“Battlefield 2042” Lacks Soul

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Benjie Thimangu, Radical Reviwer

The “Battlefield” franchise has solidified itself as one of the most significant first-person shooters of all time. The first game, “Battlefield 1942”, was released in 2002 by Electronic Arts and developed by Dice. Since the success of “Battlefield 1942”, there have been 11 games released, spanning periods such as WWI, WWII, Vietnam, and present day. It has garnered support due to the large scale of the game, with online battles between as many as 120 players, and chaotic and fun moments, lovingly referred to as “Battlefield Moments” by fans of the games.
Nearly 20 years later on Nov. 19, 2021, EA released “Battlefield 2042”, which brings players into war in the near future combining modern technology with more futuristic gadgets such as grapple hook guns or AI-operated machine guns. Unlike previous games in the franchise, “Battlefield 2042” doesn’t have much to offer and is trying too hard to be something it is not.
The game is made up of three main modes. The normal multiplayer mode, which is made up of classic modes of conquest and breakthrough, challenging players to capture certain objectives on the map.
Hazard zone is similar to a battle royale-style game, where small squads must fight for “data drives” in order to win.
Portal is perhaps the best of the modes. It allows players to make their own community servers and brings in content from two older battlefield games: “1942”, and “Battlefield Bad Company 2”.
However, despite the seemingly large amount of content, there isn’t much beyond the surface level. The overall content is significantly smaller than in previous games. The main mode only has 22 weapon options, and “Battlefield V”, which was released over three years ago.
Even the map count is low; players only have access to seven multiplayer maps, while Battlefield V has 19. On top of that, “Battlefield 2042” doesn’t have a single-player campaign, which has been a significant feature in every previous game. This is a massive disappointment to many players who enjoy a story mode in Battlefield.
This lack of content has been discussed a lot online. Reddit user Jellyswim_ compiled a list of all of the features from previous games that had been removed or downgraded. The post, which details an astounding 95 features, received over 27,000 likes and is the highest post on the game’s subreddit.
Furthermore, the lack of content is not the only large issue the game has. The game is riddled with bugs and glitches that make the experience difficult to enjoy. Exploits have been found that can turn players invisible. The weapon bloom, which affects weapon accuracy, has been increased massively, making it difficult to take long-range fights. Optimization is poor, making the game run worse on everything other than the most expensive PCs. One glitch makes it impossible for keyboard and mouse players to look in other directions. Others cause vehicles to randomly explode while players are driving.
These huge issues have had an effect on the game. 2042 is currently the eighth-worst reviewed game on Steam, with over 30,000 negative reviews. The online players have dropped as low as 20,000 within two weeks of release. Memes shared on Twitter have pointed out that “Farming Simulator” is getting more players than 2042.
But the largest problem with “Battlefield 2042” is that it doesn’t feel like a Battlefield game. The franchise has had a history of success due to its gritty, realistic, team-based gameplay. Instead of leaning into the success of those games, Dice seems to have tried to replicate games such as “Call of Duty” and “Fortnite” and dropped a lot of the soul of the game. Realistic military uniforms have been replaced by Santa-themed cosmetic items that are clearly designed as nothing more than a money grab.
The fan-favorite class system, which had different options for players to choose from, such as Medic, Engineer, or Sniper, promoted team play and communication. Instead, it has been dropped for a “specialist” system, which only gives characters minor differences and removes most of the teamwork that has been required throughout the battlefield franchise.
The game feels like it lacks soul. It feels like it is trying to copy newer “Call of Duty” or other games in an attempt to draw players from the widely popular series. However, in doing so it has abandoned long-standing players who want the classic formula that has led to so much success.
EA could learn a lot from Microsoft, which released “Halo Infinite” in mid-November. It has had massive success already because it has taken fan criticism into consideration and developed a game that is similar to previous games without being a carbon copy and has appealed to veteran fans rather than changing the formula for new players.
In a year that has seen the release of “Call of Duty: Vanguard”, “Halo Infinite”, and “Forza Horizon 5”, it is not worth spending $60-120 on a game that has such game-breaking issues.
The good news for fans of the franchise is that EA has stated that it is determined to continue to update the game in order to fix all of the issues. However, considering the other promises the company has made regarding the game, potential buyers would be smart to take the statement with a grain of salt until concrete results have arrived.