It’s been a few years since a new Battlefield has graced our consoles and PCs, but while Battlefield 2042 has had a lot of hype surrounding it, perhaps it should have gone back to the drawing board. Or, at the very least, had a few more months of tweaking.
Similar to its predecessors, Battlefield 2042 is a first-person shooter developed by DICE and published by Electronic Arts. However, unlike some of the games before it, Battlefield 2042 does not come with a campaign, only a multiplayer experience. It also breaks the mold by being the first Battlefield game to support cross-play.
Battlefield 2042 is a mix of new and old from its game modes to its operators. The game has three main modes, the first of which is a true staple of the series: All-Out Warfare. This mode has both Conquest—requiring players to capture control points—and Breakthrough—where one team tries to capture the defending team’s control points. There’s nothing amiss with the game mode itself; being typical Battlefield fare, it’s really precisely what you would suspect.
However, the second mode, Hazard Zone, is new and makes players get cooperative. Players are divided into teams that compete against each other to retrieve data drives. The drives are defended by AI-controlled enemies. It’s an interesting mode and relatively fun but does have a few glitches. The most predominant one is that the game may never end. When players leave, they get replaced by AI. And the AI is smart enough to just keep playing even when the majority of players quit. These games can go on for an eternity, and if you leave, you don’t get experience or dark market credits that can be used to purchase upgrades usable only in this mode.
The final mode is Battlefield Portal which allows players to create entirely customized multiplayer modes. Excitingly, it will enable players to use maps from past Battlefield games and modify core game mechanics such as health and weapon loadouts.
For the most part, the game modes are rather solid. There are a few glitches here and there, but they’re nevertheless either fun and new or old but good. The real hassle comes when you get into the gameplay itself. While Battlefield 2042 allows you to customize a lot of things, the amount of customization feels off. Players will be able to pick from ten Specialists, many more than some past iterations. And each has two unique abilities. The variety of Specialists personally is a welcome sight, but this variety doesn’t extend into the weapons or attachments.
While Specialists aren’t locked to a specific loadout, so you are free to mix and match your weapons and gear, but the options when it comes to weapons are dismal. Not only do you start with only four unlocked, but it’s also going to take you a while to unlock the rest. And even when you do, the final tally pales in comparison to other first-person shooters. You can customize your weapons with numerous sights, ammunition types, barrels, and underbarrel attachments, which seem to have a good variety. But some attachments don’t feel like they change anything about the gun. The bloom on many weapons is large, and given that many of the maps are enormous with open spaces, hitting another player at a distance becomes nearly impossible unless you have a sniper. You’d think that attachments would help or even that the optics would make a difference, but they really don’t.
The one great mechanic is the ability to change attachments on the go. You can create your loadout ahead of time, but while you’re in the middle of a firefight, you can also switch attachments. Each gun has multiple spots for each attachment, and freely switching between them should mean you can better adapt to changing situations. Of course, that’s if the attachments are different enough to matter.
The maps themselves are also a mixed bag. They’re stunning, don’t get me wrong. And they’re varied and exciting to explore and look at. There are also new environmental hazards such as tanks of what I assume is liquid nitrogen that will freeze players and cause damage. On top of that, each map has changing weather patterns. Rain will definitely hinder players’ view, but the tornados pose some unexpected fun. While they’ll damage you, there’s nothing quite as gleeful as using a twister and a parachute to slingshot your way across the map.
But that’s where the good parts about the maps stop. Most of the maps are huge. And given that you could be playing with up to 128 people in All-Out Warfare, that sounds great. But even with so many people, the maps nevertheless feel sparsely populated. There’s also just a whole lot of empty space. You can run for 5 minutes straight and never see another person and then suddenly get picked off by a sniper because there’s just so much open space in some of these maps. If you main a sniper, you’ll have fun. But if you like close-quarters combat, you’ll have to pick your spawn points carefully. Moving from one point to the next can easily make your loadout ineffective, compounded by the huge weapon bloom and the ineffective attachments, it can become aggravating quickly.
And let me gripe real quick about the vehicles, too. Understandably, tanks are going to be really hard to destroy. But a hovercraft has no right to be that tough. The hovercrafts can easily take as much damage as a tank, and with the craft’s higher mobility, it creates lopsided gameplay. In addition, there’s still plenty of glitches. I haven’t encountered the exact same ones from the beta, but there are still graphical oddities such as clipping and fuzziness. The animations are choppy. And sometimes, you have to revive someone five times to actually revive them. The silver lining here is that there are updates incoming that will start fixing many of these problems. Still, for now, Battlefield 2042 has a lot to improve.
Overall, I wouldn’t say that Battlefield 2042 is the worst iteration in this series because it does add some new gameplay and brings back elements like complete loadout customization from previous iterations. But as of right now, a lot of the gameplay is skewed and the weapons, attachments, and vehicles don’t really feel like they work as they should. As a triple-A game, I expect better.
Battlefield 2042 is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.
I wouldn’t say that Battlefield 2042 is the worst iteration in this series because it does add some new gameplay and brings back elements like complete loadout customization from previous iterations. But as of right now, a lot of the gameplay is skewed, and the weapons, attachments, and vehicles don’t really feel like they work as they should. As a triple-A game, I expect better.