Over the last couple of days I tried out the Battlefield 2042 beta, and one thing is for sure: The responses have been mixed. In this review I’ll give a quick roundup of what was in the beta, and my first impressions. Keep in mind this isn’t necessarily an accurate guide of how the game may look on release.
During the beta players got the chance to try out one map, Orbital, on one game mode, the Battlefield classic that is Conquest. This mode has been enhanced for the upcoming release and now boasts the ability to host up to 128 players. Instead of the usual singular flags to capture, the map is split into Sectors, of which players need to capture two or more flags to take overall control. This almost makes each sector feel like its own mini map. Undoubtedly this change has been introduced to accommodate for the jump from 64 players to 128. Despite this though, the map often felt empty, an opinion I have seen echoed by others who played over the weekend. The individual capture points within the sectors are pretty small, but the distance between them to a neighbouring sector is significant. As a result of this, I felt like I was spending a lot of time travelling in between points to capture, but not really coming across anyone. I found myself sticking to the same capture point, so I was at least guaranteed some action. Despite the large player base, this has left me wondering whether the maps will be too big.
Dice have confirmed that the beta build is ‘a few months old’ and released a list of known issues with the gameplay ahead of the beta going live. I experienced several bugs, so let’s get into that. Textures would randomly pop in and out, despite running the game on a mix of medium and high settings. The PC it was run on was hardly a potato either. All types of aircraft were rubber banding in the air and ragdoll physics on character models were going crazy, which has made for some funny montage videos at least. Every time I loaded into the map, I found that I was unable to pick any weapons or specialists. I had to spawn in to see what I had, then I could only change it after I died. I also found that I couldn’t load the game up at all if I made the mistake of minimising the window when the game was loading. This led to me having to restart a few times.
The sound design seems somewhat muted. With a map full of 128 players shooting, flying and driving, it all seemed very quiet and flat. Weapons sounded weak and some of the explosions lacklustre. Certainly not the immersive Battlefield experience I was hoping for. I would say for this build the sound design clearly isn’t complete, and I’m hoping it’s the case that the audio files just need a bit of fine-tuning in time for release. Battlefield games don’t have a reputation for poor sound design, so I am hopeful this will be resolved by November if it hasn’t been already.
Graphically the game looks how I would expect from a next gen title. Although it looked great, changing the graphics settings didn’t really affect my FPS as much as it should have. It feels like there is some further optimisation needed here. After a bit of tweaking though I did manage to get the game running anywhere between 70 and 100 FPS but it fluctuated a lot. I only dipped below 60 on ultra settings but from watching other people’s feedback, they’ve been experiencing similar performance issues when they shouldn’t be.
I only saw the hurricane twice during the 10 hours of playing, which I found disappointing. I was hyped to get thrown around inside it along with other players and whatever debris it had picked up. The hurricane looks amazing, but it didn’t really add anything to the experience as everyone was just circling it while holding onto their parachutes for dear life. The changing weather was also a good dynamic to add and gave some variety within the same map. I did have a slight issue with this though, because during heavy rain I found it really difficult to see enemies, especially through the cockpit glass of the Little Bird.
With regards to the gunplay, despite sounding a bit weak at times, the weapons were satisfying to use. There was an acceptable selection for the beta, and I was a huge fan of the T-system which allows players to customise their weapons on the go. I found this really useful for getting the hang of the different scopes and magazines much quicker than it would normally take. There is also a huge benefit to being able to change your scope depending on the situation you’re in at the time. Despite this being a positive addition for me, I still found there to be balancing issues which need to be addressed, including how it’s quicker to change the type of magazine than it is to reload.
Finally, we come to the different classes, known as specialists. Battlefield 2042 has changed up the class system completely and the use of specified classes is now gone. Each specialist does have a specific trait and piece of equipment, but you can equip them with whatever weapon you like. I know a lot of Battlefield fans aren’t keen on this and have been labelling the game Battlefield: Warzone. I found that this change did take some getting used to and currently there are a lot of balancing issues here as well. For example, when playing as the medic, it is quicker to shoot the ground and walk over it, rather than holding the 3 key to heal yourself. I am of the opinion that if they’re able to properly balance the specialists and their traits it will definitely add a positive new take to squad-based gameplay. For those that are still haters, don’t forget there’s always the Battlefield Portal which will allow you to create and lock classes to whatever you want in your own server. In my opinion this is the closest Dice will get to giving players the best of both worlds. Plus, I am really excited to see what wacky game modes people create within the Portal.
Despite its flaws, I really enjoyed the beta. Yes, it was chock full of bugs, it could be optimised a lot more, and the map probably wasn’t the best of choices, but for me, it still has the core of a Battlefield game. It just needs a bit more love before it’s ready for release. I am very much looking forward to playing this with friends and having plenty of funny Battlefield moments, which I hope to share on my channel. I just hope all the issues we have seen in this beta are addressed for the final release.
Let me know what you thought of the beta in the comments. Have you been put off purchasing the game, or will you be getting it on release anyway?
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