Battlefield 2042 Review
After a long visit to the past, Battlefield is finally back to modern combat with Battlefield 2042. Well, technically near-future combat, but you know what I mean. Mixing in some light sci-fi while not meddling with the shooter concepts we’re familiar with, the game manages to strike an awesome balance of interesting and comfortable. Actually, I think that’s a good way to sum up BF 2042 in its entirety.
The game nails all the details that make Battlefield a beloved franchise. However, on top of that, it is doing some new and interesting things that might provide a good reason for new players to jump in and try it out for the first time. For example, Hazard Zone has some incredible potential and I think fixes most of the problems that people who don’t enjoy the franchise might have with it.
Global Climate Meltdown
The premise of 2042 is actually pretty cool. In the near future, the world is being devastated by catastrophic climate disasters, and it all comes crashing down when a real scientific concept called the Kessler Syndrome is triggered. This event refers to the possibility that by polluting our space too much with debris and satellites, there is an increasing chance that it could cause a chain reaction of crashes between the objects in space.
In the game, the Kessler Syndrome triggers a global blackout. With tensions already high due to the near-apocalyptic conditions, nations start to wage a war against each other for the remaining safe harbors left in the world.
2042 utilizes the setting in many brilliant ways. One of the newest additions is the specialists, who replace Battlefield’s traditional class system. Rather than belonging to a nation, these climate-refugees who have been torn from their original homes have formed their own loose organization called the Non-Patriated or Non-Pats, fighting for whichever side they agree with.
Following many of the popular modern FPSs, these named characters possess special abilities that allow them to approach combat differently. You could pick a specialist with a launchable grapple or a wingsuit for mobility, and if that’s not your style, you could go for a barricade or a mobile shield for defence. None of the characters are limited to a specific set of weapons or basic tools, meaning that you could switch your loadout to fit exactly what your team needs. But of course, certain specialists’ abilities will lean towards a specific playstyle.
At first, I found it a little off-putting having characters replace classes in a BF title, but once you get over the little change in tradition, they feel pretty damn good to play. Their abilities are impactful but nothing game-breaking, and you will still need to play the classes by creating specific loadouts. Don’t worry, it hasn’t turned into a hero-shooter. It’s still Battlefield at the end, where your ability to shoot and play the objectives is the most important thing.
Going back to the setting, the climate catastrophe has also caused erratic patterns in the weather. Such things as hurricanes ripping right through the battle is not an uncommon sight, and playing around with these hazards offers a new dimension in strategy. And yes, you can “ride” the hurricane with your parachute or wingsuit, you might die trying, but it’s super cool when it works.
Hazard Mode is AWESOME
So, I got to tell you, I think I’m playing nothing but Hazard Mode for the first few days when the game launches. It’s that good. Okay, before I get ahead of myself, let me tell you what it is. So remember Kessler Syndrome? So, many of these satellites which are crashing in space are coming down onto the Earth’s surface carrying all matter of juicy data. May it be important climate information, national secrets, or unrevealed technologies, someone is willing to pay big bucks for it. Your objective is to grab as many as you can and extract with your life.
Playing in a squad of up to four members, Hazard Mode has a massive focus on tight teamwork. Unlike the all-out chaos that is 120 man Battlefield (which is still in the game in all its glory), Hazard Mode is controlled chaos with high stakes.
The game closest to compare to is Escape From Tarkov, I’d say. Just like in that game, if you have money from previous forays into the Hazard Zone, you can buy stronger guns and tools to increase your chances. If you die, you lose everything you took in there. But still, many things are drastically different from Tarkov.
For example, you only have two chances to extract when the airship comes to get you. To make it even more exciting, that’s everyone else’s ticket out as well. So you better believe these extraction points will be hotter than hell. The thing is, sometimes the fight is so fierce that nobody might reach the plane alive when it leaves, so a winner is never guaranteed. And I think that’s awesome. It’s full of strategy, stakes, treasure hunting, and resource management. This mode has so much potential and I really hope Dice continues to support the hell out of it.
A Nostalgia Trip
The cherry on top of this game is the Portal mode, where people can make their own custom game modes using updated assets from 1942, Bad Company 2, BF 3, and 2042. Yes, you can straight up play Bad Company 2 Rush with updated graphics and engine, which just reminded me how much I loved that game.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a custom game mode without the ability to do something really wacky. So they have put in a simplified coding tool to make your craziest BF dreams come true. Such as a rocket-only mode where you have to jump five times to reload. It does seem to have some limitations though, and as far as I saw, there wasn’t a map editor, for instance. I think the proof will be in the pudding and we’ll have to see if the system is robust enough to create something truly memorable. I’m genuinely interested in seeing what kind of crazy things the community may come up with.
Battlefield 2042 isn’t without flaws though. I think the lack of singleplayer might be a big downside for people, especially if you are into playing shooters casually. A multiplayer-only experience with a full triple-A price tag isn’t unheard of, but I wouldn’t blame you if that put you off of buying it. For me, it’s a little more upsetting this time around because of how interesting the premise is.
As with all shooters, some of the maps are miserable to play on. Wide-open maps with jets often devolve down to the team with the best pilots winning, and it’s not the best feeling when a game of 120 players is decided by only a handful of people. Another thing that I didn’t like is that you can change your weapon attachments anywhere mid-life. Meaning that you can go from anti-infantry rounds to anti-materiel, or far-ranged scope to close-ranged, or bi-pod for a grenade launcher whenever the situation fits. Although it’s nice and convenient, I personally thought it took away from some of the interesting strategies that took place in preparing a perfect loadout.
All in all, these are minor points to one of the best Battlefields we’ve had in a while. It’s rekindled my excitement for the series for sure. With new modes like Hazard Zone and the ability to play old games like Bad Company 2 remastered, the game is full of content, even without single-player. If you’ve been thinking of diving into BF, whether it is your return or a first in the series, Battlefield 2042 might be exactly what you were looking for.
***PC review code provided by the publisher***
Classic Battlefield gameplay
Interesting and unintrusive Specialists
Create custom game modes
Cool near-future warfare
Jets are still massively overpowered
No stand out maps