We’d gotten so used to yearly iterations of Battlefield that it completely escaped our minds that it had been 3 whole years since Battlefield V released. One might think that after cooking for 3 years Battlefield 2042 would be DICE’s return to form, 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 – Story
The decision to skip on the single-player campaign and focus completely on the multiplayer aspect of Battlefield would have gone down 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
When it comes to the gameplay mechanics, it’s the same game you’ve been playing for years. The controls will immediately feel familiar and you’ll be able to jump right into the action the moment you get the game running, which mind you, is not a bad thing. They’ve got a quick tutorial once you start the game for the first time, and after that you’re free to dive into any of the game’s available game modes.
The game mode that defines the Battlefield franchise, All-Out Warfare is the large-scale battle mode, where two sides of 64 now, instead of the usual 32, are pitted against each other in a quest to conquer and hold the majority of the map. DICE’s aim here was to make Battlefield 2042 the biggest Battlefield ever, and the steps they took to achieve this was to bump up the player count and scale the maps up.
To accommodate the extra players, DICE have gone ahead and scaled the maps up to ridiculous proportions. As a result, we now have to deal with large amounts of empty space, with so many maps having swathes of barren wasteland which don’t see much action. The only places that see any action are the capture points.
To compensate for the amount of travelling players need to do, you can now call-in a variety of vehicles for free, or even spawn in existing friendly vehicles on the map. Being able to choose where you spawn does make it easier to play along with friends, as opposed to them spawning on the opposite end of the map. That still does little to reduce the amount of time you will spend running between points when you don't have a vehicle drop-in available, or if your spawn point is too far away from where you need to go. On an additional note, it was a pain to try and maneuver any helicopter in this game with a keyboard and mouse, but that might just be us sucking at the game.
In terms of overall experience, the increase in the number of players isn’t really noticeable. The scale of the map and the amount of time it takes to get from point A to point B is noticeable though. And on the rare occasion that you do see north of 64 players rushing a contested warzone, it’s just chaos. One might argue that bullets flying everywhere with no clue who or what is shooting at you is Battlefield’s MO and part of its charm, but scaling the number of people up just makes things more frustrating, not fun. It doesn’t help that the game was a buggy mess on launch, which only adds to the frustration.
In its current state, there's very little of Battlefield 2042 that isn't plagued with bugs. In fact, there are some bugs that have actually carried over from recent Battlefield titles! The list is pretty endless, from the usual animation bugs, clipping through the ground, rubberbanding, you name it and Battlefield 2042 has it. Unfortunately, this is something long-time players of the franchise are already familiar with, and it's a sad state of affairs when players still need to deal with the exact same issues despite the game spending much longer in development.
We personally didn’t have a very good 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 considering the state of the game. Unfortunately, fewer players means unfair matchmaking, and we often got paired against people over 50 levels higher than us who had no problem picking us off from a million miles away.
Breakthrough mode attempts to bring all the action to one point, with an attacking and defending team.The caveat being that once a zone is captured, it can't be recaptured. This also means you've basically got all 128 players vying for a single zone, be it either defending or attacking. So take the chaos, and turn it up to 11. The attacking side seemingly has an advantage here, because the defending side can pretty much be spawn camped, which as we all know, is not fun.
Battlefield 2042 features 10 playable "Specialists", which at first glance seem to be based on the four original Battlefield classes, i.e., Assault, Support, Recon and Engineer. Turns out, the classes mean nothing. You don't need to pick a medic to be a healer, you just need to equip the medical crate gadget. You don't need to be an engineer to repair stuff, anyone can equip a repair tool. Plus all specialists can equip any gun. The only thing that makes them stand apart is a single ability unique to each of them, like for instance, Rao can jam vehicles, Casper has an OV-P Recon drone for scouting, Sundance has a wingsuit to get around faster when dropping into maps, Mackay has a grappling hook, etc. This still isn't enough to make it feel like picking any specific specialist will make much of a difference to a team; everyone can do everything plus one extra skill.
Why did we bring up Specialists before talking about Hazard Zone? Because this is 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 drop in to collect data drives scattered across the map. These data points are defended by AI soldiers, which all squads need to deal with. If a squadmate gets killed, then a teammate needs to secure a respawn uplink to revive them, which is similar to what we've seen in Apex Legends. There are limited extractions as well, and like a battle royale (again), you can betchyoass that the last extraction will be hotly contested.
Gathering data from the drives increases the amount of credits you'll get, and you can loot uplinks along the way which allow you to call in Rangers (robo dogos), a recon vehicle, and the team redeploys we mentioned above. The game pings redeploys for you on the map when your teammates are down. The cool thing here is that team redeploys will revive all your downed teammates, and not just one.
At the start of a Hazard Zone match, you can pick any available Specialist, you can't have two of the same on a team though. Your loadout is limited however, since you won't have many credits to spend on your loadout. Your credits carry over to the next match, so dropping in, looting a few drives and extracting would mean that eventually you would have enough credits to get your favourite weapon with all the customisations you want. This in turn should allow you to stay longer and loot more drives. Successfully extracting also nets you Extraction Streaks, which unlocks extra Tactical Equipment slots for your specialist. This raises the stakes with every drop, because losing your streak means losing out on your slots. These streaks are also attached to the Specialists; they won't carry over if you decide to switch.
The sense of progression in Hazard Zone is great, plus it makes the Specialists and choosing the right team comp actually matter, because teamwork is key in order to succeed. However, Hazard Zone still isn’t the best mode Battlefield 2042 has to offer. That honour goes to…
Probably the most fun game mode in Battlefield 2042, Portal mode basically allows players to create their own game modes, with their rules and whatnot. 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 which include Battlefield 1942 Classic Conquest, Battlefield Bad Company 2 Classic Rush, and Battlefield 3 Classic Conquest with their original rulesets and maps (64 players). All of which feel so much better to play than All-Out Warfare.
The real fun though lies in the amount of player customisation and rule-tweaking you can do. All the rules and values can be tweaked to include some ridiculous stipulations, like needing to jump a set number of times in order to reload. Player created game modes can be a lot of fun, and they’re easy enough to discover as well, with featured player created modes on rotation on Portal’s home page.
Battlefield 2042 – Verdict
Battlefield 2042 tries too hard to be the "biggest battlefield ever", and unfortunately, the game’s core game mode, All-Out Warfare, is the least fun of all of its offerings. The new Hazard Zone game mode is actually a pretty good, strategic, game mode but the Portal mode takes the cake and is the only thing that makes Battlefield 2042 even slightly worth picking up. It also shows that people would still rather play the previous Battlefield games than what 2042 has to offer. That is of course, without mentioning the long list of bugs plaguing the game. Also, we never really came across any of those massive weather events, which is kind of a bummer. We’ve heard they’re fairly awesome.
SKOAR! – 6/10
Publisher: 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)