Similar to its titular predecessors, Battlefield 2042 focuses on a multiplayer first-person experience. Developed by DICE and published by Electronic Arts, the upcoming game is currently having an open beta for both old and new Xbox and PlayStation generations and PC. But unlike past games, this one is specifically set in the future, featuring new technology, high-tech specialist abilities, and more weapon modifications. While there are some good additions apparent in the Battlefield 2042 beta, there are also plenty of letdowns and bad choices.
Battlefield 2042 does bring some fairly new elements to the table (at least in comparison to the last couple of iterations). Especially when juxtaposed against Battlefield V, we see more modification. As usual, you pick your specialist: either Assault, Engineer, Recon, or Support. They do seem to have very similar loadouts and abilities to past games. While similar, the abilities do seem to be a fun update—like the ability of the Support class to heal other players at range, instead of just being able to revive allies, or how the Assault class has a grappling hook that makes for some fun maneuverability. While some of these abilities are fun, others feel basic and just don’t feel expanded enough to feel new. There will supposedly be more operators available after game launch, so there’s still hope yet.
You’re free to pick your entire loadout instead of picking from a base set (though you can still do that as well). However, when it comes to the modification of your weapons themselves, Battlefield 2042 has made an interesting choice. Once you spawn in, you can view possible attachments on each gun. You can switch your scope, magazine, barrel, or grip, but each gun only has a few options for each (and some have only one). It’s also quite annoying that you can’t choose these mods outside of combat on the spawning screen. Additionally, it feels like the game knows what combinations are best and tries to force you into them. At times, you’ll choose one mod and it’ll automatically change another without any indication of why. While the increase in modification capabilities is nice, it’s nowhere near as great as other first-person shooters.
It’s hard to really judge the rest of the game when there’s only a single game mode and map available. The game mode is a typical Conquest—capture multiple zones and kill enemies. It’s a very familiar mode and really doesn’t come with any new bells and whistles. The map, on the other hand, is a mixed bag. On the one hand, the landscape varies broadly—from a skyscraper to a rocket launch zone to hilly wilderness. There’s a lot of spaces for a broad range of players to take advantage of. But that also seems to be a downfall. There’s just too much variance between control zones. So much so that moving from one zone to the next can make your loadout completely useless unless you redeploy or, like a lot of people seem to be doing, camp (which I’ll be the first to say is a completely legitimate strategy). The gameplay just doesn’t feel dynamic, and the map just doesn’t keep people moving. The gameplay feels frantic and completely uncoordinated. I hope this is just because everyone is new to the game and map, but it’s hard to tell.
The only thing I really enjoyed about the map was the dynamic weather. Throughout a single game, the weather will go from sunny and bright to overcast and rainy and back again. These changing conditions make for some interesting challenges and with promises of more severe weather, like sandstorms and tornadoes in the full game, this should make for some fun gameplay.
While 2042 isn’t that far into the future, I was honestly confused that we didn’t see more technological advancements in the beta. Yes, most of the on-ground vehicles seem to be electrically powered, you now have automatic doors, and touchpads you can use to open and close garage doors. We do also see some advancements in the class abilities, especially with the deployable drone. Still, that’s really not enough to get me invested in the idea of this game really taking place in the future.
There are also numerous glitches—walking through walls, visual anomalies, enemy bodies not despawning or staying standing after being killed, and just a whole lot of lag.
Overall, the fact that the Battlefield 2042 beta only offers a single map and game type probably means it doesn’t do the full game much justice. Still, from what I’ve seen there haven’t been enough updates from past iterations to really get excited about this release.
The Battlefield 2042 beta is available now for anyone and the full game is set to release on Nov 19th.