Also available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Windows
Review written by Stephen Deck; originally published 12/15/2021 on Teacher by Day, Gamer by Night
2021 has been a big year for AAA shooters. Call of Duty: Vanguard saw the series return to a narrative-driven World War II game (although I seem to have been the only person not disappointed by that one), Halo Infinite saw 343 finally figure out how to tell a decent story, and now Battlefield 2042 has come to remind everyone why Electronic Arts is the worst company in the entire industry. All jokes aside, though, Battlefield 2042 is a dumpster fire, but in fairness, it’s a dumpster fire that I have been thoroughly enjoying despite the flaming refuse.
Before anything else, I have to extend a MASSIVE and heartfelt thank you to my best friend and husband (joking but only a little), Grant, because I wouldn’t have this game if he hadn’t been so desperate to play it with me that the lovable dumbass bought it and gifted it to me on Xbox because I was refusing to buy it, and that actually leads me into my first major and irreconcilable complaint with the game; I refused to buy it myself because there’s no single-player whatsoever. While you can have massive 128 player games filled entirely with bots, there’s no actual single-player campaign here. There’s absolutely no story, and there’s no way to play offline even with just bots. That right there is inexcusable in my book; the late 1990s and early 2000s proved that FPS games can be AMAZING experiences with bots, and if you could do it on a Nintendo 64, you can sure as hell do it offline on an Xbox Series X. While we’re on the subject of massive content droughts, there are only like half a dozen or so maps, and they cut the number of weapons by like 85% compared to Battlefield 4. Apparently, 2042 started life as yet another damn battle royale game before someone was like “Shit, maybe should do more than just that?” and you can tell that this didn’t start life as a traditional Battlefield game based on how bare bones it is. There’s no vaulting over objects, no diving, no explosion knockback, no rolling after a fall or jump, no melee weapons aside from “knife when pressing melee button,” no boats, very minimal vehicle customization, no headshot bonus, and no assist bonus. Even for a multiplayer-only game, it’s skimpy. There’s no server browser, no traditional game types, no persistent lobbies, no traditional class system (although the operator system they have is kind of neat), no real customization options for your character, no stat tracker, no leaderboards, no clans, minimal faction variety, no kind of squad field upgrades, no infantry-focused maps, bad spawns, no real balance between infantry and vehicles, hardly anything destructible in the environment, and no spectator mode. The map selection is garbage, too; despite having every map added to the rotation, Grant and I played the same map four or five times in a row the other night. That just statistically should not happen.
Unfortunately, the complaints with this game don’t stop with the PLETHORA of missing or truncated features; the game is also riddled with bugs. Even nearly a month after launch, there are still some pretty major bugs. One of the worst and most persistent is that the game will randomly not allow you to change anything about your loadout and force you to play with a crappy default loadout. Unfortunately, dying doesn’t alleviate this; you have to leave the match completely. Another very common bug is being unable to revive downed teammates if they happened to die too close to a wall or box or something. Sometimes the game won’t let you exit a vehicle that you spawn into. Sometimes it will say you self-destructed even if an enemy kills you. Sometimes you fall through the map and into the underworld. Sometimes your entire game just implodes for no reason. Sometimes your helicopter rotor gets stuck in a radio tower and your helicopter is stuck in a horrible sideways purgatory (although I blame Grant’s infamous bad video game luck for that one). Fortunately, a lot of those bugs are fairly uncommon, but still, the fact that I’ve experienced all of those in less than a month with a moderate amount of playtime is Ubisoft levels of unpolished.
Still, though, despite all of those problems, all of that failure, and all of those bugs, you’ll recall that I said that I’m having a lot of fun with the game, and I absolutely am. The fact that you can play with just your friends and a hundred bots is fantastic, and I absolutely love the Portal. You can choose from stuff from Battlefield 2041, Battlefield 3, Battlefield Bad Company 2, and Battlefield 1942. Grant and I played a game where we were 1942 Germans fighting against 2042 Russians, and it’s relatively balanced so that both sides have a fighting chance. The dynamic weather events are a lot of fun, too; we drove a German Tiger tank into a tornado in South Korea. While there aren’t very many weapons in the game, you can swap out your scope or barrel attachment on the fly during a match without having to die or respawn or anything. While the game gets a lot more wrong than it gets right, I’d be remiss to omit mention of the fact that there are a few things that the game does in fact get very, very right. Don’t get me wrong; this game is kind of a disaster. It’s still a lot of fun, though, if you have a few friends to play with and can look past all of the missing content.
Battlefield 2042 is, from a content perspective, probably the weakest entry in the series. It’s at least up there. There’s just so much that’s missing for absolutely no reason. Fortunately, the massive backlash against the game has sent prices plummeting – I’ve seen it sold on Amazon for less than $40 with no signs of selling out – so if you want to pick it up, it’s not that expensive usually. It’s also worth noting that I am absolutely having a fantastic time with it despite the fact that it’s an objective train wreck of a release during this first month. I cannot, however, recommend that anyone buy it in good conscience as things currently stand. It’s missing too many features and has far too many bugs for me to be able to recommend it. If you’re a die-hard Battlefield fan or just absolutely love objective-based online FPS, then maybe keep an eye out and see if you can find it for a price you think is reasonable, but I would absolutely never pay more than $40 max for this game as it is right now. It’s a shame, too, because what little they got right is *really* good. Unfortunately, there’s just so much that they screwed up than what they got right.