Developer – DICE
Publisher – Electronic Arts
Platform(s) – Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5 (reviewed), PlayStation 4, PC
Release Date – November 19, 2021
Disclaimer: Code was Kindly Provided for these Impressions
Battlefield 2042 was unequivocally one of my most anticipated games of 2021. Everything I saw from the trailers had me intrigued and excited to see what DICE would do with this installment in the Battlefield franchise. Of all the big multiplayer games releasing in 2021, this one seemed like it had the most potential.
Anyone familiar with the history of Battlefield’s last few installments knows they haven’t been received all that well in recent years. Battlefield V was criticized before it was even released for a multitude of reasons. Battlefield 2042 seemed like it would turn certain notions around but as you all may know by now, that was not the case.
It feels like ever since Battlefield 2042 was released, the poor news just hasn’t stopped. Player count and overall interest in the game have fallen significantly. All that potential that I and many others had for Battlefield 2042 was significantly swayed before the game was released.
Battlefield 2042 was originally set for an October release but was delayed a couple of weeks into November. You won’t ever see me complain about a game delay, I will always be for a developer taking all the time they need to deliver the best experience possible. The thing is it just didn’t bode well that a game the size and scope of Battlefield was delayed a few weeks and by that point, we didn’t even have a beta yet.
There are exceptions to extremely short delays being a worrisome sign such as a game like Kena: Bridge of Spirits. Still, it was hard not to feel uncertain about Battlefield 2042 considering history. The feeling of uncertainty was warranted after the beta for Battlefield 2042 came and went.
The problem with Battlefield 2042 isn’t one or a couple of specific issues, the problem is the game itself. Battlefield 2042 as it stands is a fundamentally flawed game right down to its core. Most if not all of the crucial elements of this game need tweaking or a complete overhaul. Similar to a game such as Cyberpunk 2077, I feel the game launch would have been significantly better if the powers that be simply gave the developers more time.
Gameplay-wise, Battlefield 2042 can be enjoyable in certain moments but these moments are few and far between. Gunplay feels incredibly inconsistent in terms of feedback. Vehicles, which should usually be a high point for Battlefield games feel weird to control in Battlefield 2042, not to mention the rate at which they spawn feels too high.
The decision to go with 128 players for PS5, Xbox Series X|S, & PC was probably a good idea in theory. In design, however, this design decision causes many problems. You can’t have 128 players on a small map so the natural solution is to make the maps bigger, which leads to another issue. A lot of time in this game, you’ll be running around instead of actually shooting at enemies.
It’s hard to notice who’s on your team and who’s on the enemy team when everyone looks the same. Of course, there’s the name outline above an enemy’s head but ut’s hard to see clearly in many instances. The UI isn’t good in the slightest and doesn’t feel entirely thought through all that well. You know there’s a problem when so many people were actively confused on where to find simple things such as kills and deaths.
I did not want to dislike Battlefield 2042 and I don’t know anyone who did. The overwhelming feeling I saw months before release was one of excitement and optimism. I don’t wish for DICE to fail and everything in me wanted to like this game but at its core, I just don’t think it’s anything to write home about.
It does some things right with its portal mode, graphics, and setting. Unfortunately, the cons far outweigh the pros in this case. Could Battlefield 2042 make a comeback along the likes of a Sea of Thieves or No Man’s Sky? Never say never, but I think it’s unlikely that happens. As I mentioned earlier, the game itself is fundamentally not in a good state. Battlefield 2042 could’ve been a highly successful multiplayer game that we look back on fondly but it seems too far beyond to get back on that path.