We had gotten so used to the annual iterations of Battlefield that it completely slipped our minds that it had been 3 whole years since the release of Battlefield V. You would think that after cooking for 3 years, Battlefield 2042 would be back in shape. DICE, a revival for the franchise and all that good stuff, but unfortunately Battlefield 2042 is far from it. Read on for the full review.
Battlefield 2042 – History
The decision to skip the single-player campaign and focus entirely on the multiplayer aspect of Battlefield would have been fine with fans if the game wasn’t such a mess. It’s the multiplayer that everyone buys the game for at the end of the day, so the fact that they decided to double down on that and go all-in was brave and understandable. Unfortunately, we don’t think it really paid off.
Battlefield 2042 – Gameplay
As far as game mechanics go, it’s the same game you’ve been playing for years. The controls will feel immediately familiar, and you can jump straight into the action the moment you launch the game, which, mind you, isn’t a bad thing. They have a quick tutorial once you start the game for the first time, and after that you are free to dive into any of the game’s available play modes.
The game mode that defines the Battlefield franchise, All-Out Warfare is the large-scale battle mode, where two sides of now 64, instead of the usual 32, clash in a quest to conquer and hold the majority of the map . DICE’s goal here was to make Battlefield 2042 the greatest battlefield ever, and the steps they took to achieve that included increasing the player count and resizing the maps.
To accommodate the extra players, DICE went ahead and expanded the maps to ridiculous proportions. As a result, we now have to deal with large amounts of empty space, with so many maps having stretches of barren wasteland that don’t see much action. The only places that see action are capture points.
To compensate for the amount of movement players have to make, you can now summon a variety of vehicles for free, or even spawn in existing friendly vehicles on the map. Being able to choose where you spawn makes it easier to play with friends, as opposed to them spawning at the opposite end of the map. This still doesn’t do much to reduce the time you’ll spend running between points when you don’t have a vehicle depot available, or if your spawn point is too far from where you need to go. . On an added note, it was a pain trying to maneuver any helicopter in this game with a keyboard and mouse, but that might just be us sucking the game.
In terms of the overall experience, the increase in player count isn’t really noticeable. The scale of the map and the time it takes to get from point A to point B are noticeable though. And on the rare occasions you see north of 64 players rushing into a contested warzone, it’s just chaos. You could say that bullets flying around not knowing who or what is shooting at you is Battlefield’s MO and part of its charm, but increasing the number of people makes things more frustrating, not fun. It doesn’t help that the game was a buggy mess at launch, which only adds to the frustration.
In its current state, there’s very little Battlefield 2042 that isn’t plagued with bugs. In fact, some bugs have been carried over from the latest Battlefield titles! The list is pretty endless, from the usual animation bugs, to ground, to rubber, you name it and Battlefield 2042 has it. Unfortunately, this is something that long-time players in the franchise already know, and it’s a sad situation when players still have to deal with the same issues, even though the game is spending a lot more time in development.
Personally, we haven’t had a great time with the game’s matchmaking either, which might have more to do with the region we’re playing in, but it’s very evident that there’s a lack of players. Very understandable given the state of the game. Unfortunately, fewer players means unfair matchmaking, and we were often matched with people over 50 levels higher than us who had no problem spotting us at millions of kilometers.
Breakthrough mode tries to bring all the action to a point, with an attacking and defensive team. The caveat being that once an area is captured, it cannot be recaptured. It also means that you basically have all 128 players vying for a single zone, either in defense or attack. So take the chaos and turn it up to 11. The attacking side apparently has an advantage here, as the defending side can pretty much be camped out, which as we all know is no fun.
Battlefield 2042 features 10 playable “specialists”, which at first glance appear to be based on the original four Battlefield classes, i.e. Assault, Support, Recon, and Engineer. It turns out that classes don’t mean anything. You don’t need to choose a doctor to be a healer, you just need to equip the medical crate gadget. You don’t need to be an engineer to fix things, anyone can equip a repair tool. Additionally, all specialists can equip any weapon. The only thing that sets them apart is a single ability unique to each of them, like for example, Rao can jam vehicles, Casper has an OV-P Recon drone for scouting, Sundance has a wingsuit to move faster when he falls on maps, Mackay has a grappling hook, etc. It’s still not enough to give the impression that choosing a specific specialist will make a big difference for a team; everyone can do everything plus an extra skill.
Why did we mention the specialists before talking about the danger zone? Because that’s pretty much the only game mode where they actually matter. Hazard Zone is a Battle Royal-esq game mode, where up to 32 players, or 8 teams of 4, show up to collect data drives scattered across the map. These data points are defended by AI soldiers, which all squads must deal with. If a teammate is killed, a teammate must secure a respawn uplink to revive them, which is similar to what we saw in Apex Legends. There are also limited extractions, and like a battle royale (again), you can bet the last extraction will be hotly contested.
Collecting data from discs increases the amount of credits you will get and you can loot uplinks along the way which allow you to call in Rangers (robo dogos), recon vehicle and the team redeploys as we mentioned above. In-game pings redeploy for you on the map when your teammates are down. What’s cool here is that team redeploys will revive all of your downed teammates, not just one.
At the start of a Danger Zone match, you can choose any available specialist, but you cannot have two identical ones on a team. Your loadout is limited though, as you won’t have a lot of credits to spend on your loadout. Your credits carry over to the next match, so getting in, looting a few discs, and mining would mean you’d finally have enough credits to get your favorite gun with all the customizations you want. This in turn should allow you to stay longer and loot more discs. A successful Extraction also earns you Extraction Sequences, which unlock additional Tactical Gear slots for your Specialist. This raises the stakes with every drop, because losing your streak means losing your slots. These streaks are also attached to specialists; they will not be carried over if you decide to change.
The sense of progression in Hazard Zone is excellent, and that makes specialists and choosing the right team composition important, as teamwork is the key to success. However, Hazard Zone still isn’t the best mode Battlefield 2042 has to offer. This honor goes to…
Probably the most fun game mode in Battlefield 2042, Portal mode basically allows players to create their own game modes, complete with rules and so on. The mode’s toolkit includes maps and weapons from Bad Company 2, Battlefield 3, and Battlefield 1942. In addition to player-created content, there are a few preset modes, including Battlefield 1942 Classic Conquest, Battlefield Bad Company 2 Classic Rush and Battlefield 3 Classic. Conquest with their original rules and maps (64 players). It all feels so much better to play than All-Out Warfare.
The real fun, however, is in the amount of player customization and rule editing you can do. All rules and values can be changed to include ridiculous stipulations, like having to jump a certain number of times to reload. Player-created game modes can be a lot of fun, and they’re also pretty easy to discover, with player-created modes rotating on Portal’s homepage.
Battlefield 2042 – Verdict
Battlefield 2042 tries too hard to be the “greatest battlefield ever”, and unfortunately the game’s main game mode, All-Out Warfare, is the least fun of all its offerings. The new Hazard Zone game mode is actually a pretty good strategy game mode, but the Portal mode takes the cake and is the only thing that makes Battlefield 2042 slightly interesting. It also shows that people would still rather play previous Battlefield games than what 2042 has to offer. That’s of course, not to mention the long list of bugs plaguing the game. Plus, we never really encountered any of these massive weather events, which is kind of a shame. We’ve heard they’re pretty awesome.
SKOAR! – 6/10
Editor: Electronic Arts
Platforms: Xbox Series X and Series S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
played on: Microsoft Windows (Origin)
Price: INR 2,999 (standard edition)