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Battlefield 2042 (PS5)

Battlefield 2042 (PS5) - Review

by Thomas Froehlicher , posted on 07 December 2021 / 2,793 Views

While I thought it was extremely compelling, Battlefield V lost out to Call of Duty in terms of popularity three years ago. Fully aware that it had failed to repeat the success of Battlefield 1, DICE decided a major overhaul of the series formula was in order, much to some players' disappointment.

With Battlefield 2042, it's very clear the team at DICE wanted to push and polish what makes its shooter series unique. Nearly all their effort has been put into the Conquest and Breakthrough multiplayer modes, literally to the point of overwhelming the main menu with them. Conquest is undoubtedly one of the major selling points of the series and here it's better than ever. For the very first time up to 128 players can engage in battle at the same time, vastly transforming the experience. In Conquest two opposing forces (only the US and Russia so far) fight for control of several checkpoints across an extremely large map, and the increased player count greatly intensifies the struggle for each checkpoint, results in more engagement, and gives battles a greater sense of scale.

A lot of emphasis has been placed on vehicular warfare, with more ground and air vehicles being available both at the start of rounds and during them. This changes the geometry of the skirmishes quite a lot because there's now more vehicle vs vehicle engagement and vehicle vs troop engagement. I've found that air units are much more active in Battlefield 2042 than in any previous entry. If you're in a tank or not in cover then you're much more likely to be harassed by helicopters and planes - they're far more efficient and better integrated in the game than ever before.

Long-range gameplay (my speciality) is another area where Battlefield 2042 satisfies. I was worried during the beta because the level of precision there was terrible, but these issues were mostly fixed by the time the game launched. Bullet drop is now more in line with recent installments (and maybe even a bit softened), so sniping remains efficient even at a range of 300-400m, which allows for attacks from one checkpoint to another. All the more important, then, that the quality of level design remains top notch. Once again the maps are a masterwork of verticality - there are cranes, pillars, watchtowers, mountains, a multitude of buildings, and so on, which means there are plenty of places for snipers to take in the surroundings and find target opportunities. The scale of the architecture has also been increased compared to Battlefield V; structures are bigger and more complex, from the stranded tanker in Discarded to the rocket launch pad in Orbital. Knowing that climbing all the way up would be a waste of the player's time, DICE decided to place ropes here and there so that you can quickly traverse them.

As always, Battlefield 2042 boasts a real wealth of gameplay options. There are plenty of different vehicle types (anti-air, anti-amor, anti-infantry, amphibious), and even the player characters are varied. The specialists, as they're called, possess certain unique skills and pieces of equipment, like a recon drone, healing pistol, or larger ammo create. This encourages teamplay, which itself is rewarded in terms of experience. Battlefield 2042 also comes with a new system for customizing your gun: you can take a dozen attachments with you and swap between them during gameplay at will. This allows you adapt your weapon for long or close range engagement (and vice versa), changing the scope or the grip any time. However, attachments take a tediously long amount of time to unlock - some key items, like the long range scopes for the SVK marksman rifle, require hundreds of kills before they're unlocked, and that could quite easily take players months to achieve.

Conquest is extremely compelling, but my chief disappointment with Battlefield 2042 is that there's not much to experience beyond that. Breakthrough is the only other available game mode, but it's de facto a Conquest mode in which you have to capture two checkpoints instead of five or six. And I am absolutely staggered by the complete removal of team deathmatch mode. That's always been a personal favorite of mine in military shooters, not to mention the default multiplayer mode in the genre for several decades now. You can't just make as if it doesn't exist. 

True, Battlefield 2042 does bring extra content in the shape of Battlefield Portal, which grants players access to remade maps from Battlefield 1942, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, and Battlefield 3. And it's great to replay these classic maps (which come with the original weapons and characters), but Battlefield Portal is also where EA's latest shooter begins to shines less and less.

Firstly, Battlefield Portal doesn't have much content at this time. We're talking one or two maps from each game, and even those aren't always completely updated or balanced. Take El Alamein, for instance - it's a pain to play because the checkpoints are too far away from one another and vehicles scarce. Another issue with the Portal is that the playlists come and go at the will of the developer. I was thrilled to see a team deathmatch playlist when I first played the game, but a few days later it was gone! Players can at least create their own playlists, setting various parameters, but they often include quirky conditions, like extra strong bots or gun limitations. 

As things stand, Battlefield Portal feels somewhat cool but it's far from being enough to replace a permanent team deathmatch mode, or single player for that matter. The campaign in Battlefield V was excellent, and yet the campaign in Battlefield 2042 is simply non-existent. At least it's been amusing to watch Activision bin Call of Duty's campaign in 2018, then EA to follow suit and discard Battlefield's campaign for 2042... only for Activision to revive Call of Duty's.

There are a few other things that are unaccounted for in this release too, like the traditional scoreboard and distance bonus points for snipers. I'm also not a fan of the Fortnite-ish tone adopted by Battlefield 2042, especially the characters talking big and joking on the result screen. Battlefield should be about visceral combat and war-like skirmishes, not joking around. Since launch, I haven't witnessed too many serious bugs or glitches, but there is one particularly annoying bug that still hasn't been fixed: sometimes you can't choose your loadout and have to exit the current game to be able to do so.

One last positive before we conclude: the game is absolutely gorgeous, just as you'd expect from a modern Battlefield title. Skirmishes are beautiful and lovely. The extreme weather effects - a major novelty of this release - don't impact gameplay as much as I expected them to (tornadoes and sandstorms merely disturb a few players for a couple of minutes), but they're visually stunning.

Battlefield 2042 is a great and unique shooter. Conquest mode, which remains unrivalled in terms of gameplay balance, teamplay, and its war-like atmosphere, has been elevated to stellar new heights. It is, at the very least, dozens of hours of fun for shooter fans who are looking for more complexity and a greater sense of scale than Call of Duty's multiplayer manages (although it too is great in its own way). While the overall quality is outstanding on both a gameplay and graphical level, DICE has unfortunately drastically cut back the amount of content on offer in this latest release, and the loss of both a single player campaign and additional multiplayer game modes is certainly felt.

After graduating from a French business school, Thomas felt an irresistible force drawing him to study Japanese, which eventually led him to Japanese Profeciency Test level 1 in 2012. During the day, Thomas is a normal account manager. But at night he becomes Ryuzaki57, an extreme otaku gamer hungry for Japanese games (preferably with pretty girls in the main role). His knowledge now allows him to import games at Japanese release for unthinkable prices, and then tell everyone about them. Feel free to contact on twitter at @Ryuz4ki57

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This review is based on a retail copy of Battlefield 2042 for the PS5

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2zosteven (on 07 December 2021)

This game looks fantastic, not sure when i will pick up but i will eventually.

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