Battlefield 2042 review for PC, PS5, Xbox Series X

Platform: PC
Also On: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One
Publisher: EA
Developer: DICE
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: Multi
Online: Yes

Battlefield 2042 was the shooter game that I was looking forward to the most this year. From all of the trailers leading up, the advertising done, the superbly high-quality Exodus short film they released to Youtube; it had me ready for a new generation of Battlefield that would either be equal to or close to the glory days of Battlefield 3 or Bad Company 2. The announcement that the game was not shipping with a campaign included in the box was disappointing, but I told myself (and others) that it may very well mean that the drop of a campaign means an even higher focus on making the multiplayer the best it can be. Unfortunately, this is not the reality that seems to have landed with the game.

I will not say that the game is bad. It is a Battlefield game for all intents and purposes and feels and plays as such. Battlefield has a formula and they?ve stuck to it over the years for better or worse. This isn?t any different from any other big FPS series, so it isn?t a negative inherently… but with this release, it seemed that this was when it was finally going to evolve beyond the formula it had been set in for at least the last 5 games. The thing that is the biggest change would arguably be the lobby size increase from 64 players to 128. The increase in player count does shake things up a little bit, but it isn?t a huge shift from the norm thanks to the incredibly large maps. This sounds like it would increase encounters, but the unfortunate fact that this created is making one of the 3 game modes offered almost completely one-sided.

In the Breakthrough mode, the offensive side is tasked with capping and holding two flags on the defending team?s side to take ground and push back through an expanding area. You win by taking all 4-5 areas (map dependent), but in my experience in probably 30 matches of this mode is that the offensive side could hardly break through the first area before running out of lives. In my ~30 matches, I saw the offensive side get through the first of 4 areas one time. They still lost, as they didn?t have the remaining lives to dominate the second area, but they did get further than any other team I saw. I?d take credit, but I was on the defending team, so maybe I helped, just not in the way I?d like to admit. I?m not sure if the mode requires some rebalancing to make it fairer to the offensive team, but as it stands, it?s very one-sided. I think the fault mostly falls on the back of there just being too many players on the field. It?s impossible to clear a flag of an enemy team because at any given moment, there are 30+ of them spawning right next to the point. The other game modes do not experience this issue, fortunately.

Where Battlefield 2042 does shine in my eyes is in the Portal area. In Portal, you?re able to play on 2 maps each from Battlefield 1942, Battlefield 3, and Bad Company 2. There?s a lot of very in-depth customization options for Portal you want to host your own instance within these, but I?m just going to concentrate on the experience you get when you just select one of the three listed options and matchmake. You get dropped into maps you?ll recognize from each of these games, but what?s more interesting to me is that it?s like you?re playing the games in their original format, just with the new engine. You get the classes, guns, style, characters (plus their personalities, Bad Company 2), vehicles, everything from the selected game. My nostalgia for Bad Company 2 kicked in strong while playing within the Portal. I think this was where I enjoyed my time with Battlefield 2042 the most.

Overall, there isn?t much content to even write about with Battlefield 2042. There?s 7 maps in the base game (this doesn?t include the 6 maps available in Portal, because those are just direct pulls from their respective original games), and 3 game modes to choose from. The game is enjoyable, but it doesn?t do much to stand out from the last few iterations of the series and without a campaign, feels like it?s lacking in content. Hopefully some updates and adjustments can help clear up some of the issues I experienced, especially with the balancing in the Breakthrough mode. As it stands, if you?re looking for just more Battlefield, but with a different setting, this is a good option. If you?ve not been a big fan of Battlefield in the past, or at least in the recent past entries, I don?t think they?ve changed enough here to change your mind.

EA provided us with a Battlefield 2042 PC code for review purposes.

Grade: B