While Battlefield 2042 has been out for a few weeks now, it’s already an evolving game. EA has been releasing multiple updates to both fix bugs and tweak the game in reaction to players’ feedback. Most players who have been able to play so far have had a bug-riddled experience. But does the gameplay make up for the shortcomings of the state of the game at launch? I got to play in the pre-release preview event and have put in about 30 hours since release. Below I’ll share some of my thoughts on my experience so far as a semi-casual player. Be sure to hit the video to see plenty of gameplay.
Almost failure to launch
For most, the launch was a pretty rough time for Battlefield 2042 players. It was riddled with bugs and even locked some people out of playing the game due to connection issues. I tried to play on the Friday evening of the pre-release week and couldn’t get into a match. A week later, on the first day of the official release, issues persisted, and one of my buddies couldn’t get into a match even though people had been playing for a week already. While I think a lot of those issues have died down, so has the player count, and it was not a great first impression.
Since its launch, the devs have worked to improve server performance and squashed bugs – it is definitely in a better state in the nearly two weeks since the official launch. Server performance seems to be better, and plenty of bugs have been addressed. Still, even with the most recent patch on December 2, there are new bugs popping up.
Leadership is also changing for Battlefield. According to a Gamespot article shared by Battlefield on Twitter, DICE GM Oskar Gabrielson is leaving and Respawn’s Vince Zampella is taking on a bigger role as the overall boss of the Battlefield franchise. Meanwhile, Marcus Lehto, a major player in the creation of Halo, will be starting a new team to inject more story into the Battlefield universe. It’s hard to say what all this means for the future of Battlefield 2042, but I’m excited to see what comes.
Battlefield 2042: Video
Battlefield 2042: Gameplay
Battlefield 2042 is a multiplayer-only game and it is still one of the most ridiculous and chaotic FPS games – but in the best ways possible. At its core, like older games in the franchise, BF 2042 is a giant sandbox where players can use different tools in ridiculous ways to defeat the opposing team – and the devs encourage all of it. Everything from explosive ladened quadcopters to armored vehicles riding on the back of a VTOL personnel carrier makes for unique in-game experiences. It’s great fun.
Multiplayer is broken up into three different categories that we’ll take a look at individually. First, let’s talk about all-out warfare.
All-out warfare is what Battlefield is probably most known for. In BF 2042, things are taken up a notch with up to 128 players in a match. There are currently two game modes available – the classic Battlefield Conquest mode and breakthrough.
Conquest is a Battlefield classic that lives up to the name in 2042. The scale of the seven current maps is pretty massive and lends itself well to the huge player count. Specific objectives can get busy, but because of the size, encounters usually aren’t as chaotic as the Breakthrough game mode.
I enjoy playing conquest, but it’s also the game mode where I see squads separate the most. In the review event, we saw that as all of the members of our squad separated with different play styles across the map. It took a lot more intentionality to play together. For solo players, this might be great, but it is more fun with friends as you can communicate via a VoIP service like Discord to coordinate attacks.
With the same player count focused on capturing a few objectives, Breakthrough can get real busy real fast. Up to 64 players on each team rushing towards a couple of zones in breakthrough it’s a sight to behold. As I noted in my first impressions, the scale feels like a massive battle from a movie. My first experience playing breakthrough on the map Renewal made me feel like I was in Star Wars with tracers and gunfire flying overhead that looked like blaster fire while I was rushing to revive a downed teammate. It’s truly an incredible experience. While it may be chaotic, this is where memorable Battlefield 2042 moments can be born.
One of the most hyped game modes was Hazard Zone – an extraction-based game mode where you earn currency by defeating opponents, both player and AI, collecting data drives, and surviving the round. DICE didn’t show much about the game mode before it was released, and there really isn’t a whole lot to it.
Like CS:GO, you and your squad must use a currency that is earned in previous matches to outfit your specialist at the start of each round. While there are free options, weapons, gadgets, and tactical upgrades all take a bit of Hazard Zone currency.
If you are able to eliminate at least a few AI and players in a match, you should be able to make enough to fund a loadout for your next round even if you fail to extract in one of the two zones. If you can escape with looted drives, it’s easy to stack up some currency quickly.
Personally, I really enjoy playing Hazard Zone with my friends. It’s the mode that requires the most communication and teamwork and can create some really tense moments when you’re approaching an extraction that is covered in AI and players.
Where the mode falls is in longevity. For streamers or hardcore players that spend a lot of time in-game, once you rack up some currency, there really isn’t an endgame at this point. Even having specific cosmetics that can only be unlocked through Hazard Zone would give more reason to keep playing, but as it is, there isn’t anything like that.
Another big issue is that there is no in-game comms. While comms can bring out some absolutely terrible things (remember spawn island in PUBG?), I feel it’s pretty vital in a squad-based mode like Hazard Zone. I don’t enjoy playing Hazard Zone solo, but with a group of friends, it’s one of my favorite modes.
In the pre-release event, there was a Q&A section where the devs mentioned that Hazard Zone will be an evolving game mode. While we haven’t seen any changes to increase the lifespan of the game yet, I’m hopeful that will come in the future. It feels like there is a lot of potential here.
Portal offers a unique experience for Battlefield which allows users to build their own completely unique game modes with maps and weapons from three additional Battlefield titles. The developers curate modes to try like classic Battlefield 1942 conquest or snipers and knives, but users are encouraged to dream up other ideas.
Within the first few days of launch, streamers TwoAngryGamers created a Squid Games-inspired mode called red light green light where players can move for a certain amount of time but then have to freeze and are given a rifle with a single bullet to try and eliminate other players. Moving during the red light portion will terminate your player and take away points. It was a hilarious mode that made for some really fun gameplay.
Likewise, someone has created a wingsuit practice mode where there are sequential rings that you must fly through to progress to the next one. And the rings are made out of flying characters.
I’ve also seen mil-sim modes that remove the HUD and try to be more hardcore, as well as gun games. And considering that Battlefield 2042 has only been out for a few weeks, it’s exciting to think about what could come in the future. In recent updates, more features have been added to the portal logic editor to enable even more wild creations.
Portal is a lot of fun. While I haven’t given much time to making a custom game mode, playing the modes that others have created has been a blast. I was truly laughing out loud when playing red light green light and really enjoy the latest curated mode from, Battlefield 2042 Rush, which feels like one of my all-time favorite game modes, squad rush from Battlefield 3.
Battlefield 2042: Specialists
Beyond game modes, Battlefield 2042 changes things up significantly with specialists that each have their own abilities. Instead of the classic battlefield move where classes have dedicated equipment and a specific genre of weapons, in 2042, any specialist can have any weapon and any gadget in addition to their specific ability.
Many Battlefield purists have taken issue with this, citing that it deters squad play, and maybe it does to some extent, but having more unique abilities also kind of expands what is possible in the massive Battlefield sandbox. If you want to flank and get to some ridiculous positions, try Sundance’s wingsuit or MacKay’s grappling hook. If you just want to make sure your squad always has the right weapon and gadget kit for the current battle, Angel is one of my favorite specialists with his loadout crate. Each specialist opens up more ways to play in my experience. And while you can build a self-sufficient loadout to regenerate ammo and health, after running into a turret or riot shield, trying other specialists is a fun way to play.
There are still loadouts, but they’re more like weapon and gadget kits. More kits can be created or removed and renamed. For my loadouts, I have classics like assault, medic, and anti-air, but then I also have weapon-specific kits like the SVK and sniper. Really, you can just customize the loadouts to fit your playstyle.
Battlefield 2042: The downsides
Battlefield creates unique situations that allow for entertaining experiences, but it’s not all great. The UI is still pretty unintuitive. Figuring out how to customize weapons takes a while, bugs are still a problem, and hit registration was only recently fixed to make gunplay feel more accurate.
For a Battlefield game, the gun selection is pretty limited. There are only four assault rifles, for example, and only two LMGs. EA has stated that new weapons will be released with upcoming seasons, but once again for launch, things felt half-baked like the server performance.
The good news is that I do believe EA is listening to players and actively working to make adjustments to Battlefield 2042. It’s just unfortunate that some of these things happened at all when the game was launched.
One other major gripe that I have is that there is not a standard scoreboard. When you press tab you get a snapshot of your own stats and how your squad is doing, but other than your squad’s rank, you can’t compare performance to others in the lobby. There is also not a comprehensive screen at the end of the game to get an overall look at how you did in the lobby.
Maybe just try it on first
If you’re unsure about the game, the best thing to do is to get EA Play and get a 10-hour trial of Battlefield 2042. This way you can get a feel for the different game modes and decide if you want to spend the $60+ on the full game.
Xbox Game Pass subscribers can also get in on the 10-hour trial. With other recent titles like Age of Empires 4, Forza Horizon 5, and Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, now’s a great time to pick up a game pass Ultimate subscription.
While there may still be issues, bugs, crappy UI, and a lack of weapons, I’m still having a blast playing Battlefield 2042. Is it as addictive to me as Destiny or Escape from Tarkov were with tasks and progression? No. But I still look forward to hopping in with my friends on the weekend to try to escape from the Hazard Zone, revel in the chaos of Breakthrough, or try a new game mode in Portal. And while it is frustrating that there were so many issues at launch, I’m looking forward to the future of Battlefield 2042. As a semi-casual player, it’s filling the void I was feeling for a new FPS experience. I just hope that the developers can make changes quickly enough to keep the player base from getting too low.
I can see why streamers and super hardcore gamers might tire of the game modes, but for a more casual player like me, it’s still wildly entertaining. Of course, Battlefield 2042 is best served with friends when possible.
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