The Infinite Zenith

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Tag Archives: Battlefield 2042

Battlefield 2042: The Private Portal Experience and A Return To Noshahr Canals

“Don’t be discouraged by a slow start. It offers the time and testing you need to lay the right foundation for success.” –Michael Hyatt

It’s December 2013, a few weeks after the Black Friday sale on origin, and I’d just picked up Battlefield 3 for eight dollars. After joining a match of conquest on Caspian Border, I decide to look around the server browser and see what other modes there were: team death match (TDM) on Noshahr Canals dominated the browser when I narrowed the results down, and out of curiosity, I joined such a server. The fierce firefights among the shipping container captivated me, and in the months coming, TDM in Noshahr Canals became a mainstay of my Battlefield experience; the close quarters environment the map provided afforded me with instant action, standing in stark contrast with conquest, which requires one to travel great distances. In this way, for a little bit of Battlefield excitement during moments where I didn’t have time to sit down for a full match of conquest, Noshahr Canals TDM proved perfect, allowing me to blow off some steam before returning to my coursework. In this way, my open studies term ended, and I accepted an offer to enroll in graduate school; during this time, Battlefield 3 continued to entertain me, and overall, I would go on to tally 137 hours before Battlefield 4 caught my attention. Over the years, I’ve greatly enjoyed the time I spent playing through Battlefield 4, Battlefield 1 and Battlefield V, although none of them quite had the same magic as being able to just spawn in on Noshahr Canals and unwind. When Battlefield 2042‘s Portal mode (Battlefield Portal for brevity) was announced, DICE immediately had my attention; Battlefield Portal allows players to create game modes tailored to their own liking, and although the mode is still quite limited in terms of features and options, it has allowed me to faithfully re-create the Noshahr Canals experience that I remember from my time as a graduate student. Thus, despite Battlefield 2042 launching to unfavourable reception, after assessing things for myself, I’ve determined that now is the appropriate time to kick off my journey into Battlefield 2042 by putting my own private Noshahr Canals TDM server to the test. However, things weren’t all going to be sunshine and rainbows: when Battlefield 2042 became available, players immediately set about flooding Battlefield Portal with experience farming servers. This created a situation where, because they had taken up all of the available resources, other players were unable to initialise their own instances. Moreover, DICE’s response to these farms was to outright disable experience gain and progression. At the time of writing, progression is available to a limited extent, and DICE has managed to address the issue of server instances overwhelming their hardware; after I finished setting up Battlefield 2042, it was a suspenseful few seconds as I went over to my list of private experiences and requested a new instance for my own AI bots-only server.

Moments later, I smiled broadly: my instance had begun, and right away, I was captivated by the immersion and aesthetics. Battlefield 2042‘s portrayal of Noshahr Canals is entirely faithful to the original. The aesthetics and handling are identical to what I remember from Battlefield 3, as are the weapons and sounds. During the duration of my first match against AI bots, I felt as though I were back in graduate school, running around and blasting people when I was supposed to be reading papers for my thesis. The AI bots actually do put up a decent fight, as well. However, my server latency was quite high, and the hit registration is quite inconsistent, especially at longer ranges. Moreover, Battlefield Portal doesn’t yet provide all of my favourite maps from the old classics, and many of the weapons I came to love are unavailable. The hit detection is a known issue affecting Battlefield 2042, and while it was mildly jarring against AI bots, it is clear that against human players, where millisecond differences can mean the difference between a victorious firefight or being sent back to the spawn screen, bad hit detection is a major game-breaker. DICE is said to be working on a fix at this time, along with a host of other issues the game is facing in the performance department. While my eight-and-a-half year old rig is able to run Battlefield 2042 (I’m hitting about 50 FPS on medium-high settings), I have heard that people with current-generation hardware are actually getting only slightly improved performance to my machine, despite having hardware upwards of two to five times more powerful. This can be immensely frustrating, since it does show that Battlefield 2042 is poorly optimised, or even unoptimised. Moreover, the UI feels unwieldy and cumbersome: things that could be accomplished in a single mouse click require two or three clicks, and some things that look interactive are not. The lack of a scoreboard is also quite noticeable; even though I am playing against AI bots, it is helpful to know how many deaths I’ve taken during the course of a match. While the game launched in a difficult state, DICE has had a history of consistently improving their titles over time, and their best Battlefield games similarly had rough starts, before becoming polished to the point where they’re now remembered as the best Battlefield games ever made.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • I’ll open my Battlefield Portal experience with a kill from the venerable M16A3, Battlefield 3‘s best assault rifle; the M16A3 I remember had low recoil, high damage and a high rate of fire, making it the perfect weapon for beginning players. However, as memory serves, I switched over to the Heckler and Koch M416 almost as soon as I unlocked it. While both weapons are excellent, the reason why the M416 appealed to me was because both Russian and American factions would be able to use it, and I could therefore unlock attachments for the weapon more easily.

  • Battlefield Portal‘s implementation of things is such that Noshahr Canals handles exactly the same way as I remember from eight years earlier. I am able to knife my way through the chain-link fences of Noshahr Canals, and barriers where I’d expect to be able to vault over are similarly impassible, as they once were. With classic mechanics returning, I swapped over to the M416 and had a grand old time with it, winning my first-ever match against the AI bots and earning myself an achievement in Steam.

  • Battlefield 2042 is the first Battlefield since Bad Company 2 to be available on Steam out of the gates, and being able to utilise Steam’s built-in screenshot command was remarkably convenient. Since I upgraded to Windows 10 back in May, FRAPS no longer worked with DirectX 12, and so, I’ve been using Rivatuner for screenshots in games outside of Steam. This did have its disadvantages, as it required MSI Afterburner, and this had been causing my machine to suffer from Blue Screens more often than I’d like. After uninstalling MSI Afterburner, my machine’s become a ways more stable, but it is clear that it’s reaching the end of its lifespan.

  • For Battlefield Portal, I have noticed that I am averaging around 50 FPS, and the game has not given me any trouble in my matches so far. However, an old nemesis, high ping, has returned – I’m not sure if it’s a deficiency in servers in western North America, but every time I’ve spun up a private server for my matches, I am eternally stuck with pings of above 150 ms. On any normal server against human players, I’d probably be kicked for high ping, but since this is my server, and AI bots couldn’t care less, I was able to continue playing on my matches.

  • I found that in TDM, the AI bots are actually quite convincing to play against: unlike Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War or Halo Infinite, where I was massacring the bots wholesale, Battlefield 2042‘s bots actually put up a good fight. They can move about the map and shoot with accuracy resembling that of a human’s, rather than getting stuck in the map and shooting with perfect accuracy, as was common to AI bots of an older era. Altogether, the bots are sufficiently sophisticated as to make AI bots-only TDM entertaining.

  • For kicks, I ended up switching over to the recon class during one match and equipped the M39 EMR, a semi-automatic marksman rifle returning from Battlefield 3. Since TDM requires more CQC, I swapped over to the ACOG sights, but it became clear that sniping wasn’t quite as precise as I remember: there were a handful of moments where I would line up a headshot and fire, only to get no hitmarkers and deal no damage. With semi-automatic rifles, the wonky hit detection is most noticeable at longer ranges, while automatic weapons demonstrate how unsteady they can be because of an issue with bloom.

  • Here, I empty my P90 into a foe, depleting my magazine in the process. Back in the day, I could clean out three people with a single magazine – the extremely high bullet deviation in Battlefield 2042 is a known issue, and it makes firefights highly inconsistent. In previous years, I’ve prided myself on being consistently skillful in Battlefield, standing in stark contrast with players of gatcha games like Kantai Collection and Genshin Impact. I have no patience for games where there is a significant luck component, and at least in older shooters, one’s performance and enjoyment boils down to skill rather than chance.

  • Watching bullets bloom around in a random fashion takes the skill out of a firefight – at long ranges, one lacks the confidence that they’ll be able to nail down a target, and in close quarters, it can mean that one takes more bullets than expected to overcome a foe. In a mode where teammates are not able to resupply me, this is especially challenging, since I am running out of ammunition far more quickly than I had in Battlefield 3.

  • On the flipside, when things do work out in Battlefield Portal, they work extremely well, and here, I give the engineer class a go – the SCAR-H is every bit as fun as I remember it was. Back in Battlefield 3, the SCAR-H was a hard-hitting carbine with a low firing rate, making it more effective at long rangers compared to other carbines available to the engineer. To overcome the bloom, I ended up falling back on the old trick of tap-firing to help me control recoil better. Over time, I imagine that I’ll reacclimatise to the recoil mechanics of Battlefield 3; at the time of writing, I’ve just spent a shade over two hours in Battlefield 2042.

  • With two hours in the books, while I’m certainly not familiar with Battlefield 2042 and its mechanics just yet, I have seen enough to know that I am happy with my purchase and will be continuing to play this game to more fully experience the single-player aspects. The presence of AI bots means that I no longer have to commit several hours per week to unlock everything; earlier Battlefield titles had recurring events that I needed to direct a nontrivial amount of time to, and these days, dedicated gaming time is something I do not have a whole lot of. As such, knowing that Battlefield 2042 does offer options for me to play at my own pace is most welcome.

  • The transition away from gaming isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and I have mentioned that being offline has actually been most cathartic. Earlier today, I stepped out to begin doing a cleaning of the new home – most of the place has been wiped down now, and it’s just the bathrooms left. We also ended up taking some detailed measurements ahead of purchasing new furniture. After this comes vacuuming and clearing things down once more, and then the furniture shopping can begin. Because this took much of the afternoon, the sun had set by the time we decided to call it a day, and we ended up grabbing an old classic, Southern Fried Chicken with gravy and fries, washed down with a tall glass of ginger ale, for dinner.

  • We’ve also begun watching the latest 007 movie, No Time To Die; this movie had been delayed several times, and while it was originally to première back in April 2020, the global health crisis resulted in the release being pushed back to November 2020, and then in January, the release date was further changed to October 2021. The rationale was that the film was an integral part of the box office, and while originally, there had been no plans to make the film available on streaming platforms, No Time To Die did end up becoming available on November 9. The home release is scheduled for December 21 of this year. One wishes that more anime films would do the same, although this is a pipe dream at best, and as for No Time To Die itself, other than a completely disappointing opening theme, the film itself is solid in all other areas, worthy of any James Bond film.

  • Back in Battlefield Portal, I’ve switched over to the support class and equipped the M240B light machine gun. I equipped the bipod, mounted up and began shooting at distant foes, landing a few kills after finding that tap-firing has returned; because of how bloom currently works, automatic weapons are always accurate with their first bullet, and by tapping out two to three bullets, I am able to reach out further than if I keep the trigger down. The M240B isn’t the M249, which was my preferred LMG back in the day, but it remains a solid choice.

  • Besides the M240B, players can also equip the M60E and the Type-88 as a part of the support class. It is not lost on me that the weapon variety in Battlefield Portal is significantly less than what Battlefield 3 originally provided; at launch, there were seven LMGs compared to the three in Battlefield Portal. I am hoping that over time, more classic weapons and maps will be added to the mode. In particular, being able to run Metro, Seine River and Grand Bazaar would be particularly welcome: besides Noshahr Canals and Caspian Border, these were the maps I had grown very familiar with prior to picking up the Premium Pass.

  • Here, I manage a triple kill (three kills in rapid succession) on Ai bots hanging out in the container area using the SPAS-12. This shotgun makes a welcome return, and in Battlefield 3, was introduced with the Close Quarters expansion (which was my personal favourite). After I unlocked it, it quickly became my go-to shotgun because it had the tightest spread of any shotgun, allowing it to remain reliable at longer ranges than other shotguns. The other mainstay, the 870 MCS, is the most powerful shotgun on a per-shot basis.

  • Running the recon class and the M98B, chambered for the .308 Lapua Magnum rounds, brings back memories of a Firing Range post series I ran many years ago for Sword Art Online‘s Sinon, who ran with a PGM Hecate. The Firing Range posts were my attempt at replicating LevelCap’s Loadout series, where he ran with iconic setups from TV shows, films and novels to see how they’d perform in Battlefield. However, since anime loadouts were never covered, I figured I’d try my hand at them. The closest equivalent I could have in Battlefield 3 was the M98B, and at the time, I’d just reached a high enough rank to unlock the weapon. While capturing screenshots for the discussion, I ended up going on my first-ever killstreak to earn myself a combat efficiency ribbon.

  • The Firing Range series never really took off, but now that Battlefield Portal is here, assuming more content is added to it (by way of new maps and weapons), it could be fun to bring back the Firing Range and try out things from Sora no Woto or even Girls und Panzer. In fact, one of the possibilities about Battlefield Portal I had been particularly excited about was the prospect of being able to do a 1-versus-20 faceoff, featuring one modern MBT against twenty WWII-era Panzer IVs and Tiger Is. Being able to finally simulate what would happen against Akeiko “Daigensui” Sumeragi’s beloved tanks would have finally allowed me to put to bed the tired adage that Sumeragi was an expert on all things.

  • For the time being, however, I’m not sufficiently versed in Battlefield Portal‘s online editor to put together such a mode: I would need to have a means of expressing the logic to spawn players directly into vehicles and then preventing them from exiting their vehicles. In fact, I’m not even sure if this is possible in the current editor. Originally, air superiority existed in Battlefield 3, where players would spawn into a jet and were unable to exit, creating vehicle-only combat. The same rules would hypothetically allow for a tanks-only match, and I am hoping that, if it is indeed the case that such a mode is not presently possible, it is added in the future.

  • Assuming this to be the case, I would also love to run a single Battlefield 2042 soldier armed to the teeth with modern AT weapons, against twenty German tanks, just to prove that Panzerfahren on its own is not representative of modern warfare (which largely follows a combined arms doctrine) and therefore, Sumeragi should not be treating Girls und Panzer as an anime requiring military expertise to understand. Until such a time as when Battlefield Portal becomes flexible, there is still quite a bit to do. I’ve got a few modes set up to play classic conquest on Bad Company 2 and 1942 era maps as well, and Battlefield 2042 also offers a solo mode for conquest and breakthrough.

  • Altogether, I will be continuing on with my Battlefield 2042 journey over the next few months, and my next aim in this game will simply be to explore maps in the solo mode. There is limited experience gain here, and the objective is simply to get my weapons up as far as the cap will allow. Once I’ve had a chance to try the All-Out Warfare modes, I’ll be returning in December to share my thoughts on things like gunplay and map design, once DICE has had the chance to smooth things out. Finally, it is worth mentioning that I also picked up Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Director’s Cut alongside Battlefield 2042; the game is on sale for 85 percent off right now. I’d played through the original back in 2014, and as we near the Giant Walkthrough Brain’s tenth anniversary, it does feel like Human Revolution will be worth revisiting, as well.

Battlefield 2042, especially though Battlefield Portal, has shown that the game does have the potential to be the definitive modern military shooter I’ve been looking for: the inclusion of AI bots are Battlefield 2042‘s most significant feature, and originally, DICE had indicated that players would be able to unlock everything even when playing purely AI bots. With this now disabled, DICE appears to have reneged on their original promise about Battlefield Portal. With this being said, Battlefield Portal already has everything unlocked for the classic mode, and while there are serious issues with hit detection, it does not feel as frustrating as it could be against human foes. Overall, having been around Battlefield for almost a decade as a casual player, my ultimate metric for determining whether or not a given experience is worthwhile is fun and immersion. More serious players are right to hold DICE to a higher standard to ensure that game mechanics are polished, and that their experience is as smooth as possible. For me, however, I play intermittently, to blow off steam and unwind; what I’ve seen in Battlefield Portal is promising and looks to precisely fit the bill for what I seek. Ultimately, so long as DICE addresses the performance issues and bugs, I could see myself continuing with this game for a very long time: Noshahr Canals TDM comprises of around three eighths of the time I spent in Battlefield 3, and the ability to play against AI bots, away from cheaters and overly-serious streamers, means that Battlefield Portal offers that fine balance between the large-scale sandbox experience Battlefield is best known for, and the personalised individual experience I’ve come to look for in games. While I won’t claim that Battlefield 2042 is in an acceptable state at present, I remain optimistic that over time, the more critical issues will be addressed, and I will have the game I’ve been dreaming of having; a place to mess around with new concepts and re-live old memories alike, all at a pace of my choosing. Those first few matches on Noshahr Canals were promising, and despite the current flaws in Battlefield 2042, not having to play against cheaters and try-hards is a breath of fresh air, precisely what I look for in games with longevity.

Battlefield 2042: A Reflection on the Open Beta

“This strength test is all about what Battlefield 2042 does to your computer, and not what your computer does to Battlefield 2042.” –J. Neilson, Forged in Fire

Entering the Battlefield 2042 open beta, the biggest question on my mind was whether or not my aging rig would even be able to run DICE’s latest Battlefield title at passable frame-rates. The minimum requirements had called for an Intel i5-6600k, which overall, has about a five percent edge in terms of performance over the nine year old i5-3570k I’m currently running. The open beta represented the best way to, without charge, test whether this CPU stood any chance of opening Battlefield 2042, and after I finished my preload in Tuesday night, I went about the remainder of my week as usual. When I was granted access to the open beta on Friday, I promptly opened my client after the day’s work hours ended, and immediately found myself faced with sluggish, choppy performance: after joining a match and parachuting over to the rocket hangar at capture point bravo, I came under fire from some enemy players. I ducked away into cover, then got the jump on one of my pursuers as they turned away, and after aiming down the M5A3’s iron sights, I dumped the magazine into my foe to earn my first kill of the beta. All of this happened at around 24 FPS, and it became clear to me that my eight-year-old machine had hit its limits. I subsequently headed over to a remote corner of the map, away from the combat, set all of the visual effects down to medium, and was met with a surprising result: Battlefield 2042 began running at a still-choppy, but playable 40-50 FPS (dropping to about 30 FPS on a small handful of moments). I thus finished my first match and went on to unlock a range of weapons to experiment with. During my play-testing, I found that my GTX 1060 was at around 60 percent usage, but my CPU was struggling the entire time in-game: Ivy Bridge processors have a feature called “Turbo Boost”, which kicks in whenever the CPU requires additional horsepower. The hardware automatically overclocks the CPU, raising the clock speed to give this extra performance while at the same time, keeping the assembly within safe temperatures. However, running Turbo Boost for prolonged periods still places a bit of a strain on a CPU that is eight years old, and it is clear that either this build of Battlefield 2042 still needs to be optimised before launch, or the time might be approaching where I will need to build a new rig. While my machine did encounter difficulties with the Battlefield 2042 beta (I suffered two blue screens in total), I was otherwise very impressed that the beta ran at all, with the frame rates that it did. Overall, my rig survived: this is equivalent to a blade taking on a few rolls during the infamous strength test on Forged in Fire, but otherwise, remained intact. My machine passes the strength test, although whether or not it will KEAL is a different matter entirely (albeit one that I’ll have to wait until after launch to find out about).

Because of periodic performance drops, my own experiences with Battlefield 2042‘s open beta are not complete or wholly representative of my performance in the game. Lag led me to miss shots, fail to respond quickly enough in a firefight, or even waste ammunition on what I thought was a player (but was actually a player model that hadn’t been updated properly). In spite of this, the beta was still immensely enjoyable. The first thing I noticed was that the scale of battle is larger than ever. It makes sense as to why Battlefield 2042 would require more CPU power to fully experience: the chaos of 128-player maps is a massive step up from the 64-player maps of previous games, corresponding with an increase in the processing power needed to calculate and keep track of everything. Moreover, gun-play was satisfying, and weapons handled very consistently: after getting used to their recoil patterns and learning to position myself better in firefights, I began rediscovering my old enjoyment of tap-firing down a distant foe. Every kill is satisfying, and Battlefield 2042 appears to have altered things so the kill system is more similar to Battlefront II’s, where dealing appreciable damage to an enemy is rewarded the same amount of points as scoring the kill itself. Similarly, the movement system was relatively smooth: features from Battlefield 1 and V, like crouch-sliding and vaulting return, creating more options for moving around the map and escaping otherwise deadly situations. The core mechanics of Battlefield 2042 appear to work well for the game. However, it is clear that this is a three-month old build: the UI is unwieldy, and critical features did not work in the beta. I was unable to issue squad commands, thank players for reviving me or open the map at all. These issues are something the team indicates that the release build will address. The specialist system is a larger issue for Battlefield 2042: during my games, I noticed that teamwork was practically non-existent: the lack of dedicated medics and support players meant no one was topping off health or ammunition, and there was no incentive to do so. The lack of restrictions on weapons and gadgets allows a sniper to constantly top off their own ammunition, and assault players can easily heal themselves. One possible fix for this would simply be to restrict gadgets to certain specialisations, and similarly, every specialist should have access to one unique weapon class, and subsequently, there can be all-class weapons, much as how Battlefield 3 and 4 had done so. The specialist system is ingrained in the game, but if these minor adjustments aren’t too tricky to implement, their addition would define specialist roles more clearly and return team-play elements to the game. One element that currently is a deal-breaker is player visibility: this was an issue in Battlefield V and favoured campers. Battlefield 2042 has not addressed this issue, but this time, players can blend into their surroundings even when actively moving. Moreover, the lack of clear team indicators introduces new problems: I found myself shooting at teammates in some firefights because there hadn’t been anything to show they were teammates. While I’m very much in the minority who thinks this way, I find that the return of 3D spotting would be helpful. Players should always be able to spot for themselves, and then recon players can spot for their teams as a class perk. The inclusion of 3D spotting would reward players for thinking tactically ahead of a firefight, and force players to consider how they move around a map, as well. Overall, while Battlefield 2042 shows promise, it is still early to be determining if DICE has properly learned from the aftermath of Battlefield V.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • If there were a single screenshot to sum up my experiences with Battlefield 2042‘s open beta, this would be it: a stunning view of the Guiana Space Centre as a storm rolls in. Battlefield 2042‘s theme is climate change and its impact on conflict, but unlike its predecessors, which featured a single-player campaign, Battlefield 2042 will launch without a campaign, with its story being told by the maps’ design. The large-scale effects of climate change means that Battlefield 2042‘s maps can be set across the world and need not be tied to any one region, as with previous Battlefield maps.

  • The first kill I got in Battlefield 2042 came with the M5A3 assault rifle, a fictionalised version of the SIG MCX series that is chambered for the 6.8mm SIG cartridge. I ended up choosing a different screenshot for my first kill because that moment had been too dark, and because I am a little superstitious in games, I believe that I’ll have a better experience in a given open beta if I get my first kill before my first death. In practise, the M5A3 has a good firing rate and high accuracy, especially when equipped with the extended barrel, Cobra vertical grip and the Maul Hybrid 1.5-3x sights.

  • I didn’t have too many opportunities to play armoured vehicles in the open beta; pilots were being much too aggressive, and the lack of teamwork meant that shoulder-fired anti-air weapons weren’t too effective at taking them down. Land-air balance has always been an issue in Battlefield games: good pilots can single-handedly control entire matches, and some design choices in previous Battlefield games, like the Ilya-Muromets, were downright broken. Modern settings means a wider range of anti-air options, and Battlefield 2042 will need to give players more options against air vehicles in order to balance things out.

  • The infantry combat is generally my favourite aspect of a given Battlefield game, and here, I help the team to defend against capture, capitalising on the high-ground to mow down a player running along the catwalk below. Orbital is the map featured in the beta, and despite being a very large, open map, there’s enough variety in the map design so all weapons can be effective, depending on where one is. The M5A3 is probably the most versatile weapon available in the open beta, having enough accuracy to pick off enemies at range (especially if one tap fires and runs the right attachments) and enough firing rate to react quickly to someone at close quarters.

  • During matches, the rocket on the launchpad will sometimes launch, creating a particularly impressive visual spectacle for players, comparable to the rocket launch of both Five Centimeters per Second and Hathaway’s Flash. I’ve seen my favourite Battlefield YouTubers attempt to board the rocket, and they ended up phasing through the geometry before learning that the rocket tops out at an altitude of five kilometres. This resulted in many laughs. For me, I didn’t have anything quite so exhilarating: I witnessed two rocket launches during my run of the Battlefield 2042 open beta, and after dying to a sniper during my first launch, I decided to take cover so I could view the second launch in peace.

  • Battlefield 2042‘s hitmarker system is quite unlike anything I’d previously seen: they appear to be much more subtle and difficult to spot. However, every kill was satisfying to earn, especially those longer-range shots. One nifty feature about Battlefield 2042 is that the Maul Hybrid optic has an integral red dot sight attached to the main optic, making it easy to switch between 1.5x magnification and 3x magnification with the push of a button. The dynamic attachment system reminds me a great deal of how Crysis handles things, and I imagine in the completed game, players will unlock multiple attachments, and then pick four they want to carry into battle at any given time.

  • Since we’re now back in the modern era, a wide selection of effective LMGs are finally available again. The only LMG available in the open beta was the LCMG, a fictionalised version of the Knight’s Armament Company LAMG; in reality, this was meant to be a lightweight and modular LMG that could adapt to a variety of situations. Despite its promise, the LAMG never saw any military use, although I have seen this weapon before in The Division 2, where it is called the Stoner LAMG and was one of my favourite weapons in the endgame, at least until the Hunter’s Fury gear-set became available.

  • I’ve always had a fondness for LMGs in Battlefield: early in every Battlefield game I play, I am not so familiar with the recoil patterns on assault rifles, and tend to waste my ammunition hitting air in firefights. However, with their larger ammunition capacity (offset by a longer reload time), LMGs are a bit more forgiving and allow me to lay down sustained fire. More rounds in the air means an increased probability something will hit my foe (i.e. “spray and pray”). The LCMG can be customised with AP rounds to increase its efficacy against light vehicles: one of the stranger design choices in Battlefield 2042 is the fact that weapons can have different ammo types. While cool in theory, I’ve actually never felt any need to switch out the standard ammunition.

  • Here, I score a kill with the Kriss Vector, known as the K30 in-game. The K30 resembles its counterparts from other games in that it has a high rate of fire and therefore, is particularly well-suited for CQC. The base K30 comes with a 20-round magazine, but DICE was nice enough to provide the extended magazine option, which allows for a total of 40 rounds per magazine. I ended up scoring a pair of kills in the rocket hangar with it while making my way to the top. The scale of the buildings in Battlefield 2042 are immense, and capture point bravo is a particularly fun one to fight over, since the rooftop is open to helicopters, and the team holding it must be cautious of players sneaking in from below, as well.

  • Ribbons finally make a return in Battlefield 2042: DICE had gotten rid of them in Battlefield V, but they had been present in earlier Battlefield games as an incentive for teamplay, as well as rewarding players for doing well. I’ve had a fondness for ribbons, since accumulating them gave insight into what kind of tendencies I had as a player. Medals were also fun to earn, although I also remember that the big frustration with them comes from being killed while attempting to take a screenshot after earning one: because of the way my key mappings are set up, I need to either take my hand off the mouse or keyboard in order to capture said screenshot.

  • While I’d never been effective with anti-armour weapons in Battlefield 3 and 4, after Battlefield 1 and V, I’ve become much more comfortable with equipment in this category: a little bit of teamwork can mean that, even on foot, vehicles are not unstoppable threats. Battlefield 2042‘s brings back the M2 Carl Gustav Recoilless Rifle from Bad Company 2 as the main anti-vehicle option. It has a very slow reload, but can devastate light vehicles and even take a third of a tank’s health away in a single shot. I imagine that more anti-vehicle weapons, like the RPG-7, SMAW and AT4 could be available in the full game.

  • Here, I score a kill on someone calling themselves “Shizuka_hiratsuk”, evidently named after Oregairu‘s Shizua Hirasuka, using the DM7 (the Daniel Defense DDM4 V7 in real life) marksman rifle. This semi-automatic rifle reaches out a little further than the M5A3 and is a solid precision weapon that fits my play-style. Although the ACOG sight and its chevron reticule was a bit tough to use, the weapon can nonetheless deal excellent damage at range, making it a solid option. Players with anime names have always stood out to me in multiplayer first person shooters, especially when they get the upper hand over me.

  • However, this never happened once in Battlefield 2042: normally, after dying to another player, their name is clearly displayed for me to check out, and Battlefield also indicates how many times we’ve gotten one another. However, the UI meant I never got around to seeing names in prominence, and moreover, I never found myself antagonised by a single player because of the fact that maps are so large. Rather than facing 32 players, I’m now facing 64, so it’s less likely to run into the same person twice. The larger player count has had one additional side-effect on my gaming, and I’m actually a lot more relaxed when I’m being beaten by different people.

  • I’m not anywhere as competitive as I was seven years ago, which was when I was really getting into Battlefield 3, but a part of me still enjoys getting back players who got me. In one entertaining moment during the beta, I was killed by a sniper at capture point alpha. Realising he was chilling on one of the geodesic domes, I promptly changed my kit out for the SWS-10 and managed to shoot him in the head. I’m rocking the recon specialist here, which comes with a spotting drone, C4 and my personal favourite, a passive radar that indicates whether or not there are any hostiles nearby.

  • The assault specialist is equipped with a grappling hook for getting around quickly: like the Q-Claw from Agent Under Fire, the grappling hook is a fantastic tool for ascending buildings and gaining a vantage point quickly. If memory serves, the assault specialist’ perk is being able to have more mobility compared to the others. This high-mobility play-style means that one might actually be better served running with a PDW or shotgun for close-quarters dominance. On the topic of Agent Under Fire, Thanksgiving Long Weekend has proven to be the perfect time to dust off the old GameCube and enjoy some old-fashioned humans vs AI bots on Town and Castle. Unlike yesterday’s blue skies and sunshine, today’s been grey and snowy, making it perfect for gaming, and since the global health crisis kicked off, I’ve been doing a lot more with the GameCube, so we actually ended up faring moderately well against the AI bots on maximum difficulty.

  • Had the open beta come out in October 2018, I probably would’ve been happier for it: by October, the Xamarin project had been deemed ready for release, pending a few bug fixes and tests. Conversely, back in September, the Xamarin project was in dire straits; there’d been a large disagreement about what constituted as HIPAA compliance, and it was put forth that HIPAA compliance demanded a 26-digit alphanumeric code that was given to users on sign in. In the end, the firm’s CEO stepped in, determined that the 6-digit code I was proposing was still compliant and allowed me to continue with my work. The resulting sign-in and onboarding became an order of magnitude simpler for my troubles, and I returned home just in time to spend a few days on the Rotterdam map in Battlefield V‘s open beta.

  • My experiences in Battlefield V‘s beta led me to pick the game up in November 2018, and by that time, I’d received an offer for a new iOS developer position, allowing me to leave behind my first start-up’s woes and its connection to the computational oncology firm in the US. That time period was characterised by relief to be setting aside work that was beginning to tax me more than it excited me. Out of vain curiosity, I decided to take a look to see what became of the app I finished, but as it turns out, the app has been stricken from both the App Store and Play Store.

  • While the computational oncology firm has advertised that mobile app would be a major part of their ecosystem, it is a little disappointing to see no advancements on the mobile side of things in the past three years. Reminiscing about these moments makes me immensely thankful that with the Battlefield 2042 open beta, I am afforded time to enjoy the beta without worrying about whether or not the JSON responses coming from the backend would arbitrarily change without warning: this time around, my main concern was whether nor not my machine could even run the open beta, speaking to its age.

  • One of the most exhilarating and terrifying moments I had during the entire beta was when I saw my first tornado: I had spawned on a squad mate, but the tornado changed direction and immediately headed for us. The tornadoes that strike Battlefield 2042‘s maps appear to be EF0 (or EF1s at most): while they’re capable of lifting vehicles into the air and easily carry players, the tornadoes don’t do any appreciable damage to the map’s buildings, creating a bit of inconsistency (a tornado capable of throwing vehicles would also uproot trees and shred roofs from houses, which is EF3-level). However, as a gameplay mechanic, I’ll let this one slide and note that here, as I seemingly glide towards my death, a bolt of lightning also strikes very close to my position, creating a surreal moment.

  • Lightning strikes in Battlefield 2042 have EMP effects and will disable vehicles, as well as scramble the player’s HUD; this is a clever effect that speaks to the dangers of how relying on complex electronic systems can leave one in a tough spot should said systems go down. Fortunately for me, I ended up steering myself away from the tornado, which also changed course at the last second, and after landing on the ground, I immediately set about trying to help my team turn around a losing match even though it’d been too late.

  • In a different match, I’ve switched over to the support specialisation and are running with the PBX-45, a copy of the LWRC SMG 45 that actually proved to be unexpectedly effective and fun to use. The SMG 45 was first introduced in 2015 and entered production in 2019. Firing .45 ACP rounds, the SMG 45 is a newer weapon and accordingly, has not appeared in many games. Battlefield 2042‘s PBX-45 marks the first time the SMG 45 appears in Battlefield (previously, the SMG 45 was in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare as the Striker 45).

  • In the days of Battlefield 3 and 4, PDWs and SMGs were hipfire machines whose small size made them laser-accurate and perfectly suited for close-quarters combat. In fact, during my Battlefield 3 days, once I unlocked the MP5K, it became my default go-to weapon: with the laser sight and extended magazines. Battlefield 1 featured SMGs as the primary for the assault class, and by Battlefield V, SMGs were the default weapon for medics. Although their applications have changed, all Battlefield SMGs (and PDWs) retain excellent hipfire performance.

  • The PBX-45 is a remarkably entertaining weapon to use, and one more thing that I’m particularly fond of its the reload animation: if one isn’t reloading from empty, the operator will pull the old magazine out and swap it for a new one, but keep the old magazine in hand to stow it. However, if reloading from empty, the old magazine is discarded. Cool reload animations have been a part of Battlefield since Hardline, where DICE really began having fun with the reload animations, but in Battlefield 1 and V, DICE upped their game by providing unique reload animations based on a weapon’s ammunition state.

  • I managed to capture this beauty of a lightning bolt while a tornado was tearing up the far side of the map here. In reality, taking stunning lightning photos is a skill and requires familiarity with the techniques. Professional weather photographers like Warren Faidley have taken some of the most iconic pictures around, and as a child, I was always fond of checking out weather books from the library to admire these images. In games like Battlefield 2042, lightning lingers on the screen for a fraction of a second longer than it does in reality, and that means so long as I hit the screenshot button quickly enough, I’ll have myself nice photo.

  • The weather patterns in Battlefield 2042 aren’t anywhere nearly as disruptive as the snowstorms of Battlefield V, and while visibility lowers whenever a storm blows in, it’s not bad enough to interfere with gameplay: even though the screen does get covered in water droplets from the rain, visibility isn’t severely degraded. Having said this, the tornado can be quite disruptive, and once the novelty wears off, it’ll become something that can negatively impact a match for players: the tornado locks down a large section of the map, and under the right circumstances, might even disrupt things enough for the other team to mount a comeback, meaning that the outcome of a given match can come down to chance rather than skill.

  • Here, I quickly reload the G57 pistol after drawing it and scoring a kill to save myself from certain death. Modern shooters tend to provide players with a sidearm as their secondary, a weapon to switch over to it when their primary runs dry. I imagine that the G57 is modelled after the Heckler and Koch Glock G17 (evidenced by the grooves on the slide’s rear. Battlefield has historically treated the Glock line of pistols as a fast-firing, moderately hard-hitting and reliable pistol. Pistols can be customised on the fly, as well, although during the open beta, there was no option to attach a suppressor.

  • While I only had six hours in the open beta, I did put in enough time to unlock the M44 Revolver, which looks like the Model 44SS6 .44 Magnum. Unlike the G57, whose strength lies in its accuracy, ease-of-handling and rate of fire, the M44 kicks like a mule and hits like a truck, dealing massive damage when it lands a successful hit. During the height of my Battlefield days, I used to run with the MP-412: this revolver still dealt excellent damage, but had a slightly faster firing rate than the .44 Magnum, meaning it could be counted on in a pinch.

  • Altogether, I played twelve rounds of conquest during the open beta, and of these twelve rounds, I only won three of them. I’m not sure what the story is, but even though I was playing the objective each and every around, I was more likely to wind up on the losing team than the winning team. However, I will note that 12 games is too small a sample size to draw meaningful data from. During earlier Battlefield games, some days, I’ll go on the most ridiculous lucky streaks where I’d play three winning games in a row, and then after a break, come back to play two more victorious matches.

  • Then, on other days, I could go and play three losing matches in a row. The law of large numbers states that over time, my victories and losses will trend towards an average and approach 50 percent from either the left or the right. However, my tendency to play the objective meant that in general, I always won slightly more often than I lost. In Battlefield 2042, outside of determining if my machine could run the game at all, my other goal had been to try as much of the infantry firearms as I could. Because of the way the Battlefield 2042 beta worked, I was able to get a very good idea of what the different weapons handled like, and here, I’ve brought the LCMG back out.

  • Owing to the haste of my deployment, I dropped right into a firefight and didn’t have time to change out my optics or underbarrel options. In spite of this, I managed to score a few kills while pressing forwards with my team into the hangar. In modern military shooters, I’m fond of equipping optics right away, since having a red dot sight or ACOG can make target acquisition much easier. However, I found that in moments where I only had iron sights, I was having considerably less trouble with them than I had before. This is like a consequence of the fact that playing so much Battlefield 1 and V in the past five years has meant that I’ve become accustomed to using iron sights for tracking targets.

  • Back in Battlefield 1, most weapons were actually better off without the crude sights available in a WWI setting, and some weapons had highly clean posts that made finding targets straightforward. Similarly, some weapons in Battlefield V had decent iron sights that could be used without much trouble. Since iron sights no longer bother me, when I play through other games like Call of Duty, I can be comfortable trading off the sights for other attachments. Of course, where sights are available, I’ll still use them: here, I’m running the PBX-45 with the K8 holographic sight, which is clear and easy to use.

  • Just for kicks, I ended up switching over to my M5 Recoilless rifle and shot a player with a rocket, since they were out of my PBX-45’s effective range. Had I attempted to engage them at this range, they would’ve noticed me throwing rocks at them and ducked for cover. Conversely, by expending a M5 round on them, I was assured of the kill, which I’m sure would’ve been a shock. I used to do something similar in Battlefield 1: since the assault class’ SMGs didn’t have much reach, I would use the AT rocket gun to pick off foes that I couldn’t otherwise reach without alerting them to my intentions.

  • Here, I managed to headshot a player calling themselves Gryphin2004 (a Family Guy reference, perhaps?) using the PBX-45, at a range that I didn’t think the weapon would work at. This particular player had killed me several times in a row by camping in the building, and it was with great satisfaction I managed to get him back one before the match ended. There weren’t many frustrating moments during the beta, but if I had to name one, dying to this camper was one of them. I’ve long disliked players who camp, since it shows excessive concern for one’s KDR over the team results, and in fact, campers are only second to cheaters in my books, when it comes to players who shouldn’t be in the game.

  • Here, I managed to score a double kill with the M5 Recoilless Rifle on a tank below: by the end of the beta, I was right at home with the M5. Players also have access to an anti-air weapon similar to the FIM-92 Stinger, and while I never got much use out of these weapons, developers have indicated that to balance them, they might make them a one-hit kill against air vehicles. If this is true, this would be a boon for folks on the ground: air vehicles are an annoyance, and in every match I played, enemy pilots went unchallenged, while for the most part, pilots on my team were not anywhere nearly as effective. Knowing that anti-air weapons could swat them out of the skies in a single hit would force pilots to play more cautiously: aircraft are equipped with countermeasures, but they have a cooldown, so a part of the skill in flying would include knowing when to back out of a fight.

  • Out of curiosity’s sake, I also ended up giving the AK24 a shot. This weapon appears to be the AK-12, a modernised AK-47, and in Battlefield 2042, hits harder than the M5A3. On the flipside, it also has a much larger recoil: I found the weapon to be quite uncontrollable when the Maul Hybrid sights were equipped. On the other hand, the iron sights, K8 and Fusion Holo sights don’t accentuate the recoil too much, making them my preferred choices for combat. Overall, however, I did prefer the M5A3 over the AK24: the M5A3 is laser-beam accurate with the right attachments, and I’ve had success with this rifle at ranges I didn’t think possible: one of my most exciting moments was burst-firing down a foe at over a hundred metres with the M5A3.

  • My experiences in the beta suggests that weapons of Battlefield 2042 are going to handle in distinct ways, and then the attachments will further accentuate a weapon’s strengths (or mitigate its weaknesses). The ability to switch attachments out on the fly is actually a pretty clever mechanic, since players with foresight can add to their inventory the attachments that they feel will work for them, and then in between matches, they might be able to customise their inventory to fit a particular play-style. Unfortunately, because of where this beta was, no deeper customisations were shown.

  • Since DICE has advertised that Battlefield 2042 will have a deeper progression system than that of Battlefield 1 and V, I am hoping this translates to something that was more similar to that of Battlefield 3 or 4‘s: Battlefield 3 had the perfect amount of unlocks, while things in Battlefield 4 felt a bit overwhelming. Documentation from DICE indicates that players will have unlocked everything they need to be successful by level 100. At the time of writing, I have no idea how long this journey would take: with earlier games, it took me about a year to get everything unlocked, and this was assuming an average of two to three hours of play every week.

  • During one match, I spawned onto the hangar rooftop at capture point bravo and decided to equip the SWS-10 for some sharpshooting. This is the TRG M10 in real life, a bolt-action rifle manufactured by the Finish company SAKO. Chambered for the .308 Winchester round, the TRG M10 can also fire .300 Winchester Magnum and .338 Lapua Magnum rounds, as well: the M10 is an upgraded, modular design that was introduced in 2011, and one of its most noteworthy features is that the toolbox for changing out the rifle’s barrel, bolts and handguard is built into the weapon itself, allowing it to change between different calibres with ease.

  • In Battlefield 2042, veterans have reported that the sniping is a little off, but during moments where long-range shots connect, it is immensely satisfying: I managed to pick off foes on the ground below from up here, and it felt incredible to fire a shot, watch it sail over to the target and strike them in the brainpan. Unfortunately, Battlefield 2042 doesn’t display the distance a headshot was made from in its beta, but these shots were incredible to land. It took me a few shots to get a feel for how the SWS-10 handled, especially with respect to bullet velocity and drop, but one thing I did find strange was the fact that the weapon appears to already have a straight-pull bolt, removing the need to scope out and chamber a new round in after one round was fired.

  • In a later match, I ended up running into a player called “not_alexus_marie” and promptly pasted their pate several times into the ground: curiosity got the better of me after I collected these screenshots, and I’m now wondering if this is the small-time Twitch streamer from Illinois that I wasted so casually. Battlefield 2042‘s lack of scoreboard, and an unusual UI in the death screen meant that during this beta, I remember those whom I’ve felled more vividly than those who outfoxed me in combat. While some gaming journalists are suggesting that some players are already using cheats in the beta, I never once felt that my foes were using software to gain an unfair advantage over others. Any time I died was a consequence of my own lack of spatial awareness, poor positioning, or the fact that my reflexes are no longer what they used to be.

  • On occasions where players looked like they one-shotted me or shot me through walls, it became apparent that my aging hardware might’ve created that discrepancy. Indeed, when I began playing more cautiously, I found myself staring at the spawn screen with a much lower frequency, and here in the beta, I do not believe I’ve run into any cheaters during the course of my six hours. DICE has stated that Battlefield 2042 will use Easy Anti-Cheat, a well-known and robust system which, in conjunction with its in-game reporting system, and an implementation of both an IP and hardware ban, should be enough to deter cheaters, which have run rampant in games like Battlefield V and Call of Duty: Warzone.

  • Cheaters were responsible for my increasing disinterest in Battlefield V, more so than any other shortcomings of that title (whether it be the poor enemy visibility, inconsistent TTK/TTD decisions, decision not to visit iconic WWII Theatre in favour of obscure ones), and what was baffling was the fact that players on my own team would adamantly refuse to acknowledge that they were playing against a cheater, despite said cheater going 120-1 five minutes into the match. In this day and age, the desire to cheat in a multiplayer game is a consequence of a desire for notoriety, for a bit of extra internet fame.

  • By yesterday evening, I’d become quite familiar with all of the open beta’s weapons and had a passable idea of how the mechanics had worked, enough to be scoring consistently well. In the last full game I played, I ended up 19-19 despite having fallen into a 2-10 hole early in the game. The team I was with was still defeated, but my own personal performance suggests that, if the time allows for it, I could probably still have a good time with Battlefield 2042‘s main game modes. Towards the end, I began running with the engineer specialisation, which brings with it an automated turret for locking down certain areas by creating a distraction.

  • During the chaos of one firefight, I ended up accidentally switching off my M5A3 for a SWS-10, and since players were swarming the capture point, I was able to pick a few off with headshots. Observant readers and players who participated in the open beta alike will have noticed that Battlefield 2042 has sectors that must both be held before it can be considered to be under one team’s control. This approach would be a fantastic way to improve team play, although speaking truthfully, the lack of a working command system meant that in the end, I lone-wolfed things for the entire duration of the beta.

  • While my approach means that any squad will make short work of me, I was a little surprised to find individual players running around the map without any support, such as this individual here. I found them on their lonesome and proceeded to make short work of them before they even got a single shot off. In a squad with good communications, as soon as one member is fired upon, the squad can move in to defend one another, secure the area and revive anyone that was downed. I’ve only ever played Battlefield once with friends during an office team building event five years earlier, but I still remember how effective we were: we topped the scoreboard, was the best squad and ended up carrying our team to victory despite none of us being particularly exceptional FPS players.

  • One of the biggest challenges I faced in the beta was with the gunner seats in vehicles: they were extremely jittery, and it was nearly impossible to get a good shot off on a target. During one of my final matches, I spawned into an Apache attack helicopter’s gunner seat and manned the 30 mm cannon with gusto, helping to clear the ground for my team in a round my team had no hope in heck of winning. I’ve never been much of a pilot myself, but I do have a fondness for manning the gunner seats in vehicles. With a good pilot, I am able to really do damage in the gunner’s seat.

  • It suddenly strikes me that the more recent Battlefield releases have all coincided with a milestone in my life: Battlefield 4 launched after I graduated from the Bachelor of Health Sciences programme, and Battlefield 1 released after I finished graduate school and begun the transition over into industry. Battlefield V launched right as I got a new job, and Battlefield 2042‘s launch date is going to be very close to my possession date. At the time of writing, there’s a few more things I have to tend to ahead of this, but I am very excited about things.

  • Truth be told, I am surprised that things had happened as quickly as they did; even back in August, I’d only been house hunting and never thought that a property meeting all of my requirements would become available on the market this soon. A lot can happen over the course of a year, and while 2021 saw its share of challenges, the year also saw numerous positive changes. I’ve been incredibly lucky in many regards, and this is something I am immensely thankful for. If I were making decisions on the basis of emotion alone (as opposed to reason and logic), Battlefield 2042 would be an easy purchase simply for the fact that it coincides with a major life event, much as how Battlefield 41 and V did.

  • However, this isn’t how I roll: instead, whether or not I end up buying Battlefield 2042 will be determined by how well the game runs at launch and whether or not Battlefield Portal fulfils my requirements. Provided the game can run well, and Portal offers what I am looking for, then Battlefield 2042 will be worth the cost of admissions. The game has most certainly been fun during the open beta, and here, a solitary kill with the LCMG marks the last one I got before the servers shut down; I had just started a match, but it was getting late, so I decided to call it quits after getting one more kill.

Having put a total of six hours into the Battlefield 2042 beta, the main deciding factor now as to whether or not I’ll pick up the game after it launches, or if I will wait, is determined by a few things. The first is whether or not DICE does indeed optimise the game so it’s not pushing my CPU to 100 percent utilisation for extended periods. I’ve heard that people with more recent CPUs still experienced the same issues, so it is possible that building a new PC might not be the solution to this. Waiting to hear from early-adopters who buy the game will allow me to gain more information before making a decision. Similarly, the open beta has only shown one game mode (Conquest) on one map (Orbital). Battlefield 2042‘s biggest feature is Battlefield Portal, a full-scale sandbox mode that allows players to have full control in designing games for themselves. On first blush, this mode appears even more enticing and immersive than Battlefield 2042 proper. Depending on what is available and possible within Battlefield Portal, this alone could be worth the price of admissions (assuming my machine can run things smoothly). Finally, the open beta evidently is an incomplete build of the game that is not production-ready: numerous issues do need to be addressed, from UI layout, functionality and performance before DICE can have a smooth, satisfying launch. Historically, DICE’s records with launches are mixed: Battlefield 4 was a disaster, but Battlefield 1 was exemplary. Overall, my position now is simple: I will wait until around the holiday season to determine whether or not Battlefield 2042 joins my library. Building a new PC is straightforward enough, and my current machine still runs Battlefield 2042 in a satisfactory manner, so the main deciding factor now is going to be primarily seeing how well Portal works in practise. The prospect of being able to play bots on a private session to experiment with outrageous scenarios (like how well a single M1A2 fares against 20 Tiger I tanks), or join servers with outlandish game modes designed for relaxation rather than competition, is most enticing. Similarly, I am getting up there in the years to be squaring off against youth with faster reflexes: the ol’ fingers and brain no longer move as quickly as they did when I was a university student. Gone are the days where I could survive a firefight against an entire squad, so on days where I don’t feel like fighting real players, having the choice to mess around in Battlefield 2042 maps and modes at a more relaxed pace would also be welcomed. As such, this Battlefield 2042 open beta has been very informative for me: I know my rig can (just barely) run Battlefield 2042, the setup is still fun enough for me, and once I have a little more information on things like features and Battlefield Portal following the game’s launch, I’ll be able to make a more informed decision on things.