EA's most controversial game ever is available for free! Each week, the Epic Games Store lets its users redeem at least one game for free. From 11 a.m. Eastern on January 14 until 10:59 a.m. Eastern on January 21, that free game is Star Wars Battlefront II: Legendary Edition. While this Star Wars game is filled with fan service and is a really satisfying multiplayer shooter, it didn't start out that way.
When it first launched in 2017, Star Wars Battlefront II was one of the most controversial games of the last decade. A controversy caused by the game's invasive microtransactions has had legal repercussions for gaming since and changed the direction of every Star Wars game since. Still, the game managed to make a pretty hard 180 and is really enjoyable now, so you'll want to get a taste of the controversial Star Wars shooter as it's in the best state it's ever been in.
How to redeem — If you're reading this post, the Star Wars Battlefront II: Legendary Edition deal is live on the Epic Games Store. Once you're in the launcher, simply navigate to the game's store page and scroll down to what's most likely the third section marked "Free Games." Click on the game to claim it for free. It'll then be permanently added to your library. As we mentioned, this can be done until 10:59 a.m. on January 21, 2021. Once you've redeemed the game, you can quickly install it and start playing.
Why you should play it — Star Wars Battlefront II is a beautiful game with a scarred past. This is the prettiest Star Wars game ever and one of the best-looking games of the last generation. These beautiful visuals fully immerse you on planets from the movies like Endor and Scarif. Characters from the movies are stunningly realized. The movies never did justice to Captain Phasma, yet here she's an incomparable badass.
When everything's running properly, Star Wars Battlefront II is the pinnacle of Star Wars games, especially as the Legendary Edition features all post-launch updates and additions, which added many fan-requested characters and fixed major issues. Unfortunately, it will forever live in the shadow of the controversy around its microtransactions at launch.
The controversy — The best abilities in Star Wars Battlefront II are centered around Star Cards that could change how you play. Originally, these were heavily tied to loot boxes and a currency called Crystals that was available in bundles of up to $99. Classic heroes like Darth Vadar required nearly 40 hours of playing if players wanted to earn enough to unlock them without microtransactions.
This initially made Star Wars Battlefront II extremely pay-to-win, as those who spent money on currency and opened up tons of loot boxes would obviously have the best cards and characters. This all came just a month after EA canceled Visceral Games' Star Wars game and shut down the studio because a single-player game wasn't "an experience that players will want to come back to and enjoy for a long time to come."
This all left an extremely bad taste in the mouths of Star Wars fans as it was clear that EA would rather nickel and dime players to make the most money rather than release a Star Wars game that fans really wanted. By launch, the microtransactions were removed, but long-term effects of that backlash and the systems designed around it still loom overhead, even as the game vastly improved.
How Battlefront II changed Star Wars games forever — EA's two Star Wars games since then have stressed the fact that they are consumer-friendly and feature no paid additional DLC. Even Star Wars Squadrons, which features a big multiplayer component that would be easily monetizable, did not feature any microtransactions. This is likely due to the legal action that was taken against loot boxes in several countries following this controversy.
Now, in 2021, Lucasfilm Games has confirmed that EA will no longer have exclusive rights to Star Wars games, though they will still make some in the future. This was the game that showed Disney the faults of giving the entire license to just one publisher, even if it eventually rid itself of its worst practices and became a decent multiplayer shooter.
If you want to see what the game is like following the backlash and reworks, you should check Star Wars Battlefront II: Legendary Edition out on the Epic Games Store.