Impressions from the Battlefield 2042 Beta
In my first life on the Battlefield 2042 open beta I spawned into a tank gunner position. After moving in to take the point, the tank was abandoned, but I managed to score two kills. Shortly after, the enemy air headed to our point, and I ended up in the sights of a helicopter’s machine gun. My first life ended when the tree I was foolishly hiding behind turned to splinters. Battlefiend 2042 puts you in the role of a soldier in a war for the few resources left among a world wrecked by climate change. Currently, the beta only covers a single multiplayer mode, but what I saw does bode well.
Battlefield 2042 feels most in line with Battlefield 3 and 4. The not so distant future setting allows for a grounded and modern feel, without being stuck to one dated point. The gameplay mirrors this focus on fast paced gameplay. Gone are the classes of old and in their stead are four archetypes that grant the player a class item. These items are ostensibly the familiar medkits and repair kits, but with a high octane twist. For example, the medic’s needle gun can heal slight damage from a distance, or you can use it to heal yourself. In the digital age, quick response is key, so ground vehicles can be dropped in anywhere on the map and weapon attachments can also be changed on the fly. In an instant, fights can turn, placing more value on a quick thinking individual.
Unlike the laborious trench warfare of the prior two entries, most engagements will take place in or around tall buildings. The design philosophy reminds me the most of 3 and 4, in particular the Shanghai siege map. Short time to kill may remind people of the Modern Warfare series, and many fans have compared the feel to Warzone. Despite the Call of Duty comparison, I think enough classic Battlefield shines through in the role based gameplay.
The single map available featured a rocket emplacement, offering a verticality missing in the last two installments. The maps are larger not only in player count, but also lead to attacks from all angles by design. In addition, you’re almost never safe from a strafing run. While I’m sure other maps will offer more cover from attacks, the current one gives the impression of a very machine heavy war.
While the gameplay is fresh and exciting, the beta performance did leave a lot to desire. On a PlayStation 5, I witnessed countless physics glitches. The parachutes in particular would constantly collide with objects in strange ways, or just refuse to despawn. This combined with the poor netcode made the whole game feel like it was stuttering. I assume part of it was due to heavy server load, but the animation lag led to countless cheap deaths. In particular, I lost half my squad when an elevator glitched, leaving them falling to their deaths as they fell through the floor. Outside of that, several player interactions feel timed improperly. Things like switching attachments or reviving felt incredibly quick, while entering or exiting a vehicle and capturing points felt slow. Overall, the intended pacing felt miles away from how it actually performs.
We’re over a month away from the new Battlefield, and hopefully EA and DICE will listen to the criticism provided. If the final game is as good as the heights of this beta, 2042 will be a decisive return to form for the Battlefield franchise. Despite the overall laggy feeling, I still had fun throughout the beta. I look forward to seeing you all on November 19th when Battlefield 2042 releases in full. Battlefield 2042 will release on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X, and PC. If you played the beta, let us know your thoughts in our comments below!