The Infinite Zenith

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Tag Archives: DICE

Sunsetting Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and Reflections A Decade After The First Otafest

“The Russians…they’re invading. Not here, they’re coming in through Alaska!” –General Braidwood

When it launched in March 2010, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 became DICE’s most acclaimed title, with critics praising the game for being a fantastic continuation of 2008’s Bad Company and improving on its predecessor in every way. In subsequent years, Battlefield fans had hoped for a sequel to Bad Company 2, in the form of Bad Company 3, and then-general manager of DICE, Karl-Magnus Troedsson, stated that Bad Company 3 was not in development because the studio hadn’t quite understood why Bad Company 2 was as successful as it was. This was ultimately unconvincing, as Bad Company 2‘s success boils down to one simple fact: both its single player campaign and multiplayer experiences were solid, essential parts of the experience that drew players in. The campaign was engaging because it offered a novel alternative to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Back then, modern military shooters possessed very grim and serious campaigns that accentuated how gritty and unglamourous warfare was, telling a dark tale of reluctant heroism before sending players into the high-paced sandbox of multiplayer. By bringing in a cast of colourful characters, Bad Company 2 stepped away from this. From the world-weary Redford, cautious Sweetwater and loud-mouthed demolitions expert Haggard, Bad Company 2 allowed the members of the 222nd Army Battalion’s B-Company squad to bounce off one another. During lulls in firefights, or while gamboling through South America, the members of B-Company crack bad jokes at one another and may wax philosophical. Even when under heavy fire, Haggard may make wisecracks about their situation. The levity amongst members of B-Company made difficult situations seem more manageable, and even when all hope seems lost, B-Company member Marlowe encourages Haggard and the others that they should keep on fighting, if only to save the Dallas Cowboys and their iconic cheerleaders, giving Haggard the motivation he needs to continue kicking ass. Coupled with the fact that Bad Company 2‘s campaign takes players to South America, a region of the world that games often ignore, Bad Company 2‘s single player campaign was remarkably entertaining and endlessly replayable. Bad Company 2 had ended with B-Company successfully destroying Aguire and his Scalar Weapon, but as it turns out, the Russians had allowed Aguire to carry out his plan as a distraction for their invasion of North America, coming in through Alaska.

The multiplayer in Bad Company 2 was an even greater hit than the campaign: with its emphasis on destruction and superb map design, players found an experience unlike any other period game. Players using buildings as cover and sniper nests needed to be cognisant of the fact that opponents could shell the buildings into the ground, and maps provided players plenty of options to move around, allowing them to play in the manner of their choosing. The progression system in Bad Company 2 is deep enough to encourage replay and earning unlocks, but at the same time, it’s not so complex that one is overwhelmed by the number of available options. The interplay between classes meant that players needed to rely on teammates to be successful, but at the same time, players who mastered the classes could adapt to fit any situation and perform for their team. On top of this, the Vietnam expansion provided all-new environments and guns for dedicated players to further their experience. The variety in gameplay, balance between scale and focus, and unpredictability of a sandbox environment meant no two games were alike; DICE would eventually push the envelope and build Battlefield titles around a 32-versus-32 experience, but Bad Company 2‘s 16-versus-16 players provided the “Only in Battlefield” moments without creating excessive chaos. Overall, Bad Company 2 became an integral part of the Battlefield franchise, and while Troedsson was probably speaking out of caution, the reality was that Bad Company 2‘s successes had come from providing players with a very tight, focused and purposeful game that was simultaneously challenging, rewarding and hilarious. A Bad Company 3 would have been successful if it was able to continue on in the footsteps of its predecessor, finding a way to continue incorporating large-scale destruction into things while offering the 64-player experience and deeper progression system that Battlefield 3 provided. In fact, one could say that, if Bad Company 3 simply consisted of Battlefield 3‘s multiplayer with a continuation to B-Company’s story, that game would’ve proven to be a smash hit.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Bad Company 2 was my first-ever Battlefield game: it was a rainy day in late August, and my best friend had invited me over to check the game out, along with the then-new web series, Marble Hornets. I found myself hooked on the gameplay, and three years later, after I built a new desktop, I finally had the computational horsepower to play the game for myself. I started shortly after my term finished, and through the month, I incrementally made my way through the game, enjoying the experience at 1080p for the first time (at my best friend’s place, I believe we were playing at 1280 and 1024, since he was running a CRT monitor). Bad Company 2 proved to be a remarkable experience, and no Battlefield campaign has since come close to being quite as engaging.

  • I subsequently wrote about my experiences as I progressed through Bad Company 2 – these posts are written in an older style with the tone of a walkthrough, and for the first time, I wrote about a game on a level-by-level basis. This was made possible by the fact that at 1080p, I was able to showcase the visuals in a game at hitherto unprecedented detail, motivating me to write about games in depth and in the process, eventually led to my writing more extensively for this blog. At around this time of year a decade earlier, I would’ve reached the Sangre del Toro mission in Bad Company 2, and I recall this mission best as having played it after returning home from my first-ever Otafest.

  • If memory serves, I decided to bite the bullet and finally attend the local anime convention, having sat out previous years on account of scheduling conflicts. It was on a cool, overcast morning that I set out, and shortly after arriving on campus grounds, I met up with a friend from the health sciences programme who was also attending. After browsing through the exhibitor hall and all of the vendors, we would catch our breath at a screening of Full Metal Alchemist before going for lunch. The afternoon was spent in an autograph session, and after one last sweep of the exhibitor hall, we parted ways. Along the way, we took in the sights and sounds of the anime convention and the cosplayers.

  • My first convention experience was a bit of a mixed bag: while I wasn’t able to find any K-On! merchandise outside of Figmas (I’d been hoping to pick up a few keychains), and I later learnt that there’d been exclusive pins that I needed to trade for, attending my first convention also was great fun, allowing me to see cosplayers and their ingenuity, as well as take in the positive energy in an environment that celebrated a shared love for Japanese popular culture. Attending Otafest in 2013 also introduced me to the Red Wagon Diner food truck and their Montreal Smoked Meat Hash. In the end, I left my first attendance at Otafest generally satisfied, and mostly exhausted.

  • Armed with this first experience, I was able to plan a bigger and better return a year later; with ten attendees in tow (myself included), my second Otafest experience saw our group visit the reservations-only maid café and sit through an autograph session with Yū Asakawa (Azumanga Daioh‘s Sakaki, Makoto Aoyama of Love Hina, and K-On!‘s Norimi Kawaguchi) and Brad Swaille (Gundam 00‘s Setsuna F. Seiei and Light Yagami of Death Note). Thanks to superior planning and exploration, I also was able to pick up an HGUC Full Armour Unicorn (Destory Mode). I left Otafest 2014 immensely satisfied, and in later years, as Otafest continued to grow, they eventually made the Telus Convention Centre as their new home.

  • My time as an attendee of Otafest have been overwhelmingly positive, although at this point, I had also felt that I’d experienced everything the local convention had to offer. Generally speaking, the main draw of any anime convention is are the special guests, usually voice actors and actresses, although in some cases, staff from studios or larger companies like Sunrise and Kyoto Animation may also make an appearance, giving fans an unparalleled chance to learn ask questions about the industry. In the anime conventions of the late 2000s, this was a big deal, since bloggers like Dark Mirage could take insider information from these panels and share it on their blogs for internet credit.

  • Besides industry guests, anime conventions also appeal to visitors because they may offer exclusive merchandise as a result of large companies being in attendance, and the largest anime conventions, like Anime Expo and Anime Asia Singapore, also would screen anime films in advance of their Japanese première (e.g. in 2016, Anime Expo pre-screened Your Name to attendees who were lucky to secure a ticket into the screening room). These bonuses are only available to the largest of conventions, which draw tens or even hundreds of thousands of visitors. Smaller conventions like Otafest have a correspondingly smaller operational budget and are unlikely to be able to bring in more notable special guests (Ayane Sakura, Ai Kayano and Nao Tōyama come to mind).

  • In days past, the exhibitor hall and screening rooms were also a major draw at anime conventions, and even smaller conventions like Otafest could draw in viewers, since they were the only time of year where fans could purchase anime merchandise and check out the latest shows. Since the advent of ubiquitous broadband internet, however, these aspects of an anime convention have become less significant: it is possible for people to buy anime merchandise easily from places like and CD Japan, and streaming services allow people to watch any show of a given season from the comfort of home, meaning that screening rooms, unless they show something that is not otherwise available (e.g. Your Name), are not as relevant as they once were.

  • Similarly, the exhibitor hall can be a hit-or-miss depending on what one is looking for. Fans of more well-known series will have no trouble finding what they’re looking for, but folks who like more obscure works will be hard-pressed to find merchandise related to their favourite series. These factors, coupled with my own travels to Japan some years earlier, have diminished my interest in visiting anime conventions as an attendee: I’m no cosplayer, I don’t play the same games that most anime fans do and panels don’t offer me much in the way of learning about anime or Japan. However, as a non-profit event, Otafest donates their proceeds to a local charity, and this makes the local convention commendable.

  • Because Otafest is a volunteer-run event, one that simultaneously celebrates a love for Japanese popular culture and gives back to the community, it is worthwhile to contribute and help out as a volunteer. This is why in more recent years, I’ve looked at being a volunteer, and while my first application was unsuccessful on account of my signing up a little too late, back in 2019, I was brought on to help out. Volunteering allowed me to experience Otafest from the other side of the fence: it was fantastic to help attendees having the best possible time while at the same time, exploring the convention freely (this is one of the perks about volunteering, and in fact, volunteers are encouraged to check things out when they’ve got a moment).

  • This year, Otafest celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary, and it is quite fitting that I will be returning to volunteering, precisely a decade after I first attended – in the past ten years, a great deal has happened, and the circle is now complete. The fact that the local convention has endured for a quarter of a century speaks to the commitment and dedication of those who run the show, and having volunteered previously, it’s easy to see why this convention has the same level of energy and excitement surrounding larger conventions while at the same time, possessing the intimacy and friendliness of a small convention. Locations and staff may have changed over the years, but the convention remains an iconic part of Calgary.

  • Back in Bad Company 2, I’ve returned to the “Crack the Sky” mission, one of my favourite missions in the game for introducing the M95, a 50-calibre rifle with unparalleled damage. Although counted as being inferior to the Type 88 in the campaign, since both rifles are a one-hit kill, and the Type 88 is semi-automatic, the M95 is better suited for extreme long range combat, since its bullet drop is less pronounced than that of the Type 88. Over the past decade, I’ve beaten the game three times from the first mission; after my original play-through in 2013, I would move on to Battlefield 3 and newer iterations of Battlefield. However, in 2021, circumstances pushed me to upgrade my previous desktop to Windows 10 from Windows 8, and the process saw me lose all of my campaign progress in Bad Company 2.

  • Since moving to my current desktop, I would lose all of my save data again – Bad Company 2 doesn’t have any cloud save capabilities, and so, if the game is ever uninstalled, all of the progression disappears with it. In 2021, while the global health crisis was still going on, I spent the May Long Weekend playing through Bad Company 2 again: I was able to blaze through the game on standard difficulty over the course of a few hours as a result of knowing where everything was. While Bad Company 2‘s mechanics are dated, the game still handles remarkably well.

  • All of the screenshots in this post date back to January – I’d had my new desktop for a little more than nine months by then, but I hadn’t found the time to sit down and beat Bad Company 2 again, ahead of the ten year mark to when I’d first completed the game. Here, I operate an M1A2 Abrams Tank during a mission to reach a rural South American village and capture a person of interest, but Russian forces stand between B-Company and their target. Bad Company 2‘s story falls apart upon scrutiny (if Americans overtly authorised direct action against Russian forces, a war would certainly begin), but the game more than makes up for this through the characters.

  • Later Battlefield games, while still being enjoyable experiences, lack the same tenour and spirit that Bad Company 2 possessed, and this is why to this day, Bad Company 2 is so beloved. As memory serves, after I completed the campaign, I occasionally dabbled in the multiplayer subsequently: unlike the campaign, the multiplayer offers more weapon and customisation options, as well as maps set in different parts of the world. What had made the multiplayer so iconic was the presence of unparalleled destruction; buildings could be destroyed in the campaign, and in fact, one of my most memorable moments when starting out was taking refuge in a building while trying to get away from enemy armour.

  • The tank had done so much damage that the building collapsed, killing my character instantly. In the campaign, destruction was a gimmick, but in the multiplayer, it was a part of the strategy one could use to alter a map’s layout, forcing other players to adapt and giving one a brief advantage to press forward or retreat. While Bad Company 2 might’ve been a tough act to follow, I feel that if Bad Company 3 had released with improved visuals and mechanics from Frostbite 2, while at the same time, kept the destruction, it would’ve already been a home run. The campaign would, of course, deal with the Russian invasion, but even this could be tempered by Haggard and Sweetwater’s bickering, offering an alternate look at war in ways that more serious games, like Modern Warfare 2, do not.

  • For the most part, modern military shooters have very linear campaigns, and Bad Company 2 was no different. However, for the ninth mission, Sangre del Toro, players are tasked with driving to three relay stations to help triangulate the location of a missing freighter, which is rumoured to contain a component vital to the Scalar Weapon’s operation. Players can visit the triangulation stations in any order, and the vast desert environment gives players a more sandbox-like environment. This is one of the most unique missions in any Battlefield campaign, and while Battlefield 3 and 4 did not offer similar missions, Battlefield 1 and V would incorporate such missions into their stories.

  • Battlefield campaigns have been quite divisive, and most players hold the belief that DICE would’ve done better to skip over the implementation of a single-player campaign in favour of multiplayer, hoping that more effort directed towards the multiplayer would improve the quality of game mechanics, as well as the quantity of content. Battlefield 2042 shows that these sentiments may not necessarily hold true; the game’s launch was extremely rough even though the game did not feature a campaign, and the absence of a story diminished all of the fighting that players were participating in.

  • With this being said, if the absence of a campaign is what led to a more extensive support for single-player modes in a multiplayer setting, it’s is a tradeoff I am willing to accept: Battlefield 2042‘s single-player mode allows one to play alone (or invite up to three friends) on a server where it’s just them, and AI bots. The absence of other players means, one can use the environment to practise flying or getting used to new weapons without disrupting their team, or being disrupted by aggressive enemies. In this way, when one feels reasonably confident about their loadout, they can step into PvP modes, ready to help their team out.

  • This was a longstanding gripe I had about earlier Battlefield titles: the inability to practise flying without a half-dozen Javelins or Stinger missiles locking onto me meant I never did master the art of operating planes and helicopters, and there are some days where I wish to explore the maps and fire cool guns without other players around. Battlefield has a host of wonderful maps, and I do wish that older games would have featured the same single-player modes that Battlefield 2042 has, as this would’ve permitted exploration of these spaces in peace.

  • The lighthouse here would form the basis for Valparaiso’s central landmark. Battlefield Portal brings back several maps from Bad Company 2, all remastered for the present, and this does allow players to revisit. If Battlefield Portal could get more maps and weapons, it would be one way of keeping the older titles alive after they’ve been sunsetted. While the technology’s improved, the nature of modern games makes their preservation significantly more difficult – older games mirror the times that resulted in their development and therefore provide insight into society and technology of that time, as well as offering inspiration for current and future titles.

  • On the whole, improving technology has made it easier to preserve older games, and services like Steam, in offering older games, makes it possible for folks to share in older experiences. Looking back is an immensely valuable exercise, and playing older games offers inspiration as well as an opportunity for introspection. Here, I reach the container ship in the Atacama Desert. I’ve never understood how this phenomenon is possible – it makes sense for ships to be found in former lakebeds and the like, but this segment of desert in Sangre del Toro is hundreds of kilometers inland. When I reached this point back in 2013, I was at a loss for solutions, but the trick is to shoot the explosive barrels, which creates a blast that shifts the containers into a makeshift ramp.

  • The last segments of Bad Company 2 become increasingly high-paced as the hunt for the Scalar Weapon becomes more desperate. The game returns B-company to the jungles of South America, and here, I recall memories of the last days of the August during my first year of summer research when, on a return trip to my best friend’s place, I was invited to play what he considered to be one of the more hectic missions in Bad Company 2. Admittedly, I do miss those times – we lived within walking distance of one another, and when my summer research had wrapped up, I had nothing but spare time on my hands. Going over to his place to play Bad Company 2 and watch Marble Hornets had been a fun way of spending the remaining days of the summer.

  • By the time I reached my final undergraduate year, a chance Steam Sale allowed me to pick up Bad Company 2 for five dollars. Back then, however, my desktop would’ve just been able to handle the game – the Dell XPS 420 I had sported a Core 2 Quad Q6600, 3 GB of DDR2 RAM and an ATI HD 2600 XT. With that machine, I would’ve been able to run the game on minimum settings, but at the same time, I decided to hold back, knowing that playing Bad Company 2 would’ve distracted me from my thesis preparations. In the end, I ended up waiting until May, after I’d built a new desktop, to play Bad Company 2, and within moments of starting the game at 1080p, I knew my patience was well rewarded.

  • According to the blog archives, I spaced out walkthroughs of the missions in Bad Company 2 throughout the summer of 2013 – my research project, a distributed biological visualisation system that ran different simulations on different computers and used network calls to send information between different systems, had progressed reasonably well that summer. While this work wouldn’t influence anything I would work on in graduate school, and it didn’t result in anything publishable, it did show that game engines could, theoretically, be used to construct highly detailed models of biological systems. There had been a certain melancholy about that project; the NSERC USRA did not have any attached conditions to it, and since I was now done my undergraduate program, there was no obligation to go back and do a poster presentation on it at the Faculty of Health Sciences, either.

  • My supervisor believed in allowing students to explore the capabilities of technologies, even if they didn’t lead anywhere meaningful: in subsequent years, our lab acquired a HoloLens and Oculus Rift. My thesis project was ported into both in an experimental capacity, although neither became full-fledged enough to become publication worthy. In the end, my distributed modelling approach never quite reached maturity, and the idea was discarded entirely a little less than a year later – by April 2014, Unity had become free, and my supervisor was intrigued to know if it was capable enough to replace our in-house game engine. Within a week of learning Unity, I had put together a viable prototype of what would become the Giant Walkthrough Brain.

  • Owing to the ease of things, my supervisor decided to sunset the in-house game engine I had worked with during the whole of my undergraduate degree, and with it, all of the work I did in the summer of 2013, along with the other graduate and undergraduate student’s previous projects, were shelved as the lab began exploring Unity (and later, Unreal Engine). Technologies constantly change, and as things improve, they also leave behind incompatibility: while it is important to maintain backwards compatibility, there are also times where it is no longer economical (or technically feasible) to do so. This is why, as saddening as it is to see Bad Company 2 sunsetted, I also see it from the other perspective – the game’s had a fantastic run and remained available to players for the past thirteen years.

  • In a discussion with my best friend, he expressed confidence that some resourceful fans of Bad Company 2 will get their own servers up and running, allowing those with the game to continue playing it. As of April 28, however, Bad Company 2 was removed from digital storefronts like Steam and Origin, along with Battlefield 1943, and servers are scheduled to shut down fully in December. With this turn of events, I’m glad to have purchased the game when I did, but this also a sobering reminder that EA Games won’t always be around, and that generally speaking, support for always-online games can be arbitrarily dropped at any time, so one must consider their decision to purchase a game carefully.

  • My style has been to pick games up years after their release, and so far, I’ve been quite lucky: The Division 2 and Ghost Recon: Wildlands‘ servers are still online, so I was able to finish them in whole and get my money’s worth from them. Generally speaking, I am satisfied if a game offers me a dollar per hour. That is to say, if I spent 10 dollars on a game and get 10 hours of enjoyment, that game has been a good use of money. According to my Steam account, I’ve spent about 60 hours in-game (presumably, 40 hours in the campaign and 20 in the multiplayer): since I bought the game for five dollars, this corresponds to about eight cents per hour.

  • Here, I storm the Antonov AN-124 carrying the Scalar Weapon in Bad Company 2‘s final mission. With this, my reflection comes to a close: I remark that this reflection’s been a bit of a fun one, and with Otafest beginning tomorrow, I am looking forwards to both helping out as a volunteer, seeing if there’s anything in the exhibitor’s hall that catches my fancy (I am hoping to buy a Yuru Camp△ Nendoroid and pick up some Otafest 25 Anniversary swag, like pins) and meeting up with my best friend, who’s attending to get some pointers on Gunpla painting. Although I do not doubt it will be a fantastic day ahead tomorrow, it’s also going to be a long one, so it will be prudent for me to catch some rest ahead of things.

A few months earlier, EA had announced that they would be removing earlier Battlefield titles (Battlefield 1943, Bad Company and Bad Company 2) from their online storefronts on April 28, and by December 8, all online services for these games will be permanently shut down, rendering their multiplayer components unplayable. The sunsetting of these older Battlefield titles is a disappointment and serves as a warning to what can happen with always-online games: classic experiences may be shut down at any time, and this leaves players without a legitimate, safe means of playing their favourite games. This was always one of the hazards of online games, and while it is undoubtedly disappointing for many, especially in light of how modern games do not always offer consistent, tight experiences compared to their predecessors, there remains a glimmer of hope. Battlefield 2042 is the first Battlefield game to offer offline modes and the ability for players to customise their modes to a satisfactory extent. Through Battlefield Portal, one can create a private experience for themselves, allowing them to replicate classic experiences like 1000-ticket TDM on Noshahr Canals, or a custom rush match at Africa Harbour. Although Battlefield Portal‘s implementation is still dependent on DICE’s servers, the existence of these tools and the possibility for players to spin up their own servers creates the opportunity for games to have increased longevity. Call of Duty has, historically, been further ahead of Battlefield in this area, allowing players to create private offline matches against AI bots, and here, if DICE could implement a self-contained means for players to either play offline with AI bots or host their own serves, this would give their Battlefield titles increased value. For the present, I will be sad to see Bad Company 2 go: while I’ve not played on a server for almost a decade, I do vividly remember having fun with both the online matches I played on my then-new desktop, as well as going through the campaign at my best friend’s place on a rainy day prior to the start of my second year of university. There is a small consolation: Battlefield Portal does offer three classic Bad Company 2 maps, and despite the servers being offline, I still have access to Bad Company 2‘s excellent campaign, having bought the game on a sale a few weeks before my undergraduate defense exam.

Battlefield 2042: Return of Classes in the Eleventh Hour and Future Directions

“Nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won.” –Duke of Wellington

With Eleventh Hour and the recent class rework, Battlefield 2042 has reached a state where it finally handles as its predecessors did. The fundamental mechanics behind the game are operational and smooth, with weapons handling very well. Most of the major bugs and errors are now resolved, and the reintroduction of classes means the clear delineation of roles, resulting in increased emphasis on team play as players must focus on their class’ focus. In particular, support players become invaluable for reviving and resupplying allied players, while engineers can concentrate on vehicle-related elements, whether it be repairing friendly vehicles or destroying enemy vehicles. While recon players are typically maligned for running off to the furthest corners of the map and camping with a sniper rifle, a good recon player will have no qualms using drones to spot enemies or finding clever places to drop a spawn beacon and ensure faster return to the frontlines. Assault players are all about pushing forwards onto objectives now, using their speed or durability to initiate a capture. With each class given a specific role, players have more inclination to support their allies, and after returning to Battlefield 2042 following the class rework, the game feels distinctly like its predecessor. In particular, the support class has become especially powerful, and I find myself being revived with a much greater frequency. Looking at how Battlefield 2042 handles, it is fair to say that the current implementation of classes and specialists is what Battlefield V‘s archetype system was likely meant to be – originally, Battlefield V had provided each class with two archetypes. Depending on which archetype one had chosen, one would be given different perks to facilitate a different play-style. Although this was an innovative addition that encouraged players to fulfil a specific role, archetypes were also quite limited, and there had been different incentives to switch between them. On the other hand, Battlefield 2042‘s specialists, once a maligned and questionable change to the game, now make sense: each specialist carries a unique gadget and passive abilities that allow one to fulfil their role in a manner they are most comfortable with. The reintroduction of classes shows that specialists can be made to work with the class system, and while questions of why DICE had initially dispensed with classes remains a valid question, in its current state, adding classes back into Battlefield 2042 is a “better late than never” change – the game now feels properly like a Battlefield game.

The fourth season’s launch brings with it four new weapons, one new gadget and one new map; in keeping with the relatively paltry amount of content, Battlefield 2042‘s limited content continues to remain a point of contention, since older Battlefield titles released up to nine new weapons and four maps with every update. However, there is no denying that the new content remains entertaining, and here in the fourth season, players gain access to Flashpoint, a desert facility set in Richtersveld, South Africa. Early concept art had suggested that the Flashpoint map would be similar to Operation Metro and its successors. Had this been the case, Flashpoint would’ve been a brilliant infantry-only experience of the sort that I’d become very fond of, providing a novel experience in Battlefield 2042. However, the actual product was quite different: the map retains the Battlefield 2042 design in that it features a mixture of open areas and tight interior spaces, so that each weapon type is viable depending on where one is on the map. The balance of narrow passageways and cliffs with excellent vantage points was designed with Battlefield 2042‘s class system in mind; players are most effective when working together, wielding a variety of weapons. The map itself is also visually impressive. Although perhaps not as jaw-dropping as the new maps from previous seasons, Flashpoint is by no means boring – the fuel storage units and generator buildings create an industrial aesthetic that fits in with the themes Battlefield 2042‘s maps strive to convey. There are, however, some design problems and disappointments with flashpoint. The map has three main lanes of travel, with all of the capture points being placed along the centre lane, while the outermost lanes are quite barren. This leaves players fighting for objectives open to vehicles and snipers camping in the side lanes, and similarly, the sheer number of flanking routes mean that one can’t ever be too sure of how secure their position is, as enemy players can readily sneak in, unseen, and eliminate whole squads in seconds. The constant chaos makes it difficult to regain momentum, and on most of the matches I played, once a team gains the upper hand with vehicles, it becomes tricky for the other team to mount a comeback. Similarly, the emphasis on outdoors combat, and the relatively small tunnel area, means that like the existing Battlefield 2042 maps, Flashpoint is vehicle-centred. Introducing an infantry-only map into Battlefield 2042 would’ve increased map variety and provide players with an environment where infantry chaos reigns supreme, offering a novel experience, but leaving the map as being vehicle-friendly limits options for players. These minor gripes notwithstanding, Flashpoint remains a fun map, and the same design constraints that lead me to dying to sneaky foes can be utilised against others, resulting in some memorable gameplay moments.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Since I last wrote about Battlefield 2042, DICE added thermal optics to the game. These optics cut right through smoke and render players as clear as day, giving players an effective counter against smoke grenades. Although thermal optics have limited utility in most games owing to how bright environments are, and weapon attachments are fixed, forcing one to choose carefully, the +-system in Battlefield 2042 means it’s easy to swap between optics depending on the situation. Beyond thermal optics, the updates have also brought back marksman bonuses that provide one with a visual indicator of how distant their best headshots were.

  • These details have meant that at the time of writing, Battlefield 2042 finally feels like an almost-complete, enjoyable Battlefield experience. The only thing that’s missing from the game now is a server browser. I’ve heard that the lack of a server browser in modern multiplayer titles stems from a multitude of factors: between forcing skill-based match-making on players and attempting to appeal to a non-PC demographic (console players generally prefer matchmaking over server browsers on virtue of lacking a comfortable UX for looking through long lists of servers), most studios omit this feature nowadays: Modern Warfare II also lacks a dedicated server browser.

  • For me, the main advantage about the server browser is simply being able to play on the maps I’d wish to play on, versus being matched into a map I may not be particularly fond of. Every Battlefield game has its share of maps I’m less keen on (Fao Fortress, Fjell 652 and Aerodrome come to mind), and a server browser lets me to spend less time on the maps I don’t like. In Battlefield 2042, the lack of a server browser means I’ve not been able to try some of the newly reworked maps, but every season opens with dedicated matchmaking for the new map, allowing me to focus purely on the new experiences as they become available, and here, I manage to land a two-in-one with the DRX-1.

  • As the new map, Flashpoint is a desert map set in South Africa, and the in-game lore states that here in Richtersveld, the aim is to capture a rocket fuel processing facility and a special bit of hardware within. Flashpoint consists of fractioning towers and warehouses in a rocky environment, with a central tunnel leading into a vast silo at the heart of the map. When promotional imagery for the map first released, people had been hopeful that an Operation Metro-like experience would be the result, dealing with a vast underground mining tunnel under construction or similar.

  • Infantry-only maps in Battlefield have always been enjoyable for offering unparalleled chaos, so it was a bit of a disappointment to see that Flashpoint doesn’t have the same intentions as Operation Metro-like maps. With this being said, Flashpoint is aesthetically pleasing, which is a lot more than can be said of most desert maps. Longtime readers may be familiar with my distaste for desert maps, and this can be attributed to the overuse of desert environments in works of science fiction. George Lucas is notorious for favouring desert maps – although literary critics have helpfully explained that deserts were meant to symbolise dead-end, lifeless environments devoid of hope, so a hero’s ascension is all the more inspirational and Christ-like, it doesn’t stop deserts from being any less exciting.

  • From a filming perspective, it makes sense to pick deserts simply for ease of production, but the need for all deserts to include large, carnivorous worms and spice grows old quickly. This is why in a given Battlefield game, I tend to avoid playing on desert maps that are too Saharan or Arabian in aesthetic. On the other hand, deserts like the Kalahari are fine. I did not finding myself growing bored of Flashpoint’s environment because the number of fuel processing facilities and warehouses kept the map fresh. Despite the wide open spaces, there’s room for everything from submachine guns to sniper rifles on Flashpoint.

  • Accompanying the class update is the fact that every class now has weapon proficiencies. Assault players gain extra magazines when equipping assault rifles, while support players can swap weapons faster if they’re running a submachine gun. Engineers have improved weapon stability if crouched or prone with a light machine gun, and recon players have superior weapon stability with sniper rifles. Bonuses notwithstanding, all classes can equip all weapons, with the obvious difference being that the weapon proficiency bonuses aren’t applied if one picks weapons their class typically won’t run with. This ensures players keep the options they’ve become accustomed to, while at the same time, encouraging players to stick with their proficiencies if they want maximum efficacy in a team setting.

  • Players aren’t punished if they choose to run with weapons outside of their proficiency, and in this way, I was able to use the BSV-M in conjunction with the support class. Since the class rework, I’ve found that Falck has replaced Angel as my favourite support specialist: her passive ability is instantly healing all revived players, and her special gadget is the S21 Syrette Pistol, which fires darts that heal allied players over time and can be used to instantly bring one back to full health in a pinch. I found that, when combined with the resupply crate, Falck has limitless utility, being able to resupply and heal friendly players alike.

  • The BSV-M had seen less utility in previous seasons, but on Flashpoint, the combination of wide open spaces and close quarters confines meant that the BSV-M’s ability to adapt instantly to long and short range combat made it indispensable. Here, I gun down to players with the BSV-M’s automatic mode with back-to-back headshots, including one player calling themselves “AngelaBalzac”,  a not-so-oblique reference to the 2014 film, Expelled From Paradise. Admittedly, owing to Battlefield 2042‘s poor reception despite having made considerable strides, player counts in the game remain quite low, and during the start of this fourth season, I had some difficulty in finding populated servers to join.

  • More often than not, I ended up joining a match on a server that was awaiting players. However, once the minimum number of players were queued up and the game started, I found that the ability for Battlefield 2042 to populate the remainder of the server with AI bots meant that the individual matches felt quite active, no different than a server fully populated with human opponents and allies. This was probably one of Battlefield 2042‘s best additions – I understand why the game still requires a certain number of human players to start the match, but once this threshold is reached and players are allowed to start, the experience is solid.

  • During the previous season, I didn’t get to giving the NVK-P125 pistol or the NVK-S22 shotgun a whirl. The NVK-P125 is a excellent sidearm with improved range and accuracy compared to that of other sidearms. With its futuristic design, the NVK-P125 has a digital display for indicating the number of rounds available to players, reminiscent of Halo‘s iconic assault rifle. It’s an excellent weapon to pair with a submachine gun. On the other hand, I’ve yet to try the NVK-S22 out despite having unlocked it: shotguns don’t really seem to be effective in Battlefield 2042 as far as I can tell.

  • During the course of my time spent in Flashpoint, I ended up switching back over to the LCMG – the PKP-BP has a higher rate of fire, and the Avancys is more accurate at range, but since the LCMG occupies a sweet spot between the two, it actually ends up being a remarkably reliable and consistent weapon. Besides Falck, I began using Lis significantly more after the class update. I always found Lis to be a fun character to play owing to her ability to automatically mark vehicles and for being able to utilise the G-84 TGM, a TV-guided missile launcher. This weapon had been quite effective, but in the present, has been tuned so it is harder to fly and deals less damage against vehicles. As a result of her specialisation, Lis is unable to carry the other shoulder-fired anti-vehicle launchers in the game.

  • The introduction of a class system ultimately encouraged me to try more of the specialists out – previously, I played as Angel exclusively owing to his ability to call in loadout crates, and by creating well-defined loadouts early on, I could effortlessly change roles multiple times during a match without needing to return to the spawn screen. This made Angel the top means of running solo; although perfect in a game against AI bots, it also meant I had little incentive to use any other specialist while unlocking weapons.

  • Thanks to the addition of Zain, the assault class is also a good choice – these players favour speedy insertion and exfiltration from a capture point and possess perks that allow them to push objectives. In Zain’s case, the passive ability to regenerate health after every kill encourages a more aggressive play-style, and I found this to be useful over what the other specialists offer. Here, I’m running with the AC-42, a burst-fire rifle. Although I used it primarily against the AI bots in the solo mode for the purpose of levelling it up, I found it modestly useful against live players at longer ranges: burst fire is reliable at close ranges, but with the right attachments and while in semi-automatic mode, it actually can serve as a makeshift marksman rifle.

  • Throughout this post, I focus exclusively on conquest: the featured mode for Flashpoint conquest is 64 players, and this makes it both easier to get into a match. Further to this, the pacing in conquest makes it more suitable for exploring the map and capturing screenshots – owing to how Breakthrough works, I found that I would either join a team that was routing their opponent so hard that they blitzed through the sectors, or otherwise had reached a stalemate, leaving one stuck in one area for entire matches. This makes it difficult to really check out all of the areas of a map, whereas in conquest, since capture points come and go, there is more opportunity for exploration.

  • The AC9 is one of the new additions to Battlefield 2042 – it’s a submachine gun modelled after the Brügger & Thomet APC9 and fulfils a similar role to the MP9, another weapon designed for supremacy at extremely close ranges. As with all of the weapons I run with, I ended up unlocking all of the attachments playing solo Breakthrough against AI bots. Once it’s kitted out, the AC9 appears to occupy a niche between the MP9 and the PBX-45: it has a higher firing rate than the PBX-45 and is more accurate than the MP9, making it a great choice for flanking enemies. In a straight firefight, the AC9 is bested by the K30 and MP9.

  • I had moderate success with the AC9 when I wielded it against human opponents; the weapon performs best with a Warhawk Compensator and laser sight. Out of a force of habit, I tend to aim down sights even with submachine guns – in older Battlefield games, I was comfortable with firing from the hip whenever using submachine guns and made full use of the hip-fire accuracy to shred foes at close quarters. I’m not sure if submachine guns in Battlefield 2042 still have their predecessor’s hip-fire performance, but given I prefer to aim down sights, the PBX-45 has become my favourite of the submachine guns.

  • For assault rifles, I find that the M5A3 and the SFAR-M GL are my go-to weapons, capable of excelling at most ranges. Here, as I reload the SFAR-M GL, the glint of light catches the weapon. Battlefield 2042 was originally not as visually polished or detailed as its predecessors: many places had textures that looked blocky and pixellated, and maps were quite lacking in detail. However, between DICE’s tireless efforts in making the new maps and overhauling the existing maps to have more cover and clutter, Battlefield 2042 looks significantly better than it had at launch. Some visual bugs still exist, but on the whole, Battlefield 2042 is evidently in a better place in the present.

  • The tendency of a Battlefield game to improve over time is an oft-repeated story: Battlefield 2042 joins the ranks of Battlefield 4 and Battlefield V as titles that had rough launches in being a title that managed to turn things around. While the end result is a series of strong comeback stories, I’ve long felt that it would make more sense for DICE to support a game for longer periods of time and not reinvent the wheel every time a new Battlefield title is released. Recent advances in game engine technology, especially the Unreal Engine, has meant there is precedence for studios to use a stable, reliable engine. The presence of the Unreal Engine has been a game-changer: my graduate thesis was developed in Unreal 4, and Unreal 5 is so sophisticated that independent developers have been able to make jaw-dropping games. In fact, Unreal 5 is sufficiently powerful so that 343 Industries has decided to drop their plan for additional Halo Infinite campaign elements and transition over to a new Halo game done in the Unreal 5 engine.

  • As a result of using the solo mode to unlock weapon attachments, I was able to push the AC9 to the point where I even had the high-visibility laser sight unlocked. Unlike the other submachine guns, whose high-visibility lasers are green, the AC9’s high-visibility laser is blue. The new laser sights add a bit of bonus recoil control on top of improved hip-fire accuracy, and although some speculation suggested the inclusion of night maps, insofar, these additions have not been made to the game. The low volume of content is currently the largest issue on the minds of Battlefield fans, and while the game has made strides, there haven’t been enough maps or unlocks to keep dedicated players engaged.

  • I still vividly recall when support for Battlefield V ended: back in June 2020, DICE released one final update to Battlefield V that added a variety of new weapons and two new maps. I remember playing through these maps on a stormy day – I’d been doing well on the Provence map when all of a sudden, the power went out. Without any other plans for that afternoon, I decided to take a quick kip while said rainstorm raged on outside. That time had been quite melancholy: deep in the midst of the global health crisis, there was very little to do besides stay at home and play games, so hearing that DICE was planning to stop updating Battlefield V just when the game had hit its stride was disappointing.

  • There was always the risk that DICE would do the same to Battlefield 2042, since its sales and player retention hasn’t been impressive. With this being said, between the solo modes and returning to the seasonal content, I’ve already logged a total of 133 hours in Battlefield 2042. Similarly, I put in a total of some 362 hours into Battlefield V and 404 hours into Battlefield 1. From a value standpoint, I do feel that I got my money’s worth in all of the Battlefield titles I’ve picked up at launch. If DICE were to drop support for Battlefield 2042 after the fifth season, I still feel that the experience would’ve been a fairly enjoyable one.

  • Here on Flashpoint, I set my own personal best for a recorded headshot distance: while trading fire with another player, I landed a headshot from 258 metres. Although I’ve previously managed a 400 metre headshot on Hourglass, there’s no indicator that this was the case, so my current headshot here is the longest confirmed headshot I’ve scored. Sniping in Battlefield 2042 is just as engaging as it had been in previous titles, and while I wasn’t always fond of picking up a bolt-action rifle, ever since Battlefield 1, I’ve been more open to using these long-range weapons. Battlefield 2042 does have a noticeable lack of long-range weapons, but the weapons available get the job done, and of late, I’ve spent more time trying to get to know the SWS-10 better – the DXR-1 has been my preferred rifle for having less bullet drop and better damage, but the SWS-10 has better handling and a higher firing rate.

  • We’re now almost halfway through March, and it is not lost on me that I’ve only written one other post beyond this brief update on Battlefield 2042. I typically plan my posts well out in advance, and almost all of my posts for this month are scheduled to be published later this month: besides the Girls und Panzer tenth anniversary posts, I’m scheduled to write about Mō Ippon! and Itsuka Ano Umi de. The combination of delays mean that the end of the month is a bit of a busier time, and as a result of the seasonal anime’s releases, I’d prefer to use the time now and prepare some posts ahead of schedule so they coincide with milestone dates surrounding Girls und Panzer.

  • A year ago today, I began the process of moving house. This was a particularly busy day, but the process had gone very smoothly, and in the present, I’m now settled in. Yesterday evening, I went out for dinner with family to a Chinese restaurant that we’d not been to in almost seven years: this particular restaurant is known for its excellent food, but in the past, was stymied by extremely slow service. Since changing management, they’ve turned things around – the food is excellent now, but service is also swift. We ended up enjoying a combination of familiar dishes, as well as things I’ve never tried before, including pig lung soup and crispy taro-crusted duck. Everything was flavourful, but not excessively greasy, and the restaurant was packed. Immediately, I understood why all of the reviews for this place were so positive.

  • Back in Battlefield 2042, I’ve got some screenshots of the tunnel area, and here, I scored a kill on someone while defending the capture point, which is large enough so that vehicles can fit here. The sheer number of vantage points mean that defenders do have an advantage here, as they can hide in a corner and remain hidden from attackers, but on the flipside, a vehicle and good spotters will give attackers an overwhelming advantage. While I had hoped this part of the map would be hotly contested, the warehouse at Echo, and the fuel tanks at Charlie tend to be the most fought-over points on the map; more often than not, I could capture Delta on my own without any resistance.

  • Although defenders camped out here managed a few kills on me during one match, I ended up coming back in with some teammates, and we cleared them out successfully. As the days passed, it became much easier to find matches on Flashpoint, and over time, I became more familiar with how players moved around on this map. This made it a little more straightforward to complete the assignments; unlike Modern Warfare II, I’ve opted not to pick up the premium upgrade so I could unlock more rewards for moving through the Battle Pass, and I don’t believe I’m missing out on too much beyond cosmetics I’ve little interest in. This is actually why I’m presently sitting out Modern Warfare II‘s second season – there’s so much going on that buying the Battle Pass felt like a poor use of funds.

  • While cosmetics in a given game don’t generally interest me, the weapons, gadgets and vehicles do, and fortunately, they’re available to all players. Beyond a new submachine gun, light machine gun, the Super-Shorty (Super 500) and assault rifle, the fourth season also provides players with a CAV-Brawler and the SPH Explosive Launcher. Having managed to unlock the SPH Explosive Launcher, I did end up having fun with it – here, I scored a very lucky double kill on two distant foes with it. The gadget fires two sticky grenades that will adhere to any surface and explode after a short delay, making it a great way to break down walls. The weapon has two more rounds in reserve, and beyond being one extra tool for destruction, the SPH Explosive Launcher can be used in another, amusing manner.

  • Since the grenades adhere to any surface, one can use them to stick to enemy players, after which an explosion will occur, instantly killing them. While playing around with the SPH Explosive Launcher, I got several “from the grave” kills, where I would fire a round that was a direct hit. My foe would then gun me down, but the grenade would then detonate and score me a kill, as well. In this moment here, I managed to land a direct hit on an unsuspecting foe and scored a bonus for my trouble. The weapon has some utility, but it is ultimately a fun tool for messing around with others.

  • The last moment I’ll share for this series of thoughts will be me using the C5 explosives to destroy a tank being driven by “Im_Neat-_-“, a low-level player who got a pair of lucky kills against me, but otherwise didn’t know how tanks worked. Luckily for me, squadmates nearby were still alive, and after I spawned back in, I immediately planted all of my C5 on the tank, then mashed the detonate button to score a revenge kill against Im_Neat-_-. At the time of writing, I’ve almost got the RPT-31 unlocked, and my plan is to play through Eleventh Hour until I have the RM68 unlocked. I expect that the next time I write about Battlefield 2042 will be season five come June, and I am hoping that season will be accompanied by the news of DICE continuing with support and content for the game for at least two more seasons. In the meantime, with this post in the books, it’s time to turn my attention to the other posts I’ve got lined up for the month.

Now that season four is launched, and Battlefield 2042 is finally delivering an experience that is decidedly Battlefield, the game has finally reached an excellent state. Players are returning (even if the numbers aren’t especially significant), and people remark that this is how Battlefield 2042 should have launched. Battlefield 2042 is a worthy game now, and while this should be encouraging, it also does feel as though these improvements come too little, too late. Battlefield V had suffered a similar fate, starting off on a poor footing and improved to the point where the game had become superbly enjoyable. However, right when Battlefield V had mounted a comeback, DICE cut support and rerouted all of their developer efforts into Battlefield 2042, creating the expectation that the new game would be polished and enjoyable. Now that Battlefield 2042 has reached a steady state, there is always the possibility that DICE could pull the plug and release a new game to try and entice new customers. This would be a mistake: if DICE were to focus on Battlefield 2042 instead, and continue to add new content for at least another two years, longtime fans would have more reason to put their faith in DICE’s ability to deliver. On the other hand, dropping support for Battlefield 2042 would very likely result in the next Battlefield title performing poorly at launch. At this point in time, then, I am very much hoping that DICE will continue to focus on Battlefield 2042, as opposed to releasing a new title. According to Battlefield news sources, the next season is set to include a re-imagining of an iconic Battlefield map, but beyond this, not much more is known. It will therefore be with the next season that Battlefield 2042‘s fate is decided, and while things have consistently been looking up since the seasons began running, history has shown that anything can happen. Consequently, my only objective in Battlefield 2042 at present is to enjoy the game for what it does – while the future is uncertain and the possibility of the plug being pulled is ever-present, being able to play the game while the player count remains reasonable translates to getting as complete of an experience as possible.

Battlefield 2042: Escalation and A Second Chance, Reflections on a Remarkable Comeback A Year Later

“Having a second chance makes you want to work even harder.” –Tia Mowry

A year ago, Battlefield 2042 had been counted as a debacle and failure: the game was blemished by performance issues and bugs, a significant deviation from what had made earlier Battlefield titles successful, and the noticeable absence of essential features (such as a scoreboard, server browser and player statistics view). The community’s dissatisfaction with the game was tangible, and in the year that followed, DICE had been hard at work, adding back basic functions, addressing serious bugs and retouching the game to ensure it delivered an experience consistent with what their players desire. The end result is nothing short of remarkable and in fact, is a classic Battlefield story. When Battlefield 4 launched, the game was nigh-unplayable. Hit registration rarely worked, and players found themselves crashing out of matches. A year later, Battlefield 4 was unrecognisable thanks to the effort DICE invested into the game, and in time, Battlefield 4 would be celebrated as one of the best Battlefield titles ever made owing to its ambitious design and simultaneously delivering a good quantity of quality content. The same courtesy can be extended to Battlefield 2042, which has had a rough year marked by an incremental, but consistent improvement to the game overall. The game runs very well, and I have no trouble connecting to (and staying on) matches. The weapon and movement mechanics are excellent, while essentials like scoreboards and player statistics are now present. While the absence of a server browser is noticeable, the matchmaking works sufficiently well that I can get into servers I enjoy playing on without issue. Now that the core of Battlefield 2042 is stable and functional, the biggest ask, both from myself and others, is the inclusion of new content to ensure that the game consistently feels engaging. However, the content delivery in Battlefield 2042 is significantly reduced from that of its predecessors. Whereas updates previously would offer four maps and up to eight primary weapons for players to enjoy, Battlefield 2042‘s content comes out at a comparative trickle; each season has given players only two primary weapons, a new sidearm and one map. DICE prima facie continues to drop the ball with Battlefield 2042, but now that the game is in a much better place than it had been a year ago (in fact, the studio is suggesting that today’s Battlefield 2042 is the product that they wanted to launch with), it becomes easier to understand the reasoning behind Battlefield 2042‘s approach to post-launch content.

Whereas previous Battlefield titles pitted thirty-two players against one another in sixty-four player matches, Battlefield 2042 was originally intended to push the envelope and allow 128 players to fight simultaneously on a map. The larger scale in Battlefield 2042 means that maps must be designed to handle larger players, creating both open spaces for longer-range vehicular combat, as well as choke points and interior spaces for close-quarters chaos. Looking back at the maps the game had launched with, along with existing plans to rework maps into more engaging, fairer experiences, it becomes clear that every map in Battlefield 2042 was supposed to facilitate close, medium and long-range firefights by incorporating a mixture of open areas for vehicles, long sightlines for snipers, cluttered objectives for objective-oriented players and confined indoor spaces for frenzies favouring submachine guns and shotguns. However, the original maps had been rushed out, and this created scenarios where vehicles and snipers would dominate. The post-launch maps, on the other hand, have been carefully designed so that every play-style is viable. When Zero Hour’s Exposure was released, the combination of tunnels and open areas meant in a given match, one could switch from picking off targets at range to equipping a fast-firing automatic for helping one’s team to dislodge a persistent foe from the capture points embedded inside the mountain. The cavernous interior of Stranded’s container ship is well-suited for players with speedy reflexes, but outside, a good counter-sniper might be able to help break the chokehold the enemy team holds on the container ship by picking off any snipers camped out on the deck and create an opening for teammates to push into the ship’s interior. Here in the latest map, Spearhead, the large mega-factories dominating the map require players to steel themselves for frantic firefights, but the moment one steps outside, their mindset must immediately take into account the fact that one can be picked off at anytime by someone with a Rorsch MK-4 railgun. Applying these back to the original maps, it becomes clear that every map was intended to provide areas to fit different playstyles, and so, more care needed to be put into designing the maps so that different parts of the map benefit specific styles, in turn prompting players to mix things up and use different loadouts to be successful. Designing larger maps to accommodate various play-styles is an intensive effort and demands experimentation and finesse. Unlike earlier titles, where maps were designed for certain play-styles over another (for instance, Caspian Border is all about long-range combat, whereas Ziba Tower is purely for infantry-only fighting) and could be produced more quickly, more time must be spent on tuning Battlefield 2042‘s maps so they capture a large-scale battle where one can focus on specific tasks suited to their aims, whether it be clearing out buildings or providing long-range support for teammates.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • The Spearhead map is the most noticeable addition to Battlefield 2042, being set in the Lapland region of Sweden. The greenery and mountains of the map stand in stark contrast with the high-tech factory, and in fact, the map has a similar aesthetic as Battlefield V‘s Iwo Jima map. One of the biggest advantages about Battlefield 2042 is that, since the story is quite loose, the game is able to take players all over the world. I would love to see a map set in a rural town in Japan.

  • Because these days, I can’t invest as much time into playing multiplayer games to the same extent that I did previously, my general strategy is to level up a given season until I have all of the weapons unlocked, and then switch my focus over to something else. However, while the last season was running, I did spend a bit of extra time running around trying to unlock the high-powered laser sights, which are unlocked by scoring hip-fire kills. The M5A3 was the first weapon I unlocked the new laser for, and it’s a blue beam that is much more visible in a bright environment.

  • The mix of indoor and outdoor combat in Spearhead means that the worth of having a +-system becomes apparent. I typically have it so that by default, a weapon is kitted out so that it is performant for its intended range and purpose, and then the additional attachments can specialise a weapon for different ranges or use-cases. While the system had felt extraneous early on, it is invaluable here in Battlefield 2042 because players can rapidly adapt to different circumstances without returning to the spawn screen.

  • The +-system and versatile map design complement one another; in fact, Battlefield 2042‘s design philosophy (irrespective of how successful the execution was) appears to take after some of Battlefield‘s best maps, which allow for a variety of play-styles to be successful. The best example of this is Battlefield 1‘s Nivelle Nights, which incorporated features that create a rock-paper-scissors balance between the different classes. In Nivelle Nights, players geared for close quarters were vulnerable to snipers, but snipers would themselves be weak against vehicles that could cross open areas with impunity. If vehicles were careless and roamed too close to the trenches, assault players could wreck them with dynamite or AT grenades.

  • In this way, every class would have a role to play. Battlefield 2042 had originally done away with the class system, and with every specialist able to swap between a wide range of weapons and equipment, the game felt more chaotic. However, DICE is planning on constraining the specialist to classes: equipment is to become class-specific, and each class will have bonus proficiencies with certain weapon types, which make them more attractive for a given class. While these changes reduce the versatility of any individual player and bring back the emphasis on team play, the +-system would still allow one to adapt to situations.

  • Having played Spearhead nearly exclusively since the third season started, I have noticed that adverse weather events have become significantly rarer, and in fact, I only encountered inclement weather once while playing on the map. While tornados and dust devils were marketted as a gimmick like Levolution and Behemoths, they end up being an irregular distraction with no meaningful contribution to gameplay. Conversely, the addition of changing weather and lighting conditions could potentially alter the way players move about the map. Things like heavy rainfall, sandstorms and blizzards would actually be a valuable addition, forcing players to change tactics.

  • Using lighting and visibility would prompt the inclusion of thermal or IRNV optics, which had been present in earlier Battlefield titles and allowed players to handle adverse conditions accordingly. These attachments were balanced by the fact that under bright conditions, they rendered the sights useless, so one had to choose their loadout accordingly. Since Battlefield 2042 lets players to switch some attachments freely, the concern is that one could mitigate limitations of thermal and IRNV optics by switching them out. However, the game could balance this by disabling those optics by means of EMP and hacking, and forcing players to use the +-system to swap out (or endure a non-functional optic) would become a tactical decision.

  • Of course, there is a great deal of content and possibility that could be added to Battlefield 2042 to deepen the gameplay and increase the skill ceiling. However, I’ve learnt that it’s probably better if expectations aren’t too high for Battlefield 2042 – Battlefield V had begun turning around in a big way a year after its launch, and following the Pacific Theatre update, it did feel as though Battlefield V could’ve turned into an engaging and successful title like its predecessors. Instead, support was dropped for the game six months later, and content like Normandy, Stalingrad and the Battle of Berlin never materialised.

  • Battlefield 2042 is making a comeback at present, and while DICE has committed to at least two more seasons of content, the future of the game remains uncertain, since poor initial impressions have led Battlefield 2042 to underperform in terms of sales. In such a scenario, DICE’s best move is, rather than attempting to pivot and work on a new Battlefield title, continue to provide support for Battlefield 2042 by providing new content and fixes for at least two more years. This would allow the game to regain the players’ confidence and give DICE the feedback they need on what makes a Battlefield game successful.

  • The new specialist, Zain, is a pleasant addition to the roster. His passive ability is immediate regeneration after every kill, and he gains access to the XM370A airburst grenade launcher. I’ve never been too successful with the XM25 in Battlefield 4, so here in Battlefield 2042, I’ve only used the XM370A only to complete one of the weekly assignments. However, the passive ability is immensely helpful and reminds me of one of the perks associated with the Hunter’s Fury gear-set in The Division 2: if one has at least three pieces equipped, every kill fully restores health and a fifth of one’s armour.

  • For me, this ability makes Zain the most capable of the assault-class specialists, and looking back, it does feel as though the specialists in Battlefield 2042 are an extension of the archetypes that were proposed for Battlefield V. I had actually been excited about this, since it allowed a class to be more focused on a specific role. For instance, a field surgeon would have an affinity for revives, while the combat medic would be armed with close-range weapons and stick with teammates to rapidly heal them. This would allow players to tune a class to best fit their playstyle.

  • Here, I help with the capture of the buildings at the capture point closest to the Russian deployment. For the most part, Spearhead is a symmetrical map, with the Russian’s closest capture point being inside a massive factory. The capture point closest to the American spawn, on the other hand, is out in the open. While on paper, this should create problems, in practise, the map is superbly balanced, and I’ve had no trouble performing as a member of either team. The cavernous interiors of the factories actually offer side passages, so rather than rushing in the entrances, one can rappel up to a small passage and sneak in to the main area without being seen.

  • I have found people camping here before, and while I was surprised, I’ve had no trouble dealing with them. I can imagine that inside the warehouse’s walls, one might be waiting for their health to regenerate before pressing the attack; camping in here would be remarkably dull, since on the occasions I make my way into these areas, it’s usually quite quiet. Owing to the intensity of some matches, I did find it helpful to pick the SFAR-M GL and its drum magazine, allowing me to mow through opponents in chokepoints.

  • The tops of the warehouses have sloped edges that make them difficult to keep one’s footing on, and the rooftops themselves have no other structures. Any snipers camping up here would be vulnerable to helicopters and jets. Altogether, this makes the rooftops a punishing place for a sniper who wishes to camp here for a whole match. However, if one’s aims are simply to score a few kills and then move on, being up here can confer an advantage. The key is knowing when to move on: after a few kills, other players will grow wise to one’s act, and a transport or attack helicopter can bring one’s killstreak to a quick close.

  • The Rorsch MK-4 railgun is easily my favourite addition to Battlefield 2042: this utility weapon is an evolution of Battlefield 4‘s Rorsch MK-1 and fires projectiles at hypersonic velocities. Like its predecessor, it still needs to charge, but instead of a single, large slug, the weapon now has a twenty-round magazine firing smaller armour-piercing rounds. Although less damaging than the MK-1, the MK-4 compensates by allowing players to easily change out the capacitors, which allows the weapon to sustain automatic fire at expense to the damage each individual round does.

  • In its base sniper configuration, the Rorsch MK-4 is a one-hit headshot kill, and coupled with the weapon’s ludicrous projectile velocity and relatively quick rate of fire, it is a superb makeshift sniper rifle, capable of picking off entire squads at range if one’s aim is sure. The weapon does have a charge time, so one must actively track their target, and while the default optics are less suitable for long-range engagements, one can unlock the 6x optics for the railgun, turning it into a weapon that can go toe-to-toe with the DRX-1.

  • At close ranges, the Rorsch MK-4 is surprisingly effective, and initially, since I was having trouble with timing my shots, I decided to switch over to the automatic mode and use it as a close range weapon. This actually proved quite fun: while the need to charge the weapon means it’s not the best choice if one’s dealing with foes who know they’re coming, if one can catch their opponents off guard, a single magazine can allow for one to rapidly defeat two or three opponents before needing a reload. Besides a semi-automatic capacitor and automatic capacitor, the weapon also comes with a burst capacitor.

  • Owing to its adaptability, the Rorsch MK-4 has rapidly become my favourite weapon in Battlefield 2042: while it’s not easy to use initially, once one becomes familiar with the weapon, it is a highly potent tool that gives one options at almost any range. One can trade with snipers and rapidly switch back over to automatic or burst fire to deal with threats at close range: the capacitor and magazines are independent attachments, so the quick-swap between different capacitors doesn’t require a reload, and this renders the weapon obscenely powerful.

  • During one match, I spawned into a Bolte and used it to score a roadkill as I was driving between capture points. Vehicles go almost immediately in Battlefield 2042, and in most matches, I don’t have an opportunity to operate a tank or helicopter. However, where the chance arises, I do occasionally hop in to an active vehicle as a secondary gunner. Kills scored as a gunner still count towards progression, so this is a good way to both provide support for a driver, and pad one’s KDR in a given match. While I tend not to worry about KDR, my own KDR is slowly increasing over time, and I admit that it is a pleasant feeling to know that I am improving gradually in Battlefield 2042.

  • The Rorsch MK-4 is so effective, one wonders if DICE will rebalance the weapon in a later update. The biggest benefits about the weapon in its current form is that it has a very short charge time and a large capacity. In conjunction with the absence of any projectile drop and a near-instantaneous projectile velocity, the weapon is extremely difficult to counter. One potential fix is to increase the charge time for the single fire mode: reducing the projectile velocity would go against the weapon’s function as a railgun. Beyond this, the weapon is reasonably well-balanced.

  • Adding a railgun fundamentally changes the way Battlefield 2042 handles; besides being an effective tool for medium to long ranges, the Rorsch MK-4 is moderately effective against vehicles. While only dealing chip damage, the weapon can be used to interrupt repair cycles and giving teammates with dedicated anti-vehicle weapons or friendly vehicles a better chance of taking one out. Here, I will go on a brief tangent: the observant reader may have noticed that #TheJCS has not been discussed for some time, since my last showcase back in September.

  • As it turns out, Jon’s Creator Showcase is being decommissioned – although it’s had a fantastic run and has allowed for various parts of the community to gain some well-deserved exposure, the combination of declining interest and the workload hosts take up has meant that the time had come to retire the initiative. I’ve certainly had fun hosting, since it’s given me a chance to see blogs of all sorts, as well as other creative pursuits amongst members of the community. However, I also can attest to how much effort these posts take to put together.

  • Back in Battlefield 2042, I use the XM370A to score a lucky triple kill on three foes clustered together. While some Battlefield veterans had expressed concern that the XM370A and its airburst rounds could be abused, so far, I’ve found that most players don’t run with the gadget with any frequency. In fact, I’ve been felled by the Rorsch MK-4 with a greater frequency: although the XM370A is great for flushing targets from behind cover out, it takes a bit of skill to quickly get the weapon set up so it can be effective.

  • While I had unlocked the Avancys LMG (modelled after the FN EVOLVYS) during the last season, I never had the chance to utilise it early on. This light machine gun is a fun weapon to wield, being easier to control than the PKP-BP, but slightly less accurate than the LCMG. At the onset, the Avancys was counted as being overpowered, handling more similarly to an assault rifle with a 100-round belt in place of a box magazine. By the time I got around to using it in a live match, the Avancys has been balanced by increasing its recoil slightly.

  • In practise, the Avancys is a reliable weapon that feels more consistent than the PKP-BP. Throughout most of my experiences, I’ve chosen to stick with the base Battlefield 2042 era weapons: to help bolster the amount of content in the game, DICE had begun to import weapons from Battlefield: Portal over, and while these weapons bump the primary weapon count up, these weapons are also less suited for the gameplay style with Battlefield 2042‘s larger maps. They are unlocked by completing assignments, but once active, all of their attachments are already available to players for use.

  • DICE’s efforts in the past year has meant that Battlefield 2042 has improved dramatically, to the point where it is a fun game to play. The main game is consistent now; between the new content and reworks to both maps and specialists, Battlefield 2042 is engaging. However, this has meant that Portal has been left behind. I had originally hoped that a few more maps would be added, along with a few more iconic weapons from Battlefield 3Bad Company 2 and 1942. Similarly, Hazard Zone had been ditched: although it was meant to handle similarly to Modern Warfare II‘S DMZ mode, support for it was dropped after the community expressed disinterest in things.

  • Dropping Hazard Zone and focusing on Battlefield 2042 appears to have paid off, and this game really feels like it’s found its footing now. Here, I use the Rorsch MK-4 to destroy a tank, scoring a double kill in the process. This railgun is capable of dealing some damage to vehicles, and thanks to a combination of a larger magazine size and relatively fast firing rate, a skilled player can utilise it to impede and trouble vehicles. Having utilised the Rorsch MK-4 to destroy several vehicles, I conclude that this weapon is significantly more effective than the NTW-50, both for general usage and against vehicles.

  • Although I only have access to a 4x optic right now, I’ve managed to land headshots and kills from fair distances. During one match, I spawned on the roof of the factory at point Charlie and capitalised on the moment to pick off targets from afar. I had the spot to myself for over five minutes, and managed to score enough points to complete one of the weekly assignments (twelve kills in a round) with relative ease. However, after a teammate decided to do the same and occupied the corner slot, we came under fire since their sniper rifle’s glint gave us away. I ducked away, they were sniped, and I decided to revive them before leaving the rooftops.

  • This past weekend, a double XP event has been going in conjunction with a free weekend for players. This coincides with another Friday off, giving me a bit of time to get in on the fun, and thanks to the accelerated progression rate, I was able to unlock both the throwing knives and the EMKV90-TOR, a new tank tank armed with a railgun. I’ve yet to try the new tank out in a live match, since armour always gets taken immediately, but on the other hand, the throwing knives have been remarkably entertaining. With the latest season, it is clear that DICE’s additions to Battlefield 2042 have made it a significantly more enjoyable game.

  • To wrap this post off, I’ll conclude with me scoring my first kill with the throwing knives. In the frenzy of combat, I have found that the throwing knives can be used to score headshots, and while YouTube videos suggest this weapon is meant to be used for kicks, they are surprisingly effective. I managed to score a triple kill with them before dying on one occasion, and having now had a fair experience of the new content, I can say that a year since its launch, Battlefield 2042 does (against prevailing sentiment on Reddit and Twitter) deserve a second chance. We’re now into December, and this month, aside from the scheduled posts for Yama no Susume: Next Summit‘s remaining quarter, I have a few special topics posts in mind.

Similarly, because the larger maps meant players would often go from a long-range scenario into a close-quarters scenario as the dynamic in a match changed, the weapons in Battlefield 2042 were designed to be more versatile from the start. The starting assault rifle, the M5A3, can be equipped with an M11 6x optic and high-powered rounds, turning it into a makeshift marksman rifle. If one suddenly finds themselves running into a building from an open field, that same M5A3 can now be reconfigured on the fly to become an impromptu personal defense weapon that hipfires almost as well as a submachine gun. This is most apparent with the Rorsch MK-4 railgun: a successor to the MK-1 from Battlefield 4, the Rorsch MK-4 initially comes with a capacitor for semi-automatic shots that are individually damaging. In a pinch, one can equip a capacity designed to fire the weapon automatically. The weapon and map design in Battlefield 2042 both speak to versatility, and in allowing players with more options at the individual level, the game has less content overall to ensure that different combinations work well without disrupting balance, since variability with the options players have to them also need to be considered. The Rorsch MK-4 railgun is an example of this: at present, it is capable of keeping one alive at close quarters, but at long ranges, the lack of projectile drop and a high muzzle velocity, coupled with a large magazine size and relatively fast fire rate, allows it to become a high-accuracy semi-automatic weapon that can destroy entire squads at range, whereas a bolt-action rifle’s long chambering time wouldn’t allow the same. This difference is what I imagine some players are citing as being a detriment to the game: while it is true we’re getting fewer maps, vehicles and weapons in terms of numbers, the content we are getting fulfils more roles than one. Because Battlefield 2042 is now in a stable state, and with improvements being made constantly, the reasoning behind the game’s design choices become clearer: Battlefield 2042 does represent a different way to play the game, and having now seen how far the game has come, as well as where it’s headed, I am of the mind that giving Battlefield 2042 a second chance is a fair ask.

Battlefield 2042: Celebrating 1500 Posts, Becoming A Master of Arms Through Adaptive Design Choices and Regaining My Proficiency As A Marksman

“If you so choose, even the unexpected setbacks can bring new and positive possibilities. If you so choose, you can find value and fulfillment in every circumstance.” –Ralph Marston

After a solid first season of content, DICE has appeared to have righted the ship – their new map has proven to be a hit in accommodating all play-styles, and the new weapons were fun. While content has come at a glacial pace, what has arrived has been enjoyable, and DICE’s has several updates announced. With plans for returning the specialists into class-based roles based on their gadget choices, along with to rework the existing maps so they have more extensive cover, Battlefield 2042 is slowly inching back to a state that players had been expecting since the game’s launch almost a year ago. While the hour is late for DICE, since Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II is releasing in October, the improvements made to the game so far and those that are on the horizon has meant that, together with the seasonal unlocks, Battlefield 2042 has offered players with the incentive of returning again. I had not expected to put any time into Battlefield 2042‘s multiplayer proper, but over the past few months, I’ve found myself returning; although my reflexes aren’t what they used to be, and my map and weapon knowledge nowhere near what it’d be if I play with the same frequency I did a few years earlier, I am finding that I am having fun in the matches I join. The latest map to join the Battlefield 2042 rotation is Stranded. Set in the Panama Canal, this map consists of plains and hilly ground surrounding a derelict cargo ship whose cavernous interior is open for exploration. The map’s design is such that there are areas to accommodate all play styles. Inside the container ship, the narrow quarters mean that submachine guns and shotguns dominate, whereas outside, sniper rifles and marksman rifles are effective. Vehicles and zip-lines allow players to traverse the map easily, and the variety of environments mean that combat is varied and ever-changing, demanding that players be familiar with both close quarters and long range tactics in order to be successful. The variety of combat options available to players on Stranded has proven to be remarkably entertaining, and like Exposure, provided hours of enjoyment. Overall, Battlefield 2042 is gradually returning to a state where it is fun again, and with the multiplayer enticing me to return to the game, I’ve now amassed about ninety-two hours of time in the game. I had not expected to partake in PvP again, but one element in Battlefield 2042 has made this experience significantly more enjoyable – the fact that I am able to unlock attachments for weapons in the solo mode.

While Battlefield 2042 may have altered the core mechanics behind its class system, suffered from performance issues and started players with poorly-designed maps, the one aspect that Battlefield 2042 has been a front-runner in is its solo mode. In this area, Battlefield 2042 has demonstrated exemplary innovation, providing a full-scale environment for one to test new weapons and attachments. Previously, Battlefield had only given players a firing range to test recoil patterns on weapons one had already unlocked, and so, when one decided to make the switch from their preferred weapons to try something new, they would always start with the base weapon and no attachments. This left one out of their element, and at a distinct disadvantage in a firefight, especially if one were going against players who were using weapons that were customised precisely to their liking. This makes it difficult to find the motivation to use newly unlocked weapons and get a feel for them. Conversely, here in Battlefield 2042, the fact that one can play full matches against AI bots on maps means having the chance to learn how a weapon handles in a practical situation against foes that offer a reasonable idea of how said weapons might perform against live foes in PvP. Moreover, because one can actually unlock attachments for their weapons in solo mode, it is possible to kit one’s weapon out and determine what attachments best suits one’s style well before one ever sets foot in a live match. In this way, I was able to unlock enough of a given weapon’s attachments and learn about them before ever going against human players. The end result of this was that, when I did end up returning to Battlefield 2042 for Exposure and Stranded, I already had a loadout I was comfortable with using. As such, when playing against people on a live server, I never once felt as though my loadout was putting me on the backfoot, and ultimately, irrespective of whether or not I won a match, I ended up having fun exploring the map and blasting foes with the tools available to me. This has contributed greatly to my enjoyment of Battlefield 2042, and looking ahead, I am of the mind that the solo mode in Battlefield 2042 should be a feature that future titles incorporate into things.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Before going any further, I will stop to mention here that this is my 1500th post, speaking to the amount of time I’ve been writing for. If memory serves, the last time I hit a milestone would’ve been when I hit 1000 posts back in October 2018. The last time I wrote about Battlefield 2042, it would’ve been late June. Back then, Season One was getting started, and I remember having a fantastic time on the map. The biggest reason I was able to suddenly jump into a PvP environment was because by then, I’d already had all the weapons unlocked, along with a sizeable collection of attachments.

  • Prior to the first season, my older machine struggled to run Battlefield 2042, so I mostly spent my time on the solo servers. While experience here is capped, and ribbons can’t be earned, every kill still contribute to a weapon’s usage. Stranded allows for medium and long range combat outdoors, but inside the derelict cargo ship, narrow corridors and chokepoints make it an excellent place for folks running close quarters weapons. At this point in time, DICE still hasn’t applied any updates towards how specialists work yet, so for the time being, it’s still possible for players to customise their loadouts completely. I typically go with Angel because of his ability to drop loadout crates, which allow me to change roles at will.

  • Updates in the future are supposed to constrain gadgets to specific specialists, although at present, I’ve not heard of any plans to constrain weapon types to certain specialists. While the current situation in Battlefield 2042 doesn’t affect my ability to contribute to my team, I have noticed that running Angel means I can operate fairly independently of other players, which defeats the purpose of teamwork. Similarly, if I can switch out my weapons at will, I’m much less reliant on teammates and therefore won’t rely on them as much. This has resulted in players opting to play the game without a thought for teamwork: revives, resupplies, repairs and heals are much rarer than they’d been in earlier titles.

  • Limiting certain specialists to specific gadgets and weapon types is, on paper, all that’s needed to bring Battlefield 2042‘s class system back: specialists are simply a more evolved version of the archetypes Battlefield V introduced, and since every specialist has a dedicated ability, one could make the case that with gadget and weapon constraints, specialists would actually increase team play, since players now are limited to only one gadget that lets them to fulfil a team role, and therefore must depend on other players for support.

  • Battlefield 2042‘s latest updates introduces statistics to the game, and while I’m a little disappointed that the more interesting measures, like longest headshot, no longer appear, the game does give some insight into how one is doing. At the time of writing, I’ve got a 53 percent win rate and a KDR of 0.76 – I’m certainly not a skillful player by any means, as I only play for fun. In Battlefield V and Battlefield 1, I put in a little more effort towards improving because I had significantly more time to play, but I also remember how things were more stressful in the earlier titles because time-limited unlocks could only be done in live multiplayer matches.

  • Conversely, here in Battlefield 2042, I’m not particularly worried about staying alive long enough to complete my assignments because, if I should miss them, there will be a chance to re-attempt things in a solo server. In this way, I’m able to focus purely on having fun whenever I come online for a match of Battlefield 2042 and not worry too much about my individual performance in a game. KDR to me matters less than helping my teammates out, and I frequently top the scoreboards because I make liberal use the tools available to me beyond my primary weapon.

  • Rather than focusing on kills alone, I do my best to ensure my teammates have enough health and ammo to survive firefights, know where their foes are and bring them back into a fight when safe to do so. This approach has helped my team to victory on several occasions and allowed me to complete assignments asking players to win a certain number of matches. However, I am able to hold my own in firefights where appropriate: playing solo mode has allowed me to learn all of the weapons well enough to choose what works best for me, in addition to providing access to enough attachments to make life easier.

  • Now that I’ve got a GPU capable of real-time ray-tracing, I’ve elected to max all of my settings out and turn ray-tracing on for Battlefield 2042: serious players will set everything to low and disable all of the fancy features to get as many frames as possible, but for me, playing on full settings means getting the best immersion into the game. Here, I notice the reflection of the red cargo containers on my weapon: the K30 is the Kriss Vector, and it’s the fastest firing submachine gun in Battlefield 2042. It was fun to watch the reflections change in response to where I was on the map.

  • As a submachine gun, the K30 excels in mowing down opponents at close range and in exchange, is ineffective at longer ranges. Of the submachine guns in Battlefield 2042, I’m most comfortable with the K30 and MP9: they’re reliable weapons for short-range battles and maintain high accuracy when hip-fired. The deck of the cargo container is an excellent place to use submachine guns, and in live matches, this is a hotly-contested location because the deck offers unparalleled vantage points of the entire map.

  • The team that controls the Charlie capture point can actually get to the ship’s upper decks and gain a considerable advantage as a sniper. I’ve enjoyed control of this position on several occasions, enough to make use of the DXR-1 to pick off foes from the control points below. This is the best long-range rifle in the game bar none at the time of writing, and I’ve unlocked the 10x optic for it, allowing me to place my shots with confidence. Since Battlefield 2042‘s bolt-action rifles all have straight-pull bolts by default, it makes it easy to see how much I need to adjust my aim by if I miss my first shot.

  • Making use of the proximity sensor by chucking one into a heavily populated area will automatically spot everyone, and any teammates will also be able to see them. If teammates then score a kill against a spotted foe, one will receive experience points equivalent to getting a kill. This is a trick I picked up off Battlefield YouTubers: while I’m ambivalent about streamers, there are a handful of people I greatly respect. MrProWestie, LevelCap, JackFrags and TheRadBrad are my favourite gaming personalities, offering a balance of useful and informative content that is simultaneously humourous.

  • The main thing about these YouTubers is that their videos are genuinely helpful. Whether it’s the points of feedback MrProWestie provides for Battlefield, loadout suggestions from JackFrags, general news from LevelCap, or TheRadBrad’s approach for levels I may get stuck in, watching their videos aids me in improving my game. This is what I look for in online streamers; anyone who consistently provide useful information is worth my while. I don’t watch YouTubers or streamers for their personalities alone, but rather, how well they can deliver what I came for.

  • While I typically don’t watch streamers, the reason why TheRadBrad, LevelCap, MrProWestie and JackFrags are engaging enough for me to make an exception because, after watching their videos, there’s an incentive to try out something they’ve suggested, and I’ve done several things during my time in Battlefield that were directly inspired by some of their videos. My favourite two include camping at the end of Hamada with dynamite and a panzerfaust from JackFrags’ “How to have fun in Battlefield 5” video, and LevelCap’s “I BOMBED a Bomber!” (also in Battlefield V).

  • The relative lack of content in Battlefield 2042 means that my favourite YouTubers have gone on to play other games like Call of Duty: Warzone, and it is in part for this reason that I’m now following developments on Modern Warfare II – while I have no intention of playing Warzone IIModern Warfare II itself looks exceptional, and I’m quite excited to see how this one unfolds. If the launch is solid, I do see myself picking up and playing Modern Warfare II shortly after. Hardware is no longer a challenge, so whether or not I’ll pull the trigger on Modern Warfare II is going to be dictated by how engaging the campaign looks, and how stable the game is.

  • Back in Battlefield 2042, the benefit of throwing a proximity sensor and collecting assists is apparent to me, giving me a chance to contribute to my team’s efforts. When I first began the Master of Arms season, I was losing every match I played. I’ve never been a deft hand in getting kills, but my enjoyment of Battlefield 2042 comes from utilising every tool in the arsenal to score points. In many matches, I end up in the top quartile of players simply by reviving, resupplying, healing and spotting for teammates, and even if my KDR is negative for that match, I’ll have a good time anyways.

  • With this in mind, I do get the occasional kill here and there: here, I pick off a foe shortly after my team’s captured the second sector during a round of Breakthrough. Of the two biggest modes in Battlefield 2042, Breakthrough is one I especially enjoy because of how it clusters players together into small areas. In the chaos, it can be a great place for reviving, healing and resupplying entire squads, as well as spotting groups of enemies. On the flipside, Conquest is better for vehicle-oriented goals and sandbox moments. I enjoy both modes, as both offer a different way to play.

  • When it comes to sniping, being a defender on Breakthrough offers one of the most action-packed environments for sniping. By this point in time, I’ve unlocked the 10x scope for the DXR-1, and its reticule is among the cleanest of the high-magnification optics, making it easy to keep track of one’s target even as they’re moving. While I do have a holographic sight and an 8x scope as well, I’ve found that, at least for the sniper rifles, I rarely need to utilise the + system in order to change out the attachments because they’re so specialised that I’ll stay far away from the frontlines.

  • Here, I’ve unlocked the AM40: this assault rifle is based off the Avtomat Malogabaritnyj Model 17, which was unveiled by Kalashnikov Concern in 2017 and is intended to replace the AKS-74U as a close-quarters rifle. Five years since its introduction, the AM-17 has seen limited use and isn’t quite ready for widespread service yet. Battlefields 2042‘s implementation of the AM-17 places the AM40 as a cross between an assault rifle and submachine gun, giving it a high rate of fire best suited for closer-range engagements.

  • Initially, the base AM40 is is stymied by its small magazine size: players begin their journey with a twenty-one round high powered magazine, which allows the weapon to reach out a little further than if standard rounds were used. To gain a feel for the weapon, I ended up playing a few rounds in solo mode and became comfortable with using the AM40 to take on a small number of foes before ducking behind cover to reload. The iron sights on the AM40 are reasonably clear, but since the K8 holographic sight is unlocked after a mere five kills, I swapped over to that immediately.

  • The AM40’s presence in Battlefield 2042 is in keeping with how the other weapons handle: the + system means that most assault rifles can be tuned for longer range or shorter range combat, and while the other rifles can be changed into a makeshift marksman rifle, the AM40 can be transformed into a makeshift submachine gun in a pinch. The idea of being able to change one’s roles on such short notice actually was probably meant to mirror how specialists can equip any gadget of their choosing and maximise versatility. While this is a great idea for single-player games, the whole point of multiplayer is to work as a team. As such, I would argue that making gadgets and weapons class-specific, but then retaining the + system would strike a balance between flexibility and encouraging specific roles for team play.

  • One unusual behaviour I noticed since Master of Arms began was the fact that attachments would sometimes “freeze” for the AM40. For instance, if I reached 120 kills and unlocked the TV 2x optic, that optic would actually be unavailable for selection and still show as locked. It would then become unlocked after I left my current game and then hit the next unlock tier, after which all of the previously locked attachments would unlock. If this is a bug, one hopes that DICE would rectify this: it’s not a game-breaker, but it is a bit of a nuisance.

  • While the NTW-50 is the last weapon unlocked in Battlefield 2042, it is highly situational and only really useful in certain scenarios. Originally, the weapon had been quite effective at damaging vehicles (three shots could destroy hovercrafts and the LATV4 Recon), but DICE quickly made a patch to reduce its power. Being an anti-materiel weapon, the NTW-50 remains somewhat effective at damaging vehicle parts and can one-shot soldiers at close range, but its slow rate of fire and low muzzle velocity makes it ill-suited for most combat encounters.

  • Here, I rush capture point echo, located on the eastern edge of the map near the Russian deployment, with the PKP-BP. Until the Avancys was introduced, this was the only other light machine gun available to players besides the LCMG, and I’ve found the PKP-BP to be my preferred LMG of choice when locking down control points owing to its higher firing rate and starting capacity. This weapon is powerful enough so that a single player with one can lock down a choke point on their own, and its recoil is manageable, allowing it to be useful in a range of situations.

  • I still recall how the K30 was the last unlock in Battlefield 2042‘s open beta, and here, I managed to get the jump on two players who were camping on the tower south of the ship. I had enough ammunition to deal with two of the three players, but the last player caught on, and as I fumbled with the revolver, said player sent me back to the spawn screen.

  • Here, I defend capture point bravo in the final few moments of a losing match: an uncivilised and unskilled player on my team, Peskoly, spent the entire match spamming the text chats with complaints about how my team wasn’t doing enough to keep him alive while he flew. I therefore found it unsurprising that Peskoly didn’t even make it onto the scoreboard, whereas I ended up in the top ten by the time the match ended (despite joining later). When the match ended, the remainder of my teammates laid the blame on Peskoly for single-handedly costing everyone the match.

  • It does feel strange that Battlefield 2042‘s team chat only allows one to communicate with their team, whereas in previous titles, one could also message players on the other team. While this does make sense from a team perspective, one of my strategies in older Battlefield titles was to call out anyone who had killed me via camping as cheater, and this always would rile that player up so much they’d abandon the objective and team play to go after me. In a given match, if I could do this to two or three of their players, it actually created enough of a distraction so my team could make a comeback. I consider camping the height of dishonour, and have never felt guilty about using such a tactic to even things out.

  • With the text chat now limited to my team only, such a method is no longer viable. With this being said, Battlefield 2042 has been much better in that I’ve not encountered any cheats in the PvP matches I’ve played. Having said this, I retain an enjoyment of getting back at people who get lucky kills on me through camping, and here, I land a headshot on one ItsPandaMan within seconds of respawning after they’d gotten me earlier by camping: although “hackusations” are funny to sling around, there’s no substitute for headshotting a camper.

  • During the course of Master of Arms, I became much more comfortable with operating the bolt action rifles, and during my time on Stranded, I became moderately proficient with the DXR-1 to the point where I was able to score a headshots from around 330 metres away here on one Amniesa. It is a shame that Battlefield 2042 doesn’t keep track of one’s best headshot distance: while I’m not a fantastic marksman by any stretch, it is fun to see if I can score long-distance shots in a given title. In Battlefield V, my record was 356 metres, and in Battlefield 1, I managed to get a headshot from 383 metres on Sinai Desert towards the end of my time there.

  • A 330 metre headshot is not close to my old records, but this does show that I’m slowly getting used to the mechanics of Battlefield 2042. To estimate headshot distance, I used the spotting marker: I roughly know where my foes were located and where I placed my shot, so making the estimate wasn’t too tricky. By this point in time, I’ve become quite at home with using Battlefield 2042‘s bolt-action rifles and would hope that a few more are added to the game in the future, along with some FLIR optics so players can see through the smoke – since smoke grenades were added to the game, players have used them liberally to cover their position and make it difficult to aim, so adding a countermeasure for this would help with strategy.

  • I’ll round this post off with a moment of me using the PF51, a machine-pistol modelled after the Kel-Tec P50 and is designed to use the same magazines as the FN P90. With a fifty round magazine, this weapon is the perfect secondary weapon for marksmen, as it provides an automatic option for situations where one gets into a close-quarters confrontation. At the time of writing, I’ve yet to unlock the Avancys, but three weeks into the second season, I’ve made reasonable progress and more importantly, I’m having fun in Battlefield 2042.

Battlefield 2042‘s implementation of solo modes and AI bots, as well as how the unlocks earned here carry over into the PvP modes, allow players to approach the game at their own pace. Unlocks are no longer dependent on spending a large amount of time in PvP, making this ideal for folks who don’t have a considerable amount of time to spend on keeping up-to-date with their gaming. Multiplayer games are typically designed for folks whose schedules do not include housework and other day-to-day tasks to tend to – they involve a nontrivial time commitment, making it trickier to keep up with weekly assignments and unlocks. For instance, last season, I ended up missing out on the Ghostmaker R10. However, Battlefield 2042‘s implementation of unlocks allows me to earn the crossbow by means of completing an assignment. Earning twenty-five headshots and three takedown kills is what this assignment entails. While takedown kills are rather difficult to perform, any takedowns carried out in solo mode do count towards the total. This means that I am able to earn the crossbow even though I’d missed the original window. This approach is excellent for people like myself, and while Battlefield 2042 may have noticeable shortcomings, its approach towards unlocks is exemplary. In fact, besides suggesting that future Battlefield games would benefit from such a system, I argue that Call of Duty would also find this approach viable. Call of Duty games have always excelled in providing AI bots, but here, all of the weapons are already unlocked for players to experiment with. Unlocks for use in PvP can only be earned in live matches, and this can make it tricky to rank up new weapons, especially if one is playing against skilled players. This is why feel little incentive to play Modern Warfare‘s multiplayer mode in PvP even though the AI bots have proven fun – I only have the starting weapons available to me, and the competitive atmosphere means playing against humans can be quite stressful. Conversely, if the upcoming Modern Warfare II allows players to rank up weapons families in both PvP modes and against AI bots, it would offer busier players with more flexibility in how they wish to play the game. Call of Duty presently has the upper hand over Battlefield, but Battlefield hasn’t struck out completely – while Battlefield 2042 may have its limitations, allowing progress to be shared between private matches and PvP is the one area where Activision would do well to take a leaf from DICE’s book.

Battlefield 2042: Zero Hour, My First Killtrocity On A Canadian Excursion and Considering the Future of Battlefield

“When things are a disappointment, try not to be so discouraged.” –Carol Burnett

Seven months after Battlefield 2042 launched, DICE has finally launched the first content update to their beleaguered title, which has suffered from instability and performance issues since it was released last November. The state of Battlefield 2042 was such that the game’s player-count had been in free-fall since launch, and while DICE attempted to right things with updates to improve things like hit detection, stability and consistency, skeptical players continued to leave the game for greener pastures. With over just a half-year having passed since this launch, DICE has managed to iron out most of Battlefield 2042‘s most glaring technical issues, allowing them to now focus on improving the game loop and turn their attention towards adding new content to the game. Traditionally, content has always been the appeal of a Battlefield game – new maps and weapons kept previous titles exciting and fresh, and earlier Battlefield games have always delivered consistently. New weapons allow players to explore new play-styles, while new maps challenge players to learn new routes and strategies to best take advantage of the map’s design to earn a win. Battlefield 2042, however, has done neither until now, and even with the Zero Hour update, only a single new map has been added, along with two new primary weapons, two new helicopters and one new gadget. In 2018, DICE’s Battlefield V introduced the Panzerstorm map within a few weeks of launching, and then consistently provided new content that culminated in the triumphant Pacific War update, which decisively showed that Battlefield V had everything in place to become an iconic and immersive shooter, a far cry from its initial marketing. Battlefield V‘s lifespan was shortened when DICE announced they were dropping everything for Battlefield 2042, and looking back now, one wonders why this decision was made: Battlefield V had just entered a state where it was highly enjoyable and was poised to revisit iconic World War Two theatres. In retrospect, the decision to end support for Battlefield V was foolish, especially considering that Battlefield 2042 was launched and handled with even less finesse than Battlefield V; while the constant adjustments to TTK were irritating, Battlefield V still delivered consistent gameplay and new content with regularity. Battlefield 2042 is in a very rough spot, a far sorrier state than Battlefield V had ever found itself in: late is the hour in which the Zero Hour update comes, and despite DICE’s claims that they are in a position to finally add content and improve the game per player feedback, faint rumours are suggesting that Battlefield 2042‘s fate will be similar to that of Battlefield V’s, with support ending after one year’s worth of content.

These rumours, if they are true, will prove disastrous for DICE: with the Zero Hour update, it is plain that DICE’s map design team and developers can pull through. Although lacking the same volume of content as previous Battlefield games, the new map, Exposure, is every bit as immersive and engaging as some of Battlefield’s best maps. There are wide open spaces for vehicular gameplay, narrow corridors for intense close-quarters firefights, and vertical cliff sheers that force players to be mindful of attack from above or below. Exposure’s design allows snipers to be effective against careless infantry, vehicles to traverse vast expanses and duke it out while infantry-oriented players might take refuge in the corridors and tunnels of a secret mountain base to control its interiors. The presence of escape routes, zip-lines and extensive cover give infantry players a chance to make a tangible difference without exposing themselves to long-range fire from vehicles and snipers. Similarly, inquisitive players can make use of the map’s interiors to get off a strategic flank and surprise foes from unexpected directions, forcing defenders to stay on their toes. There is, in short, something for everyone on this map – this is what Battlefield’s best maps have traditionally offered, allowing a skilled player to be effective in any play-style on the map. The successful design in Exposure is a mixed-bag; on one hand, it is a highly engaging experience that shows DICE definitely can still put together maps that players can have fun with, but on the other, it raises the question of why DICE hadn’t been designing maps like Exposure, with a creative balance of cover and open spaces to accommodate all play-styles in the manner of Battlefield’s best maps. The entire Zero Hour update carries a similar melancholy about it; everything is plainly a step in the correct direction, being a return to form for DICE, but there is so little content, so late in the game, that one must wonder if DICE’s hearts are in Battlefield 2042 at all. Despite this sense of wistfulness, however, the Zero Hour update does bring with it the most fun I’ve had in Battlefield 2042 since launch.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Until Zero Hour, my time in Battlefield 2042 was spent exclusively in the single-player modes, where I fought bots extensively to unlock weapons and gear. Because DICE had implemented a limiter to prevent players from farming for experience and trivially unlocking everything, the reduced experience greatly extended the amount of time it took to reach level sixty – this is the point where one would have all weapons, vehicles and gadgets unlocked. Similarly, to prevent players from reaching Tier I for their badges, DICE limits players to reaching Mastery 12 with weapons, vehicles and gadgets, but at Master 12, one will have all attachments and options open to them. Here, I give the NTW-50 a go: this anti-material rifle is extremely powerful but cumbersome, handling similarly to Battlefield V‘s BOYS Anti-tank rifle.

  • Early on, I hopped into a Condor and managed to land the front gunner’s seat. We had come under fire from a Super Hind, and my pilot had managed to position us behind it. With the 50 mm rounds, I destroyed the Super Hind, landing me my first-ever Killtrocity in Battlefield 2042 (in fact, this was one of my earliest kills against live opponents). The transport vehicles tend to be heavily utilised owing to how large maps are, and destroying a fully-occupied vehicle can yield a ludicrous amount of points. However, I chalk this moment to beginner’s luck, more than anything.

  • Ribbons are disabled in the single-player modes, presumably to prevent abuses, and here, I score enough kills to earn a combat ribbon. I’ve missed ribbons: they were absent in Battlefield V, but Battlefield 1 had an excellent system where ribbons were based purely on player actions. To see this simpler system return in Battlefield 2042 was quite welcome, as ribbons reward players for playing a certain way. Unlike earlier Battlefield games, ribbons in Battlefield 2042 are tiered: one can earn ribbons three times in a match, with each tier granting more experience points as a result.

  • Upon returning back to Battlefield 2042, I found myself performing about as well as I had towards the end of my time in Battlefield V: the reason for this is because when Exposure first launched, it was a new map, so players wouldn’t have time to learn every nook and cranny in the map for camping, ducking away from a firefight or laying an ambush. Similarly, playing against AI bots meant I had a very good sense of how my weapons handled, so I was joining the game with an arsenal I had a modicum of familiarity with. Initially, I tried the AK-24, a hard-hitting assault rifle with a longer range than the starting M5A3 and found moderate success with it.

  • The M5A3, on the other hand, is an excellent assault rifle meant for closer-range engagements; it has a higher rate of fire, but with the right attachments, can be made into a makeshift marksman rifle for taking on more distant foes. Having now used the weapons out against live players, I’ve found the M5A3 remains my personal go-to for its high RPM and low recoil: like Battlefield V, the gunplay in Battlefield 2042 is consistent and enjoyable. Random bullet deviation isn’t quite as strong in Battlefield 2042 as it was in Battlefield 1, so for my part, firefights are solid.

  • Whereas Battlefield 1 and V gave points for dealing damage to opponents based on amount, Battlefield 2042 will yield assist points equivalent to a kill if one was involved in any way. The scoring system in Battlefield 2042 is quite generous with points, and for me, just spotting enemies can lead to piles of assists coming in. I’ve found that no matter what I’m running, the proximity sensor is an indispensable asset, allowing me to swiftly locate nearby foes on the mini-map. 3D spotting is still absent, but the plethora of spotting options and improved soldier visibility means that camouflaged players are no longer the issue they were in Battlefield V.

  • One curious trend resulting from my return to Battlefield 2042 was that I found myself using the FXM-33 AA Missile (basically, the FIM-92 Stinger) with a much higher frequency than I had in any previous Battlefield game. The trick to mastering this weapon is to fake out enemy pilots by locking onto them without firing. When locked on, some pilots will immediately deploy flares to break the lock. This also renders their air vehicle immune to being locked onto again for some time. However, the reload time for flares is longer than the delay in being able to lock onto them again.

  • Thus, once I’ve made an enemy pilot waste their flares, I immediately lock onto them again, and fire. This trick allows me to consistently land successful strikes on enemy helicopters, blowing them out of the sky. Previously, in Battlefield 3 and 4, I’ve had no success with the Stinger because I would always fire as soon as I got a lock – if a pilot deploys flares after a missile is fire, the missile will lose its lock on the aircraft. Battlefield 1 and did not have any effective man-portable anti-air weapons, allowing a skilled pilot to single-handedly control a match. Even I was able to get in on the fun in Battlefield 1: the while I’m a terrible pilot, I was able to get work done with the Ilya Muromets bomber.

  • Conversely, Battlefield V offered assault players the Fliegerfaust, and prior to the weapon’s being nerfed, the weapon was obscenely powerful against planes, to the point where even I was able to enjoy the satisfaction of ruining a pilot’s day. The Fliegerfaust would eventually be weakened, requiring two full salvos in order to down an enemy plane. I’ve never felt that man-portable anti-air weapons were ever over-powered – a good pilot can effectively control an entire game, so giving players effective anti-air solutions balances the game out. Battlefield 34 and 2042‘s implementation of anti-air weapons are fair.

  • Exposure is an aesthetically pleasing map, more so than any of the other existing Battlefield 2042 maps. The southern edge of the map is dominated by a rockfall resulting from the landslide that exposed the hidden research facility, and the northern area is dominated by a massive lake. At first glance, the trees here are of a brilliant shade of yellow, suggesting that the map is set during the autumn. However, closer inspection finds that these are evergreens, which don’t yellow unless they’re afflicted with pests, or undergo extreme temperature change – this small detail could hint at how damaging changing weather patterns have been in the Battlefield 2042 world.

  • The Battlefield 2042 story has been ill-explored in the game – while the marketting materials indicated that the game would explore the effects of adverse climate events through the maps and specialist’s backgrounds, the actual product never delivered on this aspect. A campaign would’ve been more appropriate, and probably would’ve given players one more aspect of the game to take on. Here, I land a headshot from afar with the DXR-1, which has quickly become my favourite long-range option in the game, reaching out further and having better accuracy than the starting SWS-10 .

  • During the course of my first entry into Battlefield 2042‘s multiplayer, I also ended up utilising the game’s LMGs. Of the weapons in Battlefield 2042, LMGs received the short end of the stick – only two are available at the time of writing, and while both have noticeably different traits, earlier Battlefield titles had a more impressive selection of these high-capacity weapons, which are best suited for covering choke points. The LCMG is the default available, and while it lacks the firing rate and capacity the PKP-BP possesses, it is slightly more accurate.

  • While farming for healing, I managed to reach rank eleven for the battle-pass, giving me access to the Hannibal, a new stealth helicopter. The stealth helicopters available to both Russian and American factions are excellent anti-infantry platforms with the options for equipping anti-ground or anti-air missiles. In stealth mode, the helicopters lose their direct attack arsenals but cannot be locked onto, and instead, pilots gain access to bombs that can clear out entire capture points. These helicopters are fun to fly, and while I’ve rarely been able to get to a vehicle in live matches, one can still unlock attachments for them in single player modes.

  • Battlefield 2042‘s option for single player modes against AI bots may seem extraneous, but the biggest advantage about having these modes is that it provides one with a sandbox for trying new unlocks out and ranking up weapons and vehicles. These modes do have their merits, and in fact, I’ve found that compared to the firing ranges of earlier Battlefield titles, solo modes are a fantastic sandbox environment to get familiar with new weapons and even practise flying against targets that do shoot back.

  • While landing headshots from long ranges is immensely satisfying, I miss the days of when Battlefield would give a bonus for the distance such a shot was landed from. The point system in Battlefield 2042 feels less sophisticated than its predecessors did, and I have heard reports that the reason behind DICE’s inconsistent performance of late stems from the fact that many of the original developers have left, and the new developers are unable to find the same passion and bring the same drive to the table as the previous developers have.

  • In conjunction with the distractions brought on by the global health crisis, DICE’s current team is not collaborating and working together with the same cohesion as previous teams had, in conjunction with possessing less experience with Battlefield all around. This corresponds to why Battlefield 2042 has not, as a product, conveyed the same look-and-feel of what players have come to expect from a Battlefield title. While inexperience and poor teamwork might account for some of what players have seen, what strikes me as odd is the fact that DICE’s current developers already have precedence from the earlier team for what makes for a successful Battlefield title.

  • To be honest, I’m not sure why DICE has a tendency to rework the networking code and physics wrappers every time a new Battlefield title is made: in software development, good developers will create modular libraries that can be reused. So long as the game engine itself isn’t changed dramatically, these libraries can be utilised to form the basis of the game, and then new assets can be built around a solid set of core frameworks. This is how I approach app development: I tend to write wrappers and helper classes around dependencies. Then, I can make calls to my own classes anywhere in the app that requires that functionality.

  • In this way, if any changes happen to a library, rather than having to go through my entire app and make sweeping changes, I can just update my wrapper classes, and I’m set. Similarly, if I suddenly need to write a new app that requires similar base functionality, I can just import this wrapper, and out of the gates, I’m guaranteed something that works (said wrappers would already have passed testing previously). This is an example of the adaptor pattern, and for me, it makes it significantly easier to maintain a project. Applying this to Battlefield would mean that, unless a game were to use a new version of Frostbite, developers could (and should) draw from existing networking libraries and physics tools for the basis of their games.

  • This would make it far easier to create new games, since every new game would already have a solid, proven set of fundamentals. For the end-user, it would mean things like rubber-banding, latency, connectivity issues and poor hit-registration would be a non-issue. If a previous Battlefield had good networking code, then reusing these libraries means the fundamentals shouldn’t be a concern. New Battlefield games would simply require designing new maps and assets, as well as writing new code for controlling game behaviour. This method is why Infinity Ward is able to push out new Call of Duty titles year after year, changing up only the stories, maps and other assets.

  • If DICE had wanted to differentiate itself from Call of Duty, assuming that they adhere to good software engineering practises, they would then simply need to continuously support Battlefield titles by providing new, refreshing content for large-scale, sandbox environments over a few years, and only release new games when they wish to change out the era or settings. Everything I’ve mentioned here sounds like common sense – other Battlefield influencers have mentioned the same thing. My statements are backed by experience in software development, so I can ascertain that Battlefield influencers do have it right when they present their criticisms of Battlefield 2042.

  • As a player, rather than a developer on the team, I’m not privy to all of the inner workings at DICE. There could be other forces at work, such as  executive meddling, so I can’t presume to judge the developers for their actions. While Battlefield 2042 is a symptom of larger problems with DICE, and players end up paying the price, I will note that it’s not all doom and gloom, either – when things connect in Battlefield 2042, I find myself having fun. Here, I use the anti-air missile to shoot down yet another helicopter, landing me a triple kill and earning me one of the assignments, to get a multi-kill using explosives.

  • While I’m generally having fun with Exposure and a return to the multiplayer, I will note that this fun is probably a consequence of also having a superior CPU. When I attempted running Battlefield 2042 with my 9-year-old i5 3570k, the game would push my CPU usage to 100 percent. With an i5 12600k, CPU usage hovers around 10 percent and goes up to 15 percent when things get more chaotic. I’m running a GTX 1060, and while the frame rates are pretty consistent, I am currently running things on lowest settings to get the best performance possible. While my GTX 1060 is holding out, I am looking to upgrade my GPU once the Lovelace series is available.

  • Zero Hour introduces a new operator, Liz: her passive ability is being able to spot vehicles, and her custom gadget is a camera-operated missile launcher which, when fired, allows one to guide the missile to its target, ignoring any countermeasures like stealth mode or flares. While these missiles are slightly weaker, they are remarkably enjoyable to use. Liz can only carry two missiles at once, and they recharge slowly once depleted, preventing them from becoming overpowered. The concept of a TV-guided missile is not new: 2003’s 007 Nightfire featured the AT-420 Sentinel, which operated on the same principles, and during the second mission, the Sentinel is how Bond must defeat the Hind attacking them when he’s escaping Drake’s castle.

  • For most of my time, I chose to run with Angel; in single-player modes, his ability to revive allies with bonus armour isn’t particularly noticeable, but with human allies, bringing players back to life with extra armour can be helpful. I ultimately found the loadout crate to be immensely versatile, allowing me to rapidly switch loadouts as the situation demands. Angel is the most versatile operator in this regard, specialising in nothing, but being capable of adapting as circumstances change. I have seen plenty of players running Sundance: her wingsuit is a remarkable asset for quickly traversing large distances quickly.

  • Thanks to duking it out with AI bots, I was able to unlock everything for both my American and Russian MBTs – while one can pick different shells and secondary armaments, I find that the starting options (MPAT shells and a light co-axial machine gun) are sufficiently versatile for handling most situations. In reality, Multi-Purpose Anti-Tank shells are less effective than dedicated APFSDS rounds against armour, but Battlefield 2042 treats them as the de facto option for combating tanks. Curiously enough, the HEAT rounds (High-Explosive Anti-Tank) are marked as being better against infantry and lighter vehicles where in reality, beehive and HE rounds would respectively fulfil those roles.

  • Besides getting new maps, the other aspect of Battlefield updates I would most look forward to were new weapons. Zero Hour adds two primary weapons and one gadget, which is underwhelming compared to previous Battlefield games, but on the flipside, the BSV-M Marksman Rifle introduced presents players with a novel way of playing. In its base form, it’s a suppressed marksman rifle with reasonable accuracy, making it useful for picking off foes at medium ranges. However, with the right modifications (an extended magazine), it becomes a submachine gun.

  • Switching between a semi-automatic rifle and a submachine gun allows the BSV-M to excel both indoors and outdoors – if one can time their attachment switching appropriately, one can effortlessly transition between exchanging fire with enemy marksmen and helping their team push for an objective. One aspect Battlefield 2042 has really tried to accentuate, and one that the community (even the more notable influencers) miss, is the fact that the weapons are quite versatile. Adaptability seems to be a recurring theme in the weapons, and the + system allows players to mix things up with a much higher degree of flexibility than before.

  • At the time of writing, I’ve made some progress in getting the assignments done: I’m only a stone’s throw away from unlocking the crossbow, which looks like a fun, if impractical weapon. However, I have no plans to reach the maximum tier; summer’s underway now, and after a rainy few weeks leading into the summer solstice, this past weekend’s seen some gorgeous weather that’s seen me spend a bit of time outdoors. Yesterday, I ended up taking a twelve kilometre walk to visit a side of town I’ve not seen since my university days, and today, I dropped by the neighbourhood bookstore. It was an immensely relaxing day, and since there’s a Starbucks adjacent to the bookstore, I found myself thinking it would be quite nice to buy an iced coffee and spend an hour there just taking in the atmosphere.

  • This week, I’ve only got three workdays, having opted to extend my Canada Day long weekend by one day. In retrospect, I might’ve not taken the day had I known I would be permitted to start a major upgrade and refactoring project, but on the other hand, a day off to enjoy the summer isn’t unreasonable, considering I’ve been going full throttle since December. Back in Battlefield 2042, I managed to shoot down a helicopter using Liz’s guided missiles, earning myself another triple kill. I’ve noticed that unlike the other missions, which have adverse weather events, Exposure is consistently sunny and pleasant, allowing players to focus on the game itself.

  • I’ll wrap this post up with my earning a proximity sensor badge: this gadget has been most helpful, and being able to utilise it has allowed me to contribute greatly to the matches I’ve played. I imagine that a difficult road lies ahead for DICE, and while it is plain that the DICE of today is no longer the DICE I remember from the Battlefield 3 to Battlefield 1 days, it still remains fun to hop into a game from time to time and mess around. Having said this, I will likely return to write about new developments in Battlefield 2042 as they appear: DICE has indicated they will continue making improvements to the base game’s maps, and further to this, with at least three more seasons on the horizon, I am hoping to see at least some new content in the upcoming months.

I had initially stayed off multiplayer servers since Battlefield 2042 launched because I struggled to connect to servers and load visual assets properly (on the rare occasions I could connect, my player model did not load with the gun visible, and I found that both allied and enemy players were completely invisible to me, rendering the game unplayable). Instead, I spent most of my time playing single-player AI bot matches to rapidly unlock weapon attachments and new gear. In addition, I also played Battlefield Portal extensively to relive my old memories of Battlefield 3 and Bad Company 2. Although it was immensely fun, I similarly felt a hint of melancholy: the best days of DICE had appeared behind them, and the countless hours I dumped into Noshahr Canals were little more than a mere memory. However, with Zero Hour and its seasonal progression system, I found new incentive to play Battlefield 2042‘s multiplayer. This time around, I found a game that was smoother and more consistent than I had known previously. For the first time since launch, there was motivation to enter a multiplayer server, join a squad and have fun in capturing objectives, reviving teammates and landing headshots against human opponents. Admittedly, a part of me had wanted to stay away from multiplayer servers, knowing that I’d now be going up against players half my age with double my reflexes. However, when I joined my first match, I was shocked to learn I could still hold up. Where other players may have superior response times and better aim than myself, I compensate with a veteran player’s sense of patience and awareness. I retreat behind cover and move in ways to make myself scarce, utilise every tool available to me in order to spot my foes, and never rush into a situation without ascertaining what I’m up against. In this way, to my surprise, I found myself having the same kind of fun I did in the earlier Battlefield titles, to the tune of making some progress through the seasonal content and unlocking the BSV-M Marksman Rifle, a remarkably versatile weapon that can be changed from a long-range semi-automatic rifle into a submachine gun on the fly. Despite a disappointing showing thus far, Battlefield 2042 still has its moments, and more than once, I found myself wishing that DICE would commit to this title. With the attention and focus the community deserves, Battlefield 2042 may yet redeem itself and, like Battlefield 4, become a title that is worth playing.