The Battlefield game series is arguably one of the best series that has always prided itself on realism, but at times never been afraid to step outside of the bounds to give fans something different. In Battlefield 2042, we see the series take another step forward, giving Battlefield gaming fans the things they love about the previous entries and some new things as well.
Since the introduction of the Frostbite 3 engine, Battlefield games have been getting a tad more realistic. The levolution mechanic introduced in Battlefield 4 saw maps no longer being static. You could affect them by blowing up buildings, destroying walls and pipelines. Actions that had map-wide consequences.
In Battlefield 2042, much of what players familiar with Battlefield 4, 5 and 1 will be accustomed to is still there. It’s just a lot bigger. Maps can now have up to 128 players, which result in absolute carnage and chaos. The increased map size means you don’t feel claustrophobic, and the increased player count makes games way more fun.
One of the most significant changes in Battlefield 2042 is that it is now an online-only game. Most of you are reading this probably never finished the Battlefield campaigns anyway and instead opted to play online, ranking up and causing mayhem.
Battlefield 2042 is set in some bleak futuristic world where climate change has wreaked havoc and left two opposing parties to duke it out; the USA and Russia.
If you played the beta, you might have had concerns that the game was anything but ready for release. The game has had some delays so it can be polished, and in their favour, they did take beta feedback on board and address it.
One of the most controversial changes introduced is the class system from previous games is gone. You no longer choose to be a medic or recon soldier anymore. There are ten specialists to choose from (presumably more to come in the future). Each specialist has a unique ability, like a grappling hook or a cool wingsuit.
I like the new specialist system. It adds a newfound sense of freedom to the game. Classes had their share of fun, but you were always limited in what you could do. You have active and passive abilities now. You can even hack vehicles and other never before seen things in a Battlefield game.
If you want to play medic or sniper, you still can. There is a recon specialist, but anyone can choose to equip a sniper rifle and pick people off from hidden parts of the map (if you can find those).
Another change to get used to is despite the maps being quite large, they are pretty open. Many of the maps lend themselves to vehicular combat (which has always been my favourite thing in Battlefield games) but means those on foot are easy targets (especially if you get an unlucky spawn).
Balance wise, the game seems to be pretty balanced. There are some minor grievances like Hovercraft driving up walls (I’m sure that will be fixed soon). I have yet to encounter any guns that seem overpowered, but I still have limited access because I am low ranked.
Speaking of balance. Unlike Battlefield 4, there aren’t any overpowered vehicles. I’m sure some of you might remember that attack helicopters in Battlefield 4 were incredibly annoying because they were almost impossible to destroy. A good helicopter pilot in Battlefield 4 could run a large kill count without a single death.
I did encounter my fair share of good pilots in Battlefield 2042, but they were a lot easier to flank.
The maps can feel sprawling and isolating at times
I first noticed that maps are so big and sprawling (like Hourglass) that you can be the only person around and away from the action.
One of the problems with the open nature of the maps is that vehicles are quite limited. Everyone rushes for the attack planes and tanks, meaning you’ll have to hitch a ride with someone else or walk. I tried walking in a game for fun, and it was painful and tedious… until a tank took me out.
The spawn points also appear to be a bit tricky, like in previous Battlefield games. Despite the maps being larger, it’s still easy to accidentally spawn into the wrong part of the map and find yourself in a 30 man gunfight (like the Stadium in Hourglass).
And then there is the concept of reviving. If you’re fortunate enough to be in a busy part of the map, you might be revived. In most cases, nobody was around to revive me. It seems the large size of the maps has resulted in the revive feature being almost redundant. Not completely useless, but in most cases, you’re just waiting for the timer to run down.
Being a Sniper in a lot of the maps can also be tricky. Because everything is so open, finding a good hiding spot can be rather difficult. My favourite map Hourglass has a few good spots you can hide, but there aren’t many.
Battlefield 2042 despite looking bleak a lot of the time, is beautiful in its own way. The reflections, the buildings and their ability to convey scale are incredible.
Look how beautiful this game is.
The minor things that make this game pleasing to the eye make such a huge deal. The way in which the trees react to the weather and sway, the lighting.
The weather and visuals aside, the other things like map actions also add to the realism. In the above screenshot, those blue irrigators on tracks move up and down watering the crops like you’re on a real farm.
There are performance issues
The game is surprisingly a lot more optimised than it was during the beta. Performance is generally good across the board, except in some cases. I know this can be hardware dependent, but most performance cases were witnessed server-side by other players.
I’m rocking an AMD Ryzen 3900x with an Nvidia 3070 and 64GB of RAM, playing on a 1TB NVME drive. Not the best, but not exactly entry-level hardware either.
The addition of weather events into maps, despite looking cool, does result in frame rate drops. I can go from a stable 50fps down to 38fps with a weather event. The rolling sandstorms regularly wreak performance havoc, which I am sure will be fixed in a subsequent patch.
Depending on the number of players in the game, the initial spawn can be laggy. Spawning on a squad member in a busy area can also result in frame rate drops.
For the most part, the game was playable and fun. Nothing stopped me from playing; it was really a minor inconvenience.
Without a doubt, one of my favourite modes in Battlefield 2042 is Hazard Mode. It’s a squad-focused mode that sees squads of four trying to secure data drives and extract them. It’s a combination of Battle Royale and Escape From Tarkov, which is new territory for a Battlefield game.
I know some people will have strong opinions about Hazard, but I really enjoyed the different approach to a Battlefield game mode. It doesn’t go full Escape From Tarkov, but it has a progression system where you level up with the currency to buy new weapons and rinse repeat.
The one thing that lets the Hazard mode down a little bit is the AI players. There are a lot of AI players in this game, and they don’t seem to be that smart or consistent. Sometimes they’ll be highly annoying and precise. Other times they’ll shoot at you and miss you a lot. I wish they made the AI have a purpose; they’re just another environmental hazard like the weather, but killing them gives you nothing.
And not to dampen the fun, but there is a balance issue with Hazard. Because the currency and progression are based on first-mover advantage, it means new players with limited load-outs will instantly be at a disadvantage over someone who has been playing since launch and amassed a tonne of credits.
If they care enough, these issues can be resolved in subsequent updates and maybe expand this mode to have more consequences when you die. Make death mean something.
Perhaps one of the most significant additions to a Battlefield game by far is Battlefield Portal. The Battlefield Portal feature is a sandbox mode allowing you to create custom game modes and unique maps. It offers the new stuff from 2042 and modernised maps, vehicles, and weapons from existing Battlefield games.
The portal editor is publicly accessible, allowing anyone to build experiences even if they don’t own the game yet. As you can see, it has a cool step based editing processing and even offers a logic editor allowing you to run subroutines, affect the game in different ways and create unique rules.
While you can’t create maps from scratch, you can mod existing maps and make them into unique experiences. And to answer the question, everyone will be asking: no, you cannot build battle royale game modes just yet. Think of Battlefield Portal as a modding tool, not a creation tool.
The Portal feature has the potential for the community to increase the longevity of 2042 and keep it fun. Previous Battlefield games, after playing quite intensively, begin to get a little repetitive and boring. I can foresee some creative additions from the community after launch.
I think Battlefield 2042 is a nice fresh new direction for Battlefield. Not everyone is going to be a fan of 2042, but if DICE can take what they have here and build on it, the portal feature alone could result in a game you play for more than a few months until you get tired of it.