Battlefield 2042

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Ripple Effect Studios
Release Date: Oct. 22, 2021

About Tony "OUberLord" Mitera

I've been entrenched in the world of game reviews for almost a decade, and I've been playing them for even longer. I'm primarily a PC gamer, though I own and play pretty much all modern platforms. When I'm not shooting up the place in the online arena, I can be found working in the IT field, which has just as many computers but far less shooting. Usually.


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PS5/PS4/XSX/XOne/PC Preview - 'Battlefield 2042'

by Tony "OUberLord" Mitera on June 9, 2021 @ 8:10 a.m. PDT

Battlefield 2042 is a groundbreaking first-person shooter set to revolutionize the modern multiplayer sandbox.

Pre-order Battlefield 2042

We recently had the chance to attend a digital presentation of the next game in the Battlefield franchise, the previously rumored Battlefield 2042. The game is being touted by DICE as its most ambitious and its biggest leap thus far; the claims sound plausible based on what we saw in the presentation: increased map size, increased player counts, and other welcome changes to the Battlefield formula.

Set in the near future of 2042 (no prize for guessing it), the game sees a collapsing world in which rising sea levels and a wild climate have caused widespread shortages, economic catastrophes, and the collapse of dozens of nations. Everyone is left to fight for scraps, and in this environment, the U.S. and Russia have gone to war with each other. Taking to the field are non-patriated refugees, or "non-pats" in the game's parlance: soldiers without a nation who are fighting for the side they think will still be standing at the end of the war.

That wild climate isn't just a plot to be ignored, as some maps feature significant indications that the planet's weather is just a little bit wonky. The Hourglass map features the sandy outskirts of a Qatar that has begun to be consumed by the shifting dunes, but it's the sand of the approaching sandstorms that are the immediate concern. Fighting within the sandstorm means lower visibility, and it becomes harder to hear anything among all the wind. The shiny South Korean skyscrapers of Kaleidoscope won't stay unblemished for long, as a giant tornado can ravage the area and send debris, vehicles, and players flying around like toys.

The game will launch with seven maps, but it is important to note just how big they can get. Maps like the launch facility of Orbital and the red-tinged sands of Hourglass are over four times the size of maps such as Narvik and Hamada from Battlefield V. The Breakaway map from the new game is said to be 5.9 km2 in size, or roughly double the size of the El Alamein map from Battlefield 1942. Rounding out the touted list of maps are the aforementioned Kaleidoscope, the massive container yard of Manifest, the ship graveyard with some secrets of its own in Discarded, and the high-tech agricultural center of Renewal. Each of these new maps is significantly larger than some of the maps from previous games.

Along with the greater landmass sizes, the total count of players in a game has been upped. On the PC and next-gen consoles, you will have up to 128 players in a match, while on the previous-gen releases, the player count and the maps will be streamlined with a "normal" 64-player count. Another benefit with larger maps is that players piloting aircraft will no longer feel like they are flying in a tiny speck of airspace, which may also make air combat feel more realistic.

Battlefield 2042 is expected to have three "gameplay experiences" at launch. All-Out Warfare is akin to the franchise's normal Conquest mode, with its classic gameplay of taking objective points on the map to maintain control of the majority and bleed the enemy team of valuable respawn tickets. A new feature is that the larger maps will be divided into sectors, with each sector containing objectives of their own. Controlling a sector means most of the objectives within need to be held, so it is not as if you only care about five spots on the massive map and the rest is (literally) flyover territory.

Two other experiences will be available when the game releases, but DICE is being awfully coy about what they are. DICE only shared the name for one of the two; the Hazard Zone mode is supposed to have high-stakes, squad-based play that is distinctly different from previous modes of the series — and it's specifically not a "battle royale" mode. The third mode doesn't even have a name that could be revealed but is supposedly "aimed at longtime players" and is "a love letter to Battlefield fans." More on that mode will be revealed at the EA Play event on July 22, 2021.

With such a large map, you would think it might be difficult to get the right vehicles in the right spots. In the new game, you will be able to call in vehicles from air drops, and after a short delay, the vehicle floats down from above. This means that squads can get into fights over an area, but as the fight peters out, the squad can call in a transport vehicle and start to head over to the next flashpoint. Since no one likes camping vehicle spawns, this seems like a welcome way to avoid that phenomenon. It was said that vehicles will have some sort of functionality in every available seat, from gunner positions to mine layers, so the poor souls mapped to the F4 key and onward will always have something to do.

Another tweak to the game comes in the "plus menu," which allows players to adjust their weapon attachments at will without needing to respawn. In one example, a soldier who had an assault rifle kitted with a scope runs into a building, and on the elevator ride up was able to replace the scope with a red-dot sight and make a few other changes to the weapon's attachments. Obviously, there are some questions about how that will be balanced, but that is an attractive feature from the standpoint of being able to prepare for the next skirmish.

Arguably the biggest change is with the partial abandonment of the class system. Gone are the days of playing as a nameless Assault soldier or choosing Recon because you want the sniper rifle. Battlefield 2042 features specialists, named characters with unique likenesses that each have their own special "gadget" and distinct trait. Granted, each specialist is also identified by their class, so if you're playing as Kasper, you're probably doing so because you want to play as a Recon role.

The difference is that all specialists can equip any weapon or gadget that isn't unique to a particular specialist. You can play as Kasper in the above example, who has a recon drone as his special gadget and a movement sensor trait to detect if someone is "moving recklessly" nearby. However, you could chuck the idea of using a sniper rifle and load up with a shotgun instead.

Three other specialists were revealed as well as their traits and gadgets. The Assault specialist has a grappling hook to reach higher elevations and has a trait that allows them to move faster while aiming. The Support specialist can heal and revive people at range with their S21 Syrette pistol and always revives teammates to full health. Finally, the Engineer has access to the SG-36 Sentry Gun, an automated turret that performs better if the specialist (Boris, as he is known) remains close by.

The game is intended to be a live one, with a battle pass for each of the (roughly) quarterly seasons. Each season will deliver new content, with gameplay additions coming for free to all players and cosmetic add-ons to those who purchase a battle pass. These seasons are touted to add four new specialists over the first year, new locations, and other goodies. The seasons will also drive forward the game's narrative, but details on that were not provided.

DICE is turning 30 this year, and it seems like it really wants to pour its three decades of experience into making Battlefield 2042 the most dynamic game of the series. It will be interesting to see the secretive third "gameplay experience" and to finally get a good look at the gameplay. For now, all that we can do is wait for more information to come out of EA Play on July 22.

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