Monday, May 2, 2016

Star Wars Battlefront II - 9/20 hours

Been playing the campaign. According to online walkthroughs I'm on the second-to-last mission and boy, has it been kicking my ass. The computer's greatest weakness is that the AI is terrible. My greatest weakness as a player is that the AI is terrible.

Here's how it breaks down. You've got these AI teammates and they are absolutely useless. Sure, they'll take down the occasional enemy, but more often they stand right in front of you, clogging up narrow hallways and bridges or use explosives in close quarters, doing more damage to themselves than the enemy. I once saw one of my allies just run around in circles for no discernible reason. And needless to say, they are useless for pursuing mission objectives. You pretty much have to solo the whole enemy team.

Which is possible because the enemy AI isn't any better than your team AI. Even when you're vastly outnumbered you can make up for a lot by kiting, hit and run tactics, and using doors as cover (the AI never seems to figure out that just because a door closes, doesn't mean the thing that was attacking you has vanished).

Which is fine. I mean, it's not ideal, but there's a game there, about the elite commando who cuts their way through the battlefield and wrecks the enemy forces all out of proportion to his numerical significance. In fact, it's the plot of basically every military FPS ever made.

Where it becomes a problem for me is in campaign mode, where the mission balance out the fact of the human's relative god-like prowess by giving the enemies effectively unlimited resources. I guess that's not really a complaint, given that I am at the second-to-last level and it's probably supposed to be hard, but it has gotten under my skin a bit. I kind of feel like the game presents itself as one thing, but is actually another. Even though it turns out to be a lot like playing a more traditional shooter, you're doing so without checkpoints and with an essentially random number of lives, so you know, that's kind of a pain.

I did play a random map to compare. Like maybe I was being too sensitive and that's just what the game does to the unskilled. But the random mission was a cakewalk. I easily came out on top, with nearly 40 troops remaining (out of 150). Having a finite enemy was so much easier, psychologically, than a notionally endless one, it was like playing a different game.

I don't know what I'll do next. I should probably at least try to finish the campaign, but I may well skip it and give galactic conquest mode a shot. It may not be the thrilling challenge that the scripted missions are, but at least that way I won't have to play as the freaking Empire.

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