made across the globe, claiming this game was introducing gambling to children. But beyond that, the prices for every loot box and unlock were completely out of this world. To cherry pick, Darth Vader is arguably the flagship character in Star Wars. He’s the villain in the original trilogy who comes back to save the day and he’s the hero-turned-villain in the prequels. It took roughly 40-80 hours of dedicated playtime in multiplayer to unlock him! Or, you know, you could just buy the excruciatingly overpriced in-game currency and skip that. This presents the true tragedy of Battlefront II’s release. The game intentionally locked off so much of its content in the hopes that certain players would spend high amounts of money to buy them. Meanwhile, normal players would have to grind for countless hours to unlock anything. It wasn’t just the progression system that disappointed players about the game either. Battlefront II generated plenty of excitement because it would feature a story mode that was almost always marketed as an opportunity to play as a mysterious and elite storm trooper unit clad in black. However, it’s only about three or four missions in that you change sides and end up as rebel with your mask off for the rest of the story. Much like the multiplayer’s progression system, the singleplayer story mode wasn’t accurately portrayed before launch.

Excited to travel through the galaxy as an elite stromtrooper in the story mode? Think again.

The Light Side

So what did EA do right? At the very least, they saw that consumers were extremely displeased with the state of the game at launch. Battlefront II has had numerous sizable updates, which have seriously changed the way that the game is played. Loot boxes were fixed and the cost to unlock certain characters has been decreased by as much as 75%. As the Star Wars universe has expanded and evolved over the years, the game has added several new characters, weapons, and cosmetics. No one ever complains about free content updates. It’s undeniable that the game is better today than it was at release. While it mostly received reviews around 6/10 by most games journalists, it now receives very positive reviews from recent players. Beyond all the changes that have been made to the game over the years, it wasn’t all bad at launch either. The graphics are fantastic and if you’ve ever wanted to play a Star Wars shooter that looks great, you can’t find a game better than this. Star Wars Battlefront II (2017) stands along Fallen Order as one of the most visually appealing Star Wars games. Gunplay is smooth and there are plenty of vehicles, weapons, maps, and characters for you to enjoy.

Free content updates have added loads of content, injecting new life into the game.

Conclusion

While EA definitely didn’t hit the nail on the head with Battlefront II, they did produce a game that can stand out on its own. There’s a good reason that so many people are still playing. It’s very fun to play with your friends and engross yourself in the world of Star Wars. It’s still worth playing. Combat is well-done and there are many different ways to have fun. But despite the fact that loot boxes have been fixed, the progression system will never truly be fixed for me. I would have much preferred a leveling system that would award you with specific unlockable content based on time played or successful gameplay. Even with all the flair of EA’s remake, I still prefer the original Battlefront II from 2005. For me, the memorable story, the superior space battles, and the unique galactic conquest mode keep the original Battllefront II at the top spot of the Battlefront series. The internet also has plenty of mods that you can use to add to the classic experience. Should a Battlefront III ever be released, I sincerely hope that they blend some of the great qualities from the original games into the next game in the series.  Each game is available on various marketplaces and I encourage you to give them a try if you’re a fan of Star Wars and shooters.

Battlefront II lets you play as characters from every era of Star Wars. Every movie from the 70’s up to the newest have been represented in the game.

#StarWars #Battlefront #BattlefrontII #SciFi #shooter #FPS #EA #LucasArts #DICE

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Released for the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system on April 10,  2020, FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE is a reimagining of the iconic original game that re-defined the RPG genre, diving deeper into the world and its characters than ever before. The first game in the project will be set in the eclectic city of Midgar and presents a fully standalone gaming experience that provides a great starting point to the series. Along with unforgettable characters and a powerful story, FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE features a hybrid battle system that merges real-time action with strategic, command-based combat.

Breathedge

Breathedge is a new space survival adventure game that was released for PC on Steam and the Epic Games store. After a run in Steam Early Access with overwhelming positive reviews, it was fully released on February 25th. While the balancing and pacing might not be for everyone, the game has received significant praise for its graphics, story, and humor. Breathedge is the first major product developed by RedRuins Softworks, but it’s published by HypeTrain Digital. HypeTrain is the Russian team behind numerous successful indie PC games, including Police Stories and Stoneshard.

Staying true to Breathedge’s sense of humor, you’ll use a chicken to solve some interesting problems.

A Man and His Chicken

The actual gameplay appears to take a certain level of inspiration from Subnautica. However, Breathedge uses its storytelling to find its own place and separate it from most survival adventure games. You play as a man who wants to carry his grandfather’s ashes to a galactic funeral. But you stumble across a much deeper story than what you appear to be walking (or flying) into. You’ll find out more about your grandfather’s legacy as you fight to survive against the harsh reality of space. As you continue through the game, you’ll be presented with more and more opportunities to craft items that will prove useful to you in the game. There’s plenty of danger in the expanse of space. You’ll need to manage your oxygen levels to make sure you don’t suffocate in the void. You’ll need to avoid hazardous areas to make sure you don’t freeze or burn. You’ll even need to avoid deadly robots.

When navigating space, you’ll often be traveling in a vehicle.

A Trip Through Space

In Breathedge, you don’t just craft small items. You can also assemble multiple vehicles. You can ride in a space car, a small rocket, or even build a large space shuttle. By creating a large space station, you can effectively build your own home that can be personalized and decorated in your own way. You’ll even manage the base’s power and oxygen levels. So many of these features seem quite reminiscent to Subnautica and even the art style looks similar. If you want to make your own comparison, you can pick it up on Steam or the Epic Games store for $24.99.

 

#Breathedge #Indie #Survival #Adventure #PC

Space Otter Charlie

Space Otter Charlie is coming to Steam, Playstation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch on March 18th. It’s a brand new Zero-G Puzzle Platformer with an interesting team behind it. The game was developed by Wayward Distractions and it will be published by The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild. While the Seattle-based Quantum Astrophysicists Guild has only been publishing games for the past few years, the small team at Wayward Distractions have a long history of working on classic games during the glory days of PopCap. With a team that worked on classic franchises like Feeding Frenzy, Plants Vs Zombies, Bejeweled, and so many others, you can be sure that the developers have been around the block when it comes to designing a game.

Using gravity to your advantage is a huge part of Space Otter Charlie.

Deep in Otter Space

You play as Charlie, an otter that’s leading the charge for animals who must escape from an inhospitable Earth. Inspired by other classic platformers such as Rayman and Mario, Space Otter Charlie will feel like classic platforming with a twist. He must navigate through over a dozen space-based levels where gravity will play a big role in the game’s puzzles and challenges. You’ll be jumping, floating, and rocketing throughout the game as you avoid traps and defeat enemies. The game also features numerous ways for you to become more powerful as you progress. You can craft new gear, unlock skills, and wear different space suits to fit different scenarios.

Space Otter Charlie wants to attract gamers of all ages with the art style that it displays through the varied levels.

Otternauts Everywhere

Beyond the singleplayer game, you can also play with up to 3 other friends in multiplayer. There are 2 game modes where you can either fight for food or fight in a deathmatch. Despite the relatively short list of levels, Space Otter Charlie features plenty of content for an indie 2D platformer. When you consider the unique gravity system, the series of upgrades, and the multiplayer modes, you can tell that the developers put real care into the game. There are even fun facts about otters that you can find hidden throughout the levels. If you’re a fan of side-scrolling platformers, consider giving Space Otter Charlie a try when it comes out on March 18th. It’s expected to be priced at $14.99.

#Platformer #Indie #SpaceOtterCharlie

Gravity Heroes

Gravity Heroes was just released on Steam on February 19th, 2021. It will also be available for Playstation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch in the near future. Gravity Heroes is a 2D platform-based shooter where players get to choose between 4 different characters. You can play solo or with up to 3 friends. The game features a story mode and a survival mode. Gravity Heroes is published by PQube Limited, the United Kingdom-based company behind numerous titles that have turned heads in the past few years.

You can play as one of four distinct characters in Gravity Heroes.

Four Choices

The game takes place in the midst of a war between humans and the robotic-beings known as synthetics. The Gravity Heroes are a special task force that must fight back against the robotic menace. The player can choose between four different characters to control. The four Gravity Heroes are Abel, Magnus, Nala, and El Tostador. Abel is a jokester and technological know-it-all. Magnus is an old veteran that still has scars from his battles against the synthetics. Nala’s unequaled passion for understanding the truth behind this war make her a major danger to whoever stands in her way. El Tostador isn’t even human, he’s actually a synthetic with plenty of spirit and heart. Gravity Heroes wants the player to care about where the story is going in the campaign and they clearly use its characters to help connect the player to the story.

Changing gravity’s direction can be crucial to getting through a combat situation.

Flip the Gravity

Entering the ever-growing library of 2D platform-based shooters on Steam, Gravity Heroes had to differentiate itself somehow to stand out. The game does this by utilizing the “Gravity Shifter”. The player can change gravity’s direction and totally alter the course of combat. Pairing that feature with the game’s unique weapons and powerups can lead to a truly unique experience for the player. Gravity Heroes is priced at $9.99, but it’s 10% off on Steam until February 26th. Steam also offers a Free Demo, so you can give the game a try before you buy. If you want to give a brand new 2D platform-based shooter a try with your friends or even solo, consider looking into Gravity Heroes.

#GravityHeroes #Platformer #Shooter

Derelict Void

Derelict Void will be releasing on Steam on March 18. Its small and independent developer, Stirling Games, refers to it as a “galactic roguelike city-builder”. Derelict Void was started on Kickstarter, where it surpassed its fundraising goal. This is the team’s first game, so we’ll have to wait and see how it stands up to other base management/survival games. The team also intends to include a content creation tool in the game, adding to the potential value of the game.

You’ll have to manage your resources if you want to survive in the void.

The Unknown of the Void

In Derelict Void, you’ll be managing your ship’s crew as it travels through the endless void of space. You’ll need to consistently make strategic decisions in order to survive. A mysterious devastation has unfolded in the universe that you once knew and now you need to find a way to survive and extend the future of civilization. You must traverse the unending void of space to look for resources and other survivors. You’ll be taking risks and making key decisions that will play into your potential to get through each day.

Derelict Void will feature hand drawn artwork during certain events.

A Future Community

While Derelict Void doesn’t really have a community, considering it’s not playable yet, the game will be heavily community-based once it’s released. Despite being singleplayer, the developers want to add a way for players to share their experience with others. Derelict Void will comes with an open content creation tool in the form of a website. There, every player will be able to contribute to the story and world of the game. Once your add your story there, any other player will be able to play your version of the void. It’s an interesting concept and we’ll have to wait and see what it ends up looking like after the game is released. If you’re interested in a base management game that takes place in the void of space, check out Derelict Void when it comes to Steam on March 18th.

#DerelictVoid #Space #SciFi #Indie

EVE Online

On February 4th, CCP Games announced that EVE Online broke the Guinness world record for the most expensive video game battle in history. EVE Online is an enormous free-to-play MMORPG that is set in the expanse of space. The game features hundreds of different spaceships that players can own. The player can use this spaceship to go an endless adventure in a world that they share with a colossal community. While it originally launched for PC in 2003, the game has grown tremendously over the years. EVE Online has also had several free updates over the years that have added a great deal of content for the game’s players. CCP Games tries to make it clear that they are still very committed to the long-term player base of EVE Online, even after all this time.

EVE Online has an incredibly diverse set of ships for you to pilot.

A Community Across the Stars

There are tons of different ways to play EVE Online. Beyond being just an MMORPG with both PVP and PVE gameplay, it’s also an enormous sandbox game. You can be an explorer, a soldier, a miner, a trader, a pirate, and so much more. CCP Games does its best to create an opportunity for players to immerse themselves in a giant breathing world. There is also a vast and expansive lore in the game that you can embrace should you choose to invest yourself in it. While the game is free-to-play, there are various levels of priced starter packs to give a new player an edge. Dedicated players will also often purchase the premium subscription for the game, allowing for faster progression and unlocking more content.

There are plenty of different ways for you to make a name for yourself in EVE Online.

EVE Online’s recent Guinness world record for the most expensive video game battle is the result of the Massacre of M2-XFE. Thousands of players logged into the game and participated in the battle that stretched on for hours. All in all, in the value of the in-game assets that players lost in the battle amounted to over $340,000 USD. Thousands of people had put years of their hard work and in-game progress on the line.  The simple fact that EVE Online has created a world where people can do battle at such a massive scale is an incredible feat. Every player existing in the same massive world allows for incredible events to unfold that you’d never really see anywhere else. So if you’re a fan of MMOs, sandbox games, or space adventure games, then consider giving EVE Online a try.

#EVEOnline #EVE #MMORPG

Haven

Haven was originally released for Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, Steam, and Playstation 5 on December 3rd. It was also released on the Epic Games Store, Playstation 4, and Nintendo Switch on February 4th. Haven is an adventure game where you play as two lovers who gave up everything to be together. While the game is designed to be played solo where you control both of the characters, you can also play in local co-op with a partner. Haven stands out when it weaves together its beautiful writing and its intricate gameplay mechanics. There are few games that represent a similar experience.

Combat in Haven incorporates both lovers in every battle.

A Story of Love

You play as Yu and Kay, two lovers that escaped to a faraway planet so that they can be together. During gameplay, you’ll control both characters at the same time. This keeps gameplay interesting during both combat situations and when you control the dialogue. Speaking of dialogue, a huge part of Haven is watching the growth of Yu and Kay’s relationship unfold. They have to sacrifice a great deal if they want to stay together. As the game progresses, you’ll experience the pair’s highs and lows. You’ll be there when they’re quarrelling and you’ll be there when they lean on each other to get through the hardest of times.

Haven does its best to connect the player to the relationship between Yu and Kay.

Through Thick and Thin

The art  in Haven is another big draw for the game. Hand drawn models will appear during dialogue and the rest of the game displays 3D models. The alien planet that our couple finds themselves on is populated by various alien species of plants and creatures. Some aliens are friendly and some aren’t. There are also plenty of other features that keep the player interested in the world of Haven. You can explore the exciting planet, build up your home, cook meals, collect resources, and craft with those resources to survive. Beyond the visual art, Haven also features an original soundtrack from the acclaimed electro musician DANGER. Consider looking into Haven if you want to experience a brand new romantic RPG space adventure. 

#Haven #Space #Romance #RPG #Adventure

Astrokicker

Astrokicker was released as an Early Access game on Steam on January 29th. It was developed by the small and relatively new indie studio Quadrivo Software, LLC. Founded in 2019, this is their first game on Steam. But their founder, Lee Lorenz, has almost four decades of experience in software development. Having sold his first game in 1983, he’s a fan of the classics. Astrokicker pays homage to classic shootemup games while also adding a few twists to the game. It tells its entire story without any cutscenes, allowing the player to experience it entirely through gameplay instead.

Astrokicker will take you back to the old days.

It’s Astrockickin Time

As soon as you start playing Astrokicker, you’ll start to feel the nostalgia of games from years past. Everything from the visuals to the gameplay will  remind you of games from decades ago. At its core, Astrokicker is an arcade space shooter with 100 levels, numerous powerups, and over 25 variants of enemy fighters. But even deeper than that, it’s a fresh take on the experience that gamers were given when they played a classic space shooter. The game features both a modern and a retro mode. The modern mode lets you fly in any direction and has more advanced graphics. Ships are rendered in 3D, the user interface is more detailed, and there are 100 unique parallax scrolling backgrounds. The retro mode gives the game a much older feel. Ships are limited to 8 directions and the graphics will reflect the older look that the mode is going for.

There’s plenty of unique gameplay to experience through the game’s 100 levels.

Astrokicker is expected to be in Early Access for another 2 to 3 months. While the game is already fully playable, Quadrivo wants to listen to community feedback and optimize every user’s experience within the game. Improvements might be made to the music and sound effects. There might also be a new boss fight added before the final release. That being said, there’s already a full game on display. At only $10, it’s an inexpensive option for any gamer. But make sure that you have a controller if you intend to pick this game up. Keyboard and mouse gameplay isn’t currently supported.

#Astrokicker #Quadrivo #Space #Shooter #Retro #Indie

Yupitergrad

Yupitergrad was just released on January 28th for the Oculus Quest. It was originally released for the PC on August 27th of 2020 and it will also be released for PSVR in 2021. Yupitergrad was developed by the Polish game studio, Gamedust. They are a relatively new studio that is focusing on cutting edge gaming technology such as virtual reality. Yupitergrad has been described as a “Tarzan-style-platformer'”. This is because the player must use suction cups that shoot from their hands to navigate the game’s levels. This mechanic is especially interesting to see in virtual reality.

Cosmonauts on Jupiter don’t have it easy.

Leave the Motherland

In Yupitergrad, you play as a Slavic cosmonaut. The game is set on a base off the atmosphere of Jupiter. You’ll be navigating throughout the station and into space as you move through the game’s story. As a VR game, it can be especially thrilling to use grappling hooks and boosters to fly around over 50 different levels in the game. Plus, Yupitergrad’s stylized art style plays into the experience that the game tries to draw you into. It also features an original soundtrack that adds to the cosmonaut experience.

There’s plenty of content to play through in Yupitergrad, considering how many levels are in the game.

Shoot Towards the Future

Despite the game’s initial release having occurred last August, there have been free updates that have added some content and polished certain features. The controls have been improved, new levels have been added, and a time attack mode has been implemented into the game. As the game is being released on different platforms, it’s also still being worked on and made better. The game is only $14.99, so it’s one of the more affordable VR games. If you’re interested in a VR platformer with a whacky theme at its core, consider giving Yupitergrad a try.

#Yupitergrad #VR #Platformer #SciFi