Battlefield 2042 Review
The online multiplayer in Battlefield 2042 appears to be riddled with bugs, prompting gamers to review-bomb the game on Steam, with 74 percent of reviews marked as ‘negative.’ Many players appear to be suffering from technical difficulties ranging from stuttering motion to outright server crashes, and are finding the game “unplayable.” Developer DICE has released an initial patch for the game, with two more to come in the game’s first few weeks on sale, but for now, many players appear to be languishing with technical difficulties ranging from stuttering motion to outright server crashes, and are finding the game “unplayable.”
We expect the problems to be worked out, but it’s not a good picture for DICE, and it adds to gamers’ growing dissatisfaction with the status of day-one releases of AAA games, such as Cyberpunk 2077, which simply ship in an unfinished state. Read on for our first impressions of Battlefield 2042’s online multiplayer and a feel of how it plays without technical difficulties.
Do you want to know what Battlefield 2042’s coolest weapon is? It’s a hovercraft, to be precise. Sure, you have a lot of firearms, but nothing quite portrays the chaotic nature of Battlefield 2042 like sprinting across a sand dune and clumsily dispatching a squad of enemy Specialists.
The All-Out Warfare mode is Battlefield 2042’s bread and butter. All-Out Warfare delivers a multiplayer experience that will be familiar to those who have played first-person shooters previously and will likely be the best experience for newcomers to the franchise, thanks to two reworked fan-favorite modes, Conquest and Breakthrough.
Let’s start with Breakthrough mode, which is one of our personal favorites. Breakthrough is perhaps the best display of the scope of fights in Battlefield 2042 if you want to get the full impression of them. Teams of 64 players (or 32 on PS4 and Xbox One) are split into four teams of four, with one team attempting to attack and capture the map while the other seeks to defend. Rather than letting everyone go on a free-for-all, the map is taken over through securing sectors until one team has taken control of the majority of the battlefield.
Breakthrough is a tight-knit fighting experience that made us feel like cogs in a well-oiled machine as our group worked to secure each area. Breakthrough is very much a team-oriented game. You’re all part of a larger effort, and the squad dynamic makes you feel like you’re part of a group.
Hazard Zone pits two teams against one other on the same maps as Breakthrough, but instead of seizing individual control points, the action is focused on sectors with many flags. While Breakthrough gradually unlocks each control point, prohibiting players from just pressing forward, Conquest unlocks the entire map, allowing you to go pretty much wherever you want. We observed that in Breakthrough, the incremental sector unlocking allowed for better pacing and attention, but in Conquest, it felt more like a free-for-all.
Perhaps the most significant advantage of Battlefield 2042’s increased player size in All-Out Warfare is that the action never stops. While you won’t always come across a slew of foes, you will almost always come across someone. Although the area has been resized to fit the size of the players, we never had trouble finding an adversary or a teammate while walking, and there are so many players that the action never stops – though this is more true in Breakthrough than Conquest.
Being a cog in the All-Out Warfare machine provides you more flexibility in selecting your Specialist and allows you to try new things. It won’t cost you the victory if you want to attempt building up turrets as engineer Boris or test out Sundance’s wingsuit, and you can change your Specialist between deaths if the combat (or your intrigue) calls for it. However, because you can utilize any loadout for any Specialist, the only true distinction between them is their unique skills. It can feel a little repetitive at times, especially in Breakthrough and Conquest, but some special powers are more suited to specific maps (and in some cases modes) than others. Mackay, for example, can use a grappling hook to lift himself to higher regions that others can’t, which comes in handy in maps like Discarded, where there are plenty of shipping containers to grapple up to for a better view position.
We were also underwhelmed by the weapon selection. While assault rifles, marksman rifles, and pistols are available to add to your arsenal, the selection is limited. This is aided by the degree of weapon customization available, which allows you to modify the type of ammo, scope, and other features to suit your playstyle. However, the gadgets and vehicles you have at your disposal, which you can summon whenever you want between cooldowns, help round out your arsenal. That means you may mix things up by bringing in a Ranger robotic dog (named Reginald in our case) to supply more firepower or flying in a helicopter to shoot down Specialists swarming a skyscraper roof.
The gadgets and player count aren’t the only things that make All-Out Warfare feel epic; the maps also contribute to the immersion. Each is large and beautiful, while quietly setting the tone for Battlefield 2042’s bleak universe. There are instances when we eagerly paused to take in the puddles developing as it rained, even if it meant getting sniped, whether it’s the enormous Breakaway, a dazzling white and wide map set in the tundra of Antarctica, or Hourglass, where skyscrapers are hidden by sand dunes against a dim sun. When you add in unpredictable weather like tornadoes and sandstorms, these lovely battlegrounds transform into a different beast, each with its own set of obstacles and perks to learn and strategize around.
Hazard Zone is all about tight squad gaming, but All-Out Warfare allows you to blend in with the crowd. You operate in a four-person team once more, but this time you’re competing with other squads to collect data drives and reach an extraction point in order to earn credits. These credits can then be used to buy weaponry and tactical enhancements in the next round.
Hazard Zone is an entertaining multiplayer game with a bad balance. While the close squad play is fun because it forces you to collaborate with your colleagues to win, the economy feels off. As a result, you start with no credits and a very limited weapon loadout: a data scanner, an assault rifle, and a grenade. To earn credits for better weapons, you must win matches by collecting data drives and paying them in at extraction zones, or by killing occupying AI soldiers defending the data drives. If you do well, wonderful; you’ll be able to use credits to acquire better weapons next time (which you’ll lose if your mission fails), but if you don’t, you’ll be left with very few credits and basic weaponry.
As a result, Hazard Zone caters to more experienced players, making it difficult for newcomers to break in—they’re already at a disadvantage. Less experienced players can accumulate credits over time, but they will almost probably be eliminated by better players, resulting in the loss of any upgrades they may have earned. It’s a steep enough incline that it risks becoming a shelter for only the most competitive players.
Hazard Zone also runs the risk of becoming monotonous, as the formula is simple: collect data drives, kill AI (and any other players who appear), and reach the extraction point. It’s a tight and enjoyable mode, especially when you’re one of the last groups fighting for a spot on the extraction plane (only two squads may escape), but it doesn’t feel like each round varied enough to keep it interesting.
Another difficulty with this mode, at least at launch, is that Battlefield 2042 will not have in-game voice chat until later. If you’re playing solo, you can only connect with your squadmates via in-game text chat or a limited ping system, which is bound to cause issues – especially in Hazard Zone, which emphasizes communication and teamwork.
If the various multiplayer experiences in Battlefield 2042 aren’t quite your cup of tea, you can always make your own – literally. Battlefield Portal lets you create, discover, and share your own bespoke Battlefield sandbox gaming experiences, using maps, vehicles, classes, weapons, teams, and more from previous and contemporary Battlefield games including Battlefield 2042, Battlefield 1942, Bad Company 2, and Battlefield 3.
But you don’t have to design a silly game: utilizing assets from earlier Battlefield games – as well as remastered fan-favorite maps (running in 4K at 60fps) from older games – you can essentially make a modern version of games from the franchise’s past, such as a Rush on Arica Harbor from Bad Company 2. While these remastered maps have been artistically and, in some cases, mechanically upgraded, they still use the original soundtrack, which adds to the sense that you’re traveling through Battlefield history.
You can’t construct your own map from start, but you may modify an existing franchise map by adding rules, items, and event triggers to create your own unique experiences – and the results can be rather bizarre. You can make these pairings as complex or as straightforward as you want. While there’s a simple step-by-step option for people who just want to tune things like teams, AI, weapons, and maps, there’s also a more complex option that lets you set event triggers, projectile speed, and other minor tweaks. With so many options in Battlefield Portal, we’re excited to see what matches gamers come up with.
Those who don’t want to make their own matches can play the ones made by others in the community, with EA DICE planning to include some of its own creations as well.
As a result, Battlefield Portal provides an off-the-beaten-path Battlefield 2042 experience. It’s designed with Battlefield veterans in mind, but it also allows fresh players to explore areas of the game they may have missed out on previously. Most significantly, Battlefield Portal allows you to truly appreciate Battlefield 2042’s more leisurely side. Other multiplayer games strike a balance between competition and enjoyment, while Portal may essentially be a playground for individuals who simply wish to participate in absurd situations such as fighting with only defibrillators.