I’ve been spending some time with Battlefield 2042 since it’s been the open beta this weekend, I have to say I’m very positive about it. The demo is very very short on content in regards to game modes and maps (which is a shame), however it shows enough on the plus side for me to think Battlefield is finally returning to its good days. I’ll be honest Battlefield V and 1 were both massive disappointments and I dropped out of them with less than 10 hours play… just wasn’t any enjoyment for me. When I saw Battlefield 2042 was going back to a more modern setting I was very happy as it’s a bit futuristic without going too far out of realism.
In the Battlefield 2042 beta the game mode to spend the time is was classic conquest and a map known as Orbital which has been seen in the trailers It’s the one with the rocket ship so you’ll know which it from the media, and it’s also got the random tornado that can come down and cause havoc. I thought this would just be an annoying gimmick yet it’s tons of fun! You will see people go towards it for the fun of it, flinging themselves everywhere and getting their vehicles ruined. It’s certainly fun to see the chaos it brings whilst flying whether that’s in a jet or helicopter. In this latest instalment we have bots too, which are mostly dumb when it comes to combat, but good at capturing points oddly enough. They do get replaced quickly as the match fills up with actual players, which is great on both counts for having full lobbies. The bots do need some serious work in regards to combat though as they’re just cannon fodder and put up no fight whatsoever.
It’s got potential for some great classic Battlefield moments and I witnessed a few with players grappling from vehicles to roof tops on the fly, and then jumping off a building parachuting elsewhere. Is it a bit silly? Somewhat, but then Battlefield 3 and 4 had these moments and they were the last good ones we got. The combat itself is fun, and I’ve enjoyed the gun play and absolutely love on-the-fly weapon customizability so much I want this in all shooters going forward. It’s just so smooth and quick to alter your gun to the situation you’re in. Simple click and you can switch out the scope on your gun, the magazine type, etc. Battlefield 2042 introduces specialist classes instead of the typical ones of old, and I spent most my time as Boris as I enjoyed using his sentry gun, which is useful if you see a few enemies coming up to a point, or rather neatly, as a distraction whilst you move position. You will be in combat plenty of times too. Even though I played this on PC so it was 128 players, PS5 and Xbox Series X will be the same, whilst PS4 and Xbox One will remain at 64. I wondered if 128 would be too much, but it’s finely balanced and doesn’t feel too chaotic. Of course this is based on the one map we have on offer. If we have a Metro equivalent map come launch I can imagine the chaos will get too much!
There were other specialists in the beta, all with their own abilities, though you mostly saw people online using one called Mackay who has the grappling hook as it adds so much to the movability compared to the others. For the vehicle combat, it’s good but very much a stutter fest, I’m hoping this is just due to the early code and is a bug of some kind. I found that when moving the tank to shoot, or if any vehicle has a passenger, it judders all over the place. I thought this was a one off, but it persisted in each game I played and when I played with a few friends they all reported the same. That being said, it’s still fun to blast a buggy up with a tank or land a direct hit on a helicopter if you line up the shot well. The tank’s do move very quickly considering their size and I sense that may change come release. Orbital does have one section where if you go whilst in a tank, you’re essentially asking to be bombarded. This is the path up to the rocket ship as there isn’t any cover and you will be shot to hell. One point I attempted to reach an underground part only to be blown to pieces before I made it there.
I’ve seen some complaints regarding the map being too big, and I have to disagree here, it’s not at all. It’s easy to get around and very rarely I found I’ve had no action. Each point seems to have people on at every given time too. To add to the variety, as you’re playing the maps weather will change too and this really adds to the experience. Weather impacts the gameplay as the visibility changes, and it’s also very pretty! In line with the previous games, scout vehicles spawn regularly and are easy to get to, if anything I just wish we had more tanks in play as they don’t seem to be available that often. We can’t expect it to be all smooth sailing as this was a beta and we knew it was a couple of months old too. I got booted to the main menu a fair few times, it wouldn’t connect, etc., and I think we will see a fair few fixes by the time it comes to release. It has made me excited for Battlefield 2042, and the series as a whole again. The gunplay is good, the specialists do add a different element to it, and I think people will find it more refreshing than they expect. That’s before we get to the Portal mode as well.
Battlefield 2042 is out on the 19th November 2021 on PC, PS5, PS4, Series X|S and Xbox One for around £50.