The future of Battlefield leaves much to be desired
Battlefield chaos through and through, Battlefield Portal as potential remaster hub
Technically still far below par, progression feels thoughtless, Specialists are downright boring
Two weeks after our initial findings per review in progress, the Battlefield 2042 launch seems to have hardened. The servers are running at full speed, but the experiences on them are more likely to make you doubt than convince. Basically, the new Battlefield has quite a bit of potential, but the shooter is still being shipped off in a very shaky ship.
Battlefield splits itself into three separate segments this time. All-Out Warfare is simply ‘the new Battlefield’, Battlefield Portal remixes that with previous nostalgia from the series and Hazard Zone stands alone as a competitive survival mode. It is, as explained before, quite a bit of Battlefield. At the same time, this also makes the shooter remarkably thinly layered, at times even thoughtless. The more we play, the more poignant it becomes.
‘Only in Bugglefield’
Especially now that we have the chance to play Battlefield 2042 being able to play without restrictions, it becomes noticeable how many cracks there are in the foundation. Especially in the regular game modes of All-Out Warfare, not everything runs smoothly. Too many of the 128-player shootings are still rocked by waves of constant lag; nasty bugs and imbalance plague the moments when the network does remain stable.
Which select weapons and vehicles – hopefully temporarily – overpowered
is still up to that point. Unfortunately, the imperfections don’t stop there. Entire groups of players can simultaneously become trapped in walls. The ‘ping’ and spotting of enemies feels hopelessly outdated and imprecise. Some games don’t start, others never end. Teammates who are fully loaded as opponents constantly scare you. And hovercrafts that climb skyscrapers; why not?
A Battlefield launch almost always comes with a bit of imperfection – it’s almost part of it – but in the case of Battlefield 2042, it feels more empty. Apart from continuous lag and timely bugs, the game does not seem completely finished on many fronts. The game spreads a wide net full of shooting fun, but it lacks a certain cohesion in the whole.
Especially on the progression front, Battlefield 2042 comes across as quite sloppy. Not only is there no universal scoreboard to explore within the jars; personal progress is completely lost. Game statistics cannot be viewed from the game and there is also no question of a Battlelog-like web portal. At most, players can look back on hard-earned weapons and some emblems, but there is no question of a personal war register for the time being. For a statistically strong series like Battlefield, that is a remarkable loss.
The Progression which can be followed, stands out scantly. By playing more and better, players gradually earn weapons and equipment. If you play more or better with select tools, more modifications will be released. It is a simple principle, but this time it is not applied efficiently. For select weapons, players must first grind through a scion of meaningless upgrades before unlocking a useful new sight. From that distance, the carrot doesn’t look particularly appetizing, according to this donkey.
Not all weapons and vehicles get dirty with such practices, but the meta game is not really intriguing either. Dice hopes to keep gamers warm with a handful of customizations for weapons and vehicles; at most an uninspired skin to top it off. The fact that the interface makes it difficult to get an overview — and this one is far from being free of bugs either — completes the feeling of uncertainty.
Specialists are an experiment in itself
Especially that disinterest around the lengthy progression is at odds with how Battlefield is pushing the Specialists. A focus on hero characters gave Overwatch a huge boost; at Battlefield, an attempt to do so does not quite stick. There is a bit of control and a lot of personality missing.
Specialists take the place of traditional classes with some unique skills and tools, but the majority of the soldier figures are painfully uninteresting, both in gameplay and appearance. From the loud bearded Russian to the arrogant European star, some are more boring clichés than others. How are players supposed to warm up to barely interesting characters, with equally meaningless one-liners? Would have at least learned some lessons from the collegiate Apex Legends.
Somewhere it feels like Battlefield 2042 once started as a hip shooter with an emphasis on different heroes, but that those plans have been changed halfway through. Battlefield had to go back to basics anyway – a sentiment that EA’s marketing material also capitalized on. The end product is exactly in between. The whole thing feels ‘pretty Battlefield’, but it comes with a half-hearted try like hero shooter
Battlefield 2042 feels like it started out as a hip shooter with an emphasis on heroes, but those plans have been changed halfway through
Admittedly, by Specialists freely giving weapons and tools, they do let players enter the battlefield creatively and. After all, it remains somewhat close to the familiar Battlefield. In All-Out Warfare that offers new game dynamics, where it comes into its own during Hazard Zone. Under the guise of exciting survival, the archetypes and skills interact more closely, but this mode also lacks some depth.