Battlefield 2042 Beta - Final Review: 5.3

We've now had our hands-on time with Battlefield 2042's multiplayer. It wasn't the worst thing we've ever played, it doesn't signal the death of the franchise, but it wasn't good. And it wasn't a Battlefield game.

Battlefield 2042 Beta Review
This uh...this...didn't turn out how we thought it would. | © EA

"Warzone's a dead game - everyone gonna be playing Battlefield 2042" - Wow, did those words age like milk. But we, like so many of the community, really believed it. We thought this is the year that Battlefield beats CoD. But along came the Vanguard beta (on-time) and while it wasn't perfect, the worst you heard people say is that it was forgettable. Whereas Battlefield's beta (when it did finally come) was...well. Let's get into all that, here's our review of the Battlefield 2042 beta, but first - some caveats:

  • This is a review of the multiplayer experience and the multiplayer experience only, Portal and Hazard Zone make up 2/3 of the game, and they might still be fantastic.
  • The map design factored into our overall rating because we presume that Orbital will be typical of the maps in BF2042, but we could be wrong. This might be the worst map of the 7, and perhaps the other 6 are fantastic.
  • This is a review of the experience on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S, this is not a review of the experience on old-gen.

With that throat-clearing done, let's get into the nitty-gritty of the Battlefield 2042 beta.

Battlefield 2042 Beta - Final Review

Gunplay 6/10

The TTK will be too fast for Battlefield fans, but to the general audience, it should be well received. The gun animations and the weight of each shot are a bit lacking, and bullet velocity is ridiculously slow (which is typical of a Battlefield game), but these complaints aren't game-breaking.

The weapon balance is a little off, there's very little reason to use anything besides an AR, but a ton of shooters are guilty of this, so we can't be too harsh on BF2042 for doing the same. The gunplay is fine, it's not hugely satisfying, but it's not a red flag for the game's future.

Movement 5/10

Battlefield is at a big disadvantage compared to its rivals here. The Frostbite engine isn't ground-up optimized for shooter games, and it shows. The movement feels clunky and slow, and yet at the same time floaty; there's no weight behind anything, which makes traversing the landscape boring rather than satisfying. Parachuting has also been poorly done, they've gone for realism, perhaps, but the experience for the end-user is that of a non-responsive system.

Map Design 4/10

Orbital is a terrible map. It's completely devoid of character - you're basically fighting in three parking lots, and while each of these structures is immense, they're about a mile wide and an inch deep. There's no detail to any of them, just wide bare hallways and corridors.

From a mechanical perspective, they're also very poorly designed, with no real flow or areas of heavy traffic, they're just formless.

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Vehicles 8/10

Finally! A high score, and well deserved. Yep, the vehicles are very well done and there's a good range. They've also made them comparatively weaker than usual, which will come as shock-horror for the ace fighter pilots and a blessed relief to everyone else. Seriously, getting spawn pinned by bomber planes is one of the dullest shooter experiences you can have. Our only real wish list for BF2042 is that they allow just one or two more vehicles; having only two tanks for a team of 64 players really isn't much.

Graphics 7/10

The map was vibrant, and the weather effects were one of the few really great things about the whole beta, so they get respect for the visuals. We should also mention that the general aesthetic reimagines BF4 very well, and it's exactly that era that this game is nostalgic for. So why not top marks?

On both PC and PS5, we encountered a decent amount of graphical bugs, and we had a lot of pop in (where an asset is immediately rather than gradually rendered - which is a problem because it can be mistaken for enemy movement). And at the end of the day, the game isn't visually a revolution, it's just about on par with where it should be in 2021.

Sound 5/10

The gun sounds were mediocre at best. They were often janky and inconsistent, and they sounded closer to a cook-off than an intentional shot. All that being said, the soundtrack is a redeeming feature of Battlefield 2042, absolutely, and we recommend you go away and listen to it. But in-game, our hands are tied, and we can't fairly give more than a 5.

Atmosphere & Immersion 2/10

This is probably my single biggest complaint with the game. The specialist system has gotten rid of classes, you can be who you want, use whatever weapon you want, and couple it with any gadget. We also don't have teams anymore, everyone plays one of the Specialists, and they look identical no matter whether you're RU or USA in a match. The result of all this is a gameplay experience that feels completely devoid of immersion and character. Not once do you get the feeling of being a soldier in battle, stood shoulder to should with your brother in arms, and with a responsibility to your squad and the greater team. In other words, you never get that feeling that's so often the best part of Battlefield games.

Overall - 5.3

When the different elements have been broken down and analyzed individually, you can see that they've done so good work here in a few departments. But ultimately the game is dull, it simply isn't compelling. And a lot of that can be blamed on the absence of those Battlefield features that give you a sense of immersion, and a sense of fighting for something greater than yourself.

As we've said the whole time, though, this was just a multiplayer beta. Portal And Hazard Zone might be able to win people back. Now, the ball is in EA's court, let's see what they can do.

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