The simplest way to conceive of Battlefield 2042 is as a larger version of Battlefield 3 or 4. The game features large 128-player matches on equally massive terrain, as well as a diverse range of weaponry and vehicles. The only place where 2042 loses weight is in the single-player option, which is generally included with Battlefield games.
Battlefield 2042 is a totally multiplayer game, thus its makers went all out to create a diverse experience. Along with certain traditional Battlefield variants that have been gathered under the umbrella of the All-Out Warfare game mode, Battlefield 2042 gives players two more options: Hazard Zone and Battlefield Portal. While supplementary modes in prior Battlefield games have always felt like filler, 2042’s two new additions shine in their own right, making this year’s entry a must-play first-person shooter.
The Next Level of Battlefield
Battlefield 2042 is a first-person multiplayer military shooter that focuses on objective-based gameplay. The core Battlefield experience consists of the game’s traditional modes, such as Conquest, Breakthrough, and Rush. While I wasn’t able to play Rush, I did play some Conquest and Breakthrough and can confirm that the heart and soul of Battlefield are not only present but strengthened in 2042.
I felt like I was in the heyday of Battlefield 3 or 4 while fighting across the magnificent, enormous battlefields of Battlefield 2042. With a plethora of weaponry and vehicles at my disposal, I was free to attack my foes and their objectives in any way I saw fit. Specialists and the game’s new open approach to loadouts only added to the game’s unique sense of freedom.
Specialists are one of the more disputed new additions in 2042, but it’s one that I really like. The special characters each have their unique set of passive and active powers, ranging from hacking vehicles so they can’t fire to setting up sentry turrets. They’re another option for players to take advantage of each map or swing an encounter in their favor. While not all specialists are created equal, they all have their chances to shine.
Keeping with the notion of providing players with alternatives, Battlefield 2042’s scale offers exactly that. Regardless of which map I was on, I had a number of alternatives for what I wanted to do at the time. I could drive a tank to an objective, fly a chopper in, snipe, or dive into the nitty-gritty of any of the dozens of fights going on at any given time. With 64 people on each squad, there’s always a fresh conflict to get involved in. If one fight doesn’t go well, there’s no need to change your class to accommodate the situation. Simply go fight somewhere else.
During each of these times, I was howling, having a good time, and feeling something unique to a Battlefield game.
The openness of All-Out Warfare naturally leads to some of those virtually trademarked Battlefield moments. I did stuff in this game that I couldn’t do in any other game in just two hours. I shot down a helicopter with the main cannon of a tank, wrecked a car full of players with a repair tool, and forced another player to bail out of their tank by hitting it so hard that it flipped onto its head. During each of these times, I was howling, having a good time, and feeling something unique to a Battlefield game.
The reproduction of Battlefield 3 and 4’s peak in Battlefield 2042 even comes sans the shortcomings of those games. I didn’t discover any vehicles or weaponry to be unstable during my time with 2042. Tanks are powerful, yet they can be quickly destroyed by other tanks or players. Attack helicopters, which were virtually unbreakable in Battlefield 4, are now slow and susceptible. Fights, no matter how they are fought, are usually always even.
Weapons have a plethora of possibilities as well. The arsenal in Battlefield 2042 is vast and varied, and it may be adjusted on the fly. While players cannot easily switch loadouts, the game’s “plus menu” system is a game-changing update that allows players to swap out their weapon’s attachments on the fly. As a DMR user, it meant that I could swiftly equip my weapon for close-range combat after battling from afar.
Without a doubt, conquest and breakthrough are the only ways to play Battlefield 2042. Both modes make excellent use of the game’s huge scale. Fights flare across massive maps, vehicles shuttle players from goal to goal, and there’s always a fresh method to approach a scenario. Because chokepoints are no longer as noticeable on larger maps, the activity never grinds to a halt. I was engrossed in either of these modes from start to end.
Pay for Risk
The same cannot be said for Hazard Zone, one of Battlefield 2042’s new modes. Rather of pitting two teams of 64 players against each other, eight squads of four players (on PC and next-gen consoles) are flown into a map and must combat each other and AI-controlled foes to secure data drives. Players must then use a helicopter to escape the map once they have obtained the drives. The goal is that just one team will be able to escape safely.
For want of a better analogy, Hazard Zone is similar to Escape From Tarkov. Players earn currency by killing enemies or seizing drives, which they can then use to buy new weapons, armor, and other items. This new gear can then be used in the next game of Hazard Zone, providing the winner an advantage over the competition.
This contributes to what could become a vicious cycle later in Battlefield 2042’s life. Early adopters (and victors) of the game mode will always have a leg up on other players thanks to a massive war chest that keeps them stocked with good weapons and other stuff. Winners will continue to win, while losers will continue to suffer as a result of a severe funding imbalance.
But that problem is far away, and it was not anything I had to deal with throughout my evaluation. Hazard Zone, in my opinion, is a terrific addition to the Battlefield repertoire, albeit one with significant drawbacks. Players must communicate after being dumped into a large map and told to fight adversaries and gather drives. Hazard Zone is by far the most communication-reliant game mode in Battlefield 2042, and the game will not support in-game voice chat at launch. That means players must form a squad with three other pals if they want a good chance of winning a game of Hazard Zone, which is a luxury that not everyone has.
Hazard Zone, on the other hand, is a superb game mode that puts the destruction and scope of Battlefield as a franchise aside in favor of tactics when you do have a group and can communicate. During my time with the game mode, my squadmates and I would plan our routes ahead of time, ensuring that no one was ever left alone to be picked off. During fights, we collaborated by indicating targets for our single rocket-wielding partner to take out.
Hazard Zone is a successful experiment that needs only a few tweaks to shine as brightly as All-Out Warfare.
That collaboration was bolstered by 2042’s experts, who truly made the game mode sparkle. The appropriate specialist can turn the tide of a conflict or put it out of commission entirely. I spent the majority of my time playing as an Irish, who can erect little barricades wherever he pleases. It meant that no matter where my squad fought, we’d always have a cover. Other specialists, such as Falck, Boris, and Paik, were impossibly strong in Hazard Zone due to the assistance they provided to your group.
I’ll admit that I was skeptical of Hazard Zone when I first heard about it. I played Battlefield’s previous venture into the battle royale genre and, to be honest, I despised it. Hazard Zone, on the other hand, is a successful experiment that just requires a few changes to shine as brightly as All-Out Warfare. I can only hope that the creators can polish what should become a staple in the Battlefield brand without a proper means for teammates to connect without being friends and a gameplay loop that always benefits victors.
A Flashback to the Past
Unlike All-Out Warfare, which is a more refined version of the Battlefield experience, and Hazard Zone, which is a successful experiment, Battlefield Portal stood out during my time with the game. Portal is essentially a creativity suite for 2042, allowing users to create their own game modes with a plethora of choices. There’s even a basic coding system.
These possibilities were used to create simple game modes in my limited experience with 2042, such as a fast-paced free-for-all and another where each player gets a single rocket to fire and can only earn another by jumping five times. They weren’t especially enjoyable to play, but they did serve as an effective proof of concept. Players who spend enough time learning Battlefield Portal’s mechanisms will be able to create some incredible game modes that might perhaps rival what the game’s developers have created. While I didn’t witness anything like that during my time with the game, I’m curious to see what happens after launch.
For me, the pinnacle of Battlefield Portal was when it was used to recreate existing experiences rather than develop new ones. The game mode allows players to access a subset of stuff from Battlefield 1942, Bad Company 2, and Battlefield 3, as well as everything from 2042. As a result, I was able to play Rush on Arica Harbor in Bad Company 2. I couldn’t strafe while sprinting, shoot down sights with a shotgun, or go prone, as I could in that cult-classic entry of the Battlefield franchise. Simply said, it was wonderful.
The same can be said for Battlefield Portal’s rendition of Battlefield 3’s Caspian Border, which, like every other non-2042 map in the game mode, has been recreated with improved graphics. The area and its gigantic, foldable tower now appear much better for returning players while also being a treat for newcomers. Playing a game of conquest on the map only added to my nostalgia, making me hope that additional maps from earlier Battlefield games will be given the same treatment.
The mode already has a plethora of tools and settings for creators to use; all it needs now is, well, makers.
I don’t feel like I experienced the pinnacle of Battlefield Portal throughout my time with it. I got to play some half-baked custom game modes, but the highlight was a nostalgic excursion through Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and Battlefield 3. That does not appear to be the case. Battlefield Portal focuses on player-created content rather than reliving previous entries in the Battlefield franchise. I could always play Battlefield 3 if I really wanted to. But I’m confident that with the tools provided by Battlefield Portal, users will be able to develop some spectacular modes for others to enjoy. The mode already has a plethora of tools and settings for creators to use; all it needs now is, well, makers.
Keep in Mind
There were a few red flags raised throughout the Battlefield 2042 assessment process that you should be aware of. The game was exclusively available for PC through EA. To review it, critics had to meet a minimal spec criterion. Despite the fact that Battlefield 2042 is a cross-platform game (playable on both current and previous-generation consoles), any Battlefield 2042 review you read will most likely originate from someone who played the game on a powerful PC. We don’t know how the game performs on platforms such as the PS4 and Xbox One.
Without being able to play Battlefield 2042 on consoles, it is unclear how well the game will perform on platforms other than PC. To put it simply, we don’t know. The game runs reasonably well on PC, however, I did run into some difficulties. My PC crashed once while reviewing the game and escalated the system’s memory utilization from 50% to 98 percent on many instances. The PC used to review Battlefield 2042 has a total of 16GB of DDR4 3200 MHz RAM, which is the amount recommended by the game on its spec sheet.
Due to the fact that Battlefield 2042 is only available online, it had to compensate for the lack of any single-player content with a range of worthwhile online content. The game’s creators have not only succeeded but have gone above and beyond in this regard. All-Out Warfare is a brilliant development of the classic Battlefield experience, modernizing the genre with more scale, spectacle, and gameplay options than ever before. Battlefield Portal and Hazard Zone both shine in their own right, with the former demonstrating that it can be used as a foundation for players to construct their own unique experiences in 2042. If any future Battlefield release does not include these two modes, I will consider it incomplete.
However, Battlefield 2042 is not without flaws. The version of the game that I played, which will also be available to players when it releases in early access on November 12, is plagued by performance concerns. 2042 also lacks in-game voice chat, which will be introduced following the game’s formal release on November 19. Those flaws aside, Battlefield 2042 is one of the best first-person shooters I’ve played this year and will be a regular addition to my PC’s library.