Battlefield 2042 has arrived, but its launch has been incredibly rocky. After putting in plenty of time with it, we’re hopeful for the future.
As technology has changed, so has the demand for new experiences in the gaming world. Since it was originally released in 2002, Battlefield has come a top-tier game when it comes to map-scaling and realism. DICE has not only innovated its game series but has made it one of the best first-person shooters on the market.
When Battlefield 2042 was announced, there was a lot of hate around the game not coming with a story mode this year. Was this a bad decision by DICE? Will Battlefield 2042 fall short as previous games that had this launch method have? Let’s find out…
THE TARGET WAS LOCKED IN BUT FAILED TO LAUNCH
I received my code for Battlefield 2042 on the 12th of November, the first day of Early Access, and I couldn’t wait to dive in. While there’s not a story mode, EA and DICE did decide to have somewhat of a backstory for the events of this game to try and add context to your gameplay.
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platforms: Xbox Series X and Series S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
After the world has become almost depleted of all its natural resources, the United States and Russia declare war and pull the rest of the world into their fight. Though this is a cool concept for a story, backstories like this aren’t really necessary in a game purely based around multiplayer action. Unless it is clear right out the gates that the backstory will somehow play into the scenarios or game modes in the coming season pass, I feel no connection to the story at all. Since there isn’t a story mode, we can cut right into the meat of this game: the online world of Battlefield 2042.
Usually, in my reviews, I would first talk about some of the gameplay mechanics and etc first but we have to talk about the elephant in the room. When jumping into the Early Access of BF2042, I was surprised to find a lot of problems with the game right off the bat. First off let’s talk about the basic things that should be in this type of game, that for some reason are not.
For example, Voice Chat and End-Game Scoreboards are literally some of the basic items in these kind of multiplayer games, right? Welp, not here!
Battlefield is not your run-of-the-mill first-person shooter. The large scale of the maps are not meant for the run-and-gun players (or at least that how I play), you’re going to need to strategize with your team. While there’s an in-game text chat system, not having something as basic as voice chat at launch makes no sense.
Voice chat is a vital part of ANY online video game, especially in 2021 with most of the world still dealing with Covid. Sure, you can use the party chat features on the console itself—or hop onto Discord like some players—but not having this as an in-game tool really bummed me out.
On top of that, the end game scoreboard that is currently in BF 2042 shows barely any information on K/D Ratio and only features teams combined kills at the end of each game. The lack of a traditional scoreboard system isn’t as big a deal as the voice chat problem. Even so, it’s absence is keenly felt and incredibly strange for an online shooter title.
DICE has stated recently they hear fans outcries for certain “legacy features” and are “carefully evaluating your desire to see legacy features return.” Scoreboards and Voice Chat are far from “legacy features.” These are essential items needed in this game.
I honestly don’t understand the decision behind cutting out these tools. The game was planned as an online-only title from the beginning and DICE and EA have launched so many online games in the past. So why did they suddenly change up something that isn’t broken?
Lastly, for the first few days of early access, I had a pretty great connection to servers, but shortly after that, it was extremely difficult to find a match. Not only was hard to get into a game, but every time I would load in I would be met with horrible bugs and laggy gameplay. Once again, considering DICE made it clear 2042 was set to be an online-only game, it’s baffling they’ve had so many basic issues.
I understand development studios get pushed to the edge oftentimes, pouring all their time and effort into a game to only have their hopes shamed when the game launches poorly. I’m not here to just bad-mouth DICE and EA. I’m just a huge fan of the Battlefield series that was disappointed one of his most hyped titles had these issues at launch.
Since the release of Battlefield 2042, there have been two major updates that have fixed most of the bugs and other issues plaguing the game so far, but they’re still isn’t a date of when we cant get small features like voice chat and more natural/traditional scoreboard at this time. I feel like this is a common trend now in the games industry, games get super hyped up to be these mega busters but once they release they are riddled with problems that are fixed after launch.
Then there is the addition of Specialist instead of classic Battlefield classes. I think we can all agree the best class system to grace the franchise was Battlefield 3‘s class system. It was simple: you had assault, engineer, support, and recon with each class having its own traits and types of weapon. The idea behind these new specialists is a cool concept, each having their own traits and specialty but what hurts these specialists is the ability to attach whatever weapon you want to them.
These new specialists have specialties like recon drones, SG-36 Sentry guns, Ballistic shields, smart explosives, and more. What I don’t like is not matter the specialist you choose, you cant choose whatever weapon you want for them. I know that DICE probably made this decision you give players the freedom of choice, but when you have a player fly by you in a wingsuit and quickly pop a mid-air headshot, that kills the realism.
I will say that these new specialists do have some really cool aspects like Sundance’s wingsuit or Mackay’s grapple gun, but I really think each one of these specialists should only be able to access certain weapons in the game. By doing this it would make the game feel a bit more like the classic battlefield and as the saying goes, if it ain’t broke…don’t fix it.
Maybe it is our fault as gamers for wanting these games as soon as possible, or maybe the investors and big wigs at most development studios are trying to push games out too fast. All I know is I would rather a company push the games off until they are actually ready for launch instead of us getting a game that is half-baked on the release date.
SOME LIGHT SHINES BRIGHT ON A DARK BATTLEFIELD
Now, with the problems of the game out of the way I can talk about what really shines in BF 2042; the wild and crazy gameplay. This game is packed to the teeth with amazing gameplay moments that had me on the edge of my seat so many times. There are three main game modes to play and we’re gonna talk about each one individually. First up we have All-Out-Warzone, this mode consists of the classic Conquest and Breakpoint mode.
Now if you have never played Battlefield, Conquest is a large-scale battle, and this year features games of up to 128 players on one map. The goal of Conquest is to control all the objectives on the map by the end of the match. This mode has been around in Battlefield for some time, but never on the scale it is now. When I jumped into my first match of conquest and saw all the players running, vehicles driving by, robotic dogs defending players, and choppers in the air I was stunned.
Battlefield has always pushed the boundaries when it comes to large-scale battles in-game, but this takes the cake. In the Breakpoint game mode, you are tasked to either defend or take control of two capture points, but only a small area of the map is available to players.
By doing this, it makes these 128 player games feel overcrowded, which in part makes you rely on your team much more often than just the squad you’re assigned. When the first two capture points are taken by the attacking team, the map expands by a percentage opening the doors for two more points to be captured.
Now, if you are the defending team and hold back the attacking team long enough by reducing their reinforcement, your team will win. Though I love Conquest, this mode has always made me feel like I was really in a battle for supremacy much more than any other mode. There were so many moments while playing this game mode that my jaw was hitting the floor.
During one of my online matches, the score was extremely close and both teams were very low on reinforcement. We only had so much time to capture the last area before the game ended and tensions were super high. The defending team was doing an amazing job at holding the last capture point and most of my team was pinned down by a take and an attack chopper. By the grace of the gaming gods, someone pulled up in a take and took out the opposing tank, at that time I was able to lock on to the enemy attack chopper and take it out of the sky.
The new addition to this year’s Battlefield is Hazard Zone. In this mode, you are part of a four-person squad, and your goal is to locate and retrieve “Critical Data Drives” before the other teams can. You face off against up to 32 other players (24 on last-gen systems) and will try to collect as many drives as you can, if you can collect drive successfully then you and your team will extract for the win.
What makes this game mode a challenge is not only is there a time limit but if you don’t choose the right specialist you are doomed from the start. You and your teammates can die in the mode and once you do you go to spectator mode. Your teammate can revive you but only if they find a Reinforcement Uplink that they find somewhere on the map.
You also can only spawn into this game mode with certain weapons, when you extract the game and win, you are awarded Dare Market Credit. With these credits, you can purchase more weapons for your load-outs as well as Tactical Upgrades like armor, fast healing, and more. Though this game mode is exciting and fun to play, I have to say it would be much more enjoyable with voice chat or proximity chat.
This is the type of mode you have to constantly communicate with your team while playing to have a tactical and strategic outcome. The fact that you can only do text chat in this game really makes modes like this somewhat of a bummer to play. It is extremely difficult to play this mode especially on a console when trying to complete your goal but use text chat to communicate with your team on what is happening.
Lastly, we have to talk about one of the greatest modes I think I have seen added to any first-person shooter, year to date. Battlefield Portal is by far one of the coolest things DICE has created for the Battlefield franchise, in this mode, you can jump right into four Battlefield experiences. You can choose to play custom games made in Battlefield 1942, Battlefield 2 Bad Company, Battlefield 3, or Battlefield 2042.
One of the coolest aspects of this is creating your own custom game experience, players can create their own custom game on the Battlefield Portal website and edit anything they want. Even things like fall damage, shot damage, what guns can be used, teams, classes, and etc. can be edited to-the-t.
There were a ton of games I played that had some really cool ideas, someone made a zombie-style game that had a team of 20 BF 2042 soldiers facing upwards of 100 BF1942 soldiers. The 2042 soldiers of course had weapons, but the 1942 soldiers were only equipped with grenades and knives. This mode was very exciting and made the think of the huge possibilities this game mode has. A player has even gone as far as challenging the development team’s previous statement that a Battle Royale cant be created in the mode.
The player literally made this Battle Royale mode not only have a circle that closes in on players, but have a kill to death ratio, loot drops, its own version of a gulag, and more! This right here is what makes the mode one of the best additions to Battlefield ever.
Not only can you create a mode like this, but if you get tired of playing 2042 you can easily jump right into Portal and play matches in some of your favorite classic Battlefield titles. I cant wait to see what other Battlefield assets they add to this mode in the future to make this mode that much more expansive and interesting.
NEXT-GEN GRAPHICS AT THEIR BEST
Lastly, I want to take a moment to talk about the graphical fidelity and presentation in this game. Battlefield 2042 has pushed DICE’s Frostbite to the limit with what seems to be the best-looking Battlefield game I have played. As I said earlier in my review, the large-scale maps really showcase the full graphical presentation this game has to offer. As you move throughout the map, the detail of the world is just stellar.
The maps are extremely vast and are the draw distance is for sure the best in the series. Conquest maps like Kaleidoscope, Hourglass, Breakaway, and Renewal very much showcase what this game has to offer. From large deserts, to large icy plains this game takes you all over the globe in some of the best-looking maps DICE has ever created. Then when you add in the dynamic weather system it takes this game to the next level.
The Hourglass map for instants, this map is set in Qatar and the desert has taken back over the large city. During the matches, you’ll be taking on the enemy team, and out of nowhere, a massive sandstorm moves in to change the entire aspect of the game. This doesn’t just change the map but makes it very hard to see who and what is next to you. Even in the Kaleidoscope, we get some amazing dynamic weather effects with a huge tornado that sweeps the city.
There are even moments that you can jump from the top of a build, deploy your wingsuit, and swing around the tornado you get a better vantage point on your enemies. When this tornado spawned into the level I was blown away, the damage it cause, the debris it was throwing, and the people it was sucking up into the funnel really was a wonderous this to see. This is by far the best graphical presentation and dynamic weather system in any game on the market and for sure it is one reason people should give the game a chance.
With some fine-tuning and some added features in the future, this could even be one of the best Battlefields released. Battlefield Portal is looking to be one of this game’s most exciting addition to BF 2042 and pretty much stole the show for me. With this mode, the future is very bright for 2042 and I can only hope it will overshadow the miss launch that happened on the release date.