Release Date : 19 November, 2021
Developer : DICE
Publisher : Electronic Arts
Platforms : PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC
If you have been following the news about the title, then you know that the experience is 100% multiplayer. No more War Stories like Battlefield 1 or Battlefield V. The developers wanted to go straight to the point and clearly favored online game modes.
That means no more World War I and World War II. This time, we take a one-way trip to the not-too-distant future. This Battlefield takes place, as its name indicates… in 2042. Nothing optimistic on the horizon. The world as we know it is on the brink of collapse. The lack of essential resources is leading the United States and Russia to go to war. It is in this tense political context that the next episode of DICE’s saga, the well-named Battlefield 2042, opens.
At war as in the war
First of all, the title lets you see the Total War mode. This mode is divided into two segments. The first one is the Breakthrough mode. What does it consist of? It’s pretty simple. There is an offensive team whose goal is to capture points and a defensive team that must protect them at all costs. The first team has a limited number of tickets, while the second has unlimited.
The second segment is the famous Conquest mode, which is no longer presented for fans of the series. The objective of the game is simply to control as many territories as possible and thus reduce the number of enemy resistance tickets (respawns). To be more precise, each team starts in its headquarters and goes out to conquer the regions present, divided into several territories and targets to capture. The more you collect the closer you get to victory, knowing that there is a limited number of reappearances: 1000 tickets per team for this mode. So you’ll have to make good use of them.
Contrary to the beta version where fears were high and that was related to the various bugs, the netcode, and the map is still far from being convincing. Fortunately, in this final version, we are clearly entitled to be optimistic. Indeed, the different maps proposed have shown a better face than the one proposed by Orbital! What a relief! Let’s talk about the maps.
The maps available at the release of the game
Several maps are indeed available at the release of Battlefield 2042. You’ll have a lot of fun on these eclectic maps with different profiles. Here are their different characteristics.
Manifest: Located on the island of Brani in Singapore, players will operate in a port where docks and cranes will allow for great vertical movement.
Kaleidoscope: A large South Korean city where war is raging between two major world powers.
Orbital: Based in Kourou in French Guiana, this map will send us to battle on a launch base.
Discarded: Based in India, this map will feature a giant dismantled ship with plenty of places to hide.
Hourglass: A city-based in Qatar, this one is subject to… unpredictable weather.
Renewal: Based in Egypt, this futuristic agricultural farm will offer a rather large play area.
Breakaway: This map will send you to Antarctica where the major powers have bases to extract valuable resources.
As you can guess from their description, the maps proposed by Battlefield 2042 are good overall except for a few failures like Orbital or Renewal. But of course, this is up to each player’s taste. However, the number of maps is not very high for the release of the title. Some of them, which involve 128 players, are quite large and you will sometimes have to run for a while before arriving at the field of operations. But there are also gameplay mechanics to overcome this, such as the fact that you can appear on a member of your squad. This mechanism was already well used in the previous versions. Then, the unlimited sprinting helps greatly in not losing patience, not to mention the possibility to call a vehicle from your personal terminal.
In fact, the Conquest mode being the most iconic and especially the most emblematic, it is always pleasant to play it. On these two modes, DICE has built something solid as usual, even if the level design is a bit off at times.
Eden Hazard Zone
One of the great new features in Battlefield 2042 is obviously the Hazard Zone. A breathtaking but highly punishing game mode. It is a hybrid mode between a capture the flag and a battle royale.
The goal is simple: recover… hard drives scattered on the map and try to extract yourself with them to earn points to spend on future games. This mode can be played by 32 players on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series and by 24 players on PS4 and Xbox One and is divided into several sections.
First of all, you have to prepare your equipment, knowing that each operator can only be taken once. You have to buy your weapons, grenades, healings with credits. Credits that you will earn during the games by eliminating opponents or by bringing back the famous hard drives. Note that only two teams can extract themselves. It’s up to you to decide whether you want to extract yourself directly at the beginning of the game or try to get more credits in the middle of the game. Indeed, satellites crash in the middle of the game, with the famous disks.
Moreover, it is good to note that it is necessary to pay attention to the fact that one person on your team is in possession of a scanner. It is important to take it with you during the equipment phase. Otherwise, it will make the game VERY complicated. Useful information: hard drives can also be scanned when they are in motion. You have to stay alert with your squad, if you don’t want them to be stolen.
Every purchase at the beginning of the game of Battlefield 2042 will be lost at the end, whether you die or not. If you die at the beginning of the game you will not win anything. The mode is quite punishing depending on what you do during the game. Like Counter-Strike, there will be Eco games where you don’t have to buy anything to spend in the future.
So it will be important to recover valuable information from the satellites, since the recovered hard drives will be converted into black market credits. And these will allow you to acquire additional skills such as the ability to carry two hard drives, or to switch between weapons more quickly. Or even the addition of two extra rounds of ammunition to your equipment.
There’s no such thing as coincidence
Note that in addition to the squads in the games, an army controlled by the AI is present. It is not very intelligent, but in a group, it can do a lot of damage. The extraction points are the Holy Grail in addition to the hard drives. Yes, everyone wants to leave with the key in his pocket and the confrontations are tough. And that’s not counting the tornadoes that can strike at any time and ruin your plans.
In short, Hazard Zone is a good game mode without being revolutionary. The idea is to chain the games together quickly. When you die, you will either be a spectator until you are revived if your colleagues have what it takes… Or if your whole squad disappears, then you’ll have to start over.
This is a mode that requires a lot of rigor and team play. If you are alone, your chances of survival are minimal because communication is the main asset of this game mode. Hazard Zone is a good idea, but its restrictive side may put off many, even if it can be fun with friends, if they are well coordinated. But here again, you’ll have to go through a lot of frustration before having the necessary credits to buy equipment. Then you have to try to make the most of your purchases to win the game, otherwise, it will be difficult to make new purchases.
Concerning Battlefield Portal…
The developers of Battlefield 2042 announced it as a love letter to the fans of the series. A new way to create personalized gaming experiences. And in fact, it works very well.
This Battlefield Portal can be played from anywhere. Just log on to the Battlefield Portal website to set up the experience you want to bring to life. Whether it’s on your console, PC or via your phone or tablet, it will be possible to set up your operations as you see fit. The developers have presented an interface that allows you to set up everything.
First of all the choice of Battlefield. You are free to make a Battlefield 1942 versus Battlefield 2042 and thus define the weapons, vehicles, game modes, and maps. The maps are drawn from Battlefield 1942 to BF 3, Bad Company 2, and BF 2042.
You want to make a versus between the soldiers of Bad Company 2 against those of BF 1942, then yes it is possible. Everyone is free to take the weapons of both factions. XM8 versus M1 Garand? It is certainly possible.
There will be predefined modes by the developers like the one where you have to protect a VIP, but then it’s up to you to do what you want. If you want to create a mode where only rocket launchers or knives are available then yes, you can. If you are feeling nostalgic then a good Conquest mode on El Alamein is also possible.
As for the levels, all the maps of the game are available. There are 7 maps in total + 6 remastered maps:
Battle of the Bulge (Battlefield 1942)
El Alamein (Battlefield 1942)
Val Paraiso (Bad Company 2)
Arica Harbor (Bad Company 2)
Caspian Border (Battlefield 3)
Noshahr Canals (Battlefield 3)
The developers of Ripple Effect Studios have come up with a pretty fun formula that can be as simple as it is complex. Indeed, there will be conditions to add, giving an almost “programming” aspect to all this articulation around these conditions.
It remains to be seen what the community will do with this tool. Will we see the emergence of War Thunder or World of Tanks or Prop Hunt or game modes with minimal head damage and increased game speed? That is the question. However, this Portal mode is clearly a very good idea. It gives both a good dose of nostalgia but also a hint of fun for those who want it and especially if you want to escape from conventional modes.
Renewed or identical gameplay?
The futuristic aspect of Battlefield 2042 could at first put you off, but in the end, it is closer to the near future and closer to a Battlefield 4. A modern war but not too much. This allows you to find conventional weapons as well as vehicles far from being futuristic.
In terms of gunplay, it remains very nervous and especially very fluid in terms of movement. As mentioned above, the unlimited sprint is also a very good idea, especially when there are many kilometers to go. However, the TTK (time to kill) is a bit too long and the balancing of the weapons is also to be reviewed for some classes. Especially since only 22 weapons are available in total.
On the netcode side, there is a clear improvement if we compare to the beta version which was well named. Indeed, there is no longer this feeling of shooting blanks or not hitting the enemy. The developers have taken care of these problems and we are very happy about that. The other good idea is the gameplay mechanic that allows you to change your weapon during the game. A great idea to adapt to any situation.
Too solid scenery?
The black spot of the beta confirmed by this final version of Battlefield 2042 is the destruction of scenery. It turns out to be quite limited at the end, which is a shame, especially for a Battlefield. This is something you can feel especially in the big battles. However, this does not prevent from having great “Battlefield moments” with assaults and battles that only the license has its secret.
On the teamplay side, the operators weigh in the balance. They can take all weapons and classes, making the old class system totally obsolete. Moreover, the operator system also poses another concern, which is the skins. Indeed, in both camps they are similar. This tends to be confusing in the flow of battles. Not to mention that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish your enemies in the scenery. The number of times you get killed without knowing where it came from is very frustrating sometimes. But that’s how life goes on these days.
Battlefield wouldn’t be Battlefield without the vehicles. It’s always fun to support infantry with a tank or a light vehicle. Air battles are also part of the game, offering some tense moments, especially when hunting an enemy plane.
Technically at the top
On the purely graphical side, Battlefield 2042 is beautiful. The Frostbite engine holds up well. We’re far from the graphic slam, but clearly, the lighting effects plus the weather conditions are impressive.
The test was done on PC, the framerate was constant without being impressive either. There were no crashes, which is good to know. Some collision and physics bugs were noticed but nothing blocking either. We are not facing a graphical revolution but rather a title that is solid on its base and that can welcome up to 128 players on the same map!
Battlefield 2042 is clearly a good vintage. Let’s face it, it’s very pleasant to get your hands on such a generous opus. The developers from DICE and Ripple Effect Studios were keen on pleasing both the newcomers and the hardcore fans. The recipe works despite some small problems such as the insufficient number of maps or some gameplay issues related to specialists, weapon balancing, or the sound of footsteps. As the title has its heart set on expanding via its future Battlepass, we’ll have to judge the content over the long term to see if it’s up to the task or not. But as it stands, this is a high-quality Battlefield, and worthy of the name.