Latest entry to Electronic Arts’ military shooter needs work but will likely be good in the long run
When perusing a game on the shelves or a digital shop, players face three decisions: They can buy it, forget it or wait on it. Few titles are worth the immediate purchase and plenty more can be ignored. The last category is more complicated and that’s where “Battlefield 2042” sits.
It’s clearly not a finished project with the bugs and glitches that have plagued the early access period of its launch, but that’s expected for Electronic Arts’ military shooter. The past few iterations have never been complete on release day, but DICE and the other developers behind the series tend to improve on the title so that it ends up being the game they envisioned.
“Battlefield 2042” takes place in the near future in a world devastated by climate change. Sandstorms have taken over Doha, Qatar. Container ships have been abandoned for scrap along the coast of Alang, India. Even Antarctica has become a battleground as the warmer climate has made the continent more inhabitable and exploitable for resources.
In this dire landscape, players take on the role of non-patriated people or No-Pats. These are refugees from collapsed nations where extreme weather has created famine and other catastrophes. These are people without a country and they become mercenaries aligned with either the U.S. or Russia as the two superpowers engage in another conflict.
It’s a different take on World War III, and one that acts as a strong scaffolding for the multiplayer-only game. First off, players choose from 10 No-Pat specialists who have a unique perks and a gadget. Their characteristics make them suited for different roles in a fight. Assault classes are built to attack and outflank opponents. Engineers specialize in defense and controlling areas. Recons act as scouts, spotting advancing enemies and weakening them from the shadows. Support specialists bolster the squad, resupplying or healing them.
SPECIALISTS AND CUSTOMIZATIONS
These are general roles, with each specialist having a unique way of fulfilling their niche. Players can further customize the specialists by configuring them with different weapons, grenades and tools. It’s possible to create an assault trooper who has explosives to take out advancing armor or a support medic who can also repair vehicles. Players will find enough diversity among weapons and gear, though “Battlefield 2042” has fewer armaments than one would expect.
Initially, players have access to a limited number of specialists, weapons and vehicles, but as they level up by playing matches, they earn more options and gain access to more characters. The progression feels balanced so that players will earn several pieces of gear over an hours-long session. Having a character-based format adds more personality to the campaign while also setting up “Battlefield 2042” for future seasonal updates with new specialists to learn and master. It’s better than being a faceless soldier running into a thresher of bullets.