Battlefield 2042 – 10 Things To Know Before You Purchase

The biggest Battlefield yet has some interesting ideas but there's a lot that needs to be ironed out. Here's what you should know before pre-ordering.

Posted By | On 26th, Oct. 2021

Battlefield 2042 – 10 Things To Know Before You Purchase

When Battlefield 2042 was officially revealed in June, it already had us questioning its system of paid upgrades, $70 price on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, and lack of a campaign. Originally slated for October, it was pushed back to November 19th for the sake of further polish. Since then, we’d have an underwhelming open beta and reports of troubled development behind the scenes. Regardless of the latter, there’s no denying that the shooter needs a lot of work before it’s out. Here are 10 things to be wary of pre-ordering ahead of launch.

AI Soldiers

When DICE announced that there would be bots aka AI Soldiers that would fill a match, thus reducing matchmaking times, players were rightfully skeptical (especially since the AI can’t use Specialists). Fast-forward to the beta and the quality of the bot AI has left much to be desired. Whether it’s meandering on the field, driving into walls or just running out into the open for some easy kills, the bots are pretty lame.

In a recent article about what it learned from the open beta, DICE said that, “Bot heavy servers were too prevalent across those first few hours for many players. Too many of you were being dropped into games that weren’t being successfully backfilled, and left you fighting against bots. Our bots are designed as a good way for new players to learn how to play Battlefield, and to provide new options for veterans of the franchise to take new players under their wing and show them how to PTFO. Bots are not designed as a replacement for other players.” Of course, it then adjusted matchmaking to ensure that players were getting into games with more human players.

So on the one hand, it’s good that the developer recognizes how its own matchmaking was exacerbating the issues with bots. But on the other hand, it doesn’t change the fact that the bot AI is still terrible, which is only going to become more egregious once multiplayer populations begin declining. It might not be the biggest issue at launch but will impact the game afterwards, sooner or later.

UI Issues

Battlefield 2042 - UI

The user interface, especially when checking team stats in matches, is one of the most confounding that you’ll ever see in a shooter. It’s bad enough that you get annoying pop-ups that cover the top portion of the screen every time an objective has been captured or lost. But not being able to tell quickly at a glance whether your team is performing well because of how cluttered the stats screen is doesn’t help.

Once again, DICE noted that this wasn’t “fully representative of the final experience” and that “some essential components” were missing or disabled to remove bugs (which have since been resolved). Big Map, which more easily indicates the different sectors in a map, is confirmed for the final game and Commorose, used for quick in-game communication, is also coming. There were still issues with pinging in the beta, which the developer admits “wasn’t working as well as we would have liked.” However, it said that “you can expect it to function more responsively when you’re pinging locations, assets, and enemy soldiers” in the final game.

At least the kill log is becoming more easily readable and score events will be situated below the cross-hair so that’s a plus. DICE is also looking to improve visibility issues so that enemy soldiers now have an icon within 10 meters (if they’re not blocked by terrain or other objects of course) and friendly icons will be visible within 40 meters, even behind walls. Unfortunately, there’s no word on whether the match stats screen is being improved by launch.

Not Enough Multiplayer Maps

Battlefield 2042

In terms of core multiplayer content, Battlefield 2042 releases with only seven maps, which is even less than Battlefield 5’s eight maps at launch. The reception to one of them – Orbital – has been mixed, to say the least (even with the awesome spectacle of seeing a rocket launch into space). This is somewhat alleviated by the fact that Battlefield Portal will have, on top of 2042’s launch maps, two maps each from Battlefield 1942, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and Battlefield 3, each remade from the ground up. However, if the map quality isn’t up to snuff, then not only does the core Conquest rotation become that much more painful but you have even less maps to choose from when sticking exclusively to Battlefield Portal.

Map Size

Having such huge maps might have made sense from the outset since you need a fairly big space for 128 players and vehicles to battle it out. However, even with so many players and vehicles, Orbital just felt too big at times. When you’re spending a lot of time seeking conflict instead of actively engaging in it, then it’s a problem (never mind how some weapons just won’t be viable over such great distances or how it encourages more vehicle hoarding). There are four maps that are at least as big, if not bigger, and while it ultimately comes down to their individual quality, we don’t have high hopes after Orbital.

Performance Issues

Battlefield 2042

Judging from the recent beta, each platform has had its share of problems but previous gen platforms will seemingly suffer the worst. Those playing on Xbox One X reported issues with the frame rate and texture streaming – imagine how much worse it could be on the base Xbox One and PS4 consoles. The Xbox Series X, despite maintaining a relatively stable 4K/60 FPS performance, suffered from a lot of pop-in. In a competitive multiplayer shooter with vehicles where you need to assess threats from a distance on maps this big, pop-in will be annoying to deal with.

Optimization Issues

Even if you were playing the beta on PC, optimization was less than ideal. Several users on Reddit with a variety of set-ups – whether it was having an RTX 2080 or 3070 – reported frame stuttering issues. Though 60 to 70 frames per second seemed to be the average for many players, stuttering was seemingly a big issue for everyone along with high CPU and GPU usage.

To be fair, DICE has recommended an AMD Ryzen 7 2700X or Intel Core i7 4790, 16 GB of RAM and either an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 or AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT with at least 8 GB of video memory. But even players who tried running the beta on lower settings would see very little improvements to performance.

DICE has since commented that it’s been polishing the game significantly over the past few months and that it “knew that the Open Beta build would therefore not showcase where we’re at today with polish and how the game plays, not benefiting from all the additional work that’s been done on the game since we branched in August.” It then told players to “expect more Battlefield 2042 updates over the next few weeks that let you get a glimpse on the great progress that the teams have made.” We’ll see just how much things have improved but it’s best to remain skeptical until you see enough footage of the game after launch.

Sound Design

Battlefield 2042

It’s kind of funny how underrated sound design can be, making the difference between immersing you in a full-fledged war or wondering if there’s anyone in the same map or not. From the quietest helicopter landings you’ve ever heard to a general lack of ambient sounds and gunfire, Battlefield 2042‘s beta just ended up being too quiet overall. Let’s not even get started on player footsteps and how inaudible they could be in most cases. The quality of different sound effects is fairly good but others seemed to require more fine-tuning. Unfortunately, DICE hasn’t noted whether any improvements for the overall sound design are coming in time for launch.

No Classes

battlefield 2042 specialists

One of the most annoying and least well-received decisions has been the removal of Classes in favor of Specialists. We’ll get to the issues with Specialists in just a minute but right away, having no Classes feels like the spirit of Battlefield has been lost. Instead of Recon soldiers who can snipe from afar and set-up defensive positions with C4 and the Motion Sensor, or the Engineer that can repair vehicles and use multiple anti-vehicle weapons, everyone can pretty much just choose whatever they feel like in Battlefield 2042. On top of messing with the balance, it means less cohesion and synergy while promoting more mindless gameplay.

DICE has stated that, “There were multiple scoring events related to Transport Assists, Spawn Support, Resupply, and Heal support that were absent in the Open Beta build. They’re in our full game, we’ll always reward strong team play in Battlefield.” It also said that, “As you progress beyond those levels, you’ll gain access to more specialized hardware, and Specialists, that help to solve scenarios you can encounter, and we expect you to be regularly interacting with your loadouts on the deploy screen to react to the ever changing nature of Conquest and Breakthrough gameplay.”

There will also be loadouts reflecting the traditional Assault, Medic, Support and Recon classes of old along with the ability to create and name custom loadouts. That sounds all well and good but whether it provides the same kind of cohesion as Classes from previous titles still remains to be seen.

Specialists

Battlefield 2042

Specialists are akin to hero units, each having their own unique abilities and tools. Since they’re replacing Classes, you’d expect them to synergize properly and afford some level of tactics in the game. However, based on the recent beta, they’re in dire need of balancing. The medic, Maria Falck, is severely under-powered with her healing gun while Webster Mackay, who can grapple anywhere with ease, has great mobility and combat capabilities. Let’s not even talk about Pyotr Guskovsky who can deploy a turret that will automatically target and spot enemies.

Also, each Specialist can equip just about any weapon and tool, so why go for the sniper Wikus Van Daele when you can grapple to a vantage point as Mackay and snipe with impunity? Why have a medic when everyone can carry a Medial Crate? Until each Specialist has been tuned and more restrictions placed on who can use what weapons, they’re not going to be a great substitute for Classes any time soon. And while you could just remove them in Battlefield Portal, why even have them in core multiplayer when they actively detract from the gameplay (besides having something to monetize via cosmetics, of course)?

Bugs, Bugs, Bugs

It wouldn’t be a beta without bugs but Battlefield 2042 seems especially egregious in this regard. Go search for the number of bugs involving parachutes, like a player’s parachute still fluttering above them after landing, giving away their location for all and sundry to shoot at. Other bugs involve elevators and players clipping through them, players flying into the sky after dying, corpses clipping through stairs or just spazzing out, and so on and so forth. DICE has noted that “Elevators have been fixed so that you see less funky behaviors with doors” but for everything else, your guess is as good as ours.


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