‘Battlefield 2042” marks the ninth mainline entry for the series since its inception in 2002, but if you count spin-offs, the series is actually closer to being on an annual release schedule.
Sadly, “Battlefield 2042” does little to stand out from its many predecessors.
For the uninitiated, or just those who haven’t played a Battlefield game in awhile, these are online military shooters where squads of players attempt to complete objectives, which usually means securing and holding points on massive maps.
The signature Conquest mode is back here in all of its glory. Maps are bigger than ever, and now hold up to 128 players on PC and next-gen consoles (last-gen is capped at 64 players), but that larger number of players is both a blessing and a curse.
It’s nice to be able to fly a plane or drive a tank around without having to worry about going out of bounds, but the gameplay can get way too hectic with that many players on one map.
Every time I’d start to get in my groove and hold a control point, a player from the other team would shoot me out of nowhere, or sometimes from straight across the map. And good luck getting your squad to actually work together as a cohesive unit if you’re playing with random people. Barely anyone was even using a microphone when I played on the Xbox Series X.
“Battlefield 2042” advertises itself as a more strategic alternative to “Call of Duty,” but in the end, cheap tactics usually prevail over actual strategy.
In addition to the returning Conquest and Breakthrough modes, “Battlefield 2042” introduces Hazard Zone, a spin on the popular battle royal genre in which up to eight squads of four players each seek out data points before reaching an extraction point. Unlike the typical Battlefield modes, there’s no automatic re-spawning in Hazard Zone. Once you’re dead, you stay dead unless someone else on your squad can make it to a re-spawn point.
Hazard Zone was fine from the time I spent with it, but ultimately I found myself returning to Conquest most of the time. But regardless of the mode, all of the maps are remarkably sparse, with little in terms of the procedurally destructible buildings that the series is known for.
Unfortunately, there’s no single player campaign in sight either. A few voiceovers give the background for why you’re fighting, but “Battlefield 2042” does shockingly little to lean into its near future setting.
Sure, all these battles take place in hypothetical conflicts caused by climate disaster, but the weapons themselves are virtually indistinguishable from any other modern military shooter.
One kind of neat addition is that one of the specialists you can choose from has a wing-suit, but the controls are iffy on it, and I found it led to just almost as many deaths as successful landings, and even one very weird glitch where my weapons wouldn’t fire at all immediately after landing.
Glitches are another issue that were surprisingly prevalent during my time with the game during the soft launch. The game was especially finicky when doing anything in the air. At one point, I tried to jump out of a plane but got stuck in a weird in-between area that the game said was out of bounds. Seconds long freezing was common during my matches, and the camera tends to go absolutely haywire after deaths, focusing on the area underneath levels.
But the most disappointing thing about “Battlefield 2042” is the overwhelming feeling of sameness, that even with the larger player count and next-gen graphics, this game is barely any different from the many Battlefield titles that came before it.
Honestly, I did enjoy myself at some points, but I see little reason to go back to “Battlefield 2042” with so many other superior online shooters on the market.