It’s fair to say that I do like a bit of Battlefield. My most played online game of all time is still Bad Company 2, despite Destiny making a bid for the title, and so with the launch of Battlefield 2042 looming, I was practically salivating at the thought of getting to grips with some early multiplayer. The open beta provided me with my chance, and so I downloaded and sat waiting for the time to count down to the big switch on. What I hope to share with you here are my thoughts and impressions of the beta – both the good and the bad, shedding some light on how the game seems to be shaping up. So come with me to the expansive battlefield as we spawn in to see what was happening.
So, the basic setup first of all and the only game mode on display in the beta was that of Conquest; which is lucky as this is by far my favourite game mode in Battlefield. The fact that most people seem to think that Conquest is spelt Team Deathmatch is neither here nor there, but I do still find it annoying that online folk would rather sit back and pick people off than get in, capture the flags and PTFO. Still, this has been a problem since my first day on the Battlefield, and so I gritted my teeth and carried on regardless.
There was also only one map to play, called Orbital, but my goodness was it a good one. The flags, of which there were seven, were spread over a wide range of terrains, ranging from an outpost on top of a hill to the top of a skyscraper, which was only quickly accessible by helicopter. The slow way to the flag on the skyscraper was up endless flights of stairs, usually accompanied by some enterprising camper ready to shoot me in the face as I breasted the last set of stairs. I can’t complain too much as they were guarding the flag, but having to start at the bottom again did make me reconsider my life choices.
First of all then, I’ll go through what I liked about what I played as it’s always nice to start off on a positive note.
First of all, the map. The sheer size of this was amazing, especially the way that you could see into the far distance, picking off people at a distance should you so wish. In fact, one time (and only one time, which I’ll cover later) I managed to get into a tank, park it on a slope, and fire off a shell to land on the roof of the skyscraper. And yes, there was a kill involved for the trouble it took. These are the moments that make Battlefield what it is, in my book and I still remember many years ago starting a match in Atacama desert, shooting a tank shell as high as I could towards the Russian base, and being amazed when I got a double kill, somehow bullseyeing the enemy chopper across the map. Seeing that ridiculous shots are all part of the fun, I was galvanised to play even more.
Secondly, I like the gunplay. This is the hardest thing to get right in any shooter, as you don’t want to feel like your attacks have no impact or feel. The guns here in Battlefield 2042 feel just right, and using the assault rifles in particular feels really good; pew-pewing away like a good ‘un. I was also pretty impressed by the Class system, although it was a bit weird at first. You see, the classic Battlefield classes are here – Assault, Medic, Engineer and Wookie (sorry, Recon) – but choosing the class no longer means you have to play your role. You see, it’s now possible to choose the Recon class, complete with ghillie suit and everything, but then arm yourself with the Engineer kit, complete with rocket launcher and grenades. You can then make the class even more your own, swapping out the default weapon for the Engineer to that of an assault rifle. In this way, you can make the game your own, and while it seems odd that you can only change the settings in-game, I assume that outside of the beta, once the full game emerges, you’ll be able to set your preferred loadout and save it. That’ll be right, yeah, EA?
Driving vehicles was another high point, as everything from quad bikes to large transport aircraft is included. Flying helicopters is as hard as ever, and as always my record of about twenty yards before I run out of talent still stands. And everything – except the tanks – feels great. And yes, that tank issue shall be addressed in the ‘bad’ sector, I’m afraid.
And here it is – the bad points of Battlefield 2042 and its beta.
First up is the aforementioned tanks. Tanks have always driven like the other land based vehicles in Battlefield, with the right and left triggers controlling backwards and forwards. Now, the driving controls have been mapped to the left stick, and the right stick seems to control the turret, and it just didn’t work for me. I’d find myself trying to drive, and as the right trigger is now confirmed to fire, a stationary tank blasting away at a hillside is a bit of a spectacle, and seems to attract the attention of all the helicopter pilots in the world.
Another issue, weirdly, is the respawn system. More than once I spawned directly in front of an enemy, and was rudely gunned down before I could even move. It did happen the other way around a few times, but spawning locations certainly need fixing. The size of the map, if you don’t have a vehicle is also an issue, as it takes approximately a week and a half to run from one end of the map to the other. I’m also not a fan of the “danger close” indicator, or whatever EA are going to call it. Basically, if an enemy is nearby, you get a red semi circle appear at the bottom of the screen, yet there doesn’t seem to be an indication of where the enemy is on it. The mini map isn’t much help in this regard either, and quite often I was shot by people hiding in a bush that I knew were there somewhere, but couldn’t pinpoint.
Graphical issues were also a feature, with flashes and screen tearing happening quite frequently. The issues were quite intrusive at times, but please remember that this was taken in via a beta and so I’m hoping that this is an early build.
All in all, I enjoyed my time with the beta of Battlefield 2042. I’m still dubious about a Battlefield game without a single player campaign, and this may well ultimately sway my decision to buy or not to buy. The actual gameplay on offer seems pretty solid though, and I’m cautiously optimistic that Battlefield 2042 may turn out to be a good game.
But what about you guys out there? Did you play the beta, and if so, what did you think of it? Let us know in the comments.
Battlefield 2042 will be releasing on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S (Optimised), PS4, PS5 and PC on November 19th 2021. Grab the Ultimate Edition though and you’ll get early access.