(Battlefield 2042 is now out on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC. The distributor provided a review code.)
Battlefield 2042 has struggled on the road to release, not least because of COVID-19, which sent the development team into remote work for the better part of two years. The initial beta in the late summer season was a disaster, and the first few weeks after the public launch have been nothing short of disappointing.
But the Battlefield franchise is nothing if not persistent. There hasn’t been a single launch in the franchise that has gone smoothly. That’s bad management, and how they continue to make the same mistakes year after year is a mystery, but here we are.
Instead, we can focus on what works. The combat is still intense and cinematic, even if it bears no similarity to any kind of realism. Now, with the much-needed updates rolling out, issues with blooming and accuracy are slowly but surely fixing themselves. Vehicles behave more like something out of the real world, rather than sci-fi lunacies that reject gravity every chance they get. Bugs, previously rampant everywhere, are finally being polished.
But, and this is a big one, the main gameplay still struggles under its own weight. There’s simply too much of everything, and sometimes too much of a good thing really is too much. The maps are stupefyingly huge, often detrimentally so. It’s hard to find teammates in the thick of battle, and if you’re stranded by randos on one side of the map, you’ll spend most of the match just finding a fight to get into.
On top of that, progression is still mystifying and bland, leading to a sensation that you’re not getting anywhere despite grinding for hours on end.
Despite complaints, of which there are many, Battlefield 2042 has moments of spellbinding excitement. When the elements all work together, it’s easy to remember why the series is so beloved in the first place. It’s just a shame these moments, like combat on the expansive maps, are few and far between.