Battlefield 2042’s launch has been an absolute train wreck, and many players are unhappy with the game’s quality right from the start. The game has proven to be very disappointing, both for veteran players, as well as for newcomers to the series. In this article we’ll talk more about Battlefield 2042’s issues, and help you decide whether you should buy the game or not.
But let’s first give a short recap of Battlefield’s recent history. The only mainline Battlefield game in the past 10 years of releases that could be considered to be a relatively well polished experience right since launch day was Battlefield 1. Although the game wasn’t perfect, and had tons of balance issues, it was quite playable, and it had an acceptable number of bugs and system performance issues.
It was the most successful launch by a long shot within the franchise and something important to consider with that title is that players got a Battlefield 1 alpha and multiple beta tests many, many, months before launch, meaning that the community was able to give lots of feedback and watch the game progress closer to a launch quality. Battlefield 1’s launch experience was night and day compared to what we got with Battlefield V and Battlefield 2042.
Looking at previous Battlefield games, it seems like EA’s absolute dedication to ship a Battlefield game for the holiday season means there’s an extremely high chance that the title will not be ready in time. It’s entirely possible that Battlefield 1 was just a fluke and that the development time of that game happened to line up perfectly with the holiday season.
Each and every Battlefield game is significantly different in terms of features and ambitions, resulting in dramatically different problems and development times. Trying to plan a production from start to finish and making a firm published date is a recipe for disaster.
We wish DICE would plan for longer-term Battlefield games with longer support and longer development times. They can also certainly set up the franchise to be more flexible regarding release schedule. That way if their next title isn’t going to make a holiday season launch window they can work on a new DLC for the current game, keeping the fan base interested and entertained while they work on the next game.
The Battlefield 2042’s launch has been an absolute roller coaster for the fans. The reveal trailer was extremely cool and definitely got many energized for the game. The massive scale increase, the wing suits, the helicopters were all rendered to call back to old-school Battlefield memes.
DICE really delivered with that trailer, and trailer for Battlefield Portal was even more amazing. The launch of the new game seemed promising. Most veterans, however, didn’t get hyped up. Many of them still remembered the launch of Battlefield V, which was riddled with bugs and performance issues, many of which took over a year to get sorted out. So this news certainly didn’t boost hopes, though DICE assured that this time it was just to polish the game as best as possible.
When we got more dev talk and blog posts further detailing the game mechanics, including the new specialist system, many fans figured out something is wrong. These new mechanics basically undermined a core aspect of Battlefield and at this point, people were either hyped up or extremely frustrated about the specialist system. Then we finally got our beta. The beta experience was buggy and clearly very limited. Much of the game’s gadgets, classes and progression was locked so that the gameplay was kind of a weird pie slice of the overall experience. This made it basically impossible to judge final gameplay, plus the performance and bugs were absolutely nuts, on top of which we were only able to play for a few days, giving barely enough time to even try and formulate constructive feedback for that after the beta.
The general feedback wasn’t overly positive with it mostly being “Hey, it’s fun, but there’s tons of performance issues and clearly most of the game was locked so we don’t really know what to expect”. It was almost impossible to predict whether or not the game was going to be good or bad based on what we were shown. Our staff had fun playing the beta, but it also left us very concerned and there was only one public beta, which is pretty unusual for Battlefield and it happened so close to the launch window that it left no time for community to give feedback.
After that we got some new trailers including a Hazard zone promo that really didn’t show any gameplay. Next, we finally got our early access launch aura. Some people were calling it beta phase 2, and well, it wasn’t exactly a smooth experience. The servers were struggling under player load and it was causing massive performance problems and bugs across the board.
One of Battlefield 2042’s biggest features had to have its XP turned off completely on day one due to massive XP farming exploits. After turning off XP for Portal, one of the major issue that arose was that team death match, a staple of all previous battlefield games, was tied into the Portal system now didn’t get any XP. TDM historically has been the best place to get weapon attachment unlocks and also just practice infantry combat without having to worry about vehicle dominance with limited XP available and unlocks turned off.
At this point, the Battlefield 2042 lost basically all its appeal and many players got really infuriated. They were left with Breakthrough and Conquest modes of which you couldn’t choose maps and then there was a significantly nerfed Portal experience in which it was hard to find game modes or experiences that you actually wanted to play again. Turning off the XP for Portal made the progression worse for the game. Not only were there massive discrepancies with weapon performance across the board, of which many of them seemed to be deeply relying on higher level unlocks to really become competitive, but the whole gameplay experience was made even worse by the now slow, tedious grind of having to unlock that stuff in standard multiplayer games.
However, this was just one of the many issues plaguing Battlefield 2042’s launch. The performance problems, bugs and underlying design issues made people claiming that this is the worst Battlefield launch in history. Most people say that this is the case with just about every single Battlefield launch. Certainly, everyone’s experience is unique and you may be absolutely hating your time in Battlefield 2042, however, Battlefield 4 launched in even worse state.
This, however, isn’t excusing Battlefield 2042 for being a better game. Even if the game does get fixed over time, it’s crazy important to make a good first impression, because players are prone to quickly lose interest in buggy games. Think Cyberpunk 2077.
Members of our staff have been playing Battlefield game since 2002, so we are used to seeing some really weird post-launch bugs. Some games in the franchise had game breaking exploits that didn’t get patched for months. If you have some experience with the Battlefield franchise, then you may remember the under-barrel shotgun bug that allowed players to clear an entire hallway of enemies with a single pellet. Being old-school PC gamers, we have tolerance for bugs. If you want to play the newest and coolest thing you better expect to swallow a healthy dose of bugs along the way. It was just the PC gamer experience that we’ve grown up with, but it’s now 2021, almost 2022, and one of the biggest FPS franchises in the world continues to push its buggy games and holiday release windows, forcing poor public perception.
We feel bad for the developers that work on these games, pouring years of their lives into a project just to have the higher-ups show it to the world before it’s even ready. Working in an environment like that is very toxic. Perhaps it’s why so many of Battlefield’s top developers left the franchise after Battlefield V. Maybe they had enough and maybe they saw the writing on the wall with Battlefield 2042, getting a similar treatment. Ask yourself, how much of your life would you give to a company that cares more about improving a single year’s earnings over establishing long-term credibility for franchise?
What EA has been doing is absolutely not a good long-term strategy. Maybe it’s enough to keep Battlefield limping along for a little while. It’s possible that the franchise would’ve been shelved by EA already, and now we are in a position where the previous Battlefield games (which had such poor launches) start feeling good again. However, all support is being discontinued for these older games, and now we are forced to accept another extremely buggy launch that is already proving to shed series’ player base extremely fast.
It’s hard to expect DICE and EA to continue supporting Battlefield 2042 for years to come. They said they will, but again, if we take a look at the history of how they’ve supported their games in the past, it’s very worrisome. The gaming market is so ultracompetitive that there are now alternatives to playing Battlefield 2042. DICE can’t really afford to continue releasing games like they usually do, or they’re absolutely going to kill the franchise, even if Battlefield 2042 gets massive patches and stability improvements in the next couple of months, which again, for DICE would be pretty quick. Players will likely have moved on and we understand that the holiday release window is extremely important for boosting sales. But if you absolutely need this holiday sales, maybe it’s time to pull a Halo Infinite.
Halo Infinite was originally aimed to be released for Holiday 2020 and got pushed back a full year. Now, it’s getting extremely positive reception. The game is isn’t perfect, but the overall perception is that it’s good, which is the absolute opposite from the public perception of Battlefield 2042. We are enjoying our time with the Battlefield 2042 so far, since we also have a very high tolerance for bugs and have PC’s powerful enough to grind through the terrible performance of the skin. We also absolutely love the Battlefield formula so much that a new take on it excites us a lot even, if it is buggy and poorly optimized but we think players like us are starting to become a minority in the fan base, and EA needs to reconsider their release dates beta testing, and live service support if they want to keep this franchise alive and kicking.
And that’s a big emphasis on the beta testing, especially Battlefield 1 got much larger scale stress testing before launch which could’ve helped Battlefield 2042. Being an even bigger game, Battlefield 2042 got barely any testing and what it did get was mere weeks before launch. Nowhere near enough time to make any meaningful changes from the feedback and we’re certainly not saying that Battlefield 2042 will not pull itself together.
The patch roadmap that DICE has laid out actually looks very good, but you have to wonder just how many potential players DICE has lost by pushing out a buggy title, especially with so much talk to your competition this holiday season. It’s easy to jump off of Battlefield 2042 and go play any of the other fantastic games that got released alongside this one.
Anyway, we hope that someone from EA will start listening to Battlefield’s vibrant community of passionate fans, and try support the hell out of this game, fix everything, add new content, port over some classic Portal weapons into the Battlefield 2042 base game, and do something radical like redesign Hazard zone and push it out as a free expansion for the game that anyone can play.
We also hope that DICE will consider changing the Battlefield lifecycle formula and even consider stepping away from a holiday launch window or delaying their games a year if things don’t seem ready. That’s how DICE should be handling the franchise. Give each title enough flexibility to launch it when it’s ready and produce DLC for the previous game right up until the next game is ready to go. Battlefield V was just getting good right when they pulled all DLC from the game. This is bad marketing, and people are losing confidence in this company. If DICE pulls another Battlefield V and cuts support for Battlefield 2042 before the game has had a chance to really flesh out its ideas and develop itself, then it could be the end of the franchise.
So, in short, the answer is NO. If you really care about Battlefield franchise, then don’t buy the game. Punish the publisher and developer of this game by not buying their product. This will force them to improve and deliver best package next time. Instead, buy yourself Xbox Game Pass for PC, and play 10 hours of Battlefield 2042 through included EA Play Pro trial, and also try out some other great games, like Forza Horizon 5, Halo Infinite, or Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020.