Battlefield 2042 Review: Too Little, Maybe Not Too Late

I hate seeing games get publicly slammed. Battlefield 2042 could've been so much better. My friends and I hoped it'd replace Warzone as our go-to title to play together whenever we get the chance. So far, though, that hasn’t happened.

Battlefield 2042 launched after months of hype and a delay, ostensibly to sort out the last tweaks to the game's stability and finish things up. As it turns out though, this isn't quite how it went down.

Technical Stress

Navin Rao helps a child in Battlefield 2042.
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Credit: EA

Battlefield 2042's enormous maps on next-gen consoles and PC were highly touted as the most exciting aspect of the game.

Battlefield titles are known for their wild chaos and amazing moments. 'Only in Battlefield' is a phrase you'll hear to describe the most ludicrous plays and outrageous exploits. Shooting a bridge out from underneath an enemy tank before getting ploughed to death by a jet plane. Stuff like that. Battlefield 2042 could have that magic, and with 128 players it should be even greater than ever, with chaotic warfare going on all around you and a huge expanse of land to take your squad. At the moment though, Battlefield 2042's large maps and increased player count just don't lead to enjoyable gameplay.

The maps are huge and majestic, and they look brilliant on fancy hardware and the latest consoles, sure. Unfortunately though, I've experienced rubberbanding, slowdown, and other irritating glitches on these huge game modes. Often it's enough to make me not want to play anymore. There's an especially annoying one where my character's head detaches from their body and I can see my torso running around in directions with absolutely no input by me on my controller. That’s before I'm killed by someone who must think I'm playing like a complete FPS newbie.

A few other issues I've run into include a lack of responsiveness to my mouse inputs, hit registration feeling a bit off, and being unable to revive teammates if they're too close to an object. They're small things, but enough to frustrate me to the point where I want to stop playing.

All-Out Warfare

Battlefield 2042's Angel pets a robot dog.
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Credit: EA

The maps are also a bit too big for the chaos and mayhem to really get started. Don't get me wrong, in small bursts Battlefield 2042 has that delicious feel of constant peril and a delirious hunger to contribute to the peril of others. It's just that this rarely happens in practice. Often, without the ability to call in a vehicle since the rest of my teammates have taken them, going for an objective is a matter of traipsing across the giant map to attempt to take a point. If you aren't with friends, this amounts to a few minutes at a time of trundling along through an open field hoping the enemy snipers don't spot you. There's often not much to do between capture points in All-Out Warfare, particularly Conquest mode, so it's hard to find the right level of action.

Run for five minutes, get shot, rinse, repeat.

All-Out Warfare is the main mode in Battlefield 2042. To me, it's the best one the game has, with both the Conquest and Breakthrough modes offering focal points for battling on each of the game's new maps. I like the way the new Specialists interact, with their unique abilities providing just enough differentiation that it's worth trying them all to see which you prefer. In particular, Sundance's wingsuit is a joy to use, and mitigates a lot of the problems I've seen while playing Battlefield 2042, albeit only when you jump off a high building.

In All-Out Warfare, you're on a team of 64 against another team of 64. You have to either capture the points on the map in Conquest or attack and defend chokepoints in Breakaway. They both have ways of bringing the action, but balance seems to fall by the wayside. It's just straight-up not fun to be aiming at an opponent across an Antarctic dune, only to be pulverised in half a second by a helicopter you had no chance of avoiding.

Vehicles generally seem a little too powerful at the moment too. Although the dev team have apparently clocked this and are looking into fixes, it's a significant issue the game launched with, and one that made my Battlefield 2042 experience markedly worse.

Hazard Zone and Portal - 2042's Saviours?

A plane flies away from an explosion in Battlefield Portal.
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Credit: EA

Battlefield Portal and Hazard Zone are the other two modes. I've seen people claim these are the modes that save Battlefield 2042 from being an utter disaster, but I disagree. All-Out Warfare, for all its faults, offers a consistent experience with a steady supply of action and combat, provided you know how and where to find it (which takes a while). Hazard Zone and Portal, on the other hand, deliver nothing of the sort.

Hazard Zone is an Escape From Tarkov-esque extraction-based mode wherein your 4-person team needs to gather data drives and extract at the chopper. There are 8 teams in total, along with 'occupying forces' - enemy troops controlled by the AI.

I find Hazard Zone exhausting to play. With a team of randoms especially, communication is so hard to come by. Matches often end before they've even begun since strategic play is near impossible. Without a group you know, Battlefield 2042 Hazard Zone is such a struggle.

Portal is a strange one, too. Initially, I thought I'd be seeing all manner of unique game modes created by gamers-cum-designers, with never-before-seen ways to play using Battlefield elements old and new. Alas, most of the readily-available modes are just rejigs of old modes and XP-farming servers. Understandable, but disappointing. At least on Conquest the maps are smaller, so it's a touch easier to get to the action.

Hope for the future

Several specialists in Battlefield 2042 exit a helicopter.
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Credit: EA

I genuinely believe that Battlefield 2042 will one day be the game it's trying to be. It has everything it should need to become a go-to game for me and a group of friends. Right now though, it's just not ready for that mantle. Fixes are desperately needed that can bring Battlefield 2042 to its full potential.

Battlefield 2042 is a game you need to have a squad alongside you to properly enjoy. It's just a shame many have been turned off from the game before it becomes the exciting simulation I know it can be. A lot of my friends have given up on it, but I don't want to just yet.

Score: 2/5

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