There are good game reveals and then there are great game reveals, and on a different scale altogether is the kind of game reveal Battlefield 2042 had. The reveal trailer single-handedly dispelled any air of staleness around the Battlefield franchise and for the first time in years, the franchise felt like it was about to break new ground, but at the same time, it was also going back to a style of game that players are quite familiar with.
For the past few years, the franchise has always been on the precipice of greatness, but in some manner or the other, has always fallen short. The past couple of releases in the franchise drummed up excitement, but not nearly at the level of Battlefield 2042, and long-time fans of the series are really rooting for this to be the game that they’ve been clamoring for, for years. Now that the game is out and I’ve ran around its various maps for several days, is Battlefield 2042 all of what the fans were hoping for? Not quite, at least, not right now.
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Battlefield 2042: There are signs of a really good game
Despite both being exceptionally popular AAA, first-person shooters, the audience for COD and Battlefield are somewhat distinct. It has long been acknowledged that players go to COD for the fast, reflex-based gunplay, and small maps – while Battlefield players enjoy their gigantic maps with tons of options and a slightly more methodical pace to their action. 2042 doesn’t really tinker with that formula all that much, except for a massive tornado that comes around every once in a while to literally shake things up. The new maps are exceptionally large and impressive-looking with plenty of room for players to cause all kinds of havoc – but for some reason, they feel emptier than usual. Despite the overwhelming number of players on the field, the maps can often feel quite barren, which is why vehicles are not only recommended to traverse the playing field – but almost essential should the player actually make it in time to protect a sector. Conquest is, by far, the most popular game mode as matchmaking in anything else seems to take nothing short of an eternity.
Battlefield 2042 feels exactly how long-time fans might remember the older games felt like, and in some cases, they might even feel it has regressed a bit. Particularly, the game decided to do away with Classes altogether, as now all Specialists can now pretty much do everything and classes have become redundant altogether. Previously, squads would often pick Classes that complimented each other and depending on their playstyle, but now, all Specialists are pretty much interchangeable except for the one special ability they have. For some players, the removal of Classes as the be-all and end-all of player agency in Battlefield is going to be a positive, while for others, it can dampen the uniqueness of the game and make it feel more like the average shooter with some hero elements.
Another thing of note this time around is the lack of a single-player campaign, which could be good thing or a bad thing, depending on whether you liked previous campaigns. Apart from Bad Company 2, I don’t think I personally remember any of the other campaigns, which might speak to their overall quality. Despite this, it is nice to have a little campaign around, even if it is just there to break up the monotony from the Multiplayer. However, it feels like the lack of a campaign doesn’t really hurt the overall experience.
The biggest positive working in Battlefield 2042’s favour is easily Portal – which happens to be one of the best ways to experience the game, which is also kind of odd. Odd, because, for one, Portal is essentially you playing a bunch of games from the series’ past and not the game you just paid a whole lot of money for. Portal lets players play certain modes classic Battlefield games such as Bad Company 2 (a personal favourite), 1942, and 3. More often than not, party also because of the incredibly slow matchmaking, I found myself going back to Portal and playing Rush Bad Company 2. My bet is that over the course of the next few months, there is going to be a ton of great user-created experiences in Portal, which is going to be a major selling point for the game.
As it currently stands, Battlefield 2042 has a couple of neat tricks up its sleeve, such as the Plus menu, which allows players to customize weapons and swap out attachments on the go. The Plus menu adds quite a bit to the game and keeps the action well-paced and allows players to switch up tactics on the fly and gain an advantage depending on the situation. This sort of adapt-on-the-fly gameplay makes Battlefield 2042 feel a bit more distinct, and which is something it could have used more of.
While Conquest and Breakthrough are great in their own right, it was Hazard Zone that seemed to have garnered the most amount of attention from the fanbase and rightfully so. Hazard Zone is DICE‘s take on style of game made popular by games such as Escape from Tarkov. Essentially, squads will be put on a map and tasked with collecting intel, and hopefully be able to extract when the time comes – all the while battling enemy squads and AI. Hazard Zone does keep 2042 from becoming incredibly stark in terms of gameplay variation and adds that extra bit of flair that the game desperately needs. Much like everything else in Battlefield 2042 – Hazard Zone is not quite there yet, and perhaps a couple of more months in the oven – the mode could have really been something truly great.
My general feeling about the game is that it could have simply used a little bit of more time in development, and as much as a delay can be a bummer – it can work wonders for a game. Battlefield 2042 looks amazing, it sounds positively crispy – and the weather effects couldn’t possibly be more beautiful – but there is always a layer of polish that seems missing.
Presentation and Technical Issues
As one might expect, Battlefield 2042 looks incredibly good, especially when it comes to the weather effects. What puts the proverbial dampener on things is the increasingly large number of texture pop-ins and bizarre glitches that are liable to give you a nightmare. For one, almost after every match, my Specialist would do their walk towards the camera – but for some reason, the textures would be missing and their facial features would be all over the place. Quite often, while in a game, running into walls occasionally caused the camera to glitch and put me behind my own character, causing a bizarre out-of-body moment.
Despite the patch, there seems to be a lot of bugs and glitches still present in Battlefield 2042 and it will be a while before a majority of them are purged. I will admit to not being a great aimer when it comes to first-person shooters but something did feel a little odd when I unloaded on a player standing barely 2 feet from me and I still hit the wall behind them. At first, I attributed it to my terrible aiming skills, but when it happened time and time again, it was time to do a little Reddit dive. Turns out, many Battlefield 2042 players have complained that their weapons somehow gained unexpected spread, which caused them to lose accuracy in a dramatic fashion. While some weapons are more susceptible than others, this seems like a major issue for DICE and something that is hopefully patched soon.
When the game is at its best and everything is working exactly how it should – Battlefield 2042 is a marvelous sight to behold and truly a wonderful experience. But because it is so frequently not at its best, it often ends up feeling like a bit of a disappointment.
Final Score – Battlefield 2042
In its current state, it is hard to recommend buying Battlefield 2042 at full price, but chances are, long-time fans have already bought it and enjoy it despite its flaws. First-time Battlefield players will enjoy the vastness of the combat and the focus on vehicular warfare, but after a point, they are going to want more from a game that simply doesn’t have much more to offer right now.
The hope is that the game will get better as more users create their own content in Portal and Hazard Zone is improved after DICE introduces new kinds of content. Chances are, once the game is at that stage, it will be much less expensive – making it a much smarter purchase than buying it right now at full price. Battlefield 2042 is a good AAA experience that can be fun at times, but it simply isn’t there yet, and it will be a while before it is.
Despite being a fun experience occasionally, Battlefield 2042 still has miles to go to become the game that the reveal trailer once promised it will be. Ditching the campaign seems to have been the best decision made in development as one can only imagine the bugs and glitches in the game should the team have had to also work on a single-player experience. Battlefield 2042 is a fun game, but not one that will blow the competition out of the water, and certainly not one that you should buy at full-price right now.