It's hard to pin down what it is about the place which got under my skin.
I think, partly, it's because, for an organisation of that size and scope, Disney has an incredible ability to make every customer feel special. It would be easy to be cynical, but until you've experienced The Happiest Place On Earth, I urge you not to judge. There's something unique about the Disney parks, that comes from a singular approach to customer service.
I mean, go to pretty much any UK theme park and it's night and day in comparison with Disney parks. They might have the rides, but they don't take things to the next level; theming will be the bare minimum, food will mostly be bog-standard fare, staff are more likely to spit at you than engage you in conversation.... Disney fans can be obsessive, but they're obsessive because Disney treats them like they matter.
When Disney bought Marvel, and then Star Wars, I was optimistic. I couldn't think of another company that could handle those properties better. I knew that they would put pleasing audiences, by emphasising the creative side of things, at the forefront of the movies. By doing that they knew that profits would follow, but - as it has proved to be - the product always comes before the bottom line.
So you've got to imagine, given the unprecedented backlash against Battlefront 2, that Disney and LucasFilm are regretting ever handing Star Wars over to Electronic Arts to look after; a company that very evidently puts profit over product.
Unfortunately, even before you get to the whole issue of microtransactions, Battlefront 2 isn't as good as its predecessor.
Responding to widespread disappointment with 2015's multiplayer-only Battlefront, EA might've included a campaign here, but it's woefully weak by modern standards. The story, such as it is, follows Iden Versio - an Imperial special forces agent - as she (because it's Star Wars) turns against her high-ranking Imperial father to defect to the Rebels.
That's all fine, but the story is sketched in. It makes an attempt at crowd-pleasing with ultimately jarring, levels in which you control the heroes of the original Star Wars Trilogy. What it means is very basic, very rote, FPS stages which add nothing to the genre; one interminably tedious level has you, as Luke Skywalker, swiping his lightsaber at challenge-free space cockroaches for what feels like an hour, while another has a bearded Han Solo wandering around Maz Kanata's castle looking for another man with a beard.
Levels often reuse maps from the multiplayer portion of the game - with obvious alterations to funnel you through them. Something Star Wars should never be is boring, but throughout the single player game I felt I was trudging through syrup.
Worse still, it all feels a bit unfinished. Lacking is a final layer of polish - the graphics don't have the element of "wow" that you want from Star Wars, and pale next to the likes of Assassin's Creed Origins, Horizon Zero Dawn, or Call of Duty WW2.
They feel, at times, almost last-gen; rough animation, textures that seem unfinished or rushed, and - something which really bothered me - when you get up close to X-Wings, TIE Fighters or AT-ATs, they seem to be about half the size they were in the films. Rogue One's U-Wing is shown here as about the size of an inflatable mattress, whereas in the film it was clearly big enough to accommodate an entire Rebel strike team.
Yes, only a total Star Wars nerd would care about that - but it demonstrates a lack of finesse and care.
Ultimately, you can almost hear a high-ranking EA exec saying: "Hopefully this'll shut them up".
Because, of course, EA really wanted to focus on the multiplayer - which it has done. And recent revelations have demonstrated why; that's where the money is.
The multiplayer here is much as it was in the previous Battlefront; a mixture of big, 40-player battles and smaller skirmishes, this time set across the entirety of the three Star Wars trilogies.
Fact is, the Original Trilogy levels still have the same appeal to me, whereas the shinier Prequel maps are less interesting. The Force Awakens - again, you can blame this on the production design of the movie itself - feel similarly overthought, rather than the believable, ramshackle, nature of the original movies. Additionally, returning to a lot of the locations from the previous Battlefront - even if they're given new twists - has robbed them of their impact.
Gameplay is faster and more chaotic - and not necessarily for the better. You run, you die, you respawn, you die. Upping the pace has resulted in removing any sense of strategy. The previous Battlefront was also guilty of this, but somehow it worked better when you and your teammates where cornered and blasting away at the entirety of the enemy army. Here, in the early stages before you've become more of a damage sponge, it feels like slog, a repetitive grind to level up.
Mercifully, the highlight of multiplayer is Starfighter Assault; handling of the aerial vehicles has been tinkered with. Ships are now easier to fly, if - admittedly - somehow less realistic, but it's an improvement on what came before, and goes some way to capturing the essence of Star Wars. Something which can't be said for the rest of the game.
You don't need me to recap the way EA has handled the release of Battlefront 2. The microtransactions have been removed post-release, and what remains is a relatively solid multiplayer shooter, with a ton of modes. Unfortunately, the pursuit of "Star Cards" and loot crates remains entirely random. Your progression as you play through the multiplayer is dependent more on luck than the hours you put in.
Removing the microtransactions has laid bare a game that was built around microtransactions, and is now exposed as a weird, oddly balanced - and confusing - experience.
Electronic Arts is clearly regretting its decision to structure Battlefront 2 around encouraging players to pay cash on top of their original outlay; it has been a public relations disaster, while the company's shares have taken a pounding.
Thing is, it's unlikely the public would've cared as much if this hadn't been a Star Wars game. There's an added level of scrutiny when it comes to Star Wars, and there's no question that Battlefront 2 would've made a lot of money regardless; such is the nature of anything with the Star Wars logo slapped on it. If ever a game didn't need microtransactions to turn a profit it was this one.
What rankles for me, though, just as much as the money-grabbing, is that lack of finesse in the campaign.
Whatever you might think of Disney owning Star Wars, one thing that Disney, and Star Wars, does better than almost anyone is storytelling. I mean, look at the Star Wars movies released since Disney took over; at great expense, three of the movies have had their directors either removed or sidelined because LucasFilm wasn't satisfied with how they were being handled. Heck, the Han Solo movie was almost entirely re-shot.
The company understands that quality = happy audience = profits.
A key part of the Disney philosophy is to "plus" things. This basically means going above and beyond what its audience - its customers - expect. Disney doesn't need to end every day in its theme parks with a massive, expensive, fireworks display, but it does.
It doesn't need to furnish the queue lines of its rides with storytelling elements, but it does. Pixar doesn't need to spend years working on the script of its films, doesn't need to rework that story once production has started, but it does - and the quality that results is what reaps rewards. It respects its audiences enough not to shovel out shit, and the audiences pick up on that.
Disney and LucasFilm and Marvel are incredibly hands on - but it's apparent here that handing one of its most important properties to an outside company has backfired. You've got to wonder whether they're ruing the decision to close down LucasArts.
Decades ago, when Walt Disney wanted to hold a $350,000 Christmas parade at one of his parks, the company's accountants begged him not to do so; nobody was expecting it, so why bother? Walt's response was: “We should do the parade precisely because no one’s expecting it.”
Unfortunately, it feels as if EA's accountants were the ones in charge of Battlefront 2 - not the creatives.
"Do the bare minimum, and work out a way to make as much money as possible."
What a massive shame. What a wasted opportunity.
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