Another Generation, Another Battlefield
Three years ago, Battlefield 5 was released as the final previous-gen exclusive Battlefield game in the series. What was deemed controversial for "historical inaccuracies" ended up being a decent effort from DICE to capture a story mode within Battlefield. The series has always been known for its large-scale multiplayer battles but it also has its decent stories to tell as well. For the first time in recent history, Battlefield 2042 was advertised as a multiplayer-only game. From the very beginning, I knew I wasn't going to like 2042 for this reason.
The one thing I can say about Battlefield 5 is that at least it had a story that doubled as single-player content. Another first-person shooter we looked at earlier, Call of Duty Vanguard, also had single-player content for players to enjoy outside of multiplayer modes. "Multiplayer-only" modes aren't as uncommon as one would think, with Black Ops 4 being a prior infamous example. However, even that game had something in the form of single-player content even if it was one-off missions. 2042 has no such thing and considering how spotty the EA serves had been, I hadn't explored much of the multiplayer at all. So, this will be a short "First Take" by nature, but I'll try to find parts to talk about regardless.
Regardless Of A Lack Of Single Player, There Is A Story(?)
The "story" of Battlefield 2042, if one can call it that, centers around a player faction known as the "ex-patriots" or "expats." The Ex-Pats are a neutral faction that exists between the last two remaining superpowers, the US and Russia. These two superpowers are at war, with the Ex-Pats fighting for survival whether it means helping the US or Russians. The concept behind "Ex-Pats" is their own personal goal, kinda like mercenaries, but clearly, there are two factions in-game.
Players are either fighting for the US or the Russians at the end of the day. Despite the exposition involving "ex-patriots" and showing that neither side is the "good side," it's still one side versus another. Among these, players can choose between specialists that differ between unique classes. These include medics, recons, engineers, and soldier classes. What Battlefield 2042 has to offer over most games is the large-scale multiplayer maps and vehicles accessible. Players can commandeer ATVs, jeeps, tanks, planes, and even jets. These are some of the fun aspects of 2042 but unfortunately, it doesn't last.
When The Servers Are Spotty, At Least There Are Bots?
Whenever games lack "single-player content," there's always the option to play against bots! In a game that praises large sweeping locations involving capturing and holding points, bot games are the worst. There are moments where players won't find enemies minutes at a time only to be sniped at close range. If the bots don't get the drop on you, then it's easy to pick enemies off one by one. The problem is that 2042 lacks any form of soul. There are no killstreaks or comeback mechanics, it's just using your gadgets and wits to your advantage.
It's a shame because the graphics are beautiful, with many artifacts shown at once with very little slowdown. As the action intensifies, sandstorms rage and calm down accordingly. It feels hectic, yet the gameplay doesn't match the intensity of the visuals. Maybe it would be better with other players in smaller maps, but the action is inconsistent.
This is the problem I've had with Battlefield 2042 in that players don't have a chance to explore what the game has to offer with the lack of single-player content. I'd love to see more intense situations while playing out a campaign instead of bot games that pace as slow as dry paint. For the diehard fans, 2042 is a treat I'm sure. For everyone else, there are always the older Battlefield games to fill the void that the newer titles can't provide.
Battlefield 2042 is available on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Xbox Series S.