Battlefield 2042 Review – Revolution or Regression?

Battlefield 2042 Review, the latest entry in EA DICE’s long-running Battlefield series, launched on November 19, 2021. The new first-person shooter aims to revolutionize the franchise with massive 128-player battles, dynamic weather, environmental hazards, and more. However, a rushed development cycle and numerous technical issues have led to a mixed reception from players and critics.

Introduction

Battlefield 2042 is set in a near-future world transformed by climate disasters, refugee crises, and global tensions between the United States and Russia. Players take on the role of Non-Patriated, or “No-Pat,” Specialists with unique abilities and traits.

The game features three multiplayer modes: All-Out Warfare, Hazard Zone, and Battlefield Portal. All-Out Warfare includes the Conquest and Breakthrough modes that Battlefield is known for, with maps that can hold up to 128 players on PC and next-gen consoles. Hazard Zone is a tense, squad-based mode focused on extracting data drives. Battlefield Portal allows players to create custom games and experiences using assets from older Battlefield titles.

Battlefield 2042 Review

Gameplay Impressions

Scale and Spectacle

One of Battlefield 2042’s most touted features is the increased player count, which ratchets the scale and intensity compared to previous entries. Fighting across massive maps like Kaleidoscope and Hourglass with 128 players can be thrilling and chaotic. Vehicles like tanks, helicopters, and fighter jets accentuate the all-out Warfare feel. Tornadoes, sandstorms, and rocket launches add environmental hazards.

Moments like piloting a helicopter as rockets streak past or getting caught amid an enemy platoon shift feel epic. The maps have some impressive levels of detail and destruction. Overall, the presentation supports the large-scale battles.

Gunplay and Movement

While not the best in class, the moment-to-moment gunplay provides a solid first-person shooting experience. Most weapons have a satisfying kick and handling. Movement animations and controls make playing as infantry enjoyable. Calling in a vehicle or special equipment adds more options during combat.

Small touches like bullet penetration through walls, customizable weapon loadouts, and a plus system for swapping attachments mid-match give players flexibility. The time-to-kill and health management create a higher skill gap than previous Battlefields. But inconsistencies with hit registration mar the experience.

Disrupted Class Balance

Battlefield 2042 departs from the class system used in older games. Instead, each Specialist has a unique trait and ability. In practice, this disrupts team balance and coordination. The open loadout means players are no longer fulfilling specific battlefield roles. Medics and ammo crates are less common. Unique abilities like a deployable shield or grappling hook sometimes encourage selfish play.

The Specialists themselves have interesting backstories and designs. But the gameplay ramifications of the change are noticeable. Teamplay suffers as players spread out across large maps rather than sticking together. Battlefield’s signature squad structure feels increasingly irrelevant. This new approach is divisive among fans.

Issues at Launch

While Battlefield 2042 introduces impressive tech and features, its launch was hampered by technical problems, bugs, and design missteps. DICE has addressed some of these issues, but others persist:

Optimization Problems

Battlefield 2042’s PC optimization was extremely poor at launch. Players with powerful rigs reported low frame rates, stuttering, and artifacts. Things have improved with updates, but performance is still weaker than expected. The console versions also suffer from frame rate drops and slow asset streaming. The game doesn’t feel smooth, harming the online multiplayer experience where responsiveness is key.

Glitches and Bugs

Too many glitches surfaced at launch, including animation bugs, clipping issues, and siege equipment flying across the map. Updates fixed the most egregious problems, but smaller bugs regularly crop up. Weapons stop firing; melee attacks miss, and vehicles flip unexpectedly – these disruptive glitches hurt moment-to-moment gameplay. For a multiplayer shooter, launch stability should be a priority.

Poor Map Design

Battlefield 2042’s maps impress with their scale but are less successful from a gameplay perspective. Most maps feature flat, open expanses with little cover or high ground for infantry to take advantage of. Combined with the lack of reconnaissance abilities or teamwide spotting, this makes soldier navigation frustrating. Certain objectives are poorly placed, creating attacker/defender imbalances. Map flow and pacing suffer as a result.

Lack of Content and Features

Battlefield 2042 was launched with only 22 primary weapons, a major step back from previous entries. Staple game modes like Team Deathmatch are still missing months after launch. Commo Rose communication and voice chat are absent. The UI lacks critical information displays. Progression systems feel bare bones, with an overreliance on dull daily and weekly quests versus substantive unlocks. For a live service game, Battlefield 2042 felt anemic at release.

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What DICE Has Improved

EA DICE deserves credit for addressing many of the community’s complaints and concerns following the release of Battlefield 2042. Through patches, hotfixes, and content updates, they have:

  • Greatly improved technical performance on PC and console
  • Added back Commo Rose callouts and expanded Ping system communication
  • Begun reworking poorly designed maps to enhance flow and cover
  • Brought back classic features like persistent servers and a global leaderboard
  • Started rolling out new weapons, vehicles, and Specialists at a steady pace
  • Refined weapon handling, UI, and Hazard Zone for a smoother experience

Despite its troubled launch, this support and evolution show the developers are committed to improving Battlefield 2042. Today, the game plays markedly better than it did at release.

Is It Worth Playing?

Battlefield 2042 has the ingredients to evolve into something great – its foundation of expansive maps, environmental effects, and sandbox gameplay holds exciting potential. However, given its current state, it’s hard to recommend wholeheartedly.

For Battlefield devotees, there’s fun to be had mastering the new Specialists, exploring the updated weapon handling, and reveling in the insane 128-player battles. But technical frustrations will dampen that enjoyment at times.

More casual players or those unfamiliar with the series are better off waiting for the game’s rough edges to be smoothed. The learning curve is steep, thanks to unintuitive mechanics and large maps.

The game shows promise but isn’t firing on all cylinders yet. Those burned by its disappointing launch may want to take a “wait and see” approach as DICE works to reach Battlefield 2042’s full potential. With continued improvements, it could become an excellent, eclectic addition to the long-running military shooter franchise.

Conclusion

Battlefield 2042 delivers the trademark scale, vehicular action, and sandbox gameplay the series is loved for at its best moments. However, numerous technical issues, gameplay flaws, and baffling design decisions resulted in the unfinished launch. DICE has worked hard to address criticisms and upgrade systems, but stability and content concerns linger.

Veteran players will enjoy mastering the huge battles despite the games’ faults. However, it’s harder to recommend for casual shooter fans or those new to Battlefield, given its current state. With time, Battlefield 2042 could address its shortcomings and become a great entry in the multiplayer shooter space. But today, it remains rough, unpolished, and hamstrung by its troubled development.

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