Battlefield 2042 is the biggest game to date, with 128 players able to battle it across a series of huge maps. There are some new game modes and of course Portal which gives you the freedom to create the most unique game modes.
Starting with the first mode, All out warfare it’s here where the big battles take place. Conquest and Breakthrough are the two game modes available and are playable on the largest maps ever for the franchise and for the first time, up to 128 players on consoles and PC. As exciting as this sounds I found the experience to be pretty frustrating, with so many players the games become quite overwhelming and before you know it you are travelling a large distance to get back to action, which can take a while if you don’t have a vehicle.
The first new mode is Hazard Zone, which puts you in a team of four against 28 other players and AI. The objective is to find and extract as many data drives as possible, it sounds simple but the execution is much more challenging. At the start of each match you’ll need to perform some recon to establish where the drives might be,
The gamble is whether you decide to extract straight away or gamble and extract at the end of the match. The risk is that you’ll face up against other squads and lose everything, you only need one squad member to survive in order to be rewarded but is it worth the gamble? If any of your squad die during the match you are able to revive them using a tactical upgrade or by finding a reinforcement uplink.
You’ll earn points for the drives you extract that can be used to buy better weapons and upgrades so that the next time you play you can improve your loadout. You won’t just be against other opponents, you’ll have to deal with that pesky tornado too. In one match my squad played we got hit by a huge sandstorm and it really added a lot of tension to the game.
In this mode you are restricted to one type of specialist per squad, in conquest and breakthrough however not only can you be who you want, but loadouts are not locked to a Specialist. Upgrading a weapon makes this version available to all Specialists, offering more freedom to play how you want. I’m a big fan of the new Plus System which allows players to swap out weapon attachments during gameplay to change their capabilities during the battle. I really love the flexibility this gives you as you.
Battlefield 2042 boasts some huge maps to battle in, you’ll fight in South Korea, India, Qatar and even Antarctica, they all look fantastic but what is particularly brilliant about the maps is the fact they are dynamic, there is destruction, ground deformation and weather states which can all affect the match you are in. If you played in the open beta then at some point you would have experienced one of two things; the Rocket taking off or the tornado moving across the map. Both are spectacular additions, even more so if you are up close.
As you continue to play you will notice destructible antennae and large signage on the top of skyscrapers that fall to the ground on the Kaleidoscope map. Winches that pull down large sections of the beached ships on the Discarded map. The “Wall of Sand” event you see on the Hourglass map that sees you experience a massive sandstorm, and destructible fuel tanks and silos that create debris fields and permanent fires when destroyed on the Breakaway map. Moving up through buildings has also been made easier with plenty of ziplines to help you gain height, you can also move cranes and raise and lower bridges to help give you an advantage.
Visually the game looks great, the set pieces are fantastic especially when the weather events kick in. The gunplay is good although I wasn’t impressed with how the guns sound, compare the weapons to Call of Duty and you’ll easily notice the difference in quality.
The shining star in Battlefield 2042 is Portal, where players will have the complete Battlefield toy box at their disposal, featuring powerful tools to create new and completely unique Battlefield experiences.
Portal gives you the ability to join experiences that have been created by the community or you can build your own to share. What is most impressive is the huge array of options, you are able to bring weapons, equipment and vehicles from Battlefield 1942, Battlefield 3, Battlefield Bad Company 2 and Battlefield 2042. You can build the experiences on the 2042 maps as well as 6 maps from the other games.
Some of the community creations are excellent, there are various versions of Gun Game, Snipers and Knives and there is even a mode where there are 116 Zombies vs 12 humans, it’s incredible to see the variety of modes. You can create public or private servers depending on how you want to play too.
What’s most impressive in Portal is the online builder. You’ll need to set a few parameters before you get into building. You will choose a game type, choose which map(s) you want it to rotate through, then define weapons, attachments, vehicles etc before diving into the rules editor. The visual scripting tool that manipulates game elements using Logic Blocks, it’s quite daunting at first but there are plenty of tutorials to help you. If you find an experience that someone else has created you can take a copy and modify it as you wish, it’s a great way to learn how the different modes are put together.
There are plenty of reasons not to like Battlefield 2042, but there are plenty or reasons to like it too. The 128 player matches cause lots of frustrations and EA are still addressing bugs and balance issues to make the experience better for players but things are getting better. Hazard Mode is fantastic if you get a good squad together, while Portal is a hugely impressive piece of technology that I’m looking forward to making some interesting custom games with. Those two modes alone are enough of a reason to pick this game up.