We best know and love Battlefield as a franchise for its over-the-top gameplay moments, one-of-a-kind destruction mechanics, and stunning visuals. The upcoming Battlefield 2042 claims to be the Battlefield game built for the fans of the franchise, focusing more on things that make the game unique and identifiable rather than period pieces such as Battlefield 1 and Battlefield V.
In some ways, DICE has nailed it on the head — in others, there are complete misses. I found myself falling in love with the Battlefield that I remember, witnessing moments in-game that made my jaw drop, then quickly having that suspense ruined by optimization issues, bugs, and a general lack of polish.
With the launch of the beta came the expected beta server issues, EA Play accessibility problems, and other launch bugs. While it is obvious to expect these hitches on a beta launch day, a lot of players quickly began to voice their concerns. I for one originally bought EA Play for early access to the beta, and upon booting the game on launch night, was told that I must buy EA Play again. This issue is fixed now, but the excitement was definitely dumbed down after waiting for hours.
Once you get into a Conquest game of Battlefield 2042, the first thing you’ll notice is that it feels like the Battlefield game we have all been waiting for. You spawn in at your headquarters with teammates sprinting all around you, ground vehicles throwing up dirt as they speed by, and aerial vehicles creating mini sonic booms as they fly past. You feel that you are in a big battleground, ready to go fight. This may seem like the standard goal for the Battlefield franchise, but the feeling has been sort of absent with recent releases. There’s nothing else like 128 players sprinting, driving, and flying at each other with the intent to win no matter what, creating exhilarating moments.
I personally had one of the most unique gameplay experiences that has ever happened to me while playing the beta — and yes, I am talking about the tornado. The feeling of adrenaline you get while running away from a giant lightning and tornado storm as fast as you can while bullets are whizzing past you and explosions are in every direction is just incomparable. You really feel like you are the main character while playing Battlefield 2042, something hard to come by in multiplayer FPS games these days.
Though it may feel and look great to play Battlefield 2042, the gunplay leaves something to be desired. Of course, guns sound amazing, punchy, movie-like — basically everything you would expect them to be — but bullets tend not to hit, and when they do, the damage output is lacking. There were a couple of instances where I would have to dump 30 rounds of my K30 SMG into someone just because they were more than 20 meters away. I understand the need for range balancing, but SMGs, DMRs, and in some instances, even Sniper Rifles feel like a disadvantage.
That being said, one of the new mechanics surrounding guns in Battlefield 2042 is the ability to swap your attachments on the go with the click of a button. While we have seen this feature in other games before, it still feels as futuristic and refreshing as ever, allowing you to get ready for all sorts of engagements on the fly. The HUD for this action is well made too, displaying all the weapons stats even if you are changing attachments in the midst of battle — just don’t catch yourself looking for too long.
Now let’s talk about the bugs — oh so many bugs. From floating enemies, in-game stuttering, and a heap of visual bugs, Battlefield 2042 is far from being what most would consider optimized. The game has been struggling on all platforms, causing PCs to slow down, PlayStations to freeze and stutter, and Xboxs to just plain crash. While many could use the “it’s just a beta” excuse, the official launch of the game is just over a month away, so there are concerns if DICE can hammer out all the optimization and bug issues before then.
Issues and complaints aside, DICE and Battlefield 2042 deserve credit for going back to their roots with the Battlefield franchise. The game has somehow managed to feel like an extension to the fan-favorite Battlefield 4 while also feeling like something entirely new, which I think is what most fans were asking for in the first place. Battlefield is back to doing what it does best, and if the title can figure out some of the larger bugs and optimization problems that it has, it is going to return to its cult classic status very soon.