This weekend sees the launch of the long-awaited Beta of Battlefield 2042. This little taste of the full game will give shooter fans a chance to deploy on the battlefield and see all the new features presented in 2042.
However, beta valves opened early for those who pre-ordered the game as well as EA Play subscribers. The first impressions are starting to be felt now that players are familiar with Battlefield 2042, and there is already a lot to discuss.
I was lucky enough to get early access myself and after spending several hours in the game I’m torn. The beta convinced me that Battlefield 2042 could be a very special game, but also raised concerns that the game is not yet ready for prime time.
Battlefield 2042 is easily one of the most anticipated games of the rest of 2021, but you might want to approach it with cautious optimism. Let me explain why Battlefield 2042 looks promising but is in serious need of tweaking.
Large scale war
The second you jump into Battlefield 2042, the scale of the game hits you immediately. Not only is the card included in the massive beta, but on PS5 / Xbox Series X / PC the player count has been increased to 128 fighters. This scale is undoubtedly impressive.
No other series goes to war on a grand scale like Battlefield, and 2042 absolutely nails that aspect. Running across a vast map covered in torrential rain as jets fly over and tanks speed past is exhilarating even after multiple matches in a row.
Fortunately, the actual shooter is pretty solid as well. I was able to quickly familiarize myself with the intricacies and achieving long range headshots is satisfying. In the majority of the head-on encounters when I died, it was because of my own failures rather than the controls that let me down.
I’m still getting used to the new specialist system, which replaces traditional Battlefield classes. Specialists each have unique abilities and equipment. The Canadian nomad Mackay is one of my first favorites thanks to his extremely useful grapple gun. I miss the clearly defined roles of each class, but the Specialists are fun to experiment with.
The ability to change gun attachments on the fly is also welcome. With the push of a button, you can bring up a menu that lets you cycle through different scopes, barrels and grips. This allows you to customize your weapon to fit specific situations to suit your needs, and it’s a feature I would now have a hard time playing without.
The theme of Battlefield 2042 is clearly evolution. The heart of the franchise remains the same, but there have been some clever tweaks that make Battlefield 2042 one of the most dynamic and easy-to-collect installments of the series to date.
Not sure about Orbital
Unfortunately, one aspect of the beta that really disappointed me is the Orbital card. This is the only location included in the beta, and it doesn’t seem like it was designed to facilitate the intense showdowns and watershed moments that Battlefield is known for.
It has far too much empty empty space and not enough choke points where members of the opposing team will naturally meet. I regularly found myself running, unable to find someone to shoot at before being shot in the back, which didn’t make the experience particularly fun.
The giant rocket launch pad on the map is visually impressive, but it’s far too open for a pleasant firefight. There is a wealth of flat concrete land surrounding the site which becomes a sort of “no man’s land”. If you walk around this area, you will quickly be shot down by enemy soldiers waiting in the nearby bushes. Which is just as frustrating.
Most multiplayer shooters have a few failed maps among the party, so it’s easy to forgive the weird stench. However, Battlefield 2042 only launches with seven maps, so any sub-par arenas like Orbital and Balance may start to tip unfavorably.
Need to spit and polish
If there’s one area where Battlefield 2042 really needs some work, it’s general polish. It should be noted that this playable beta is not the finished product. Additionally, developer Dice has claimed he’s actually three months old at this point, but from what I’ve played in Battlefield 2042 he’s adept at breaking out bugs and glitches.
From elevator doors that can be phased in like you’re a ghost to camouflage-colored parachutes that clip into buildings, trees, and vehicles. Not to mention the bodies that roam the map to death. I could fill dozens of YouTube compilation videos with all the graphic quirks I’ve experienced in just a few hours. The game also crashed on me twice.
While several of the graphic hiccups are quite entertaining, the quantity is of great concern. Battlefield 2042 feels like a game that desperately needs a few more months in the oven to crush as many of the remaining bugs as possible. Hopefully Dice has enough time before launch to bring the game to a more stable state.
The other area needing attention is the user interface, which is oddly designed. Unimportant icons and information dominate the screen, while essentials are barely visible without squinting. The menus themselves also seem unfinished, and displaying a mid-game scoreboard seems impossible, which is a strange oversight.
There are still some promising signs
If the beta is any indication, Battlefield 2042 is currently in a rough state. Dice claimed the version was out of date, which to some extent alleviates my concerns about the stability of the game. However, why Dice would want our first impressions of the game to come from such an old version is a puzzle.
Still, the heart of Battlefield 2042 is fantastic. The scale is unlike anything seen before in a previous Battlefield game, and the shooter is rock solid. Using vehicles is also extremely enjoyable, not to mention that when everything is working properly it is a very good looking video game.
The big question is whether the bugs, glitches, and UI issues can be fixed before the game’s current release date of November 19. I’m cautiously optimistic as that date approaches, but part of me is wondering if a postponement to 2022 might be in the best interest of the game.
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