— Battlefield (@Battlefield) October 14, 2021
Right off the bat, let’s address the elephant in the room. As I’m sure most of you know, Battlefield 2042 does not feature a single player campaign. Pretty much all games in this series featured a single player campaign of sorts. For some, the single player campaign in this series is the main reason gamers pick up the latest Battlefield instalment, and I can see why. This series has had some fantastic campaigns, Battlefield 2 and 3, as well as the Bad Company entries, are among my personal favourites.
So, is Battlefield 2042 worth picking up despite the lack of a story-focused single player campaign? In truth, that all depends on how much you love multiplayer. However, your enjoyment of Battlefield 2042 can also depend on several factors. Battlefield 2042s multiplayer is a mixed bag of tricks, at least with my own experience and some issues that need addressing.
One multiplayer match can frustrate the hell out of me by getting killed instantly when spawning or sprinting across a huge map heading towards where the action is taking place, only to be picked off by a sniper or tank. Then in my next game, I can have an absolute blast. However, as well as some missing key features, my enjoyment of Battlefield 2042 is more complicated than I ever expected. That said, I’ll explain my personal experience with this game as best as I can.
Firstly, as a tip from my own experience, disable cross-play, at least until DICE allows the choice of PlayStation and Xbox without PC. For the most part, unless you’re a highly skilled player, a controller will often struggle against the speed and precision of a mouse & keyboard. Furthermore, as history dictates, mods and exploits are easier to utilize on a PC than console. But that’s not to say consoles don’t have cheaters too, it’s just not as likely. Now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the features of Battlefield 2042.
Depending on the platforms you play, will depend on the player numbers for each mode. On PS4 and Xbox One, Battlefield 2042 supports 64-player matches. While PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X|S supports up to 128-player battles. Battlefield 2042 has four main modes at launch. Conquest, Breakthrough, Hazard Zone and Portal. Conquest is labelled as “all-out war” and that’s a very accurate description. In Conquest, players must not only kill opposing players, but they must also take over zones of the map and as a team gains more control, the opposing player’s resources will be drained. Once all resources are drained, and the opposing teams’ players have run out of lives, you win.
In Breakthrough, depending on which team you’re on, attack and defence is the main emphasis. If you’re on the attacking side, you must onslaught the defending team, pushing them back deeper into the map, and back into retreating zones. Once the attacking team has invaded a zone, they must hold it until the opposing team retreats, rinse and repeat.
The defending team, as you have already guessed, must defend and fight back against the attacking team from taking over your zone. If the defending team forces the attackers to use up their limited lives, the defending team wins. However, if the attackers push back and take over all zones, they will win the match.
Hazard Zone is kind of like a mixture of battle royale and Dark Zone from Tom Clancy’s The Division. However, unless you strike lucky with three randoms, do not play this mode unless you have a team of friends. That’s my advice at least. Hazard Zone will pit teams of four in one map that will accommodate 24-players on last-gen consoles and 32-players on PC and new-gen. The purpose of the Hazard Zone is to find, collect and extract data drives that are scattered throughout the map. If you and your team are killed, you’re eliminated from the match.
Once data drives are discovered, you must hold on to them until a certain time window allows you to extract them. If you successfully extract them, you will earn rewards that can be carried over into the next Hazard Zone match. However, other teams will also be attempting to extract their data drives or they may come to pinch yours. I’d say that just about every mode of Battlefield 2042 should be played with at least one friend in your lobby, otherwise it can be a frustrating experience. Even more so when playing Hazard Zone.
Finally, we have Portal, my personal favourite mode in Battlefield 2042. In Portal, you can create just about every match type you want, Team Deathmatch (the only current way to play TDM), battle royale, Classic Conquest or whatever else your mind can make up, as long as it’s within the constraints of Portal.
You can pick a variety of maps and modes from the likes of not only Battlefield 2042, but also Battlefield 1942, Bad Company 2, and Battlefield 3. You don’t have full access to the maps and modes from each of the classic Battlefield titles, but the maps are essentially remastered, which is awesome. DICE will add more content to Portal with each new season. The only snag of Portal is that you’ll likely find a lot of bot farming matches.
In terms of maps, at launch there are 13 maps, however, they are split into two portions of the game. For the main modes, there are 7 maps. Breakaway, Discarded, Hourglass, Kaleidoscope, Orbital, Manifest and Renewal. The remaining 6 maps are reserved for Portal. Such as Battle of the Bulge (BF1942), El Alamein (BF1942), Arica Harbor (BF Bad Company 2), Valparaiso (BF Bad Company 2), Caspian Border (BF3) and Noshahr (BF3).
— Battlefield (@Battlefield) November 3, 2021
By and large, the maps included in Portal are great. Not only because they’re returning fan-favourite maps, but also because they’re well designed. However, I don’t have quite as much fun with the new larger-scale maps. Bearing in mind that I’m playing on PS5, so maps can feature up to 128 players. Yet oddly, maps can feel very empty. I often found myself running long distances to get into a gunfight, only to be killed before I’ve even reached that destination. Then I respawn, sprint, die, rinse, and repeat.
Sure, you can select to spawn in certain areas as long as they’re not about to be overtaken by the opposing team or you can spawn on a team player. So whether you spawn away from the action and partake in a cross-country marathon or spawned close to the action, things can get very frustrating. If you spawn into the action, you’ll just get killed even quicker. This is why if you can play with friends, at least then you might have someone watching your back. Because you’ll be extremely lucky to find randoms that will play as a team. This is why my enjoyment has felt so random with Battlefield 2042.
If I’m lucky enough to join a match with a team that plays like a team, Battlefield 2042 is a lot of fun. However, in my experience, I’ve not been so fortunate and as a result, much of my time with the game has been quite frustrating. A part of the problem is the large maps, even with 128 players they can feel very empty. Unless you get into an area where everyone has congregated, then it’s all-out mayhem, Which to be fair, the chaos can be fun. But you might not encounter that with every match. I can’t help but feel that traditional modes such as Team Deathmatch in smaller maps should have their place in the main modes of Battlefield 2042, and not as a custom match in Portal.
Unfortunately, Team Deathmatch is not the only lacking aspect of Battlefield 2042. To be honest, there are quite a few to mention (but nothing that a quick Google search can’t resolve). So, I’ll just briefly mention some of the features that bothered me the most. Let’s start with the Specialists, something that is quite common in Call of Duty. Specialists in Battlefield 2042 fall under four main categories, Assault, Engineer, Medic and Recon.
Specialists are essentially characters with their own unique perks. Only in Call of Duty, the Specialists have quite extensive custom loadouts. In Battlefield 2042, the custom loadouts are quite basic at this time. You can tweak guns with some attachments or mix up your gear to an extent, but it’s considerably to less depth, even compared to previous games in the series. DICE is attempting to fix this, so hopefully, things will be much better in that respect in due time with one or two more updates.
Other features lacking is in-game leaderboards and no continuous lobbies. So, when a match ends, so does that lobby. As a result, you’ll have to matchmake every round. Which gets annoying very quickly. Currently, there are no detailed stat or progression details. So don’t expect to see Battlelog implemented in Battlefield 2042 at launch. We don’t even have a global leaderboard, seriously! And of course, the biggest emission of all is no single player campaign. It wouldn’t be so bad if the multiplayer more than made up for the lack of a single player campaign, but sadly it does not in my opinion. Mp1st.com goes into great detail into what’s missing in Battlefield 2042, so you can check that out here.
To be fair, Battlefield 2042 plays really well at its gameplay core, it’s a fine first-person shooter and it looks great too. Some of the destruction looks impressive, especially when loads of opposing players are all congregated into one area and explosions are happening all around. Not to mention if a tornado causes havoc in your match. Though that won’t happen a lot, when it does, try to resist the temptation to charge straight at it. I’m sure you won’t, will you?
DICE has promised that some of the reported issues will be fixed and new features will be added, as detailed in this roadmap. However, I can only review my experience as of now and not what’s to come. Is there fun to be had in Battlefield 2042? Absolutely, but in my experience that fun can be very inconsistent. Sure, as with all multiplayer games, it’s always more fun when played with friends. But when we don’t have anyone to game with at that time, we should still have a mostly fun experience, regardless. The maps and modes are fine, but yet again my experience has been inconsistent in that respect.
I believe that most of these issues can be fixed with improved spawns, and those fixes are coming, they’re just all not here at the time of writing. I really wanted to love Battlefield 2042. However, until more features are added, and fixes are made, I’ll probably make do with playing Battlefield 4 for now. Unless of course, I want to play the excellent Portal mode. Battlefield 2042 is full of potential, but the problem with potential is that it doesn’t give you value right now. Battlefield 2042 can have moments of brilliance, but its inconsistency issues make those moments few and far between. At least for now.