Battlefield 2042 - First Impressions: Underwhelming

Battlefield 2042 is a decent Battlefield game. But it was perhaps overhyped. And if you were expecting real innovation this year, you'll be disappointed.
Battlefield 2042 Gameplay
Consider this a hot-take. | © EA

The Battlefield 2042 beta began on October 6th, and we were covering it the entire weekend; breaking down all the weapons, vehicles, and gadgets, delving into community concerns and judging the game for ourselves. There's a lot they've done well, but after all the hype, we found the beta unconvincing. That said, it's still unreleased, and we might change our minds when they've shown us more of the final product.

We'll go through the criteria that we think our readers are interested in and offer a subjective rating out of ten for how well BF2042 does in each.

Note: This is a review of the multiplayer experience, Portal and Hazard Zone could be so different as to be effectively different games.

Battlefield 2042 - First Impressions

Gunplay 7/10

The gunplay is solid for most weapons - they're relatively satisfying to use and there's a nice selection. However, snipers are harder and feel less satisfying than normal, while at the same time ARs are particularly easy to use for a Battlefield title. We could do with snipers being slightly improved here.

The attachment system is less gimmicky and more useful than we thought, but we really do need more attachments and the ability to customize them out of the game. At the moment it's too minimalistic.

And the TTK - always a critical matter - we think will need improving; it's just slightly too slow. Even for a Battlefield game, it does feel like you have to dump mags to get kills.

Movement 5/10

Battlefield isn't about the sprinting, sliding, and jumping we associate with other titles but even so. The movement feels janky and awkward, and frankly, despite the Frostbite engine's recent upgrades it just feels a lot less smooth than the current IW8 engine used by Battlefield's biggest competitor.

Map Design 5/10

This rating could easily change and it's a bit mean of us to keep it in off the back of one map, but the beta is like your shop window. They're showing us the content they're happy with. But Orbital just ain't it - the map feels empty and dull, and it draws all the action to fairly forgettable locations.

Balance 8/10

Battlefield 2042 is 'easier' than other Battlefield titles. It's been balanced in such a way that makes getting one or two kills is fairly easy each life but anything with multi-kill or streak potential has been quite heavily restricted. So casual players can jump on, grab an AR and they should never go massively negative in their K/D.

Why have we rated this highly then? Because there's an appetite for this kind of casual shooter that isn't being met right now and this could be perfect for Battlefield. It seems to be their intention given the focus on Portal in their marketing - a very relaxed shooter experience.

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Vehicles 8/10

This is where we're happy to report they've smashed it as usual. The vehicles do feel easier to destroy than we're used to, but that's in keeping with their aim to nerf the massive killstreak-potential of certain things in the game. This really is a good decision in this instance; nothing turns people off Battlefield faster being locked down in spawn by some pro pilot going 83 for 6.

The ability to call in transport vehicles for free on your position is also worth mentioning as a plus - no more hiking across the map.

Graphics 7/10

The game looks very nice on the new consoles and PCs (if they have something in the 2000 series or higher for a GPU). We've also been able to verify that Battlefield runs relatively well on the last-gen consoles. But why not a higher rating then? Because it looks as good as it should. It has a nice aesthetic and style, and the weather effects are compelling, but none of it will blow you away in 2021.

Sound 6/10

It hurts me to give this score because the soundtrack is so fantastic. It really is - go away and listen to the Battlefield 2042 main theme if you haven't already. But in-game? In a multiplayer environment where sound engineering really matters? We can't rate Battlefield 2042 too highly. The guns need a little more kick and a little more oomph, as do the vehicles.

Atmosphere 3/10

This is where I was most disappointed. It's probably Specialists that are most to blame here. They mean that everybody looks identical; we're all 'no-pats'. And so it feels less like total war. There's also less destruction than many were expecting so again, less atmosphere is created.

This is, unfortunately, a part of the game that can't be baked in later. It will not be a Battlefield remembered for its atmosphere. But it can still be a great game without that.

Overall - 6.1

We might well get flamed for this article; BF2042 has clearly earned some people's affection already. But we're being honest and subjective. And these are only first impressions, who knows? Maybe the version of the game they release has already accounted for these issues.

Are you jumping on the beta with a squad? What maps are you hoping to get added during the beta? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter, and don't forget - you should consider joining MyEarlyGame for loads of great giveaways, exclusive tourneys, and a customizable home page.