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Dec23

Battlefield 2042 will go down in history as the most disastrous launch of all time.

Battlefield 2042 is another entry in the long storied Battlefield franchise. Unlike Call of Duty, Battlefield focuses on epic conflicts that take place on large scale maps filled with dozens of players. Jets soar across the sky filling their air with their tracer rounds. Tanks bust through walls and launch their shells at unsuspecting players.

So that’s why it’s incredibly disappointing that DICE, the developers of the Battlefield series, have upheld their legacy of launching their game in a catastrophic state.

I have NEVER experienced a Battlefield release this disappointing in my entire life.

This launch was so mind-numbingly awful that I have chosen to NEVER pre-order a Battlefield game ever again. From the lack of basic features such as server browser to the awful music and sound design, to the completely broken and unbalanced gameplay, I believe Battlefield 2042 is the worst Battlefield launch of all-time.

Let’s start with the launch day woes.

Soldiers investigating a crashed space capsule from Battlefield 2042

Cannot connect to play Battlefield 2042.

Battlefield early access launched on Friday, November 12th. A prime-time slot for gamers ready to play into the weekend. DICE is no stranger to Battlefield launches. Almost every Battlefield in existence has had a massive launch with thousands of players trying log in to play.

And almost every Battlefield launch has failed in some form or fashion to support launch day players. However, unlike Battlefield 1 and 5, Battlefield 2042 was unplayable at launch. You could not play any game mode except for the portal server which had its own problems.

Cannot play with more than four friends.

For a game that advertises having 128 players, it sure is mind-boggling that if you happen to have more than four friends online at the same time, you can’t play together.

At all.

PERIOD.

When you join a party with 3 other friends, the party leader controls when the four of you jump into a game. Once the party leader launches the game, the 5th, 6th, 7th, or 8th of your friends will not know or be able to know what game you entered.

So of course, any modern PC player knows, “If you can’t join with everyone. Enter the game with your friends, leave the squad, and then invite your other friends to come join you.”

That trick does not work.

Unlike previous Battlefield games, you cannot leave squad once you are in it. You cannot leave or invite more friends to join you. I tried to invite a 5th person to play in our game and it wouldn’t let me send the invite without disbanding my current squad and forcing me into a new one. If I somehow did get the invite out, my friend would get an error message that he couldn’t join my game.

BUT GUESS WHAT ELSE?

Once we finally gave up adding a fifth person, I tried to go back into the party to play with my friends AND IT KICKED ME OUT OF THE SAME GAME WE WERE ALREADY IN AND FORCED ME TO REJOIN. But I couldn’t rejoin because the server was full. The game trapped me in an endless loop of loading back and forth from game to main menu. Finally, I told my friends to quit the server and re-invite me. What Battlefield 2042 needed at launch was . . .

A server browser.

That’s right. DICE has once again decided not to include a server browser for their latest iteration of Battlefield. This is a feature that the PC community constantly requests over and over again. DICE continues to cater to console players by simplifying the matchmaking system to one button.

Unfortunately, although this system is great for consoles and playing with four friends, it is completely useless when you want to play with 8 friends or more. And when I say 8 friends, I am referring to a guild or a discord server where everyone can play together.

Is it common? No, of course not. But that still doesn’t mean that DICE can forego including a server browser. The counter-response is usually, “Well just create a custom portal server.” This would have worked except, DICE didn’t playtest their Portal server. As a result, players created servers where they could kill bots to farm XP and level up quickly. Why fight real humans when you can put the computer on easy and just kill the AI over and over?

Which brings me to my next point.

Battlefield 2042’s Amateur and flawed game design.

Battlefield 2042 helicopter flying over a freight container shipping harbor

DICE has over nineteen years of experience creating Battlefield games. In fact, DICE were the ones who built the Frostbite engine Battlefield 2042 uses.

So how is it possible that after nineteen years of developing Battlefield games, they still can’t figure it out?

Let’s ignore the fact that no one could connect to their games at launch. All online games suffer some sort of connectivity issue at launch. I am also going to ignore the numerous bugs I encountered while playing.

What I cannot ignore is the imbalance between vehicles, infantry, map design, the specialist system, and the flawed 128 player count.

The maps in Battlefield 2042 are some of the absolute worst I have ever played with Hourglass at the top of my list for worst battlefield map of all-time.

What were these developers thinking?

Let’s start with the maps.

In Battlefield, it is very easy for vehicles to overwhelm and destroy infantry. In past Battlefield games, they designed the maps to have space for vehicles but also have ambush spots for infantry to get the jump on them. So if someone is running amok in a tank, if that tank were to close in on a city the infantry could attack from the rooftops.

Open fields will usually have rocks and forests where players can hide from vehicles and sneak up behind them to destroy them with explosives. When a player goes into a forest, this gives them an opportunity to lock onto an enemy helicopter and shoot them down before the helicopter can spot them.

Battlefield 2042 has completely forgotten this rule and seems to assume that hills can serve as a defense against vehicles.

The level designers have created huge environments that have very little cover for infantry. Therefore, the wide open sand dunes of Hourglass and the steep vertical cliffs of Hazard make infantry defenseless against vehicles.

Although these maps are massive, they cannot support 128 players. Once a team decides to converge on a capture point, trying to go to that point to retake it becomes an exercise in frustration. Spawning in a 128 player Battlefield game is an adventure in misery.

And yeah, let’s talk about Battlefield 2042’s marketing gimmick of 128 players.

You cannot add 128 players to a match and not update the rules of the game.

Playing with 128 players on the Hazard map in Breakthrough mode, is not a fun experience as a defender. The first time you see sixty players rushing the capture point with tanks and hovercraft rushing in, looks awesome. That excitement quickly wears off when you die as soon as you spawn.

Breakthrough becomes a chaotic orgy of vehicles and players slaughtering one another with no rhyme or reason. Stealth is pointless because an enemy player could literally spawn behind you and kill you. If you do manage to stay sneaky, the map will funnel you into a kill zone where ten players will happily murder you.

In previous games, “rush mode” supported 32-64 players. As a result, there was a fine balance between vehicles and infantry where no one side could come after the other with overwhelming force. Games that supported larger players required more objectives to capture. Having 64 players on one team converge on one point is absolute stupidity.

And eventually the novelty of playing with so many people wears out its welcome.

Then there’s the vehicles. Why are they so powerful?

Vehicles have always been a mainstay of Battlefield. In fact, the main draw of the first Battlefield 1942 game was the fact that you could drive a tank, an airplane, a submarine, or even an aircraft carrier. Call of Duty uses their vehicles for transportation, Battlefield uses their vehicles for combat.

I happen to love flying in fighter jets and helicopters. There’s nothing more rewarding than taking off in a helicopter with your buddy in the pilot seat, and decimating every player on the field.

Unfortunately, over the years it seems DICE has forgotten how to balance their vehicles. With the addition of specialists DICE has completely removed the engineer role. In Battlefield games, vehicles should not regenerate health. Otherwise, a player with a rocket launcher would never be able to shoot down a helicopter.

In Battlefield 2042, your vehicles automatically regenerate health even if they sustain critical damage. In previous games, critical damage meant your vehicle would catch on fire and slowly disintegrate until you fixed it. This is no longer the case.

This small change has eliminated the need for players to repair the vehicles. Tanks and helicopters can now remain in the fight even if they should be seconds away from self-destruction.

By the time a player reloads another missile, the helicopter or tank will have its countermeasures recharged and some of its damage repaired.

Everyone knows these as the basic tenets of Battlefield. DICE with over nineteen years of experience should know better.

DICE should have followed the old adage of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Specialists feel useless.

Battlefield 2042 soldier with a shield protects a soldier aiming down range

Whenever a company decides to try something new, it’s always a gamble. Either this new mechanic will pay off in spades or it will incur the wrath of the fan base. Unfortunately, when it comes to the specialist system, DICE has fallen flat on its face.

Specialists with the exception of a small handful, feel absolutely pointless and here’s why.

Irish is an engineer that can deploy cover and also deploy an anti-grenade device. However, Battlefield 2042 has removed the ability to peek from behind cover. Peek means that you could click the mouse to slightly lean above or to the side of cover without exposing yourself. DICE removed this feature.

Also, the cover shield is worthless on their massive maps. The only usage for this cover system is indoors.

Falck the medic has a pistol that lets her heal friends from a distance. This would be great except most people forget to use this dart pistol and end up saving it for themselves. Also, any player can equip a medkit to throw down and heal their friends. So Falck’s only benefit is to self-heal and heal from a distance.

Sundance has a wingsuit that let’s her fly. This is great if you can get into a high enough position to jump off from. Useless when you’re stuck out on sand dunes.

Once again, DICE demonstrate a complete lack of understanding when it comes to game design. Adding 128 players and specialists means that the entire formula of a Battlefield game needs to change.

Specialists can work but they need appropriate maps for them to work.

Aesthetic disappointment

This may sound superficial but Battlefield 2042 looks and sounds awful. A few years ago, Battlefield was the gold standard of outstanding stunning visuals and mind blowing audio design. To this day, no other video game has come close to the awe-inducing spectacle of the Battlefield 1 aerial campaign. I even used this mission to test how good my new monitor looked.

The music was a cinematic, orchestral swell of horns and brass. I would go so far as to say that Battlefield 1 and 5 have the most amazing and emotional musical scores in the franchise’s history. Don’t believe me? Listen for yourself:

Battlefield 1 Full Original Soundtrack 4K – YouTube

Battlefield V: Original Soundtrack I Full Album – YouTube

In addition to incredible music, Battlefield also had sound design that made every bullet, crunch of grass, engine sputter, propeller whine, feel real. From the echoes of gunfire in a parking garage to a tank blasting its shells, Battlefield had the best sound design of any first person shooter game in existence.

Battlefield 2042 tarnishes this legacy.

The audio director from Battlefield 3 left the company in 2018 and it shows. His last game was Battlefield 5, which explains why that game still had incredible audio design.

And speaking of audio design, I cannot believe how awful the Battlefield 2042 sound track is.

They hired the composers behind Joker and Chernobyl. I don’t remember these shows being memorable for their soundtracks but OK. Rather than give us music, these “geniuses” decided to use the sound of metal crashing, sand, and whatever random object you could think of to make music. They created a broken mess of digitized noise and screeches.

Look, I get it. The music should reflect the sound of the world and the environment. But this music direction was inappropriate for a Battlefield game. I don’t know how anyone could call that mess of sound “music.”

For every Battlefield release I have always looked forward to seeing how much the graphics have improved. Imagine my disappointment when I discovered that Call of Duty looks better than this new release of Battlefield 2042.

Actually, continue to imagine my disappointment when I realized that Battlefield 1 which came out in 2016, still looked better than Battlefield 2042.

It’s not just photo-realistic graphics that make a game look great.

It’s the overall art direction, the style of the buildings, the lighting, the placement of objects and details. Everything about this game is depressingly grey and not in a way that is interesting to look at. The video game “The Last of Us” is also dark and grey but its art direction has intent. There is a morbid beauty in The Last of Us that Battlefield doesn’t have.

*Sigh*

I’ve given this game more time than it deserves in both this blog and time played.

I don’t doubt that with substantial patches Battlefield 2042 could be better. I do doubt that DICE will ever learn how to properly launch a game.

Therefore, considering how infuriating the Battlefield 2042 experience was, I have decided that I will no longer be purchasing any Battlefield games on launch day. DICE has proven time and time again that they don’t know how to launch a game and are not willing to learn. So why should I pay $80.00 for a “gold edition” when a few months from now the game will be $10.00 or less?

I doubt DICE will ever see this post but I’m going to include this note regardless.

I’ve been a Battlefield fan for a long time. I’ve played almost all of the games and I have always preferred Battlefield over Call of Duty. This launch has effectively taken away my faith in your ability to manage the franchise. And honestly, I’m not sure if I want to continue supporting the Battlefield franchise after this.

Battlefield 2042 was a mess that left the studio way too early. I was so angry with my experience that I considered refunding my game and uninstalling it from my computer. Although I had some fun moments, I have to give this game a 3 out of 10 rating. I originally thought 5 but that was too high. As time goes on my rating goes lower and lower because of how disappointed this game left me.

Before I end this blog, I wanted to leave you this Reddit thread listing everything DICE removed from the game: Fuck it, here’s a list of absolutely everything either removed or downgraded from previous games in 2042 : battlefield2042 (reddit.com)


https://www.thesilverninja.com/2014/01/09/the-narrative-of-far-cry-3/

https://www.thesilverninja.com/2018/12/19/the-punisher-is-the-best-marvel-show-on-netflix-heres-why/

Wilmar Luna