This is a quick review of my Star Wars Battlefront 2 experience. It is based on eight hours of trial playthrough, which should be identical to the release experience. Two hours were in singleplayer and six hours of multiplayer.
I won't break down the review into positives and negatives, but instead into categories. If you are on the fence about buying the game, you can look at whatever is the most relevant to you.
Singleplayer This was the biggest surprise. In multiplayer titles, such as the older Call of Duty games, it is common for the singleplayer to be a showcase of multiplayer maps, with some story slapped on. The developers recycle as much of the multiplayer content as possible. This is not the case here.
The game has a singleplayer campaign worthy of a stand-alone game. The first three missions (about 30 minutes each) are story driven experiences, with most sections clearly tailored for the single player game specifically. There is very little of simply killing stuff, with most of the time devoted to objectives tightly linked to the story. Even in something like a wild space battle, you are being directed to protect an important ship, to clear the tail of your wing pilot, or to disable the enemy target.
Most Star Wars fans will also enjoy the premise of the story. Without getting into spoilers, it is a new, canon story developed in collaboration with Lucas Films. It follows the story of an elite imperial trooper. There are a lot of nuanced themes, which is something I love about movies in general. It paints imperial troopers as much more than mindless followers. There were several subtle moments in the first three missions that explore empire in a way we rarely get to see in the movies.
The campaign isn't massive. There is around 10-12 missions total, which should translate to 5-6 hours plus cinematics. Playing on the hardest difficulty (there are three) isn't a giant challenge either. That said, the missions will likely be worthy of the single player label.
Multiplayer Maps The game is graphically stunning. The terrain textures especially make the game stand out. This translates to impressive looking maps, comparable to the first game. There seems to be a larger variety, not just in terms of planets, but also in terms of the environment types. At times you are fighting through swampy fields, other times you are in tight structures, long city streets, larger open buildings, or vast outdoor spaces. It makes for a variety of different experiences and also encourages you to try out different classes. A sniper rifle is greatly superior on some points, while being completely useless on the next objective.
In contrast to the first game, the maps here seem to be a lot more thought out in terms of gameplay. For those who didn't play the first game, the maps were often in open areas, with objectives accessible from all sides. Battlefront 2 puts a lot more emphasis on directing players, which makes for a much more interesting multiplayer game. You are still free to move around the map as you please, but key objectives have terrain to support the idea behind them. It's little things like placing a hill on Jakku, letting the snipers juke it out across the map, as the others fight below them. Or having three access points to a capture point in a jungle - one where the defenders have a clear advantage, one for a head on clash, and one favouring the attackers.
Vehicles and Heroes The special classes (including both vehicles and heroes) are unlocked through battle points. There are specific to each match (you always start with 0) and obtained by playing the game. You get 100-200 for a death, 100 for significant damage to the enemy, 200-400 for playing the objectives. Usually, you get from around 250 per life where you did little, 750 for a decent one and can get well over 1000 if you are doing really well. People who are having the game of their lives will easily be getting thousands of points.
Vehicles cost from 750 to 2000. Special classes, like a Wookiee of Battle Droid, cost 2000-3000. And heroes are in the 6000 - 8000 range. This makes vehicles extremely accessible, even for players who are not that great. Chances are you will get a vehicle at least halfway through the match if you want one. There are still limits on them (to prevent 10 tanks in the game), so there may be times where you have the points but can't call one. Overall though, I often found it completely feasible to play an y-wing bomber ship several times in a row. Special classes don't seem to have this restriction (or people play them very little), as I could always pick that if I wanted.
The 2000 point special classes are about 2-3 times as strong as a regular one. That said, if multiple people decide to focus a special enemy, the special will drop very quickly. This is also the case for heroes, which end up being very situational. A Jedi can do great havoc in tight quarters, but will die nearly instantly if he rushes across a city street against a group of snipers. I think this makes for a much more fun system, where it's not punishing to try take on Boba Fett or Darth Maul, as a lowly assault class.
Squad Mechanic There is a new feature in the game, where you are automatically grouped with 3 other people who died the same time as you. This means you nearly always spawn with 3 other people next to you. The game rewards you with double battle points if you play near your squad. It is a really interesting mechanic that promotes a fair bit of cooperation in an otherwise manic battle. I found that people don't always play around this - but I am guessing people will learn how to make use of the squad with time.
It's a great feature. That said, there are cases where you genuinely won't want to use it. You may pick a sniper this life, specifically to get rid of a crucial enemy on the left side. At the same time, your squadmate might be picking a vehicle, to help escort people on the right. All in all though, I was excited to see people changing their picks, based on the squad composition. At times, people would see a supportive class in their squad, swapping from their own support to something offensive. Or people would see a ship and would use their own points to play a ship as well.