If you had to look past all of the bugs and mediocre gameplay mechanics in Battlefield 2042 you will find a decent shooter. I use the word “decent” loosely here as Battlefield 2042 just isn’t the best there has ever been. If anything, the entire experience feels like an early access build of something greater to come. Its maps are empty and uninspired, the weapons roster isn’t great at all and the so-called “Operators” are the biggest waste of time. While the game has attempted to try new things, everything it has done feels underwhelming and shallow. Like there’s more to come when the game releases but guess what, it already has. This is it, the shooter we have all been waiting for.
Most of my gripe with Battlefield 2042 comes from how unfinished it feels. Every time I want to do something that I used to do in the previous games, I couldn’t do it. Last night I tried to get the 20 melee kills in a single round trophy but there was no way I could see how many kills I got because there’s no scoreboard. Navigating through the party screen to join a friend means having to read the button prompts on the right-hand side of the screen and then look all the way to the left to see what you’re doing.
The issues don’t end there. Even the simplest thing like managing your squad isn’t a feature in Battlefield 2042. So you can’t kick or invite a friend to your squad. If you want to make someone the squad leader, you have to leave the match which gives up your rights and hands it over to someone else. The fact that there’s no squad management in Battlefield 2042 is just not good. Especially given it is a squad-focused game.
Then we have the lack of a scoreboard. How do you have a first-person multiplayer shooter without the ability to see how many kills you have? The only time you get to see how well you have performed in a match is afterwards for a few seconds before the game loads and you lose the opportunity. In fact, there’s no real profile system at all. Checking your KD, wins, assists and healing is not possible in Battlefield 2042. There is a whole menu page for the store with the ability to purchase an overpriced Year 1 Pass. But we can’t get a page to see how our journey through Battlefield 2042 has been.
You can pretty much tell already that my disappointment in the game stems from its horrible lack of features and where there are things to do, these systems just don’t work properly or are simply dull. Operators, for example, are Battlefield 2042’s new class system. In short, you can choose to play as a range of Operators but they don’t lock you into a specific role. So you can still be a healer even if you’re a Recon or Engineer. This is thanks to the medic kits you can equip as an item in your loadout.
While the Operators sound great on paper, they are also just horribly implemented. None of them feel important enough to focus on their unique item sets and perks. None of them offers any sort of real advantage in the field other than the Falck who can revive faster and heal people with her dart gun. Casper has a cool movement sensor that can detect enemies but this only works for him. He can’t put down a beacon or share his detections with the team. Dozer’s ballistic shield can protect you from enemy fire but it has very little health and most of the time, the maps don’t really have any “great” place to put it down on.
Sundance can wingsuit from a high point but in order to land, you need to slam into the ground with your head. Most of the time this can kill you so why is this even a feature? I won’t say the Operators are useless but they don’t have enough going for them to make them feel vital to the game’s flow. I just played Falck most of the time because unlike the rest of the Battlefield 2042 player base, I actually know how important it is to revive teammates.
Battlefield 2042 also features the biggest game modes and maps in the series to date. You now have 128 players in one sprawling location and the extra player numbers definitely help keep the action going. This means taking control points requires more teammates and keeping a place on lockdown is tougher than ever. While I loved the larger maps and bigger lobbies, I could not help but feel that the maps in Battlefield 2042 are a major step backwards in comparison to past games.
Sadly, it seems that DICE has focused more on the “scale” of things here rather than making the maps feel authentic and unique. Most maps are all flat with control points featuring some buildings to hide inside. While these control points are all fantastic to sit in, explore and defend, everything in between is just uninspired. I missed running through the crumbling hallways in Devastation to get to a new point or those tight fights on the bridge in Hamada.
Battlefield 2042 maps just fail to leave a lasting impression and slowly blend into one another. Sure, there are some iconic capture points in some maps like the top of a skyscraper in Kaleidoscope but other than that, most of these maps are flat and open. It means you’ll spend most of your time running around with very few sights to see along the way. In fact, I have not spent so much time running around in a Battlefield game ever as I did in Battlefield 2042. These maps are massive but it doesn’t make them interesting.
We then have the whole “unprecedented destruction” feature that also fails to leave an impression. While the weather effects in some matches looked cool with the wind blowing everywhere and a giant tornado in the distance, these features also do nothing to the map. There’s no ship that crashes into the island drastically changing the map. Instead, the tornado flies across the map, everyone avoids it and carries on with their gunfight. These weather effects don’t even do any real damage to the maps. It can literally fly over a building and it will still be standing there.
Gunplay in Battlefield 2042 is also okay. There are still some major issues with ghost bullets and no aim assist on consoles. Sure, I killed people and it was satisfying but you can’t ignore the bullets that are clearly hitting an enemy but not taking any damage at all. DICE has even acknowledged this and said they are working on a fix. You also can’t expect to jump into Battlefield 2042 and just be good at it. Base weapons are horrible to use and you only really start to feel the difference once you unlock scopes and attachments. This is done by killing enemies now and not upgrading a gun’s level.
There are some decent weapons in the game. I also enjoyed how they have separated snipers and marksman weapons so you can use a scout rifle type without being pushed into the “I lay on the floor like a douche bag and shoot people from a billion miles away all match” box. DICE is also slowly fixing some broken weapons that desperately need to be nerfed. The PP-29 is one of these. This is an SMG but acts like a sniper and shotgun. It has been nerfed at least.
Weapons can be tweaked on the fly by holding down a button during a match. You can then swap out sights, ammo and magazines to different ones you have equipped. This is a great feature meaning you don’t have to respawn to go change a sight. There is a heavy grind for these extra items though. The weapons rely on Mastery Tiers that unlock when you get set kills with that weapon. Some tiers are locked behind getting 300 kills with it.
There are also vehicles that are expected to ruin your life in matches. I do feel like there aren’t enough tools and weapon types to take destroy land vehicles with. Especially given how broken tanks are. However, flying vehicles can easily be shot down with a tracking rocket. Vehicles are especially fun to use when you’re in a squad with friends. They have multiple seats so everyone can get in and shoot away.
A general match in Battlefield 2042 saw me run around for about thirty minutes taking points, losing them, shooting a guy for him to take no damage and reviving all my downed teammates around me. I probably squeezed the most fun out of the game you can have, to be frank. After a week of playing, I had the weapons and boring Operators unlocked and the maps were stale and repetitive. I don’t know how much more I can play of the game at this point because there really isn’t much excitement going on here anymore.
Then we have the Battlefield Portal mode where people can great their own game modes using present and past maps and assets. There is a lot of fun to be had here especially if you dive into the most unique modes. You can really turn Battlefield 2042 into anything you want using this mode. I played a zombie-like survival game moe, gun game mode and even a 128-player match on a tiny map. You need to go looking for these maps and modes in order to get the most out of the experience.
The Battlefield portal mode also relies on other players to make servers with custom settings by visiting the official site. So if you are in a region where no one is doing that, then you’re going to have to put up with international ping servers. Most of the time, I managed to always find two unique game modes locally. Sadly, when these weren’t something I wanted to play, I then had to put up with 200 – 500ms ping servers.
I also was never able to find a Hazard Zone match during the week of playing Battlefield 2042. Either people aren’t playing the game mode in SA or the mode is just dead on arrival but I tried every night and it never loaded.
Battlefield 2042 doesn’t feel complete. There’s something missing that I can’t put my finger on. Maybe it is the maps that are flat and uninspired or the lack of real menu systems to use. The main progression system in the game is also missing. The whole experience is a giant step backwards compared to Battlefield V.
Battlefield 2024 Review
+ Battlefield Portal
+ Great fun with a squad of friends
- So much missing
- Bugs and visual glitches
- Operators are dull
- Maps are uninspired
Battlefield 2042 doesn't raise the bar but instead, shows you just how much fun the past games actually were. It feels incomplete and shallow. It is missing so many key features and what is available doesn't leave a lasting impact.
Available On: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC | Reviewed On: PS5 | Release Date: 19 November 2021 | Price: R1,080