The Battlefield franchise has explored a fair share of warzones. From 1942 to modern-day warfare in Battlefield 3&4. And then taking us back to WW1 in Battlefield 1 and WW2 in Battlefield 5. This time around developer DICE decided to show us a glimpse into what the future of all-out war looks like with Battlefield 2042, the question is, is this war going to wage for years to come or will it meet a swift explosive end?
Gone is the campaign as Battlefield 2042 provides no single-player mode, instead it focuses on full-frontal multiplayer battles. This leaves a massive hole in the package and is a bold choice made by both DICE and EA. The war stories are sorely missed here, as it leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to the world-building of this Battlefield but they try to compensate for this by telling short stories before the start of each match to let us know why the future is so dreary. With no campaign in-sight, the full attention gravitates towards the multiplayer and for starters, the class-based system of Assault, Medic, Mechanic, and Recon has also been removed in exchange for ‘Specialists’.
Specialists are characters who come with their own set of skills, are fully voice acted, come with their own story that you can read, and bring new gameplay opportunities to the table. One may come with a grappling hook while the other brings a riot shield with him, this adds somewhat of a hero-shooter-like vibe to the world of Battlefield more akin to games like Rainbow Six Siege and Overwatch. While the old system is very much missed, specialists do bring more flexibility to the game as you are free to choose what guns you wish to carry into the Battlefield without limitations. The flexibility doesn’t stop there as without particular roles to fill, anyone can unlock and use a repair tool or have med-packs which can come in handy in the heat of the battle. There are 10 specialists in the game, fan-favorite Irish from Battlefield 4 being one of them and 4 more are planned to drop across the first year of this game. Not up to par with this system maybe, but it does come with a promise.
Guns and gunplay have always been the defining factor of Battlefield games and there is no shortage of guns in 2042. Lots and lots of old favorites make their return while new darlings are also introduced, each updated for the future. Each gun ranks up the more you use it which unlocks attachments for them that can be switched mid-match anytime you wish. This adds a layer of depth and progression to the game which can be explored to your heart’s content.
Gunplay is solid as well, the time to kill can be somewhat inconsistent but the ever-intense crazy action with quick respawns and death surrounding you from all directions is still there and is still incredibly fun. Battlefield has always had its own identity when it comes to gunplay, it never tried to be Call of Duty or Halo, it always was Battlefield, and here, it retains that with flying colors.
The guns have always defined Battlefield that is true but the maps have always been the star of the show. If you thought the maps of the previous games were large then you will be left surprised by the scale here. On PC and new-gen consoles the action has been dialed up to 11 with the introduction of 64vs64 match-ups. This truly makes it feel like a warzone with unadulterated chaos wherever you look. Planes and Helicopters take over the sky while Tanks dominate the land. The maps are beautiful, destructible, and ever so creative. From a rocket yard where a literal rocket is being built and is about to launch to a cityscape where a sandstorm and a tornado are causing havoc, the maps have never been more creative and chaotic.
The highlight of this entire package is Battlefield Portal. Portal allows you to jump back to maps and modes from previous Battlefield games such as 1942 and Battlefield 3 with updated visuals. All maps, modes, characters, and classes have been retained here and this is a great way to connect all Battlefield games into one single package. It doesn’t stop there however as Portal allows you to make custom game modes with custom stipulations where literally anything is possible. Take a map from 2042 and characters from 3 and guns from 1942 and make it so everyone has one bullet in the chamber with the only way to get a kill is via a headshot and the only way to get another bullet is to perform some sort of melee, crouch dance. You can do that here.
Everything from the map to the mode to the characters to headshot damage multiplier and friendly fire and so much more can be customized here so you can play Battlefield just the way you want to play it. More content from other Battlefield games will be added into this mode as time goes on and it does an amazing job of making Battlefiled into a platform rather than just another game. Portal, without the shadow of a doubt, is the highlight of this entire package.
Games as a service is a faulty model, we all know this but it is what we get and it is what every developer is chasing these days. Battlefield 2042 has been a glimpse into the future of the franchise and while it excels in many spots it fails miserably in the others. Game modes like Conquest are here and are very fun, while new modes like Hazard Zone take inspiration from ‘Escape from Tarkov’ and give it the Battlefield treatment. Fun is the main defining factor for any game and Battlefield has been and still is fun, but it is quite frustrating as well. Bugs, issues, inconsistency just to name a few problems. Standard hiccups are always there at a launch of the game but later resolved via Hotfixes. This is one thing, but what matters is how well this reboot can hit its audience captivating them for hours of gameplay.
The launched trailer impressed me so much, at a point I had no patience to wait for launch. In logical words, my bars were set high for Battlefield 2042. I will not say I am completely disappointed, but I feel lost. Either I had not burned enough time to get used to the new Battlefield 2042 game mechanism, or the game has stopped in middle to impress me. While the game didn’t wow me it sure left a mark and I will love to see how DICE improves upon it and brings their vision of the future of Battlefield to complete fruition.
Veterans of the franchise will definitely have a good time but they will also miss what’s been left on the cutting floor while new players to the franchise should wait and see where this goes before jumping in. It’s fun, it’s chaotic, it’s problematic and it needs some work. It is Battlefield, in the future.