Republished on Wednesday, 1st March, 2023: We're bringing this review back from the archives following the announcement of March 2023's PS Plus line up. The original text follows.
The games industry stops for no one, and just one week after Call of Duty: Vanguard was put out by Activision, Battlefield 2042 is here to try and eat its lunch. What it has to offer, though, could hardly be considered a filling main course. EA DICE has cooked up an excellent starter — sort of like a crowd-pleasing tomato soup — that doesn't quite have the chops to stand on its own. Extensive post-launch support will surely see it fulfil those ambitions, but that content is months or possibly even years down the line. When Battlefield 2042 shows you the bill, it's asking you to buy into what's to come rather than hope you're satisfied with the chef's first dish.
Three modes grace the main menu: All-Out Warfare houses classic Conquest skirmishes along with the return of Breakthrough from Battlefield 1 and Battlefield V. Hazard Zone is an entirely new mode tasking squads with retrieving data drives and then extracting before any other teams can eliminate you, and Portal brings back maps of the past ripe for editing to create custom modes.
Conquest and Breakthrough are where you'll likely spend most of your time, representing the core of what makes a Battlefield title tick. The popular race to whittle the enemy team's tickets down to zero by capturing points on the map has hardly changed. Up to 128 players on PlayStation 5 compete for victory this time around, meaning maps are bigger than ever.
They span the globe of the near future, from the dusty environments of Qatar and beached ships of India to Singapore's outdoor cargo hangers. Each one has the potential to highlight what our own Earth could look like if global warming isn't thwarted as tornados and violent weather destroy the landscape around you, but there's something else linking them together: they're all a bit too big.
While past Battlefield games have always had the criticism of simply running for a few minutes to find the action and then dying as soon as you get there thrown at them, there have always been ways of getting around it. Whether that's hopping in a vehicle, spawning on teammates, or properly reading the map to see where the action will be headed next. This time, however, while those options still exist, so much barren space separates the objectives from one another that the game feels like just as much of a running simulator as it does a shooting one. These periods of boredom are something you'll just have to accept as part of the flow if there's nothing nearby to transport you to the next objective or a friend who can pick you up.
You're also likely to encounter the same maps over and over again since there aren't too many of them at launch. Only seven, in fact. Obviously, you're at the mercy of matchmaking, but it's all too easy for the game to load up the very same map twice in a row. You've already taken a hammering there once; you don't want to do it again.
At least the shooting is its usual solid self. Battlefield has always been a series that actually makes where you place the iron sights matter, with the likes of bullet drop to take into account before taking your shot. Things are no different in the near future as a large range of weaponry caters to the needs of assault rifle users, close-quarters SMG experts, and long-range masters with a snipe rifle in their hands.
They're complemented by gadgets like the grappling hook, ballistic shield, and sentry guns for rounding out your loadout. Tied to the Specialist you choose to play as, it's here where Battlefield 2042 moves away from the class system of old. Repair tools, ammo and medical crates, and insertion beacons can be equipped by anyone, blurring the lines between the traditional roles previous titles have subscribed to. Each Specialist has their own unique perk, but they're hardly a replacement for the defined tasks of soldiers past. While you could argue this is a more freeing implementation, it also means those all-important tools could be left behind. If you're not communicating in a squad, something like the rocket launcher or armour plating will likely be your first port of call. It's not a change for the better, we'd argue.
It all amounts to a Conquest mode that repeats the same old: exciting and intense in fits and starts, but also a little dull at times too. Breakthrough is where you go for the action. With just two objectives to focus on at any one time, the chaos is focused around specific parts of the map, meaning you'll always be right in the thick of things. This is where you go for the fun; most of our playtime was spent there.
But this is still Battlefield. It continues to be a game where getting just one kill feels like an achievement and taking back an objective warrants a war medal. As rare as it may be, going on a tear and eliminating an entire enemy squad to squash their chances of turning the tide of battle puts you on top of the world. There's still so much satisfaction to be had here, even if changes made under the hood mean it won't quite feel like home. In the heat of the action, it feels fantastic to play.
Then there's Hazard Zone, which has to be the weakest part of the package. It's high on intensity and low on respawns, asking teams of four to search maps from the standard multiplayer for data drives and then extract with them. If your squad is killed off, you're out of the match for good.
The mode is pitched as a slightly more casual take on Escape from Tarkov, but it's all so uninteresting. Since you're playing on the gigantic maps used by Conquest and Breakthrough, you'll once again encounter the cliché of a lot of running without much gunning. This time it actually happens in practise, though, making for a dull mode we will rarely return to in the future. It would be of no surprise whatsoever if Hazard Zone goes the same way as Battlefield V's Firestorm mode and receives very little love after launch.
Portal will be what excites long-time fans the most, remastering beloved maps from Battlefield 1942, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, and Battlefield 3 for an experimental mode where you're the judge of the objectives and physics. The mode absolutely fulfils the fantasy pitched prior to release: revisit the likes of Arica Harbor, Caspian Border, and Battle of the Bulge fully remastered for the modern age with fun tweaks and changes. While you do have to visit an external website to make your creation a reality, browsing the in-game server list will always throw up some inviting prospects with custom rules and regulations.
It's these that will turn your nostalgia trip into much more than a brief vacation as enjoyable variations throw up interesting scenarios like pitting two armies from different periods of time against one another, or changing your loadout every time you spawn.
There are limitations, of course, but what's already there has us coming back for more and theorizing what could come back next. Operation Metro, anyone? Despite putting EA DICE in a bit of an awkward spot, we've had just as much fun revisiting these older maps as learning the new ones.
However, a Battlefield release is never without its problems and Battlefield 2042 is, unfortunately, no different. Features like a scoreboard and squad voice chat are missing. Then there's a long list of technical flaws mostly revolving around graphical glitches. Aircraft can become suspended in mid-air, vehicle pieces float in the air once they've been destroyed, and dodgy killcams fall underneath the map. Matches become stuck on the map screen and never start, redeploying in the middle of a match is prevented by bugs, and even Trophies don't unlock correctly. That one's a cardinal sin. The UI sometimes indicates the wrong objective to attack and the lack of a stats screen means there's no way to track your wins and losses.
Battlefield 2042 is missing core features that make multiplayer titles what they are today; it shouldn’t have released without them and that's not even factoring in the long list of glitches at launch. They're not even just minor distractions: we were literally unable to join matches because the game suddenly decided to randomly break on us. Backing out to the main menu and restarting matchmaking fixes most issues, but that's not the point: the game shouldn't be in such a position in the first place. It was already delayed once — maybe the title needed one more.
Battlefield 2042 is disjointed and incomplete at launch, but it's impossible to deny it still has that magic spark that made past entries thrive. There aren't enough maps and one too many bugs and glitches get in the way of the fun. However, with the excellent Portal mode to bolster it, Battlefield 2042 does just enough to get us on board. While we wish so many things were better, nothing else does it quite like Battlefield.
Battlefield 1 is the best game from dice for me, the single player story, while short, is really good. It seems this one doesn't have single player story, and multiplayer isn't even good compared to previous games.
This game keeps getting run through the mud. As it should. I am still picking it up, but I feel I will be returning it before the 48 hour return is up.
I think this is a fair appraisal even if I might have gone with 5/10 myself.
I've seen other publications award higher scores on the basis that 2042 'has potential' (and the title here does refer to that), but games need to be reviewed based on their current state and not on what might be added in the future. I'm glad that mantra has been espoused here.
@wiiware I still say BF1 was my favorite online experience. You can actually jump in right now and still have some solid fun. Even if it does feel a little dated.
This game is more a 3 .its like the worst. Battlefield.and no campaign.like public enemy said cant trust it. Dont believe the hype.word up son
I've been really enjoying it playing with friends it definitely could have used a couple more months in the oven though (as most games these days 🙄)... A lot of bugs and a few balancing issues. Hopefully we get a few free map releases to thicken it up too.
Still, it's some good foundations to start. I'm not the biggest fan of BF but adored the Bad Company games. This has been my favourite since - bar the fact its barely finished and no campaign
I mean, Idk about the game but it's really a content heaven. I don't think I saw a boring battlefield 2042 video from my fav content creators.
Maybe one for 2042 then
Thankfully we got the fabulous Hell let loose for our online shooter needs. It's so good.
Not gonna lie, was super bummed that rush isn't a game mode at launch xd
This game needed 1 more year to add more content.
@Golem25 That is good when it's the standard not an exception. If they do that only for this game, then no it's a bad thing.
Also, the best if they review games like that is to update their reviews over time, revisiting popular games (that exploited their potential) to give them a rightful score. That's just my opinion after all.
Good decision on not doing a campaign so they could get the multiplayer right.
@lolwhatno definitely agree that an ongoing review process/ updated reviews would really benefit readers. Especially when it comes to MP and live-service games like this. I guess it would require a huge effort to actually do though.
No Man's Sky and Fallout 76 are two that initially spring to mind.
There is zero reason to buy this game at launch. None. It's missing chat?? Stats??? A SCOREBOARD???? Holy hell, you guys. This is inexcusable.
By the time that stuff is added and glitches have been patched, the content will be more robust, it'll play better, and it'll be on sale. Just wait. Rushing to play a ***** game first is not some sort of honor.
@johncalmc This comment wins the thread.
@Gloamin Oh right, No man's sky set an example to the industry! Forgot about that lol, really wanna pick up that game, if only they did a combat update.
Also, did fallout 76 improve?! never heard anything about it really.
Nothing unexpected here. Review it again in 6 months time and it will be a different story... or game. Battlefield 4 was a shower of ***** on launch but ended up being one of my favorite BF's
A game for the holiday season of 2022 then.
@lolwhatno NMS's evolution has been transformative tbh. Always hopping back on with every update.
76, since the Wastelanders update has been an awesome Fallout entry imo. Not as much as an improvement as NMS managed but it's far, far better than that buggy, stale release. Sadly it became such a meme that I doubt any amount of improvement could increase its popularity.
I really don't understand some of the above comments of "should be a 3 or a 5 to me, it s the worst and no campaign".....when theyve not even.played it !!?? Beggars belief
Battlefield started with no campaign, it was born as an.online shooter ! They only added mediocre 4 hr campaign's to appease new console players. Nobody buys BF for a campaign surely. I think 2042 plays great so far - the criticisms of running for ages then getting shot are the words of someone who clearly doesn't know how to play ( ya know, use squads, vehicles etc etc )
@playstation1995 ...if you've not played it how can you say its more a 3 ???
@wiiware the multiplayer is fantastic...how do you know its the worst if you've not played it ?
@KingPev While I agree with you that most people hating didn't even play the game, you do realize that you sound like a damage control fanboy? (sorry don't want to be rude, have no idea how to say what I mean without it sounding rude. Sorry)
I'd like to point out that in a world where Sony are slated for releasing amazing games for £70 on release that the Ultimate Edition for this is £110. Madness!
I dont think i've ever played a battlefield thats never had launch issues so this was expected for me..still buying it as its going to improve just like the others..every call of duty game has some of the worse server issues day one and they always get better reviews...hopefully i'll get mine at the end of the month and then i'll be having some..
It doesn't surprise me it's released with technical problems like bugs, missing features etc, the beta was the same. I have no doubt within the next few months they'll have it in a much better state, so I will probably pick it up in the first half of 2022.
I bought it, I know it's a cluster, but I'll ride it out. I'm not giving them a pass, but I have no will power, so I'm not the best for voting with my money.
It's the first modern BF in a while, so I was always going to cave.
Absolutely. Rush is by far my favourite mode and just another reason (having played 8 of my 10 hours trial) I won’t be buying it.
I feel this may be 6 - 12 months away as a purchase….possibly
Any news on last gen version? Is it even playable?
@Flurpsel ..I don't think there is a last gen version ? Could be wrong though
@lolwhatno ha ha no problem. I understand what you mean - it just amazes me when people say "ah it's the worst, not played it though"....or along those lines
I have been split on this game for a while but now I really don't know. People have said it's worth it for portal mod and Hazard but then others have said Hazard isn't good. I just want a competent shooter. Sony needs to put one out ASAP.
Are there classes in Portal Mode?
DICE are wasted at EA. I'm sure Battlefield still has it's audience but how about some fresh FPS ideas and more importantly a quality single player or co-op campaign. Unfortunately multiplayer shooters are cash cows nowadays.
@LiamCroft I’m assuming you’re answering questions? Anyway hopefully it’s an easy one. I’m generally more COD than battlefield but this one had me excited. My question is on destructible environments. I googled this in the last few days and can’t seem to find anything apart from one source saying you can blow up the odd thing. Or it might have said the odd “type of wall” or something. Do you know? Can you blow up a building someone is sniping from? Some friends are buying this but I’m not convinced. The reason I stop playing this years ago was the very thing you said about running for ages without seeing a soul before then dying when you finally do get to the action.
@Alpine021 There is some destructibility, but it's on the same level as past entries. It's just kind of...there? You definitely can't bring down a huge building or anything like that; it's more about just blowing a hole in the wall and stuff like that.
@LiamCroft fair enough. As I said I’ve been out of the Battlefield loop for ages. Plus my mates are mainly COD players so it might have to be Vanguard this time. Solid multiplayer with 20 odd maps at launch apparently. I might have to convince the WhatsApp group to get that then lol. Maybe Battlefield 2042 in 6 months when it’s more packed out and cheaper (win win!)
@Alpine021 I reviewed both and I would recommend Call of Duty: Vanguard over this.
@Gloamin Its such a basic game is what i read and still full with bugs, unbalanced, and little content its a joke.
@Smash41 That is something that is left out they go all out for the €10 increase for a complete game game but i doubt they will call out EA for less content at a premium price.
And dont forget the full out hate campaing against Returnal and saying its not worth the full price before even knowing everything (anything) about the game.
@Flaming_Kaiser fair enough if you've played it and didn't enjoy it. I have had a good time so far.
I’ve been playing the PS4 version for the past week and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve never been a massive fan of the Battlefield games, but there’s something about 2042 that just clicks with me.
I enjoy the game, but so far it feels like the lowest effort implementation of any battlefield, except for portal.
I enjoy portal more than the main modes, which tells me I’m more into the original BF experiences.
From the Beta the score seems right. I will try it with 10 hour trial but I can already see that this compared to the new Halo mp seems like a joke
is the multiplayer better than battlefield 3 and 4 ?
Sad to see Battlefield in this state, they used to be such quality games for many years running.
I guess most of the people that made the good games in the series aren't working at Dice anymore...
@Perturbator i think the gaming industry needs more new blood i.e young people . but it's hard to get in .
it's just a theory of mine , but some of my favorite games ever were made by people that are most likely burnt-out to have the same drive they once did to make fun & good games . what if dice hired a bunch of interns ?
I do want to get it in the future. Maybe in a few months?... I don't know, what I've seen looks horrible, but a few patches can probably fix most of my gripes with what I've seen.
@KingPev Already seen it on youtube, there's too many bugs, and too many hovercraft vehicle (since vehicles is overpowered).
I'm going to fire up BF4 after reading this review and a few YT reviews on 2042. Saved myself ££££ this year. I thought BF1 was terrible and didn't buy 5 after that one so i guess this decline in quality has been starting to happen for me and the series years back
Well ***** EA, well *****!
@Perturbator They aren’t working at DICE anymore. They started a new studio and have a preview for their new game here.
That's the problem all the original devs that made great games no longer work at the studio, Bioware, infinite ward, DICE etc. Bad Company you could destroy houses with players in them, that's what Battlefield was well known for. Also team work seems to be a thing they are trying to get rid of, hence the new COD specialists.
Good review Liam. This is the first BF I haven't got at launch. The technical issues are a given with this series unfortunately. But it's the underlying design choices which I encountered in the beta that tipped it over the edge for me, some of which you mention here.
I may still get it down the line if the small gaming podcast from 3 Welsh blokes I listen to end up liking it. They will give it a decent crack for a good while while it gets improved (hopefully), and generally speaking my tastes align with theirs. But I have a feeling my major issues with the direction they've taken will not be addressed.
Played a bit of the free trial and I thought it was terrible to be honest, it didn't look that great, and it just didn't click with me. Glad I got the free trial as I might have picked it up on sale at some point, but will give it a miss. Haven't really enjoyed battlefield in a while now to be honest so wasn't expecting much, shame as the last great one for me was no 4 loved that game
I've been playing via the E.A Play 10 hour trial and of the 2 hours I've put in so far I'd say most of it has been in Portal.
Is it just me, or is the gunplay in the main 2042 conquest game modes terrible?
@KingPev It's on PS4 and XboxOne too.
@Trousersnake ah OK didn't know that
EGM gave this 10/10, yet another reason why i don't trust that site.
@KingPev oh and it's very disturbing getting an email saying "Trousersnake mentioned you...." 🤣🤣🤣
Great review. Thank you for addressing the pros and cons of this game while avoiding praising or bashing it based solely on your opinion. I couldn't agree more with this review. Level 49 already.
I would add that the balance of vehicular versus infantry combat feels balanced. Soldiers are little bullet spongy, and the balance between assault rifles and SMGs is questionable. Tanks seem too strong when blasted repeatedly with missiles from helos, which is frustrating because AA missiles feel spot on as a deterrent and when being shot down.
You know what's worse than there being no campaign, few maps and game break bugs and generally just being pretty crap? Not showing you how many deaths everyone has had on the scoreboard.
It's pathetic. I know exactly why... little johnny notices he has a 0-10 score, quits the game and doesn't buy any skins over little johnny only sees some good stuff he did, makes him smile and think he wasn't crap for 40 minutes
Growing up on games like Quake, Kingpin, Counter-Strike, Unreal-Tournament seeing how you were performing is what spurned me on. It made me thrive to be better. Why has that guy got 10 kills to my 1, what's he doing different? I need to learn.
They will claim K/D isn't relevant and to PTFO but it is very relevant, this is a FPS. You can only take an objective by killing/dying so the objective, while important, is always secondary in a shooter.
Now they prefer to dumb it down for everyone to not hurt their feelingss and maybe squeeze a few more quid. Glad Steam refunded me.
Hard pass on this game due to no single player story.
I preordered BF 2042 and played it for few hours. Its complete disaster. Breakthrough is cluster*uck where you have no where to hide. Gunplay isn't that good because of serious bloom and shots sometimes not being even recognized. Maps are huge to the point that it lacks more detail in some areas. And I haven't even mentioned specialist and other things... To be honest, game is like 3/10 not 6/10.
This one is on my wish list!
A ridiculous amount of bugs in this game. Most times my body appears in front of me and I can’t move. Then crashes. Helicopters randomly reappear. Re spawn in opposition so killed immediately
This game is a joke
The problem with this game at the moment I think is that it's just way too unbalanced.
The beauty of bf1 and BFV was that it relied on squad based infantry combat for the most part, now we are back to the BF3 days of just rubbish overpowered vechile warfare and it was a dumb move. Personally I think they should have redone Vietnam or just expanded on WW2 again.
Haven't read most of the comments on here.................
Overall, this game has a heap of potential....... but not sure if it is worthy of a hefty update.
Wife just got it for me for $10 it gotta be worth that. Right?
A very odd choice here.
Tagline - “‘maybe one for the future”.
PushSquare sticking with a 6 or going to re-review as it is now the “future”
This republish only says that these "gamers" don't care, they just do something for the sake of it.
Battlefield 2042, while still not perfect, has come a long way from that launch. Maps have been reworked, classes were added, and many more things
So this review is completely out of sync with the state of the game as of now, so do yourself a favor, and play the game or look for gameplays of the latest update
It would've been better to update the review itself in time for PS Plus addition IF you were to zombie this review now. It's basically a different game now, not just because of additions and changes, but also features taken out.
@KAPADO just about lol
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