Many first-person shooters come and go in the industry, but the two franchises that always battled it out back and forth have been Call of Duty and Battlefield. Ever since Battlefield Hardline, fans have not felt as satisfied with the franchise as they did with 3 and 4. Meanwhile, Call of Duty began to feel oversaturated with its futuristic outings and eventually went back to its roots with the Modern Warfare reboot – which was received with open arms by fans of the franchise.
After 2018’s Battlefield V was released to divisive reactions and disappointing sales, EA knew that they had to redeem their franchise too just like how Activision fixed Call of Duty. And Battlefield 2042 is the game they placed all of their bets on, as this game is the most ambitious Battlefield adventure yet and the developers hoped to get rid of their last few mistakes.
So, let’s dig in and see if we’re about to find a good game in Battlefield 2042 or another painfully mediocre experience on top of an already large pile.
Gone but not forgotten
I imagine that the board meeting that took place in terms of fixing the things that have been criticized in the recent Battlefield games ended with the staff deciding to just remove them altogether to save efforts.
One of the key criticisms of Battlefield V was that its story mode was uninteresting and released with too many gaps. The team seems to have fixed this problem by… removing single-player content entirely.
Battlefield 2044 does not have a story mode and instead, it’s just one big multiplayer game. But even then, it leaves out a lot of the little details that made this franchise fun and that is one of the main reasons why it feels as if something with the game is wrong.
Many of the reviews and impressions of the game from professional critics have addressed these issues inside them. But frankly, it’s impossible to truly get to the depth of it because of just how much is really removed as a whole.
Thus, fans took matters into their own hands and created a thread that lists all of these problems together. Some of the important features include:
- No standard server browser
- No spectator mode
- No standard server browser
- No global leaderboards
- No cross-game profile
- No permanent community servers
- Fewer guns, vehicles, and scoring bonuses
- Fewer squad options, such as the lack of commanders, call-in abilities, fewer factions, and so on
The amount of features that have been left out is concerningly large and if this was a game in Early Access, things like these can be forgiven. However, this is a game that has been released at retail price and thus it’s inexcusable that the team missed the mark one more time.
You can’t even dive underwater to avoid enemy fire anymore.
Ready the bug spray
When a game jokingly gets compared to the launch of Cyberpunk 2077, you know things are bad.
Battlefield 2042’s multiplayer beta was nearly unplayable even on copies and keys that critics received. There were bugs everywhere and some of them outright broke the game too. Of course, the Battlefield franchise has never been without its rocky launches which include Battlefield 4 too. But the difference here is that Battlefield 4 was never meant to revive a dying franchise since the previous outing was a solid game. Not only does Battlefield 2042 have less content than the previous games, but it’s also just as terrible and perhaps even worse at launch.
Even outside of the beta and in the game’s current build, the bugs are very easy to encounter and incredibly distracting. Character models vanish, animations are messed up, things clip out of maps, the servers are unstable, hit detection is all over the place, and so on. It’s not a game that works well and that just feels unforgivable now after all the time that EA had to correct their mistakes.
Fun to be had
I am rightfully harsh about my impressions of the game, but don’t mistake it for a completely grim scenario. The game does have potential and it still has some of the things that made Battlefield fun. And without a doubt, the game can still be salvaged if the developers put in the work and bring back some of the missing features while polishing what already does exist here.
Replacing the basic classes, there is a new Specialist system that allows players to assume different roles. There are Assault, Engineer, Medic, and Recon specialist skills to choose from, and all of them come with their own unique weapons and skills.
For example, the Medic comes with a healing pistol while another one comes with a wingsuit. The latter also happens to be the franchise’s first non-binary character, although that doesn’t mean much considering the fact there is no story development for any of the characters as the single-player content is missing.
The main gimmick of the game is the fact that it can handle 128 players in the same match (64 on the PS4 and Xbox One), which is usually a number you only see in Battle Royale games. On top of that, the destructive environments make a return from Battlefield 4 and we also have extreme weather conditions that affect the gameplay.
Surprisingly, all of these things work out pretty well – or would work out pretty well if the game was stable. To no one’s surprise, the weather conditions such as the tornadoes can be a complete mess when players are experiencing server problems since it causes players to desync.
But when these things work without any bugs or technical issues – it’s actually fun. Whether you’re flying around in your wingsuit next to a tornado or trying to snipe targets through a sandstorm, some moments feel cool.
The game comes with three gameplay modes, which include All-Out Warfare, Battlefield Portal, and Hazard Zone.
The All-Out Warfare mode has the series staple Breakthrough and Conquest modes. Battlefield Portal is a community-based platform in which players can make their own multiplayer modes and then play in them – which led to players creating Battle Royale too.
And lastly, the Hazard Zone is a cooperative mode in which players are divided into teams and then they have to beat the other teams at the task of killing AI-controlled enemies and stealing data drives.
All of these modes flow very well, but the lack of smaller scale TDM and other modes that the previous games had still feel annoying because not everyone wants to always be in matches filled with a hundred people.
Aside from the gameplay, the graphics of the game are pretty good too and that’s no surprise since the Battlefield franchise has always produced some of the best-looking games. I personally miss the unique flair some of the games had, such as Battlefield 3 and Bad Company 2 – but it still looks pretty good for what it is. But I have to admit that there’s not much point in praising the visuals when hilarious bugs keep ruining everything that you see.
Did I hear you right?
When it comes to reviewing first-person shooters, we hardly get to talk about the audio because it’s usually just there. Either the audio is passable and we ignore it, or it’s so good that we just have to praise it.
But Battlefield 2042 does not fall into either of these categories and instead, it’s one of the very few AAA games that have unbelievably bad audio quality.
The 3D soundscape is hardly noticeable, the soundtrack is generic, the end of round sounds and voice lines are dull, and even the weapon sounds are not satisfying. Although the last part might be related to the technical issues, since what we see and what we hear is sometimes a bit desynced.
Of everything that Battlefield 2042 got wrong, it’s a surprise that even the game’s audio is on the list because at least this aspect was not a problem in previous outings.
4/10 – Fool me once
I genuinely believed that EA will make Battlefield 2042 worth our time and looked forward to it since I have enjoyed BF3, BF4, and Bad Company 2 a lot. Plus, Call of Duty needs some healthy competition to stay good, or else we’ll get another Black Ops 4.
Unfortunately, EA has proven once again that it’s impossible for them to learn from their mistakes and they’re on their way to rival Team Sonic’s records if things keep going on this way.
The game is still somewhat enjoyable and will undoubtedly get better with future updates, but releasing such a hot mess for $60 ($70 on XBSX/PS4) dollars is a joke and I’m tired of laughing.