Battlefield 2042 on PC
There’s a feeling while playing Battlefield 2042 that it’s trying to become the series’ version of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. As long as you don’t miss the campaign, “everyone is here.” OK, maybe not everyone or everything is here, but a lot of what fans have wanted over the years has made it into Battlefield 2042, and a stable foundation that DICE should be able to easily support for years has been established.
Battlefield 2042 is an entirely multiplayer competitive experience. The team has decided to scrap the campaign in order to focus their attention entirely on making multiplayer as dynamic and robust as it can be. While DICE has proven that they can deliver good – to even great – campaigns at times over the years, I have to imagine they probably weighed whatever data they collected on how many people played the campaign versus the effort/cost of putting that together and decided it was best to cut it for Battlefield 2042.
If that’s the case, I can’t blame them. These days it isn’t impossible to tell a narrative through multiplayer experiences and while Battlefield 2042 isn’t really doing a ton of that as of yet, they certainly could as seasonal updates roll out. The expectation then for many fans is going to be that everything Battlefield 2042 does bring to the table is going to be banging. And honestly, it’s pretty, pretty banging for the most part.
Battlefield 2042 features three main game modes: All Out Warfare, Hazard Zone, and Portal. All Out Warfare is where you’ll go to get your traditional Battlefield experience in 2042.
If you’re playing on next-gen consoles or PC, you’ll play conquest and breakthrough with as many as 128 players across massive maps that have a wide variety of futuristic tanks, jets, boats, and other APCs. Likewise, your Specialists, characters classes of sorts which include ten at launch and will be expanded on later, are also complete with advanced tech and perks.
What is really great about Battlefield 2042 is the amount of customization you have over your soldier and loadout even with a class-like structure. Unlike previous games, you aren’t restricted to certain weapon types depending on the role/specialist you choose. Assault characters can use snipers, Recon characters can use ARs, etc. Every gun is available to every Specialist. The same goes with gadgets and other gear.
The only things that are exclusive to the Specialists are a unique gadget that each Specialist has, and a perk. They give you a bit of flavor and push you into a certain playstyle, but there’s still a lot of room for creativity. If you want to play as Casper, a Recon character that has a Drone that can survey a battlefield, as an aggressive Assault-like character, go for it. I never felt that the addition of specialists, which is a dramatic change for the series, overshadowed the core combat that the series is known for.
Speaking of which, Battlefield plays, looks, and sounds great. At its best, the action is fast-paced, frantic, and will envelop you in an atmosphere that can only be rivaled by the craziest action movies. Players base jump from skyscrapers, while aircraft engaging in dogfights whiz by, to join in on a ground battle that may involve tanks, jeeps, rockets, robo attack dogs, and all kinds of other instruments of futuristic war. In the middle of the action, some kind of disaster, like a tornado, can whip up and make things even more chaotic and fun.
There are some issues, though, that can put a damper on all the sizzle reel-worthy combat. Respawns can be really wonky sometimes, with enemy players spawning right behind you or you being deployed right in front of someone waiting to pop you. The maps are also really big, which is immersive at times but also can lead to a lot of running around a quiet area trying to find someone to shoot in the face.
Also, I was originally a bit concerned about the number of bugs and visual glitches that were present in earlier builds of Battlefield 2042 that I played prior to release. However, the game has stabilized greatly since fans have been able to get their hands on it, and hopefully in the coming weeks, DICE will be able to iron the rest out.
If you’re looking for something a bit different in Battlefield 2042, Hazard Mode is worth checking out. For starters, let’s point out that Hazard Zone is not a battle royale mode. It has some similar elements such as multi squad vs. squad gameplay, convergence points, and permanent eliminations. However, it infuses a bit of The Division’s Dark Zone into the formula along with a loadout system that is reminiscent of something like Counter-Strike or Valorant. Let’s make sense of that mush.
A typical Hazard Zone match goes like this. You and ideally three friends queue up and have an opportunity to put together your loadout. You must spend a new currency called Dark Market Credits, earned in-game, to upgrade your loadout beyond anything from the basic barebones loadout. This is your only opportunity to do so, you won’t have another chance in-game. The thing is, I found this to be a bit problematic, at least from a new player perspective. If you’re not very good at Hazard Zone, I can see new players having a really hard time competing against players that are successful in carrying out Hazard Zone objectives, getting Dark Market Credits, and having a large bank to buy the best gear.
Once you load in, the point of Hazard Zone is to find and extract Data Drives. They are scattered randomly across each map, and once you have at least one, you can choose to extract and “win” during two extraction opportunities that take place in each game. The more Data Drives you extract with, the more Dark Market Credits you’ll be rewarded with to make future games more fun.
You’ll, of course, run into enemy squads that are looking to eliminate the competition and steal any data drives that you may have on your person since you drop them when you are taken down. Even if you get killed, though, if at least one person on your team is still alive you can find and utilize redeploys that are scattered around the map to bring back one squad member per one that you find. That person will then return to the game via airdrop with their original loadout intact.
The combat of Hazard Zone is very intense. Teamwork is a must and gunfights will get wild around the extraction zone with multiple teams converging onto a single point trying to hold off enemy squads until their air transport arrives and gets them out with the Data Drives in hand. As long as one person in your squad makes it out alive, the whole team wins. If your squad wipes or doesn’t get to extract, it’s a loss and you get nothing other than a pittance of Dark Market Credits for each kill that you got.
Hazard Zone has an excellent foundation. At launch, without knowing how the economy will play out, I’m a bit concerned about experienced squads just snowballing over casual ones with weak loadouts and low credits. However, I could be overestimating the problem and/or it wouldn’t be an impossible issue for DICE to fix if they feel it does become necessary to tweak things. The more important thing is that Hazard Zone is already incredibly fun, intense, tactical, and worth playing.
Finally, perhaps the most exciting mode is Portal. I don’t have deep roots in Battlefield. I dabbled throughout the years, but only really got invested with Battlefield 1 and some of the newer entries. However, I don’t need to be a Battlefield historian to know that a game mode that lets you customize the match of your dreams with your choice of weapons, armies, and maps across some of the series’ most popular games is going to be a hit.
During my time with Battlefield, I got a taste of some of the custom games modes that the developers had put together such as a VIP assassination mode, rockets and knives only, and just classic Bad Company 2 action using Rush rules. You can even do stuff like pit powered-up specialists from Battlefield 2042 against hordes of Wehrmacht. It’s a total sandbox and best of all, it allows for private servers and customizable map orders. It’s wholly non-problematic from my vantage point and Portal has incredible potential as long as DICE continues to support it and hopefully expand on it. Even as is, at launch, it is great.
Overall, Battlefield 2042 is an excellent effort and filled with a ton of competitive multiplayer content at launch with much more planned in the near future. There are some technical issues such as respawns and visual bugs to sort out, and some game modes and specialists might need some tweaks, but DICE is off to a great start and Battlefield 2042 should likely be relevant and popular for years to come.
- Traditional Battlefield 2042 combat is there and as fun as ever.
- Audio and visuals are as impressive as ever on current-gen consoles and PC.
- Hazard Mode is a valuable addition to mix things up without resorting to lazy Battle Royale.
- Portal is a fantastic tool for old-school fans.
- Technical glitches and bugs, while not gamebreaking, are still present in some numbers as of early access.
- Hazard mode may end up needing some balancing.
- Occasional wonky respawning could lead to spawn kills or getting placed in no man's land.