When Electronic Arts first revealed Battlefield 2042 as a multiplayer-only 128 player all-out warfare, we were both intrigued and concerned. On the one hand, when it comes to online shooters, the more the merrier! On the other hand, twisters and grappling hooks but no single-player? What is this!? Battlefield 2042 is shaping up to be a chaotic shooter where the action is never too far away, and we got to spend three hours with it in the first ever public ANZ server.
Our exclusive digital Battlefield 2042 beta event kicked off at 6PM with a video explaining the basics of the game and what to expect from the beta. We got to see several of the developers at DICE talk about the game they’ve been pouring their heart and soul into over the past few years, and how it’s different to every Battlefield game so far. Then after about 20 minutes, the server went live and we jumped straight in, charging down a hill with about 50 others on the new Orbital map which is set in Kourou, French Guinea.
Battlefield 2042 introduces new events in each map similar to what we’ve seen in previous Battlefield games. In Orbital, the tornado weather event occurs but unfortunately in our three hours we only saw it in the distance and weren’t actually affected by it. In the Q&A session after the event, the developers said they were looking at increasing the amount of times the tornado reaped havoc, but it’s not an event they want to happen every single time you play Orbital. The other event is the rocket launch which we also only saw once. This is on a timer, and if the game finishes too quickly then it doesn’t occur.
Cool features of Orbital included a high-rise building which was easy to scale and hard to defend, the rocket site (obviously), and a huge tunnel stretching under the map linking up two of the main conflict areas, designed to allow land vehicles to quickly get from one site to the other. While we only got to play Orbital, we could tell that the developers have put a lot of thought into the map designs for Battlefield 2042, making slight tweaks and adjustments based off early build feedback, and we’re excited to play the other six new maps and the six classic maps at launch.
While what we played wasn’t the launch build, it certainly felt like a mostly complete product. There were a few bugs that we assume will be ironed out before launch. The Orbital map had a few functional elevators in the skyscraper, except the doors didn’t work terribly well and we didn’t actually realise they were working until about halfway through the gameplay session. We also found it hard to aim as the gunner of land vehicles, with the screen often shaking uncontrollably, making it almost impossible to get kills.
Vehicles have always played a large role in the bigger maps of Battlefield games, and it looks like nothing will change with Battlefield 2042. Respawning into a vehicle tends to lead to a better start than respawning at checkpoints where there’s no combat, but Battlefield 2042 also has a respawn option where you can get straight back into wherever conflict is occuring. While this can lead to being killed instantly, the best soldiers will likely love this feature.
It’s worth noting that we didn’t get to play on a full server of humans. While there were 128 players expected at the event, not everyone was able to attend from the get go. What this meant was that there were AI replacements which gradually increased throughout the night as more players dropped off. The AI players have randomly generated soldier names which stand out, and we found that they were much easier to pick off given they had a tendency to stand out in the open for a lot longer than a typical player. Some players were complaining about there being too many AI players towards the end of the night, and it did affect the overall experience, but hopefully in the open beta kicking off this week and once the game launches in November, we’ll be able to have servers that are constantly filled, and/or be able to turn the AI off entirely.
Battlefield 2042 is shaping up to be a strong contender for first person shooter and online shooter of the year, but given that it’s had a slight delay, it’s now launching two weeks after Call of Duty Vanguard and two weeks before Halo Infinite so there will be some stiff competition heading into the holiday season. We’ve also just received details regarding the cross-gen bundle for players that are yet to upgrade to the Xbox Series X|S or PlayStation 5, and everything that’s included in the Gold and Ultimate editions which you can check out in this handy infographic:
We played the Battlefield 2042 beta on Windows PC through EA’s Origin client. Battlefield 2042 launches on November 19 on Windows PC, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5 and previous generation platforms. For more information, head to the official website.