A shot … and a miss?
A handful Battlefield 2042 betas is getting started (actually you have, just this minute)! Prior to this time, Stevivor’s Luke Lawrie and Steve Wright joined an assortment of Aussie journalists and streamers who were unleashed to check out what’s on offer.
Luke is far from Battlefield expert, so we let him kick things off.
While Battlefield the series has focused on World War I and II in recent years, DICE’s latest installment in the franchise, Battlefield 2042, moving into the near future. The mode we had the opportunity to check was Conquest, although there is a slight variation on this classic, as checkpoints may contain multiple flags in areas that you may need to capture.
The card that can be played is called Orbital, a large area that circulates over an impending rocket launch that can support up to 128 players – as two teams obviously fight against each other and slowly destroy the environment around them. We experienced some dynamic weather changes; at some point the rain fell and there is also a tornado that can come down and wreak havoc (although we never had a chance to see this).
Like a Battlefield veteran who has thousands of hours playing these games, including absolutely loving iterations in Battlefield V and Battlefield 1, I had a lot of fun moments during the few hours we had to see preview. But I have to say that I have a few concerns that will hopefully be resolved when the test continues.
First of all, there are some interesting ideas, like being able to change your weapon mods on the run or using a selection of special classes with unique options. But it seems that a bunch of gameplay mechanics have been removed and not replaced at all with anything. Instead is Battlefield the experiences of recent years have been reduced and changed, possibly to attract a wider audience.
This is an area we saw DICE tinkering with for updates to Battlefield V, when they tried to extend Time to Kill (TTK). TTK is how long it takes for a player to kill an enemy – basically how much damage they are able to cut out before removing another player from the field. A few years after Battlefield VWhen DICE was launched, DICE noticed that new players had a bad experience because they died too fast. Of course, DICE adjusted a lot of things to expand TTK, and society naturally reacted negatively.
This attitude seems to have been brought to Battlefield 2042; in my experience there have been moments where TTK has felt a little too long. I had matches where I got 5 or 6 hit indicators, but the opponent was able to run behind a cover with half of their health left. There may be a few factors at play- these weapons we got to play with were absolutely trash- TTK has been expanded to give newer players more survivability, or there was something wrong with the net code during our session. Either way, in its current state, it feels too far, but hopefully it can be remedied soon.
AI enemies are also included in Battlefield 2042, though they do not appear to be too smart and again feel like another way to round up the server and give newer players something easy to shoot at (a trend we have seen in other recent multiplayer FPS titles).
Even the scoreboard in the game does not show very much information, just as it will make everyone feel like they are having fun. We could not see the player statistics of the opposing teams. Worse was that we were not able to see how well other individual players on our own team fared; only your own team is detailed. Once a game is over, there is not a showcase to highlight the best team in the match. The whole experience feels like it is purposefully designed not to hurt your emotions if your team is not doing so well.
With vehicles playing a greater focus Battlefield 2042, One area that may be of concern at the moment is how players will be able to handle them – especially vehicles with high maneuverability such as helicopters. Our squad struggled a bit with how fast they were able to move in and out of combat, with the ability to quickly rebuild flares to avoid any counterattack. It just seemed like a losing battle every time we tried to engage with a helicopter.
There are a bunch of other systems that have been removed that I think players will miss. Ammunition filling stations have been scrapped, the weapon suppression system is gone – which will hurt supporters – building fortresses have disappeared, and oddly enough, the compass from HUD is missing unless you aim at sights (but this may be an option we missed?).
Hopefully there are some tweaks that can be made to provide an overall better experience, but it just seems like a lot of design decisions have been made in Battlefield 2042 to capture more players – as they leave Battlefield veterans looking for the classic experience. Fortunately, there are other games out there Hell Let Loose, which has replicated much of that sentiment.
With Battlefield 2042 beta runs across the next few days, this may give DICE some time to review balance sheet changes that should fix things for the full launch later next month.
There’s a reason Luke is the expert, right?
If you are looking for a dirty casual look inside Battlefield 2042, I can not say that I have much hope to offer. I’m not one for Call of Duty or Battlefield singleplayer campaigns, but I always feel good in multiplayer. Two others in my 2042 team, Nathan Lawrence and Joab Gilroy, were my wingmen in San Francisco in the past – although I’m sure they would both suggest it was the other way around – as we previewed Battlefield 4. While most journalists played with a keyboard and a mouse, I stuck to a controller (and kept my own, thank you very much). My ability was not really indifferent, in the end when I had fun just caused chaos, jumped in tanks or planes and just chatted it up. I’m also good at resuscitation.
Ol ‘pal Nate, or ol’ pal Joab could not save this particular experience; while the teasing remained at its peak, it just felt like something was missing.
Battlefield 2042 is competent but not convincing. Compares this beta experience with Halo Infinite‘s latest technical test, I know which one I would like to play. In 343’s offerings, there are teasing with friends and what feels like a more balanced, accessible and fun game. This is not the end Battlefield 2042 experience far, so I put my trust in DICE that issues that Luke will raise will be addressed before launch.
You can check out about 40 minutes of gameplay below – and it’s from Steve’s POV, not Luke’s, so drop “get god” comments accordingly. A closed beta for pre-orders starts now, 6pm AEDT on October 6th. It is followed by an open beta from kl. 18.00 AEDT on 8 October. All beta access ends at 18.00 AEDT on 10 October.
Battlefield 2042 goes to Windows PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X, PS4 and PS5 on November 19th. A handful of betas until the game starts all week.
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