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Battlefield 2042 Review

Battlefield 2042 Review

The blockbuster AAA first-person shooter market is a busy one. Within the space of a month, Call of Duty: Vanguard, Battlefield 2042, and Halo Infinite hit consoles and that means the player base, though diverse to a certain degree, has to decide which one to purchase. Battlefield 2042, which was originally supposed to come out last month, is for many players including myself a return to form. I beat the campaign for both Battlefield 1 and Battlefield V and never managed to spend more than a few hours in each of their multiplayer modes before moving to something else. And as someone who has sunk a lot of hours into Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4, the newest shooter from DICE piqued my interest. However, with three multiplayer modes to make up for the absence of a single-player campaign, it's time to see how the offering fares.

Despite not having a campaign, Battlefield 2042 does have a surprising amount of backstory. It would have been intriguing to see the future war and destruction of the environment be explained in an over-the-top story mode, but none of it really matters in the current game past the fact that you play as a Non-Patried Soldier (also known as a No-Pat) and that there are crazy superstorms that can happen at any time. Having not played the game's beta, this was the first time I got my hands on Battlefield 2042, and my experience was an oddly conflicting one. DICE is taking a risk with 2042 by leaning fully into the multiplayer "Only in Battlefield" moments that made the past games grow to have such long-lasting communities. And though the content on offer is sound, in its current state, the game is more reminiscent of the series lows than the soaring highs.

Battlefield 2042 All-Out Warfare

There's no better place to start than talking about All-Out Warfare, the game's main mode which is home to 128 player multiplayer matches that play out on massive maps set around the world. (Though it is important to note that the 128 player count is only on next-gen consoles and PC.) It should be no surprise that a DICE game running on the Frostbite Engine looks great and that statement carries over through all the modes. These stunning visuals in combination with the large maps and randomized storms make the battlefields of 2042 a perfect place to find "Only in Battlefield" moments. I can't deny that attempting to win a gunfight while being swept away by a tornado is thrilling. Unfortunately, those moments are too scarce to make up for the many other flaws in All-Out Warfare.

No matter how good a game looks or how perfect its formula is, it doesn't mean much if you can't or don't want to play it. The "can't" is in reference to the server issues, that made it hard to join games at launch, and the bugs, like the one that loops the opening screen animations and never actually loads you into the game. If you are lucky enough to load in, there are a plethora of other bugs from exploded vehicles launching into the air to players sinking into the floor. The "don't" refers to the fatigue of playing on the massive maps and the absence of features like post-match scoreboards and voice chat. So often in Battlefield 2042, I would find myself sighing at having to run into battle and because of the size of the maps, even when you get into a gunfight, there are high odds that the next one might still be a few minutes away. After the first few days of playing the game, these reasons have made me actively pick another game over Battlefield 2042 when I went to relax at night.

The good thing is that despite all that, the gameplay in Battlefield 2042 is as solid as ever. When you do get into a gunfight, it feels smooth and responsive. The weapons all feel good to use and the vehicles are intuitive. (Even if I can't pilot for the life of me.) And just like the visuals, the solid gameplay is a through point for all the modes. The addition of the Crysis-like attachment editor means you don't even have to go to the menu to customize your weapons. The gameplay in general is fine-tuned to keep you on the battlefield so you can stay in the action and possibly star in your own movie-like action sequence.

Battlefield 2042 Portal Mode

There's been a lot of people equating Battlefield 2042's Hazard Mode to Escape from Tarkov. Having not played the game, I don't have a frame of reference for the similarities and differences. What I would say is that Hazard Mode is a battle royale that gives you the task of collecting data drives and requires you to evacuate with it instead of just being the last one standing. Similar to my feelings regarding All-Out Warfare, playing Hazard Mode on the same maps can feel tiring and though the data drives funnel players together, the one death can make the wait for another match after a loss feel even more exhausting. Though the tension that comes from being around or in possession of a data drive is great while it lasts, I think that Hazard Mode will have much the same lifespan as Firestorm from Battlefield V. You will still find people playing it, but it won't be the most popular mode in the game.

The most popular game mode, in my opinion, will be the Portal Mode. Sort of a throwback mixtape, Portal Mode lets players return to classic maps and set unique parameters for their own modes. The most fun I had with Battlefield 2042 was in Battlefield 3 and Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Returning to tried and tested maps that I had enjoyed in the past full of players again is great. And the remixed game modes, like the one from CourageJD that's a VIP mode that randomizes loadouts with each life, are another way to play on old maps with new objectives. Even the not-so-great player-made modes are fun for at least one match. This is perhaps the mode with the most potential in 2042 as the only limits to what modes are created are in the player's own creativity.

To put it all together, Battlefield 2042 is at its best when it's looking back at its past. In an odd way, the thoughts I have about this game are similar to what I said in my Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 review. Thanks to the fun Portal Mode, Battlefield 2042 is more of a Greatest Hits than an all-new sequel. That being said, DICE has created an interesting game here, with a variety of modes that are good on paper, but the execution of which needed more work. Battlefield 2042 would have made a really solid first-person shooter in 2022. But in 2021, it's unfinished and full of quirks that can't be overlooked. There have already been a plethora of updates to the game, but with how packed this season is for new release, it may be best to give Battlefield 2042 some time to mature before jumping in. Battlefield 2042 is out now PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. If you want to play the game before buying it, Xbox Game Pass and EA Play members can play the trial for 10 hours.

Battlefield 2042 | 6 | Decent

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