Battlefield 2042 gameplay first impressions from press review event [Video]

With early access for eligible players starting this Friday, EA reached out to quite a few members of the press for a pre-launch review event this week. During this event, we got to try all-out warfare in the form of breakthrough and conquest with up to 128 players, the new extraction-focused hazard zone and even spent some time with the mashup game type portal. All in all, things felt much better than the beta and it was a blast to finally see what Hazard Zone will be like. Be sure to hit the video below to see Battlefield 2042 gameplay from all of these great modes. 

First off, this is not a full review of Battlefield 2042. We didn’t really get to see what progression looks like and a chunk of the time was spent battling bots rather than players. But I wanted to share my thoughts, experiences, and gameplay from the press event as it was a great way to get a feel for what’s to come. 

Everything went pretty smoothly on my end, but there were quite a few players who had trouble getting into the servers. Since they couldn’t get in, and there was a limited number of participants, much of the first day was spent battling bots. 

For Battlefield 2042, EA has opted to fill empty spots in a server with AI to give the full, chaotic experience. While they definitely adds to the intensity, bots just aren’t up to the same standards as real players. Of course, this can be tweaked in Portal mode if you’d rather set up your own game rules, which we’ll talk about later. 

Day 1: All-out warfare

The first day was spent in two all-out warfare modes: Breakthrough and the Battlefield classic, conquest. Even though the first games employed quite a few bots, I enjoyed the scale and intensity of this game type much more than conquest. In Breakthrough, the attacking team must capture and hold a few objectives to continue to the next sector with a new set of objectives while the defending team tries to stop them. It’s a pretty incredible sight to behold with up to 64 players charging toward an objective held by up to another 64 players. 

Battlefield 2042 Gameplay: Video

When we were moving toward the 2nd objective of the first game, there was a moment where I was pushing through a dip to revive some teammates with a ridiculous amount of tracer fire flying overhead in every direction and I thought to myself, “I feel like I’m in a Star Wars movie. This feels like I’m taking part in the battle on Hoth.” Battlefield 2042 all-out warfare takes the intensity and sometimes ridiculous sandbox nature of previous games and cranks it up to the next level with the massive player count. 

A lot of the players in the game were staff who I’m sure have spent plenty of time playing builds already. After getting killed repeatedly by the DM7 marksman rifle, I decided to give it a spin and found myself really enjoying it. With a red dot sight, it’s capable in close quarters, but pop on a 3 or 4x scope and you can do some damage at a distance as well. 

Day 2: Hazard Zone

Hazard Zone was the big unknown going into this event. We’ve heard rumors that it was an excraction-based game type where players must complete an objective and reach an extraction point to get out with the loot. 

And that is pretty true to how it played out. Players use a hazard zone-specific currency to choose gear before going into a match, kind of like Counter-Strike, and then try to escape with data drives that exchange for more currency. If you and your squad are eliminated during the match, you lose all of the data drives, but you can still earn currency by eliminating opponents. 

The Squad I was playing with extracted a couple of times during the two-hour gametime. This mode is intense and definitely calls for teamwork, in my experience. 

There are also AI in this game mode that will appear at objectives, and some others involved in the event mentioned that they rarely saw other players, only AI in their matches. Hazard Zone is supposed to support up to 32 players for PC, Playstation 5, and Xbox Series X|S, and 24 players for Xbox One and Playstation 4. I imagine that when the game is live and servers are more filled up with players, there will be more interaction with people and less AI. While it’s nice to have the intensity of combat thanks to AI, they are kind of bland and playing against players gives a much more interesting game experience.

Games last about 15 minutes, so it’s pretty quick and easy to get in and out and on to the next game. 

In a live Q&A after the play period had ended, the developers talked about how they are looking to collect feedback from players even as the game is live to tweak the Hazard Zone, referring to it as a living game mode that will evolve. 

I see my friends and me who have been playing Warzone for what seems like forever really getting into this game mode. It’s an intense experience that requires teamwork and communication and makes for some really enjoyable Battlefield 2042 gameplay. 

The only “end-game” to this mode seems to be unlocking character achievements and visual upgrades to your character card. Experience earned in Hazard Zone will level up your character and unlock weapons and attachments, though, just like the other game modes. 

Day 3: Portal

The third day was focused on Battlefield Portal and was the longest day of the event, with good reason. Battlefield Portal takes assets from Battlefield 1942, Bad Company 2, Battlefield 3, Battlefield 2042, and puts them into a gigantic customizable sandbox. This will be the modder’s dream. 

Accessed through a web browser, users can create and tweak game modes ranging from standard modes like Rush, or branching into absurd custom creations like the example they showed us which was a free for all deathmatch with rocket launchers where the only way to get another rocket was to jump in the air five times. Needless to say, it led to some ridiculous gameplay. 

Devs from Ripple Effect, the company behind Portal, mentioned during a Q&A after the event that there is of course the ability to create zombie and infection modes and most anything you can think of. 

Besides tweaking parameters like player count, which weapons are available and on what map, Battlefield Portal also implements a logic editor in the form of their rules editor. They demonstrated this in the presentation by creating the jump five times to get a new rocket mechanic. 

As a basis, there are five core game modes that can be manipulated to your heart’s content. Those modes are rush, conquest, conquest large, team deathmatch, and free-for-all. 

Personally, I’m a huge fan of rush so having the ability to relive that game type is very appealing to me. I wish they had squad rush, which was a more intimate version with less vehicles and more foot combat, but I’ll settle for any of the game modes. 

The devs alluded to the open-ended nature of Battlefield Portal. They’ve brought in assets from three additional Battlefield games, but it really feels like the sky is the limit here. They have plenty more content in the vault that can be brought out to keep Portal fresh. In the chat during the Battlefield Portal presentation, there were quite a few people requesting the Metro map be added, which would be a great addition. 128 players on Metro might sound like hell to some, but for others, it’s a dream that I hope could become a reality in the near future. 

The devs will provide a few curated custom game types in the Battlefield Portal playlist, but right out of the gate they are encouraging users to create their own experiences. I imagine they’re excited to see what players come up with. 

One thing that I think really needs to be addressed is the state of footsteps. Currently, you can hear people from roughly 50 yards away. While it’s nice to know an enemy’s location, it’s way too overwhelming. In some of the Portal modes where we were playing free for all modes or just on a smaller map, it was just a constant clunk of footsteps from all around you. I hope that’s something that can be tweaked before or shortly after launch. 

There’s also not a traditional leader board. You can see your squad’s stats, but as far as global scores and ranking, there isn’t a way to see those as far as I can tell. There was quite a bit of feedback on this as well, and hopefully it’s something that can be addressed. 

Battlefield 2042 Gameplay and stability

For me, most of the Battlefield 2042 gameplay went smooth with minimal glitches. Occasionally there was an ADS bug, soldiers were sliding across the ground without a running animation, and my hovercraft would glitch out when running into other vehicles, but all in all it was a blast to play and I could easily forgive all of that. 

Representatives said that the build we were playing was very near what will go live on Friday for early access participants. There are a few bugs that they are aware of that they’ve fixed for the prime-time. 

9to5Toys’ take

Personally, I am very excited to dive into Battlefield 2042 this weekend. With all-out-war, Hazard Zone, and Battlefield Portal, there is a huge variety of ways to play the game. I was grouped up with a few other members of the press for the review and we each had our own modes we loved and ones we didn’t care for thanks to the massive variety. 

While this isn’t a full review, hopefully, this Battlefield 2042 gameplay footage gives you an idea of what to expect on Friday when servers open up for pre-launch participants. I know I’ll be playing, so I hope to see you on the Battlefield.

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