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What’s new in Battlefield 2042, and what did we like and dislike about the beta?

Players have mixed reviews about the Battlefield 2042 open beta. While some were impressed by several of the game’s new features, others were left feeling cheated, as if they were expecting something more groundbreaking. The Battlefield Community Manager took to Twitter, explaining that the beta we all played was a “few months old” and the team is already addressing several reported issues. With rumors of a March release put to bed, Battlefield 2042 will release on November 19. After playing the beta for four straight days (thanks to preorder early access), here’s everything new in Battlefield 2042 and our thoughts on each.

Attachment swapping — like

Weapon attachment swap screen in Battlefield 2042.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Battlefield 2042‘s attachment-swapping mechanic was one of the most-anticipated editions featured in the gameplay trailer. Instead of swapping out new attachments before your spawn, players can swap their barrel, optic, ammo type, and under-barrel attachments at any time.

Swapping attachments at any time adds an exciting layer of strategy between gunfights. You may elect for long-rang optimization while moving between objectives while outfitting your weapons for close-quarters combat upon arrival.

Using the face buttons (X, Square, Triangle, and Circle on PlayStation) to swap attachments feels like memorizing a series of button commands for your ideal weapon based on the situation. What’s even better is the ability to swap under fire. Previously, we imagined attachment swapping was something you could only do outside of combat, per the elevator scene in the gameplay trailer. While swapping out under-barrel attachments mid-gunfight feels a bit unrealistic, we aren’t complaining.

However, there are a few things that need tweaking with this mechanic. We noticed several inconsistencies with saving attachments. Our M5A3s maintained the same attachments between lives, but our AKs reset after every death. However, upon starting a new game, all of our attachments reset to the default settings. A minor issue, yes, but still a nuisance.

It was also difficult to tell how attachments were affecting our weapons. The number-coded bars in the bottom-left corner of the screen would be better off adopting the color-coded/percentage systems we’re accustomed to in Call of Duty. The attachment UI could benefit from a more user-friendly overhaul, making it easier to see what attachments you’re using and how they’re affecting your weapon.

Specialists — indifferent

Specialist deploys their wing suit in Battlefield 2042.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

We love the fact that any Specialist can use any weapon in Battlefield 2042. Who said medics couldn’t run around with snipers and assault rifles? However, the four available Specialists felt lackluster. Other than Webster’s Grappling Hook, we found little-to-no use for Falck’s Healing Syringe, Boris’ Sentry Turret, or Casper’s Recon Drone. All three of these gadgets did come in handy at one point or another. However, they never felt consistent or that our survival and the survival of our team were dependent upon them. Let’s dive deeper into each.

Falck’s S21 Syrette Pistol heals allies and damages enemies. However, in the heat of combat, we never found ourselves pulling out our healing pistol and shooting our teammates. Battlefield V’s medic mechanic was much smoother, as you saw which allies required bandages and could throw them without leaving yourself vulnerable. You also didn’t have to be very accurate.

We thought Boris’ turrets were doing something, but it was hard to tell. Unless camping an objective (which is never any fun), the turrets saw little use. They’re better than what Battlefield’s support classes have gotten in the past, so we’re not too upset about it. Perhaps Boris’ Turrets should be played with a “set it and forget it” mentality. Capture an objective, place your turret in a corner, and let it do its job while you move on.

The only other gadget that we found somewhat useful was Casper’s Recon Drone. When we were alone defending an objective, it was nice to hide and use the drone to see where the enemies were coming from. However, not keeping them marked, even for a short time, was annoying. Furthermore, we can’t tell if the drones were helping our squadmates/teammates. While marking enemies for the whole team would be overpowered, the drones could at least mark enemies for you and your squad. Other than locating targets, Casper’s drone can also disable Rangers and other electronic devices with an EMP blast.

It was also very hard to determine friend from foe, as the specialist system makes everyone look exactly the same. We’d often dump half a clip into a teammate before their name appeared in blue. Subsequently, they’d dump half a clip into us.

Equipment — indifferent

The equipment selection, we feel, needs a little work. The available equipment is fine, but the available combinations left more to be desired. For example, why is C5 not in the same family as grenades? For players that enjoy the role of vehicle-buster, they’ll need C5 and the M5 rockets on hand to take down more than one enemy vehicle. Unfortunately, they were forced to choose between the two.

Armor felt useless, perhaps only absorbing an extra bullet or two. Armor was only saving our lives when we turned the corner and were met face to face with an enemy. If someone shot us outside our line of sight, we didn’t have enough survivability to locate and shoot back.

Unless we completely missed it, there were no ammo supply stations anywhere on the Orbital map. In past Battlefield games, friendly objectives came equipped with resupply stations where you can fill up on health and ammo. With no such stations in Battlefield 2042 (per the beta), we ran out of ammo after every major gunfight. Lack of ammo availability made carrying an ammo box almost necessary, which, again, restricted our choices when it came to equipment.

Map size — dislike

Overview of the Orbital Map in Battlefield 2042.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Orbital is a huge map, and even with 128 players, the slog between objectives was almost too much to bear. Because most of the objectives were so far apart, all of the fighting centered around B, D, and occasionally C. A and E rarely saw any action, and it took a handful of games before anyone decided to attack objective F. Because the fighting centered around B and D, we experienced the most dips in frame rate and overall performance in those areas, as 100+ players converged on one part of the map. Furthermore, the high volume of bullets flying back and forth made surviving more than 45 seconds feel like an accomplishment.

The only gripping gunfights came when small pockets of players broke off and made a move on objective C. Perhaps last-generation players have something to look forward to, as they’ll be limited to condensed versions of these maps with only 64 players. We might opt to play in those playlists instead (if available).

Objective zones — like

While on the subject of objectives, we liked how larger areas like objectives C and D were broken into two zones. It made holding these zones more exciting, as teams engage in something of a tug-of-war between them.

Vehicle call-in — indifferent

A Tank leaving a cloud of dust in Battlefield 2042.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

While the slog between objectives was brutal, the vehicle call-in mechanic proved useful if only for transportation purposes. We were always able to call a ride in when in need of one and even found the Rangers (robot dogs) pretty helpful.

On the flip side, the Rangers proved a bit overpowered when going up against one. We understand their bullet-proof chassis, but they shouldn’t survive a blast from an M5 rocket. Unless Casper is nearby with a Recon Drone, that little robo-dog is going to wreak havoc on you and your squad.

Mike Colucci
Michael Colucci is a lifelong video game fan based out of the greater Boston area. He's the one insistent on searching every…
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