You and a group of friends are storming the beach; your objective is ahead of you. You’re only inches away before you see a flash in the corner of your eye. Was it friendly or hostile? Unsure, you turn around only to be run over or shot by an enemy you never even saw. Unfortunately, Battlefield 2042 seems dead set on recreating this scenario.
I find that this level of realism can be frustrating for inexperienced players, but the initiated may have an easier time with it. The frustration really comes from the inability to see what killed me, even with a kill cam. I frequently saw it come from an adversary that was miles away.
All-out Warfare, the only mode the Battlefield 2042 demo had, exasperated my frustration. This is a mixture of Team Objective and Team Deathmatch, the match only ending when either side runs out of lives or takes over the entire battlefield. Although, I barely saw a game end by completing objectives as there are multiple points of interest spread out across a large map that most players opt to simply kill each other.
Due to the vast map, vehicles are the best way to move around, as objectives can be as much as 700 meters apart from each other. Additionally, if a vehicle comes equipped with a weapon, well, it’s going to rip apart most ground troops in seconds, and with speed on their side, hit and run tactics are a viable strategy.
There are some counters for vehicles, which include: other vehicles, RPGs, and Grenades. All characters have grenades but are generally ineffective against a moving target. While heavy artillery is locked to the engineer class and weapon set, making one essential in a squad to hold points. Gameplay encourages teamwork, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a team of randoms who will cooperate so easily. The better moments of gameplay comes when you are teamed up with friends that can communicate enemy positions or strategies to hold a point.
Expanding on these loadouts, players can choose between four archetypes assault, engineer, medic, and sniper. Each comes with its own weapons and special skills. For instance, along with an RPG, the engineer comes with an automated turret, while a medic has a dart gun that can heal your allies. Using these classes will earn experience towards leveling up their effectiveness granting new weapons and equipment.
This allows for more varied gameplay, depending on your preferences. For example, if you prefer to support, engineer and medic will be your bread and butter while assault and sniper shine in combat. However, these differences aren’t enough to really differentiate each other, as your guns will still be the primary way you deal damage. I’m not completely sure how the futuristic tech will play into the experience when more players get their hands on the game, but it’s there to utilize.
Battlefield 2042 revels in how accurate it can simulate wartime and gives us a taste of what that would look like in 20 years. It’s a game that knows its audience and doesn’t opt to fix what isn’t broken. Those who utilize the mechanics to work together will get the furthest, while running and gunning will have you picked off by a sniper in minutes. What works here is the locals and the expert design philosophy of creating an environment that encourages you to play how you want. Sadly, it’s far from beginner-friendly, but I think skill sets in overtime, and after countless deaths. Regardless, at some point, we all play long enough to see ourselves become the sniper picking off enemies, miles away from the action.
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