I really have no idea how to start with this review cause of how I feel towards it. See, I kinda like it, but I hate it for not loving it. See what I am dealing with?
Battlefield 2042 was supposed to blow us away. A next-gen Battlefield game for next-gen hardware? Imagine the insane scale of the destruction and 128 players in a match, like whaaat?! My excitement for the game was through the roof, to say the least. Then came the Beta, yeah, that Beta.
Oh, the horror. It was absolutely abysmal, the horrible frame rate on the PS5, horrible and game-breaking bugs, lacked some basic features, tons of visual glitches, but the worst of all is that well, this isn’t the Battlefield I was expecting, this wasn’t my Battlefield… I was utterly disappointed.
The game was “fully” released early for some players who got the expensive version of the game, I didn’t get in on that. The community did not respond well to it, yikes. Then the “full” global release for the game came and this time, I got access to that, and… it was really weird for the first day or two.
I was playing 2042 like old Battlefield games and it wasn’t/isn't the right thing to do. My Battlefield had changed and if I wanted to enjoy spending my time playing it, I needed to change how I thought about it and played it. After that quick “update” on myself, I started to enjoy the game, to see the value of the new changes and how all of those open up different ways to play.
Battlefield 2042 doesn’t have a singleplayer campaign and even though I don’t play Battlefield for its campaigns as they aren’t usually all that good, it still sucks for not delivering us one, especially when you set the game to the near future and can imagine whatever story you like, the world is your oyster. But, they totally sacked that mode altogether and choose to focus entirely on making Battlefield 2042 a multiplayer game only, which would mean that the multiplayer would be just a standout experience, right?
Wrong, as the main “All-Out War” mode that consists of Large Conquest and Breakthrough modes are all you get and even those two feel like there was still a lot on the to-do list before they hit “Publish” on the game. Before I go on, I must say that reviewing live-service games nowadays have become quite difficult, cause a bug, a problem, a couple of stupid omissions, might get fixed with an update, so I am reviewing the game for the now, not for what it can be, but for the now. With that out of the way, let’s move on.
Assault rifles were completely broken for the first few days after the release and everyone was running the PP-29 which would instantly melt you no matter the range while you just shot what felt like peas out of your AR. As of this review, they fixed it and ARs feel good now and work. Hit testing is a big hit-and-miss at the moment. You might shoot first, but still, end up dying during a firefight as some of your shots weren’t being registered. It sucks, it’s a problem and still going on. Very often, you start a match and are unable to switch up your loadout, like nothing you do matters and you spawn without the secondary gadget.
There are no options to just play Team Deathmatch, Free For All, Rush, Domination, Operations etc. There’s no server browsing and you can’t really see or vote on the map you are about to play until it is loading, which often results in you playing the same map a few times in a row. Overall destruction in the maps is somewhat limited with only a few instances for big destructions. The weapon customization in-game UI feels unnecessarily convoluted, especially with a controller. There’s no scoreboard, which is absolutely weird, and what’s even weirder borderline stupid, is the lack of in-game voice chat. Like, how did that not make it into a game that is all about teamwork?
I can talk a lot longer about some of the silly omissions that make no sense not being there in the first place when they were in the last couple of Battlefield games, but I really don’t want to do that as listing all the negatives it’s just the easy way to “review” something. The game has a lot more on offer and in the end, it’s kinda fun, but we’ll get to that soon.
Classes are a thing of the past as in Battlefield 2042 they are replaced with Specialists. Currently, in the game, there are ten specialists, each with their own unique gadget along with a unique perk. So for example Mackay has a grappling hook gadget you can use to reach elevated positions and gain the upper hand in an encounter. He also has the “Nimble” perk which allows moving quicker during ADS further enhancing his speed-related advantages. Irish, can place a deployable cover to fortify a point and protect you and your team from incoming damage and has a perk that provides armor and other bonuses from downed enemies. Another specialist, Sundance, has access to smart grenades and is equipped with a wingsuit that makes traversing the map easier.
The thing with the specialists is that you can play the game without caring what specialist you pick. Yes, the gadgets can be quite unique and useful, but most of the time you can do just fine without using them. And about that unique perk? Well, you don’t really see it make a difference while playing the game so, again, you will probably just forget about it. What I want to say with all of this is that you can still play this game like the old Battlefield games as you can customize the loadout of your specialist however you like, there are no limitations or anything like that. Do you want to equip a sniper, but also a rocket launcher or an ammo pack so you have infinite bullets? Yes, you can do that. Do you want to use an LMG, smoke grenades, but also be able to throw down medic packs? You can do that. I really like this new of doing things as there’s room to adapt and improvise more during a match.
However, if you do start caring about what specialist you pick and most importantly talk and coordinate with your squadmates, the overall experience does get way better. I played one match with a team of players that invited me to a party chat and had a blast, we were steamrolling people over. I was setting up barricades and throwing smoke grenades and providing suppressing fire, while another one player was reviving downed people in the flag area, while another one was throwing smart grenades to disable enemy vehicles around us and picking people off with her DMR while the last player was tagging and highlighting enemies via proximity alert grenades and her unique scanning gadget. That was the moment I understood what Battlefield 2042 was all about and I was having a lot of fun. Unfortunately most of the matches you will play, there will be no party invites and no communication whatsoever cause there’s no voice chat in the game. You will feel completely alone in a game where there are 127 other players playing along with you. It’s such a weird feeling especially for a game that puts teamwork first as 2042 does.
The maps in Battlefield 2042 are quite big and expansive which play really nice with the doubled player number. In every part of the map, there’s always something going on. There might be a couple of squads fighting to capture a flag, there might be a couple of players trying to destroy an overpowered Bolte that’s been decimating their numbers, there might be a hovercraft making its way up on a skyscraper, there might be 4 tanks all lined up just obliterating everything and anything that they can see and so on. There’s always something going on at all times and as is usual with Battlefield games, there will be tons of crazy and over-the-top #OnlyInBattlefield moments. The new Plus system for customizing your weapon on the fly is a nice addition as it allows you to switch up a gun to work in close, medium or long ranges just by changing the scopes, ammo type, and barrel attachment. The can be said about the new deploy system where you can deploy vehicles like tanks, armored trucks etc., or the drone dog at any point on the map.
In Conquest usually, there’s usually a nice spread of players across all of the available flags to capture, but sometimes everyone converges into the same flag zone and that’s well pure chaos. I love when this thing happens for the first couple of minutes, but then it gets just too much. That’s why I don’t really like playing Breakthrough all that much as it’s that instance at all times, 128 players fighting on one or two flag zones, absolute chaos and that’s not for me.
Hazard Zone is the other main separate multiplayer mode that I also did not enjoy playing right now. It’s a slow-paced, high-intensity, one-life experience mode whereas a four-member squad, you must locate and retrieve critical Data Drives scattered throughout the battlefield while fighting opposing squads with the same objective and Occupying Forces. You succeed by gathering the Data Drives and successfully extracting before a storm overtakes the area. After each match, you earn credits that you can spend to get new weapons and new gear for your next insertion and so on. This is where specialists play a big role and to have a bigger chance of success you must mix and match the best specialists combo in your squad. Problem with all that is the lack of voice chat so most of the time, if you play with random players via matchmaking, you will most likely die to another squad minutes after the match starts. But the biggest problem related to this mode is that there’s no real answer to the question of “Why should I play this?”. The credits you earn can only be spent in this mode and that also means that in most cases you will fight against squads that will be better equipped from the start. A successful extraction is cool but not as cool or satisfying as seeing the Warzone / Victory graphic pop into the screen. There are no exclusive unlocks, no story elements, no XP bonuses, no hook, no real reason why you should play this mode at this moment. Surely, they will have an answer to that in the future, but right now Hazard Zone feels like a tacked-on mode.
The final multiplayer mode is Battlefield Portal and man, this is one special mode. Here, you can change the rules of war and discover unexpected battles across the wide universe of Battlefield. Replay the reimagined classics Battlefield 1942, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, and Battlefield 3 – and deploy on these timeless maps with the modern arsenal and content of Battlefield 2042. It’s a community-driven mode, where anyone can set up and create unique game modes where they can customize a lot of the things like player health, available weapons or vehicles, weapon damage, weapon reload, friendly fire, and a lot more. Additionally, there’s a Rules Editor where you can go even more in-depth with a logic editor and if-else conditionals.
For Portal, they have also remade a couple of old maps from Battlefield 1942, Bad Company 2, and Battlefield 3. Going back to play on a revamped Caspian Border brought back a lot of great memories. You see, I basically lived in Battlefield 3 back then with more than 2000 hours of playtime on the PS3, and mind you, I did not get any of the DLC map packs apart from Aftermath. I just kept on playing the same few maps over and over again and seeing two of those maps, Caspian Border and Noshahr Canals, remade with all of the bells and whistles of 2042, it’s special. Something else that was special was playing Rush on the two maps from Bad Company 2 using the classes and loadouts from that game, carefully recreated for Portal too.
Portal is really unique and I am so glad that it is in Battlefield 2042 as it perfectly complements and “fixes” many of the problems and omissions in the All-Out War mode. You can choose what mode you want to play, you can see all of the available servers and player numbers. And if you don’t find a mode you want, you have the ability to create it yourself. You can set up Rush or TDM only servers. You can set up 64 player Conquest modes. You can even set up XP farming servers where you can quickly level up and unlock all of the weapon attachments. You can even create silly modes like having 2042 soldiers fight against 1942 soldiers, knife-only servers, defibs-only servers, rocket launcher where you need to jump 5 times in order to reload it only servers. There are already some great servers out there right now and I am super excited to see what other players come up with.
As for the presentation of the game, I was so incredibly happy to see that nearly all of the abysmal frame rate drops and most of the visual bugs and glitches like the busted animations, invisible weapons, flickering, lack of textures, broken camera while riding on a vehicle, etc. were ironed out and fixed. Battlefield 2042 on PS5 is an extremely smooth experience at 60fps and looks really really good. The lighting is absolutely gorgeous, especially when it is sunny. Then a massive tornado or sandstorm comes in to ruin everyone’s day, lowering the visibility, but surprisingly enough the frame rate holds strong and never drops even though there’s a ton of stuff happening on the screen. This iteration of the Frostbite engine is quite impressive so kudos to the engineering gods at DICE for pulling this off. However, keep in mind that what I just said is for “next-gen” hardware as in PC, PS5 and Series X, cause on the last-gen, yikes.
So should you get Battlefield 2042 right now? Unfortunately, I don’t have a simple answer for you at this exact moment. Conquest is a lot of fun once you adapt your playstyle. Hazard Zone can be either a hit or a miss, it depends on what you want out of the mode and Portal is absolutely special. But the game still has a lot of problems like hit-test registration, annoying bugs like the one that prevents you from changing your gear in a match, a lot of minor visual glitches, balancing problems where vehicles like the Bolte are absolutely OP better than tanks and so much more. Yes, all of these things will get fixed in the future, but for the here and now, they are still in the game and can undermine your whole experience. I like Battlefield 2042, but I hate it for not loving it. Thanks for reading.
The game was reviewed on a PS5 using a review code provided by PR. Battlefield 2042 is available now on PC, Playstation and Xbox.