If you’re like me, you went back to Battlefield 4 some months ago in anticipation of Battlefield 2042. And how could you not? Battlefield 2042‘s reveal trailer and pretty much everything afterward has pointed to it being a direct sequel — both in terms of story and gameplay — to Battlefield 4, so it was time to brush back up on that game’s mechanics and, sadly, deal with its issues.
Battlefield 4 is far from a perfect shooter. It has some overpowered weapons and its netcode is way out of whack. That all paled in comparison to just how powerful some of the game’s vehicles could get, especially its helicopters. Helicopters in Battlefield 4 would get some egregiously overpowered gadgets at high ranks, requiring anyone trying to take one out to use more than a handful of rockets. Those gadgets paired with any given helicopter’s high speed made it nearly impossible to destroy the buggers on larger maps, where players could peek out from behind buildings, cause damage, and quickly run away.
In Battlefield 2042‘s open beta, that doesn’t seem to be a problem just yet, and it may never be a problem, thanks to a series of solid nerfs that have been applied to the game’s helicopters. Compared to Battlefield 4, the helicopters players will find in 2042 are pretty much the exact same — a beefy attack helicopter and a smaller, more nimble scout helicopter. Their weapons are almost identical too, with the only difference being that the scout helicopter also has antipersonnel rockets.
That’s where the similarities begin and end, though. Helicopters in Battlefield 2042 are much slower and less agile than they were in Battlefield 4, especially the attack helicopters. They’re now so clunky and hefty that flying one feels like driving a tank with a propeller attached to the top. For players tired of being tortured by the aerial menaces, these changes are a godsend. Helicopters can’t quickly fly out of lock-on range.
Helicopters in Battlefield 2042 still have flares that offer some temporary protection from incoming rockets, but they’re hardly effective against other players that can bait them out. Once they’re spent, a helicopter is vulnerable to punishment, and since they’re so slow, it’s nearly impossible for them to duck out of a rocket’s line of sight. Helicopters aren’t impossible to destroy anymore, and their pilots aren’t going 82-2 each match. They’re finally vulnerable.
Now all I can do is hope that helicopters stay this way when Battlefield 2042 launches. Battlefield 4‘s helicopters were overpowered, without a doubt, but what pushed them to that level were the gadgets players could unlock. After leveling up those vehicles, players could toss EMF jammers that would prevent missiles from locking on for about 10 seconds, along with a self-repair kit that would stabilize the helicopter if it was severely damaged, giving pilots a second chance at life.
For anyone returning to Battlefield 4, or worse yet, just getting into the game recently, it meant that there were players who just couldn’t be killed once they stepped foot in a helicopter. Depending on Battlefield 2042‘s approach to vehicle progression, that may not be the case.
Players should absolutely be rewarded for reaching high levels, but they shouldn’t be given pseudo invincibility on the battlefield. However 2042 plans to reward its players for spending time in a helicopter, it can’t tip the odds endlessly in their favor. The vehicle’s dominance in Battlefield 4 already shows what happens when that’s the case, and it’s a mistake that shouldn’t be made twice in a row.
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