The first glimpses of DICE's Battlefield 2042 weren't pristine, but they were very promising.
It seems as though the announcement of Battlefield 2042 was now many moons ago – and by this rate it’ll be 2042 by the time we can play the game - but in the past few days we got a taste of what the game brings to the table in the Beta version of the game releasing on Xbox and PlayStation consoles come the 19th of November. We got our controllers out and had a little gander around the Battlefield Beta, here's what our take home was.
The Battlefield series to date
I am a huge Battlefield V fanboy - it has historically been one of my stronger shooter performances. Shameless plug. Although it had begun its journey tremulously, I was absolutely obsessed with the game, particularly the Provence, Solomon Islands, Arras and Twisted Steel maps. As a result of my spirited praise for Battlefield, I had some cavernous expectations circulating my headspace as I booted up the Beta, and I can safely say that I was impressed with the game; it was not yet up to scratch, but on the whole Battlefield 2042 looks excellent. DICE do a fantastic job at the subtle details of Battlefield games, the transition into scope view and the blurred surroundings that ensue, for example. Battlefield 2042 is no anomaly to the trend here, availing itself of many of the finer details. Of course, not everyone was satisfied; many a complaint permeated the various forums and channels relating to visibility issues in amidst dynamic weather conditions, but isn’t that the point? To shake up the feel of gameplay? To add nuance to each and every game? In this way, Battlefield 2042 is never going to be every man's game, but it could come close.
How does gunplay feel?
The first-person shooter mechanics in Battlefield 2042 are lovely; hit markers are neat and guns felt just as we might conceive they should in the 2040’s; powerful, rigid and reliable. The end product was there, but I did have a few grievances about the in-game ammo system, specifically the dearth of the ammo and the variety in ammo types. On plenty of occasions have we just needed to get used to a novel mechanic in a game, but I am not convinced that this alteration is for the best. Part of me says ammo preservation is par for the course of tactical shooters, but another part of me reaffirms that in the blur of battle, constructing a load-out is my last priority – survival comes first. The better news is that the ‘Plus Holster’ in Battlefield 2042 is versatile and ergonomic, giving great diversity to the gameplay. You win some, you lose some - I think we could put our hands to the variety of ammo should DICE correct the ammunition siege currently going on.
'The better news is that the ‘Plus Holster’ in Battlefield 2042 is versatile and ergonomic, giving great diversity to the gameplay.'
What did we think of the maps?
DICE’s decision to take on 128-man warfare was an audacious one, but one they have successfully seen through. Battles as boundless as this are as rewarding as they sound, each predilection to warfare is satisfied; if you are a sniper looking for an undisturbed lair to pick out enemies from, or if you like to go on close-quarter shotgun rampages, Battlefield 2042 has your back. The sheer scale of the map sizes this game involves certainly necessitates 128 men to attain an all-out warfare feel. As it should be, every corner of the battle arena as bullets soaring through it. Traversing the map is enjoyable; a myriad of vehicles and gadgets, like the physically accurate grapple hook, prove useful, needed and feed directly into the rapid state of play the game adopts. Alongside the frenzied depiction of warfare, Battlefield 2042 brings back the series’ quintessential skyscrapers and Levelution elements, giving the game a large slice of Battlefield's trademark dynamic landscapes. The Beta ended before I had a chance to delve into the map I wanted to explore the most: Hourglass, the sand-storm stricken desert cityscape, but what content I did see has certainly left me itching for more.
Where we think the game lacks
Achievements aside, Battlefield 2042 has work to do before it can go without the scrutiny given to Battlefield V. My biggest gripe was the lack of classes and instead the presence of specialists; the distinction between weaponry classes is obscure, ostensibly giving everyone the ability to carry ammo, health packs and specific guns. More, our friends and foes look exactly the same; the selection of eight specialists don the same standard (but modifiable) outfit regardless of their side or nationality; it’s like two opposing football teams wearing the same kit. In our opinion, the game’s interface needs a bit more delineating, and the absence of a scoreboard takes away that element of fierce competition that feeds into the addictive allure of the game. It’s unconceivable that a shooter game of this ilk wouldn’t have a scoreboard, so we’re hoping it is merely missing rather than AWOL.
'The absence of a scoreboard takes away that element of fierce competition that feeds into the addictive allure of the game.'
Admittedly, Battlefield 2042 is incomplete; it has room for improvement, but the base of the game is brilliant, the peak of the pyramid just needs carving out a touch. EA claim that the Beta version of the game is already several months old, and if true we could expect many of the game’s bugs and limitations to find their solutions long before the finalised incarnation of Battlefield 2042 is released. DICE has no scarcity of feedback to work with; we can only hope that they augment the brilliant world created with the stipulations of long-time Battlefield players. All things aside, I had a whale of a time getting to grips with the game being dubbed the future of first-person shooter, and I am enthused by what I saw rather than critical of shortcomings; DICE have 6 weeks to get their ducks in a line, and then it is time to battle in Battlefield 2042!