The Battlefield 2042 Open Beta has come and gone; now, we're left with more questions than answers. Game betas are meant for testing purposes to find minor bugs and issues to fix before release. There's not much time to improve the core gameplay, though, even if they can fix most bugs and issues.
Battlefield 2042 will be released on November 12th for Gold Edition and Ultimate Edition pre-orders, which gives them only a month or so to fix the pile of problems.
There are a variety of core gameplay issues. I'll detail the main issues which people have experienced with the beta below regarding teamwork, the addition of specialists, map layouts, sound design, and gunplay. They're saying that the game is "not enjoyable," "disappointing," and "not a true Battlefield game." I've been playing Battlefield games since Battlefield 1942, and I'd have to agree. The beta felt more like a mix between Apex Legends and Call of Duty than a Battlefield game.
There were also many bugs in the beta—jets spinning crazily, motion-sickness-inducing gun turrets on the tanks, inability to walk/jump over tiny rocks without getting stuck, and not being able to lay prone under bushes without sliding away. Players were also sliding everywhere like they were slipping on ice, which may have been intentional but looked terrible nonetheless. This isn't a complete list of all bugs, but you get the point.
People will say, "it's just a beta; the game will be fixed when released!" but it felt more like an alpha build than a beta.
There's no sense of teamwork. The game is focused on solo play. Yes, you are in a squad, and you can (in theory) revive teammates and drop ammo supplies and health, but it doesn't feel like there's any benefit of doing so. You miss out on the entertainment value of teamwork compared to previous Battlefield games.
I remember many moments of past Battlefield games where I tried to give my teammates health and acted like a brave medic, fighting through the explosions and gunfire around while trying to revive my squadmate and other players.
In Battlefield 2042, everyone feels like they're running around with no direction besides trying to get a kill. It's on par with Call of Duty games, but instead with a larger map. While many like Call of Duty, of course, this is supposed to be a Battlefield game.
The next major issue is the specialists. Each player chooses a specialist character with a unique gadget and trait (e.g., speed boost). Gadgets include things like a grappling hook, sentry gun, or drone. Other than that, all specialists have the same loadout options. The downside to this lack of classes and character customization compared to previous Battlefield games is that many characters look the same. The specialists even look the same on both teams, like it's the war of the clones.
The similarities led to teammates shooting each other, thinking they were an enemy, which often happened while I played the beta. Visibility issues aside, without proper classes (Assault, Engineer, Support, and Recon) like in previous Battlefield games, specialist loadouts can become overpowered due to having no restrictions on gear combinations.
It seems like the new specialist system will be similar to going to war with no commander, where all of the soldiers are free to grab whatever looks neat, and they're free to do whatever. While this may seem nice, there's no sense of objective or teamwork with this strategy, and it is just chaos. While Battlefield games are full of chaos (the excellent form), that chaos should be a little more organized and balanced to make it enjoyable.
The lack of teamwork is more abundant when combining the specialist system problems with the other teamwork issues mentioned above. It's more challenging to identify friends from foe because the specialists look the same. You can't determine who on your team can give ammo, health, or revives. Snipers can provide themselves with ammo supplies without needing help from teammates. You don't have the trade-offs of previous Battlefield games. There are ways for the developers to improve specialists, but there's no guarantee or indication that they will fix this.
The maps are way too big for the number of players. There are 128 players total, which sounds like a lot, but the maps are very spread out. It feels like you're just running around the map trying to spot anyone at all. So what's the point of having big maps? Battlefield games are known to have big maps, but the way they're implemented in Battlefield 2042 isn't enjoyable. The maps feel too big. Some control points are too boring to get enough attention from the team.
If you are only fighting in a few sections of the map, then the rest is deserted. One squad or even one person can take control of a point because no one else is there. What's the fun in that? No fight, just taking the less popular control points.
The sound design alone can make or break a game. In the Battlefield 2042 Open Beta, the sound wasn't great, especially compared to previous games. Instead, it sounds weak and underwhelming. You're in a war after all; you should feel like you're in a war. The sounds of the guns felt more like airguns, and the jets flying overhead didn't bring any sense of fear.
If you have played games like Hell Let Loose or even Deep Rock Galactic, every sound makes a difference. In Hell Let Loose, when you hear a plane, nothing good will follow. When you shoot a gun, you feel it. With BF 2042, it doesn't deliver that punch that you should be feeling.
Another issue was the gunplay in the Battlefield 2042 Open Beta. When shooting your weapons, they didn't feel very responsive and felt inconsistent, making it an uncomfortable experience overall. You would shoot and shoot and barely hit the enemy right in front of you, followed by getting shot and killed by a sniper halfway across the map. I also noticed a few times where I ducked behind cover (a cement wall) and then got shot and killed a second later even though I wasn't in their sight. That delay can be caused by high ping or the server's tick rate, which can be fixed, but it's another unknown for the future of this game.
The overall feel of the gunplay doesn't feel as great as previous Battlefield games.
Two other game modes are included in Battlefield 2042 called "Portal" and "Hazard Zone."
Hazard Zone's objective is to fight for and extract as many data drives as possible. Hazard Zone takes place on a large map, with your squad competing against other squads. Many were hoping that Hazard Zone would be a free-to-play part of the game, but it will be included only in the base game and will not be free for everyone to join. Without the free-to-play element of the game, it'll be less accessible to gamers and have less replayability.
Battlefield V had a mode called "Firestorm," which was Battlefield's take on the battle royale game genre. Firestorm wasn't free-to-play either and ultimately wasn't successful mainly due to lack of long-term support to improve it and lack of players. I can see Hazard Zone having the same fate as Firestorm due to taking the same route as before.
Battlefield 2042 Portal is a customizable version of the base game experience, but with characters and maps from previous Battlefield games. You will be able to tweak various settings to your desire.
Portal mode sounds neat, but there's not much info about this mode yet, and we're left with many questions. In theory, we should be able to improve the faults of the main parts of the game into something enjoyable. But the player base will be split even more, with everyone wanting their version of the game.
We're assuming Portal mode also won't be free-to-play, but if it were, then it could have more of a chance of succeeding since it'd allow more players to join. For now, as it's advertised, it sounds neat, but I can't see this having long-term success.
I could list many other problems and bugs in Battlefield (I didn't even mention the terrible bot AI!), but I've listed some of the main issues to get the point across. At first, we got excited when the game trailers were released. Then gameplay videos of the alpha build were leaked online, which didn't look good. Many said that it's just an alpha, so there's time to fix things.
Then the beta came out, and we saw many of the same issues. Dice/EA made the excuse that the beta was a build from a few months earlier (assuming that's true). Now Dice/EA are releasing more trailers of the game to hype people up again before the release, but not sharing much information about how they'll improve the game. Trailers aren't the actual game experience, so we'll have to see how Battlefield 2042 turns out when released.
Back in February 2021, EA told investors that the game was "way ahead of schedule." Based on the alpha and beta builds of the game, being ahead of schedule doesn't seem accurate, especially after the game has been delayed a month already. There are also reports of problems originating from management not being devoted enough to the game, creating problems from the start. 1
While I want this game to succeed because I've been a Battlefield fan since the beginning, I don't see this game turning out well for other Battlefield series fans.
If the problems are fixed, we will probably be waiting six months to a year after release for that to happen.
Many others on the EA forums and elsewhere have stated similar doubts about the game. Players say that this doesn't feel like a Battlefield game and needs to be delayed further to fix all of the issues.
Some people will still enjoy the game when released, as always with any game. However, many long-term Battlefield fans share the above opinions. The game's release is coming soon with no guarantee of significant improvements, which is why I feel Battlefield 2042 won't succeed as much as we hope.