There’s nothing quite like Battlefield’s Conquest mode with its epic warfare and large scale maps.
Rounds go for at least half hour, you’ve got helicopters flying around, full scale open warfare in order to secure territories and the option to spawn in friendly zones on a massive, open map. With up to 128 players, it’s been a pretty consistently entertaining experience and a real divergence from what one comes to expect from a shooter.
And sure, no question about it, this plays out better than ever on Xbox Series X in 60FPS/4K. At times, I found myself stopping in the midst of action just to gaze and gawp in awe at all the explosions going off left and right and action happening in the air, on water, on land. I was amazed at how the game was keeping up with it all.
Conquest has never looked, felt or played better. And that makes a ton of sense because this time around, EA and DICE have invested all of their resources into multiplayer, leaving a campaign mode out entirely – for better or worse.
Battlefield 2042 also has a really entertaining Hazard Zone mode where you work together as a squad to secure intel and extract safely across a series of different maps. And then there’s Breakthrough where you play as either attackers or defenders, pushing the frontline to secure all the objectives. Which might just be my favourite of all the modes.
However, there are problems, which does still go to show, even in 2021 fully relying on an online experience is a gamble and these are the risks of making your premium product multiplayer only.
Right now, EA and DICE are struggling with their servers and feedback across the board. The game is getting a ton of upset, and is in the top 10 worst reviewed games on Steam. Of all time.
It seems a bit harsh. While I can certainly attest to some of that negativity in the time I’ve played, for the most part I’ve had a great time hopping onto Battlefield 2042.
There’s tons to unlock, the modes are great, the action feels suitably epic. And yet, this year, none of those are the true highlight of the whole Battlefield 2042 package because Portal has completely stolen the show and will be the component that keeps this game interesting deep into its lifecycle.
Portal is potentially a gamechanger in the online gaming space. If the team can get their ducks in a row and can stabilise everything across the board, you feel like it will serve the long term prospects of the franchise very well indeed.
With every passing COD feeling more and more of a throwaway experience, Battlefield 2042 is setting itself up for the long game and wants to target the lastability games like Fortnite and Apex Legends are enjoying. Even Halo Infinite.
With Portal, players can host some unique experiences across classic Battlefield properties. If Battlefield 1942 is one of your all-time favourites, you can dip right into that classic action across some of its iconic maps, playing with old school sniper rifles and vintage tanks.
But the game also celebrates Battlefield 3, and Battlefield Bad Company 2, letting you relive infamous maps and weapons with the new modes driving the game.
That’s just the beginning of Portal’s potential, however, with the option to tweak your stats, mess around with weapons, adapt the environment to suit and ultimately customise game experiences in a way that feels best suited to you. And it sounds like DICE are just going to keep expanding on it and helping it grow.
It’s the kind of platform, you feel, that’ll inevitably outgrow individual instalments and become its own thing and very much a part of every Battlefield experience. But there’s a long way to go before we hit that point.
It already works marvellously and I found myself constantly dipping into people’s random one-off modes and even trying a few of my own, from making my character have super-speed to just equipping them with a knife. But the game needs to get its foundations right before people take the time to invest in Portal and let it achieve its full potential.
As with every Battlefield, 2042 is an absolute stunner, with its incredible textures, real-looking characters and absolutely incredible weather effects. Sand storms add a complete other dimension to the gameplay as you’re in the heat of battle and give you unexpected advantages when you least expect it. On the flipside, they can also cause you plenty of pain when you can’t see who’s sniping you.
Battlefield 2042 has huge potential. This could be the first big shooter of this generation with the expansive options available through Portal, the big, grandiose open battlefield warfare, the vehicles to hand, the stunning graphics. There’s even cross-play, but there’s a long way to go.
Right now, the game just isn’t stable online. There’s regular disconnects, random spikes of lag, freezes on the boot screen and problems accessing some of the modes whatsoever. For the price tag, and considering the competition these days, that’s not a great start.
EA and DICE have a long way to go to restore some of that trust with its community and for that reason, we’re going to wait a bit long to offer a full verdict as we want the teams to get this right.
For now, it might be best to wait for a patch or two to fix some of the outstanding issues. Hopefully this side of Christmas.
What we can say quite confidently, is that when EA and DICE inevitably get things rolling, this is a game we’re going to be dipping back into plenty over the course of the next year and is going to be a real fan favourite across all major formats.
Battlefield 2042 is now available on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC.
Code kindly provided by EA
Played on Xbox Series X