Needs Repair: Battlefield 2042 Review

Hurricane network action in the best traditions of the series, which so far infuriates itself with numerous flaws

Over the two weeks I spent with Battlefield 2042 , my opinion of the game regularly changed from hate to love. And back. On the one hand, with experience and logic, I understood that Battlefield 2042 at this stage is a very carelessly made game, in which there is catastrophically little new. On the other hand, despite all the drawbacks, we have a good old “battle”, which is no less fun to play than any of the previous parts of the series. And sometimes it’s even more fun.

And the main component here, of course, is the modern setting. The fact is that the essence of the whole mechanics of Battlefield is fast, on the verge of insanity, battles with the use of technology and, in general, an impressive scale. When this formula is applied to the First World War (Battlefield 1), it turns out to be almost a humorous parody in which high-speed box tanks attack in one formation with the cavalry. The Second World War suits better, but here it is already in the setting itself – after all, many are accustomed to perceive this war as a serious and tragic event. But the fictional conflict of the near future, in which the familiar Russian and American military equipment is fighting, is an excellent option.

DICE did not change the proven formula: as before, the main modes remain Conquest and Breakthrough. In the first, players are fighting for key points on the map, in the second, the attacking side must occupy one after the other the enemy’s defensive lines, having done this faster than the reinforcements run out. The most notable novelty here is the increased scale. The number of players in the match has grown to 128, and the cards themselves have increased in size. Both innovations balance each other perfectly. On the one hand, due to the increased numbers in Battlefield 2042, mass battles occur more often, on the other hand, if you want a more relaxed style, there is always a more secluded corner on the map. And, of course, the increased scale had a positive effect on the entertainment of the game: when several dozen fighters are trying to repel the enemy’s attack,

At the same time, I do not share the claims that sometimes sound about the increased scale. Is it taking too long to get to a distant point on the map? Not at all – this problem is corrected by the ability to order the delivery of a high-speed ATV or other transport. Have the battles become even more massive and therefore sometimes chaotic? So this has always been the essence of Battlefield – verified tactical battles can be found in other shooters.

But the first really serious claim to Battlefield 2042 – this game does not bring anything new and really successful. We see the Hazard Zone and Portal modes for the first time, but they have little chance of becoming massive. Hazard Zone – small group fights (4 players and 8 groups per match), where each squad is for itself, and the main task is to collect and evacuate data. An obvious attempt to play on the battle royale, but completely unnecessary – the genre is already full of more common and well-developed competitors. Portal, on the other hand, is an excellent sandbox, in which you can collide vehicles from different eras on maps from four different Battlefields, and you can create and configure server rules of your own free will (this is especially important given the fact that servers were abandoned in the main modes). Cool mode for fans, but it’s unlikely to ever go mainstream.

If we return to the “main” modes, the problem is the same – apart from the cards for 128 people, there is practically nothing new in them. The basic mechanics of the game, its pace and balance remain the same. The year 2042 is observed here mainly in the name: fighters with familiar firearms and slightly upgraded models of modern technology rush around the battlefield – there is even an old Mi-24, whom DICE designers turned into a fierce freak. The notorious “future” in the game is not enough: you can call on an armed robopog for help, install a protective turret, there are several clever gadgets – but they have little influence on the battle.

It is important to note that Russia and the United States in Battlefield 2042 are not fighting directly, but by the hands of semi-legal paramilitary organizations. Hence the notorious specialists appeared – in fact, they are mercenaries, ready to act on any side. The system of specialists was very much scolded during the beta, but by the time it was released it became quite working. Each specialist now has exactly two unique skills, he can take any equipment from the pumped arsenal – make at least a sniper, at least an attack aircraft. The skills of specialists are not ultimatum, but it is very interesting to experiment with them. For example, playing as a sniper, you can take McKay – his grappling hook allows you to quickly soar to almost any roofs and hills, which are excellent firing positions. Or you can try Boris – his turret will protect you from an unexpected attack from the rear, or at least warn you.

The problem of specialists is different – it’s hard to get along with them. There are not so many options for camouflage and gestures, and I don’t really want to pump all this. As a result, there are enough situations when three out of four fighters in one squad look the same. You can hardly find a way out here: Battlefield 2042 claims to be a realistic picture, so you simply won’t be able to draw equipment of all colors of the rainbow. And even now, experts with their playful remarks are playing against the atmosphere, which in the same “modern” Battlefield 3 and 4 have always tried to bring it closer to reasonable realism.

But most of all complaints are about the balance and the technical side of the game. In the first days after the release, a real big top was going on in many matches, when, for example, a pair of lightweight hovercraft could terrorize the enemy without stopping due to their incredible speed, firepower and protection. Among the infantrymen, PP-29 “Bizon” became the absolute champion, from which they managed to kill enemies at sniper distances. Fortunately, these problems were solved with the latest patch, after which the battles became more predictable.

However, there are more serious things. For example, on many maps, the design needs to be corrected – in the pursuit of entertainment, the developers like to place control points on the hills, where they turn into impregnable fortresses. These can be attacked either by taking an elevator or jumping from a helicopter – both routes are very dangerous. Plus, for some reason, the developers allowed to drop equipment onto the roofs of buildings – so the stories with a tank that lazily shoots another assault group that has climbed the elevator have already become a local meme. In general, the Breakthrough mode suffers from balance – the attackers win here several times less often than the defenders.

Memes were vehicles driving along steep walls, helicopters flying through buildings, and much more – there are a lot of technical bugs in Battlefield 2042. Optimization also suffers: even on top-end NVIDIA video cards in WQHD resolution, you can get only slightly more than 60 fps, and even then by disabling ray tracing (which, however, in this part is used only for more realistic shadows, so it has little effect on the picture quality). And it’s not even about the video card – because of the matches for 128 players, Battlefield 2042 is very demanding on the processor, the resources of which are also inefficiently used. DICE has already promised to fix this flaw, as well as to bring to mind the function of NVIDIA DLSS, but this task may well drag on for months. But Battlefield 2042 has introduced NVIDIA Reflex technology, which helps to reduce network latency.

Palit GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GamingPro is the weapon of any shooter fan

We tested Battlefield 2042 on an RTX 3070 Ti GamingPro from Palit. And if we move away from the optimization problems described above (to which the hardware manufacturer, of course, has nothing to do), then the card coped with its task perfectly well.

Although Palit has an even more advanced GameRock series, the GamingPro card is also pleasing in performance: its cooling system is built on three highly efficient fans, four heat pipes and a massive heatsink and cools not only the video core, but also the memory chips. The performance in Battlefield 2042 is not yet clear, but the RTX 3070 Ti allowed WQHD to be played with all settings at maximum and ray tracing disabled at 60-80 fps. Using RTX or higher fps looks like a matter of time: now enabling DLSS has almost no effect on performance, and this will obviously be optimized in the next patches, as well as the overall performance of the engine.

Finally, the last issue with Battlefield 2042 is the lack of content. Only seven new maps for the main modes, a modest arsenal of weapons and equipment – while, of course, it is interesting, but it will get bored faster than before. DICE has already announced the start of the first season at the beginning of next year – it will probably have a new map and new weapons. But given the number of problems the game has faced, the question arises – will they make it in time?

In general, the story of Battlefield 2042 painfully resembles what happened with Battlefield V. Last time the game also came out with a lot of problems at the start, which were fixed for a long time. Now Battlefield V is played more than normal, but it is worth remembering that for the sake of this DICE even abandoned some of the plans for the development of the project. We hope that Battlefield 2042 will not face such a fate.

In the meantime, this is a project for fans of online shooters in the style of “battles” and fans of the modern setting. Once again, it turned out spectacular and dynamic, but for the sake of this, you still have to put up with a bunch of problems.

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