‘Battlefield 2042’ review: A visually pleasing game that needs to ride out some bugs ASAP

We armed ourselves for and took a deep dive into large-scale warfare multiplayer ‘Battlefield 2042’. While the popular franchise’s signature gameplay has forayed into a new direction, the latest edition of the popular franchise is not without its problems.

Before PUBG and Call of Duty were taking the 100-player-plus multiplayer warfare gaming genre into the realm of the Battle Royale, DICE’s Battlefield series excelled at building a loyal player base with its signature massive sandboxes where hundreds of players took to the skies, or behind tanks to destroy each other.

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Now, after a foray into World War 1 with Battlefield 1 and World War 2 with Battlefield 5, DICE decided to make the game nomenclature even more confusing by introducing Battlefield 2042 — the 17th instalment in the much-loved series — which takes the franchise into warfare in the near future, with mixed results.

Instead of a single-player campaign, the developers have gone down the route of a live-service game. Setting up the world of 2042 around the multiplayer experience. A war breaks out between the United States and Russia (the only two superpower states) in a world devastated by a space debris storm that causes a Kessler Effect leading to a global blackout, shutting down the world’s communications grids.

Battlefield 2042

  • Developer: DICE
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Price: ₹2,999 on PC; ₹4,499 for Playstation 5 and Xbox Series; ₹3,999 for Playstation 4 and Xbox One

You play as one of 10 Specialists — soldiers without borders — who pick a side and fight on the massive battlefields. Each hero is derived from the familiar Battlefield classes (medics, recon, assault), with their own special gadgets, such as wingsuits, drones and more. Yet, built on the base of the original classes, the purpose of the specialists are confusing, because with a medikit, ammo kits or torches, anyone can be any class or revive. So why the distinct heroes?

To make up for the lack of a single-player campaign, the maps are bigger and better this time around. The game is set in places such as a Doha that hs now been reclaimed by the desert, a ship scrapyard in Alang, India, the climactically-erratic tropical biome of Brani Island, Singapore, and more. Each map not only comes with its own nuances; for example in South Korea, you must zipline between futuristic buildings.

Screenshot from video game ‘Battlefield 2042’ of the setting of Doha, overridden by post-apocalyptic desert conditions | Photo Credit: EA

‘Chaotic and overwhelming’

Battlefield 2042 is chaotic and overwhelming at times, with crowded arenas filled with players destroying each other with tanks, planes, helicopters and more. Just as you feel you have gotten a hang of things, in comes a massive tornado, sandstorm or rocket launch. Such chaos forces you and your squad to think on the fly and change your tactics accordingly, which makes both the Conquest mode and the Breakthrough modes all the more exciting.

Screenshot from video game ‘Battlefield 2042’ featuring the wingsuit | Photo Credit: EA

While this is great in theory, sometimes things get too tumultuous as there were entire games where I would respawn and be picked off instantly. This takes getting used to, and the atrocious bugs make everything worse. DICE has a lot of work ahead of them, tweaking and fixing a lot of the mechanics, especially to do with the Specialists.

Battlefield 2042 comes with another feature called Portal, which allows you to replay select fan-favourite older maps except you can mix and match soldiers, weapons or vehicles from every era, essentially promising a crossover experience for the most devoted franchise gamer. So you can have WW1 vehicles manned by 2042’s soldiers and more.

Screenshot from video game ‘Battlefield 2042’ | Photo Credit: EA

This iteration of DICE’s Frostbite engine looks stunning which was already on the bleeding edge when it comes to destruction, the addition of the weather effects just turns everything up a notch. The lighting is incredible too, especially in Doha, as you fight in a sandstorm amidst glowing buildings that illuminate everything in an eerie way. Truth be told, most of my fatalities were because I was standing around gawking at the sights. This game is drop-dead gorgeous, and comes with a mind-blowing score by Academy Award-winner Hildur Guðnadóttir (Joker, Chernobyl) and Sam Slater.

Battlefield 2042 comes with some interesting changes to the formula. Though we would strongly suggest wait and watch as the bugs and problems with the game get fixed, before jumping in headfirst.

The writer is a tech and gaming enthusiast who hopes to one day finish his sci-fi novel

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