Giant maps and huge lobbies are Battlefield 2042's biggest problems

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EA DICE has just shipped the latest Battlefield title and it's safe to say that FPS fans everywhere were excited to play it. However, to say it doesn't live up to the hype would be an understatement. Battlefield 2042 is a flat experience - lacklustre, even. On paper, it is doing everything right. Battlefield has never looked better and it has never been bigger, so why does Battlefield 2042 feel so empty? What is missing from Battlefield 2042?

Battlefield 2042 has a great amount of content but it is spread too thinly. Battlefield 2042 has chaotic moments, but they're few and far between. EA DICE's latest entry in the Battlefield series has a few core problems that keep it from being the best entry yet.

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Playing the Objective is a chore in Battlefield 2042

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First of all, if there's one thing that helps to make Battlefield 2042 - well, Battlefield games in general - stand out from other first-person shooters, it's the fact that kills aren't at the core of the experience. Conquest, not Team Deathmatch, is the mainstay of Battlefield 2042's multiplayer experience.

On a base level, this is far from a bad thing. In fact, it's one reason why Battlefield 2042 is such an attractive game to a lot of players. You don't need to be in the thick of the fight all the time, getting killstreaks, to win games. Battlefield's conquest is much more a war of attrition where controlling areas of the map and supporting your teammates is just as important.

However, those areas of the map are just too far apart in Battlefield 2042. There are too many teammates to support, too. Battlefield games aren't about the individual, you can't win or lose a game based on one person's performance. However, Battlefield 2042 tips the scales too far and loses its charm.

Battlefield 2042
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IT LOOKED PROMISING - Marketing showed us a lot of explosions

Playing the objective is a chore in Battlefield 2042. It doesn't matter which map you're on, to accommodate the inflated player counts, EA DICE has made huge environments for players to fight on. However, they've done little to improve the number of objectives. Cycling between the Capture Points to try and dominate the battlefield is a chore and you'll spend as much time running - or driving - between them as you will in combat. Battlefield games are known for their scale, but EA DICE has taken things a step too far.

To make matters worse, there are so many players in any given location that it doesn't really matter what you do when you're playing in a support role. In previous Battlefield titles, playing as a Medic and reviving your teammates on the objective actually made a huge difference. Making a couple of revives could tip the scales and secure you a much-needed victory. In Battlefield 2042, death is meaningless and the pace of the game is too fast for revives to matter. You might not have everyone alive all the time, but there's always a full Team Deathmatch going on around each major objective. Whether you've captured the point or not, the balance of players in Battlefield 2042's flashpoint "kill zones" never changes. Your kills might not count towards the score much, but that is all Battlefield 2042 is about and there's only one viable option when it comes to kills...

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Sniper Rifles dominate the near-future battlefield

When you're fighting on a huge map, you're going to need a weapon that can deal the damage at a distance. For most of us, the best option is a Sniper Rifle or a Marksman Rifle. In Battlefield 2042, this is almost definitely always the case. The inflated scale of the game has made other weapons unviable.

Unlike other first-person shooters, Battlefield 2042's weapons all suffer from bullet-drop mechanics to some degree. The heavier the calibre, the further they're going to travel - but then there will be a steep drop off. This is one feature that sets Battlefield apart from its main competitor in the first-person shooter space, Call of Duty. Battlefield's use of bullet-drop mechanics isn't necessarily better, as you could make an argument for both sides, but it's different.

Why is this an issue in Battlefield 2042? Well, to put it simply, Snipers dominate and there's no reason why you wouldn't use one.

Whatever the range, you can make a Sniper Rifle work in Battlefield 2042 and the advantages of using one completely outweigh the advantages of using another weapon type.

Battlefield 2042
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CLOSE QUARTERS - You could easily use a Sniper Rifle here

Battlefield 2042's Plus Attachment system allows you to change your weapon attachments on the fly in-game. You can pick up to three Sights, three under-barrel attachments, three magazine attachments, and three muzzle attachments for each weapon and cycle through these as and when you please. Although you'll need to level up your Sniper Rifle a little bit, you can put together a selection of attachments that cater to all ranges pretty quickly.

In one loadout, you can have a Sniper Rifle that works at long ranges and in the thick of a fight around an objective. In a lot of cases, they're also a one-shot kill. Sniper Rifles deal a lot of damage and have a much better damage range than other weapons. When you combine this with the sheer scale of Battlefield 2042's environment, they dominate and it is hard to make a case for another weapon type. This is a balancing issue that, at its core, is due to Battlefield 2042's map design.

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The future of warfare is a desolate wasteland

EA DICE has shot themselves in the foot a little bit when it comes to Battlefield 2042. The maps you play on in Battlefield 2042 are too big. The objectives are spread too thinly and between these clusters of buildings and players, there's nothing. If you're a sniper, it's a dream. If you're not, it becomes almost impossible to cross between objectives without some sort of vehicle and even then, the vehicles aren't durable enough to withstand the several attacks you often take while you're out in the open.

Initially, you don't notice this too much. However, when you jump into Battlefield 2042's Portal mode... The differences are clear.

Battlefield 2042's Portal Mode draws on Battlefield 1942, Battlefield Bad Company 2, and Battlefield 3 to offer a throwback experience on an updated engine. In this mode, you can mix and match and play older Battlefield modes on older Battlefield maps. When you're playing in these modes, everything that seems to make Battlefield 2042 a subpar multiplayer experience seems to vanish. Medics have meaning and you can run around with an Assault Rifle without being sniped from over 1,000 metres away.

Battlefield 2042
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MIX AND MATCH - Battlefield Portal is going to save Battlefield 2042

The concept is the same and the gameplay hasn't changed, but the scale has. All of these older Battlefield experiences are smaller, on smaller maps, with more condensed environments. It quickly becomes clear that EA DICE has taken Battlefield 2042 one step too far and has spread everything a little too thinly. Even on the larger maps, there's enough cover between objectives to make gameplay competitive and exciting. You're never too far away from the action. In contrast, you can wander around large swathes of Battlefield 2042's environments without meeting people - if you're lucky and avoid being spotted by an enemy with a Sniper Rifle.

Battlefield 2042 pushes a lot of boundaries and does a lot of things right, but you can't help but feel like a lot of its core issues are rooted in what made this entry so appealing. Despite the fact that it's an expansive near-future shooter with over 100 players in each lobby, it feels empty and lifeless at times. Battlefield has lost its spark with Battlefield 2042 and we hope it can get it back.