The Infinite Zenith

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Tag Archives: DICE

Battlefield 2042: Twelve Hours of Solo All-Out Warfare and First Impressions

“All great beginnings start in the dark, when the moon greets you to a new day at midnight.” –Shannon L. Alder

Buckshot sails past my teammate and into my skull, sending me back to the deployment screen. In past Battlefield games, I’d be shown the foe who killed me, and I would wonder if that player had been lucky, skilled, or if their level was low, using cheats. However, there’s no time for such thoughts here in Battlefield 2042; I decide to spawn into the M1A5, and moments later, I’m back in the heat of combat. This time, I’m protected by composite armour in all directions. I proceed to single-handedly slaughter an entire capture point on my own and buy my team some breathing room, but in that time, the enemy team has managed to begin capturing another point on the map. I immediately race over, leaving a trail of dust and destruction in my wake. Battlefield 2042 represents a dramatic departure from the class-based multiplayer shooter that DICE had perfected over the years. For one, it is now possible to play solo on a private instance, and this alone has made Battlefield 2042 a relaxing experience. This year, the mantra “at my own pace” has dominated my discussions. I am happiest when taking in entertainment in the manner of my choosing, and Battlefield 2042‘s solo modes have provided exactly this. The AI bots I join in a given match play as humans would. They capture objectives, fire on me when I draw near and duck for cover when I return fire. While their performance can vary, they can be challenging and unpredictable like human players, but unlike human players, possess no ill-will towards me. No AI bot has yet killed me from across the map with a shotgun, camped in a single spot all match to spawn frag teammates, or singled me out in text chat for a fight. For this reason, Battlefield 2042 is fun; spared the trouble of having to deal with an excessively zealous enemy team and teammates who can’t perform, players who believe camping is a legitimate strategy and folks who count on cheats to gain the upper hand, I am able to properly play Battlefield 2042 at my own pace. The pressures associated with multiplayer evaporate as I am able to focus purely on a goal for that match. If I’m intending to give a newly-unlocked weapon a go, I can equip the base weapon and not worry about being destroyed by players using the optimal loadouts. If I wish to rank up my tanks, I can park on a capture point and hammer away at foes towards the unlock thresholds without try-hards from the other team destroying my tank with air-to-ground missiles. In fact, the absence of highly proficient pilots means for the first time in a Battlefield game, I’ve been able to learn how to fly, as well. Previously, I’d be shot down by enemy pilots who’ve unlocked everything for their air vehicles of choice within seconds of spawning in to an aircraft, but the AI bots in Battlefield 2042 lack the same level of aggression, giving me a chance to learn how to fly in a live match.

The solo experience is a complete breath of fresh air from previous titles, where I’d necessarily need to play against overly-determined foes who care only about their stats, and Battlefield 2042 has met expectations in this area. Similarly, thanks to two post-launch patches from DICE, gunplay has become sufficiently smooth so that assault rifles can perform at medium ranges. Performance is, for the most part, satisfactory – my aging hardware still runs Battlefield 2042 on medium settings. In this way, I’ve spent twelve hours playing against AI bots in the solo All-Out Warfare mode, and I’ve reached level 18. Over these twelve hours, I’ve played enough to determine that Battlefield 2042 is sufficiently satisfying so that I will be continuing with the game as it continues to mature and grow. Battlefield 2042‘s launch has been rough, and I’ve heard that since launch, player count has decreased by upwards of seventy percent. The game is one of the most negatively reviewed games on Steam, and day after day, endless Reddit threads are created, instructing others not to buy the game. While most of it is irrelevant or overblown, some of these feedbacks have merit: Battlefield 2042‘s problems lie predominantly in performance issues, lack of essential quality-of-life features like a server browser and scoreboard, and the fact that solo modes offer drastically reduced experience points compared to multiplayer proper. These are the sorts of things that should be slotted under DICE’s “high severity, high priority” fixes. The other point that I’m in agreement with are the map designs the new All-Out Warfare maps. While the maps themselves are visually stunning, there is far too much empty space between congregation points. This means that for most players, the average match will consist of sprinting to a capture point, perhaps scoring a few kills and then dying instantly to a sniper, or sprinting to a capture point and being killed by an enemy helicopter along the way. There’s no buildings or vegetation to provide cover for moving infantry, and there’s not enough vehicles, like quad bikes, to allow squads an accessible means of swiftly moving between capture points. I also find myself unable to join a squad of AI players, resulting in long walks should I ever die. The recurring joke, that Battlefield 2042 is a virtual track-and-field simulator, holds true in solo All-Out Warfare; in the absence of a vehicle, I tend to stay at one capture point because of how long it would take to hoof it over to the nearby control points, even on the smaller maps solo players are provided with. A bit of extrapolation would find that larger maps would be very difficult to traverse. It would be phenomenal for DICE to address these issues in their maps: Battlefield V initially had similar problems, and without dramatically changing up maps, DICE had fixed these issues by providing a handful of respawning motorcycles at capture points and adding fences, foliage and trenches to make it easier for infantry to move around in. The community appears to believe otherwise for the present, but DICE’s track record speaks for itself: Battlefield games typically start out roughly, and then improve over time. As such, it is likely the case that over time, Battlefield 2042 will improve – maps will be updated to handle better, basic UI elements will return, and, if my luck holds, optimisations will be introduced so even older rigs like mine can run the game with reasonable frame rates.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Because I spent a total of six hours on the Orbital map during Battlefield 2042‘s open beta, I’ve elected to play on different maps. Playing multiplayer proper means utilising Battlefield 2042‘s matchmaking system, and from what I’ve heard, this approach makes it really tricky to play on one’s preferred maps. Unfortunate player can get stuck on the same map two or three times in a row; as such, having a proper server browser would be mandatory. In my case, since I’m playing solo, I have the choice of picking which map I play on every time.

  • Here, I play on Hourglass, a sand-swept portrayal of Qatar’s Doha. Massive skyscrapers can be seen in the distance, and although the illuminated city is gorgeous, there is a lot of open space on the map, making a  vehicle mandatory. In earlier Battlefield games, I’ve commented that one thing I enjoy most about a well-designed map is that there is enough variety to accommodate all combat options without favouring any one weapon type or play-style. The larger maps of Battlefield 2042 openly favour vehicles, and early in my experience, I found that I could single-handedly control the tide of battle if I were to spawn into a tank: here, I destroy an enemy vehicle and earn myself a killtacular in the process.

  • The experience gain in solo mode might be stymied, but the flip-side is that unlocks for weapons and vehicles progress normally. This makes solo a great place to become familiar with weapons and vehicles; when something is initially unlocked, there are no additional options available for it, and its handling might require some time to get used to. Previously, trying newly-unlocked weapons out on human servers would be painful, since I’d be destroyed in the blink of eye by folks playing better weapons. Conversely, here in solo All-Out Warfare, I am afforded the chance to get used to a base weapon. Here, I shoot a helicopter out of the sky with the M1A5, the American MBT, in a manner reminiscent of my Battlefield 3 days.

  • Kaleidoscope is set in Songdo, South Korea, and it is another map where there is a large central business district surrounding the actual map itself, a large open park with little cover. The park area offers next to no cover, and one can be attacked from all angles even if they are cautious; people report that nothing is more frustrating than surviving a harrowing firefight at close quarters with another squad, only to be picked off by distant snipers. These events have led some to express a wish for DICE to modify the maps. While the maps themselves cannot be easily changed in terms of layout, simple changes like adding trenches, fences and foliage as cover would make a massive difference.

  • These small changes would allow for more close-quarters environments and also break up the line of sight for snipers, forcing snipers to play more strategically. DICE has previously done something similar in Battlefield V: the Panzerstorm map was notorious for favouring vehicles, and anyone who spawned into a tank could decimate infantry unchallenged. The map was later altered so trenches and fences broke up open fields, giving infantry flanking routes and allowing them to sneak up to vehicles in order to counterattack.

  • I can now say that the AI bots in Battlefield 2042 are definitively a cut above the bots in other games I’ve played: Battlefield 2042 bots can traverse the maps well enough to capture objectives and force players to respond, will reprioritise their focus if I fire on them, and utilise their equipment when appropriate. I have died on several occasions to bots that would astutely swap over to their M5 Recoilless Rifles and hammer my tank with rockets, and similarly, enemy tankers immediately stop firing on infantry with their coaxial MG and change over to their MPAT rounds to take me out when I arrive.

  • This isn’t to say that AI bots can replace human players: there are some moments where the bots can become pretty bone-headed as a result of limitations in their decision algorithms: towards the end of a given Breakthrough match, AI bots will always just congregate on the capture point in the aim of keeping players from capturing it. Allied bots similarly seem to have a problem rushing in to take the points, and as such, the end of a match on some maps becomes impossible to win on my own. However, other maps give me a chance to drive a vehicle onto the capture point and finish the match off quickly.

  • Having now had the chance to try the PBX-45, I’ve found it a superbly reliable and enjoyable weapon to use. The base weapon has low recoil is low, high firing rate and good hip fire accuracy. When aiming down sights, tap-firing the PBX-45 allows it to reach out further than one would imagine. The PBX-45 is inspired by the LWRC SMG-45, a next-generation submachine gun firing the .45 ACP rounds and entered production in 2019. Battlefield 2042‘s weapons are all inspired by existing weapons, but rather than going with venerable classics such as the HK416 or AK12, DICE has opted to go with cutting-edge weapons.

  • Here, I drive a tank on another match of Breakthrough on Breakaway, which is set in Antarctica’s Queen Maud Land region. As it turns out, Shōwa Station (as seen in A Place Further Than The Universe) is also located in Queen Maud Land. Battlefield 2042 supposes that by 2042, illegal drilling operations will have occurred here. For me, Breakaway is probably my favourite of the Battlefield 2042‘s maps; besides sporting excellent scenery, there’s actually a bit of cover to utilise in between the different capture points. Despite being a snowy, icy map, Breakaway is broken up with rocky regions and a massive drilling platform, adding variety to the map.

  • It turns out that the bolt action rifles do have penetration; I found this out when I landed a double kill with a single shot while pushing towards the final set of capture points. While solo All-Out Warfare is fine for levelling up even with the constraints in mind, the fact that everything is so far apart means that firefights are less frequent. I would like to see DICE implement deathmatch options for both multiplayer and solo/co-op in All-Out Warfare, as it would offer players a means of focusing purely on unlocking attachments for their new weapons.

  • For me, the biggest problems in Battlefield 2042 at this moment are performance issues and the fact that progression in Battlefield Portal is restricted. Things like aesthetics can be improved over time, and DICE historically has a good track record when it comes to fixing bugs surrounding ballistic properties and UX. I bought Battlefield 2042 for the fact that one can play against AI bots, and in this area, the game does handle in a satisfactory, if less-than-ideal, manner. However, being restricted in experience gain is a bizarre decision, and the outcome is that a vast majority of players, like myself, are punished by the actions of a few number of players.

  • The solution for experience farming is, theoretically, a simple enough concept: if a server alters AI behaviour and attributes like health to beyond a certain threshold (e.g. setting AI to stand still or having less than half of normal health), then XP is automatically disabled for that server. Otherwise, progression equivalent to that of solo All-Out Warfare would be permitted. This approach would allow solo players to be rewarded for spending time in the game, while only punishing those who abuse Battlefield Portal‘s capabilities. This would be the optimal solution, but in the absence of such an implementation, I still see myself playing Battlefield Portal on its own: everything in this mode is fully unlocked from the start and ready to go for players.

  • For the sake of exploring every map, I ended up swinging by Discarded, which is set in Alang, India. This map features the rusting husks of derelict cargo ships that are being decommissioned and scrapped for parts. The ships themselves are massive, and their labyrinthine interiors are perfect for close quarters combat, whereas outside, wide open spaces on the muddy coasts facilitate sniping and vehicular combat. The extremities in the maps justifies the presence of a + system, which is the colloquial name for the menu that allows for weapon attachments to be swapped on the fly, just like in Crysis. While the system was initially questioned, I’ve actually found it to be quite powerful.

  • Even though I’m presently only able to switch between a handful of sight, barrel and under-barrel types, being able to switch out a holographic sight for long range optics and exchange a suppressor for a heavy barrel has meant I could change my optimal combat range when going from the interiors of a ship, to the wide open plains surrounding each vessel. The + system actually does add a bit of nuance to things, and picking attachments to best suit one’s play style at certain ranges enhances Battlefield‘s weapon customisation system. As players unlock more options for their weapons, it is possible to have an assault rifle handle more like a submachine gun for unexpected close quarter situations with a change to the equipped ammunition and barrel attachment, for instance.

  • During one match of Conquest on Discarded, I ended up boarding an attack helicopter and scored my first-ever kill with a helicopter in any Battlefield game. Until now, the presence of other players meant I never had the chance to learn the controls. While the AI bots are smart enough to train their anti-air guns and missiles towards the sky when I fly, they are nowhere nearly as persistent as human opponents. In this way, I learned how to move the helicopters and get it to go exactly where I wanted it to go, and I also got a better measure for the weapons available from the pilot’s seat.

  • Back on the ground, I will remark that Angel is the best specialist, bar none, for solo All-Out Warfare; his passive ability is to revive downed allies faster and bring them up with their armour topped off, while his equipment allows him to call in a loadout crate. This ability is the most mundane of the specialists, but in practise, it is also the most useful of the abilities. I am now able to switch weapons and gadgets outright if a situation changes: if I am pinned down in an area, I can call in a crate and switch over to the medic loadout, then as soon as I extricate myself, I can return to an anti-armour role. Similarly, if opponents begin engaging me from ranges beyond what I’ve configured my assault rifle to do, I can pop over to a DMR or bolt action rifle.

  • The initial smart rockets attack helicopters have access to are underwhelming and require a few hits in order to kill, but I ended up getting the hang of them. My goal now is to unlock the 70 mm anti-personnel rockets for both factions, which lack anti-armour properties but would be particularly lethal against infantry. Generally speaking, an attack helicopter is at its best when there’s another player occupying the gunner’s seat: they can focus on an anti-infantry role while I deal with vehicles. In the absence of a gunner, and in the knowledge that the AI aren’t overly aggressive about anti-air combat, I have also found success by raising the helicopter’s altitude, switch to the gunner’s seat to clean up infantry on the ground, and then return to the pilot’s seat so I can steer the helicopter back into the air for another attack run.

  • It feels a little unusual to run a predominantly support player without LMGs, and Battlefield 2042 has a rather disappointing two LMGs available for players to unlock at this point in time. The LMG that I do have access to right now, the LCMG, is a decent option to run, and I’ve found it to be quite useful for clearing areas out; on Kaleidoscope on Breakthrough, the last capture point is located on the roof of a skyscraper, and this creates an unusual situation where the defenders are guaranteed to win because the allied AI have no chance of breaking through in a concerted fashion. However, the placement of enemy AI also means that one could capitalise on their behaviour to score kills and work towards their weapon progression.

  • A week ago, it was Black Friday, and I ended up going shopping for new bed frames and mattresses, where I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I saved a hundred dollars on my bed frame. This weekend, the day was spent finishing off the Christmas shopping – I finished most of mine back in the first week of November, having anticipated that supply chain problems could make Christmas shopping considerably more difficult. At present, there are only a few odds and ends to look after, and gifts for the folks most important to me are already secured, leaving me to leisurely browse the local mall. Winter has also begun arriving in my region: the past week had been snowy, and today saw -6ºC temperatures with gentle flurries.

  • A Cantonese-style dinner wrapped up what was a relaxing and somewhat brisk day –  sweet and sour pork with mayonnaise and apricots, beef brisket and daikon, seafood Chinese broccoli and 小炒皇 (jyutping siu2 caau2 wong4, a stir-fry with fish, shrimps, chicken and deep-fried tofu) ended up being the perfect way to take the edge from a cooler night. This weekend is a bit of a breather from the recent flurry of activity, and in the weeks upcoming, the goal will be to finalise the furniture for our new place. The beds, wall units,  couches, coffee table, desks and shelves are good to go, so all that’s left are night tables, shelves for the bedrooms and dining table. Once those are bought, I can capitalise on that vacation time to begin building the furniture, and then begin moving some personal effects over.

  • Sniping in the open beta was a little inconsistent, but with the fixes that have occurred since Battlefield 2042‘s launch, sniping has become a superbly enjoyable activity. I miss the days when the game would give players bonuses for landing headshots from extreme ranges: besides rewarding sharpshooting and skill, it was also an elegant way of telling players their headshot distance. Here, I nail a shot on an AI bot from about 200 metres away; bullet drop in Battlefield 2042 is less pronounced than it was in Battlefield 3 or 4, although this is purely something I’m saying based on observation, and I feel that I’ll still find it useful to spend more time with bolt action rifles.

  • Because I’m certainly not a skilled pilot by any stretch, being able to hop into a match of solo Breakthrough or Conquest and practise flying in the context of a live match has been remarkably helpful. In previous Battlefield games, this simply wouldn’t be possible, and while tutorials are offered, I’ve found that like real life, I tend to learn best when given a chance to apply the basics towards a tangible objective. This is how I picked up C# and Unity for the Giant Walkthrough Brain and how I became a self-taught iOS Developer.

  • The sandbox environment in Battlefield similarly is conducive for self-driven learning, and looking back, this is something I’ve come to enjoy from all of the Battlefield games I’ve picked up. According to the blog’s archives, I wrote about my first impressions of Battlefield V about three years ago. Back then, I found the most frustrating aspect of the game was player visibility. Beyond this, I was hopeful that DICE would continue introducing new content to the game, and while Battlefield V ended support a year-and-a-half into its life, the game did end in a decent state. While visibility was never adequately addressed, DICE did fix a host of issues with Battlefield V, leaving it in a playable state after support for the game was dropped. Unfortunately, the game succumbed to cheaters, and after that final match on Al Marj Encampment in mid-June last year, I’ve never returned. Had Battlefield V offered a solo mode with AI bots, the story would be very different.

  • At around this time three years earlier, I had just accepted a new job offer and had a few weeks to myself. Besides sleeping in and perhaps spending a little more time playing Battlefield V than I would have otherwise, I also decided to take the bus downtown to get a feel for the route one morning. That day, I also ended up enjoying a delicious Lobster and Scrambled Eggs poutine from a local breakfast institution, as well as explore the then newly-opened central library, where I spent the entire morning reading Reader’s Digest’s Treasures of China, a beautiful coffee table book that showcases the beautiful landscapes and dazzling cultural artefacts of China. I’d given up hope of reading that book again, but thanks to a bit of holiday magic in the present, that book will be joining my private library this Christmas along with Smithsonian’s Space, another book I’d been longing to buy.

  • Like Battlefield 2042Battlefield V‘s launch was a bit rough, and players back then similarly decried the lack of content and numerous bugs. However, since DICE did add extensively to Battlefield V‘s content and patched out the more critical bugs, the game became much more immersive: the Pacific Update stands as one of my favourite expansions to any Battlefield game ever. Owing to this history, I hold similar expectations for Battlefield 2042 and will anticipate that with time, more primary weapons, sidearms and maps will be added to the game. For now, though, I am content to work through the unlocks that are available, and here, I manage to score a killtacular on enemies chilling in a vehicle using the M5 Recoilless Rifle. AI bots are fond of gathering in vehicles, making multi-kills quite common.

  • The SVK is modelled after the SVCh (Snaiperskaya Vintovka Chukavin), a Russian designated marksman rifle manufactured by Kalashnikov Concern. The real world equivalent is designed to supplant the SVD marksman rifle and unlike its predecessor, is a modular weapon that can accommodate different calibres and possesses a Picatinny rail, allowing it to mount different attachments. From what I’ve seen of the SVK so far, it hits harder than the DM7, but has a reduced magazine capacity. The default optic is also a little tricky to use.

  • Conversely, the AK24 is an excellent assault rifle: par the course for the Kalashnikov derivatives, the AK24 has a slower firing rate and more recoil than the M5A3, but in exchange, hits harder per round and is more reliable at range. In the beginning, I only had the iron sights for it, but as I’d mentioned in the open beta post, iron sights no longer bother me quite as much as they did during my Battlefield 3 days: being forced to use iron sights in Battlefield 1 and V has seen to it that I’ve adjusted, and in Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War, not having a sight also meant being able to equip an alternate attachment instead.

  • While I’ve yet to unlock the attachments that bring out the best in the AK24, even having a few attachments to bolster the weapon’s performance slightly is welcome. Shortly after unlocking the AK24, I returned to Revival to see how the weapon handled, and that particular match was exhilarating: my team had fallen behind early on, but thanks to my captures, we held the lead until late game, when the opposing team managed to sweep victory from under us by the margin of five tickets. The outcome was as lifelike as any match against human opponents.

  • As such, while Battlefield 2042 still needs a bit of work before I’m ready to step into the realm of multiplayer, the solo mode has proven to be satisfactory, offering me a modernised sandbox environment to play in without worrying about rampant cheaters and juvenile players plastering memes into text chat. As such, I see no merit in paying too much heed to the non-stop vitriol that is being generated on social media; at the end of the day, I’m having fun, and that’s all that matters. I have seen that Battlefield is most enjoyable with some mates, but since most of my friends don’t have an interest in this series, I’ve spent the whole of Battlefield 341 and V on my own. This has never diminished my experience in any way, and admittedly, it is fun to see how far I can get on my own.

  • Having now gained a rough idea of how Battlefield 2042‘s solo modes handle, I do see myself returning, at my leisure, to unlock things and have a good time in my private sandboxes, away from a community that has only become more negative and unbearable since I last wrote about Battlefield. I don’t play Battlefield for a living, and I don’t tie my self-worth to my performance in a video game, so I see little reason to participate in that particular side of the community; so long as the game provides me the large-scale sandbox experience I’ve come to love, I will continue to enjoy it. Finally, DICE has announced that a new map will be joining Battlefield 2042 – this map is called “Exposure”, and I am rather looking forwards to checking it out. This time around, thanks to the presence of a solo mode, I am similarly confident that I’ll be able to easily explore the map once it becomes available.

My impressions after spending twelve hours in Battlefield 2042 have been largely positive, thanks in no small part to the fact that it is now possible to get a private All-Out Warfare session going. Here, the limitations that affect the larger multiplayer mode are not as apparent. Map sizes are slightly smaller, and vehicles are always available, making travel a little easier. I’m squaring off on a server of 63 AI, rather than 128 human players, so performance is similarly less of an issue. For this reason, I do see myself staying in the solo All-Out Warfare experience for the foreseeable future. While being killed by cheaters and having to contend with youth whose vocabulary seems limited to memes is annoying, the main reason why the AI bots remain appealing is simply from the fact that my machine is aging and therefore, unlikely to be able to keep up on a server of 128 human players. While perhaps speaking poorly of Battlefield 2042‘s multiplayer component, these observations also serve to show how powerful AI bots have become. We are now at a point where I am able to play a convincing match against AI bots without ever encountering human players, and although the AI bots are still limited (allies and foes alike do not adapt to situations as quickly as humans would), I’ve nonetheless had a solid time so far. The biggest impediment right now is the fact that experience and unlocks are constrained right now thanks to the actions of a few impertinent players creating “1 HP EASY XP FARM” modes and flooding Battlefield Portal with these servers during the game’s early access period. The problem was exacerbated by unethical gaming journalists promoting these modes as a means of quickly levelling up during this timeframe, harming the experience for the remainder of the players. The reduced XP has made it far slower to unlock new weapons and gear, as well as outright preventing attachments from being unlocked in custom TDM experiences. So far, this has not been an impediment, but as I continue to level up, and the experience required for each successive level increases, I imagine that I will be feeling the effects of this more severely, the further I level up: DICE and EA did assure players that they would have full access to progression regardless of which modes they play, so it is imperative that progression be returned to Battlefield Portal such that it is at least similar to what it is in solo All-Out Warfare. DICE has had a history of sorting out issues to create increasingly stable and consistently enjoyable games, so I am hoping that Battlefield Portal and solo All-Out Warfare will receive their own fixes in the near future. In the meantime, I will continue advancing through Battlefield 2042 at my own pace – Battlefield 2042‘s latest patch was a major one and addresses a large number of in-game issues that improved gameplay in a tangible way, and most excitingly, added vehicular combat TDM to Battlefield Portal. This particular mode has been of great interest to me – it will now be possible to properly set up a server where I can simulate the outcome of pitting myself against AnimeSuki’s conceited Mädchen und Panzer World of Tanks clan to settle a decade-old argument, and I have a special discussion in mind on this matter once I get that game mode set up.

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

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

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

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

Screenshots and Commentary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Battlefield 2042: A Reflection on the Open Beta

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

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

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

Screenshots and Commentary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Star Wars Battlefront II: Thanksgiving Long Weekend and A Reflection on Instant Action

“Your eyes can deceive you. Don’t trust them.” –Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

Five years earlier, DICE had opened their beta for Battlefront: EA had acquired the rights to develop Star Wars games after LucasArts shut down in 2013, and two years later, Battlefront had been intended to be DICE’s interpretation of what a Star Wars game should feel like. The resulting Battlefront game would be a multiplayer-only experience that saw players return to iconic Star Wars locations and participate in major battles within the Star Wars universe. By October 2015, a beta was ready: it lined up with the Thanksgiving long weekend and was intended to allow players to test for functionality and performance. I was in my final year of graduate school at the time, and therefore, was able to request an extra day off so that I could spend the Friday exploring the beta. Over the course of the long weekend, when I was not writing for GochiUsa‘s second season or helping with Thanksgiving Dinner, I spent a total of eight hours in the beta, running around on Hoth to either help the Rebels stop the Imperial walkers from reaching the shield generator, or else blasting Rebels to ensure the Imperial walkers hit their destination. While Battlefront had been a fun experience, and I greatly enjoyed just how immersive the game was with its visuals and sound engineering, the actual product proved to be lackluster: Battlefront had no campaign and was limited to only a few iconic locations. Two years later, DICE would release Battlefront II. Battlefront II was intended to be a proper successor to Battlefront, featuring more content and replay value. The open beta ran during October 2017’s Thanksgiving long weekend, and after spending several hours with the Galactic Conquest game mode, as well as Starfighter Assault, I found the game to be a direct upgrade over its successor: things handled more smoothly, and there was supposed to be a campaign mode, as well. However, in the aftermath of the loot-box controversy, I decided to hold off on Battlefront II: the idea of purchasing progression was quite frankly, an insult to gamers, and I expect to be able to unlock game-related materials simply through playing the game. DICE and EA took a major hit with their decisions in Battlefront II: in response, DICE ultimately reworked the entire progression system such that all game-relevant upgrades could be earned with experience, and loot-boxes would only provide cosmetics.

As DICE continued work on Battlefront II, the game would improve beyond recognition, and by the time DICE announced their last update back in April, Battlefront II has become a proper Star Wars title. While multiplayer is a core component of Battlefront II, for me, the inclusion of the “Instant Action” mode transformed Battlefront II from a curiosity into a game that was absolutely worth picking up: the whole point of a Star Wars game is to immerse oneself in the highly unique and enjoyable aesthetics of the Star Wars universe. This is not possible in the multiplayer, since one’s mindset is on whatever objective they are playing. Conversely, in a single-player experience, one can truly enjoy the amount of attention paid to details in both visual and aural elements. Blaster bolts impact surfaces with a shower of sparks, just like the movies, and hearing the distinct snap-hiss of a lightsabre being ignited means one must now be mindful of an enemy Hero’s presence on the battlefield. In Instant Action, players are able to play a variation of conquest or breakthrough against AI bots: not quite as demanding from a skill perspective, the game mode provides a sandbox environment for players to really appreciate and explore iconic Star Wars locations, as varied as Hoth, Yavin, Tatooine and Endor, to name a few. Reinforcements are available to players, as well as Heroes, giving players a full spectrum of things to try out in penalty-free space: death and defeat don’t count against players, allowing one to experiment with different loadouts, familiarise themselves with the different Heroes, or even just wander the map and appreciate just how faithful the locations are to their movie counterparts. While Instant Action lacks the same scale and demands of multiplayer proper, it retains enough features to be a full-fledged experience, great for folks who are looking to experiment or have fun at their own pace; I’ve especially enjoyed Instant Action for being able to provide me with a quick Star Wars experience on days where I feel an inclination to fire blasters in a galaxy far, far away rather than contemporary firearms in more familiar settings.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • I still vividly recall the long weekend of five years earlier: I had spent most of the Thanksgiving break on Hoth and had been superbly impressed with how DICE had captured the Star Wars feel in Battlefront. After getting out my GochiUsa post done as quickly as was possible, I jumped right back into Battlefront‘s beta. In fact, Battlefront would rekindle my love for the Star Wars universe: I’d been a fan of Star Wars since Attack of the Clones came out, and after getting the DVD for Christmas, I remember borrowing the DVDs to the classic Trilogy to get caught up.

  • While simplistic from a thematic and story perspective, Star Wars biggest draw are the special effects and combat sequences: I don’t watch Star Wars to change my worldviews or understand symolism, I watch it purely for the fantastical worlds and engaging cinematography the films are known for. After watching (and yes, enjoying) Revenge of the Sith in the theatres, my interest in Star Wars jumped: the extended universe novels and games were quite enjoyable, providing plenty of lore to explore and new means of experiencing the franchise. Of the novels, I most enjoyed Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy and David Farland’s The Courtship of Princess Leia.

  • As for my favourite Star Wars game of all time, Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader occupies that coveted spot, allowing players to fly in some of Star Wars‘ most iconic battles (such as the attacks on both Death Stars and at Hoth) along with lesser known battles to highlight Rogue Squadron’s legendary combat missions. However, as time wore on, my interest in Star Wars began fading. Battlefront brought back those memories of an older time, and Battlefront II represents a more polished experience.

  • Since I am rocking what is more or less a private server through Instant Action, I have the choice of playing whichever Hero I’d like as soon as I’ve accumulated enough points. To reproduce the classic Battlefront experience, I’ve chosen to run with Luke Skywalker, during which I would go on a 15-streak. Luke is immensely fun to play with and has a host of abilities that make him a versatile melee-based Hero: under the snowy skies of Hoth, I had a fantastic time using the Force to capture control points and go exploring.

  • Traditionally, the Sunday of the Thanksgiving long weekend is when I have the turkey dinner: this year’s menu includes a roast turkey with homemade stuffing, ham with Dijon-honey sauce, Maggi-sauce shrimps and mixed vegetables. Turkey is counted as being a difficult bird to prepare for its long cook-times, which causes the meat to dry out and usually requires frequent basting to avert. However, we’ve been rocking a special recipe that makes things far easier: carrots, celery, onion, rosemary and parsley are placed into the centre of the turkey, and this is placed in a foil tray with about an inch of water. As the turkey bakes, the water becomes steam, moistening the exterior. Meanwhile, rising temperatures will cook the vegetables and herbs inside, causing them to release steam into the meat: altogether, this results in a very moist, tender and flavourful turkey.

  • Unsurprisingly, Thanksgiving Dinner turned out delicious: the recipe we have ensures that both the dark and light meat on our bird remains juicy. While we do have a pumpkin pie, I actually don’t bother with desert for the most part: if I’m out with the extended family, desert is typically served, but otherwise, I prefer just maxing out on turkey and the main course. I’d run a poll earlier this week to see what people do during large dinners, and it would seem that folks like myself, who prefer the main course over desert, are in the minority. I will remark that the folks in the majority might just change their minds after trying turkey the way we make it.

  • Even as a bog-standard infantry unit, one can still deal quite a bit of damage to enemy forces. My favourite class is the assault, since it is the most versatile: the blasters available to assault players have a decent range and accuracy, as well as hitting reasonably hard. In conjunction with a thermal detonator and shotgun for CQC, the assault is best suited for acting as shock troopers, pushing forwards onto enemy positions to capture them.

  • Here, I spent some of my points to run a rocket trooper: capable of jetting around the map with a jet pack, or doing shorter dashes to evade enemies, rocket troopers can be quite fun to wield. The update last September also added the Republic Commandos to Battlefront II, and this was among one of the most welcomed addition: the Republic Commandos were elite, special forces clones given the toughest of assignments to handle. They were featured in a 2005 FPS game that follows Delta Squad and their actions during the Clone Wars.

  • Thanks to a special promotion last year, I was able to play through Star Wars: Republic Commando and experience what has been counted as one of the best Star Wars games ever made. When I completed the campaign, I understood where the praise came from; Republic Commando has exceptional gameplay and a solid story, being rather sophisticated for its time. I do have plans on writing about that as time allows, and a glance at my schedule suggests that I should have time to do a post about Republic Commando come December.

  • Like Battlefront, Battlefront II features the DF.9 anti-infantry turrets: at the start of a match, I hopped into one and went on a short kill-streak with it before continuing on to help my team with a push. The game mode available in Instant Action is a smaller version of Battlefield‘s conquest, using the same scoring mechanism (capture a majority of the control points to score, and hold the points the longest to win): once enough points are captured, I’m free to go wander the map and look for enemies to light up.

  • Here, the planetary ion cannot (I believe the precise model is v-150) used at Hoth is visible: I’ve now shifted over to the Imperial faction to play as a stormtrooper. While the purist in me would prefer to run with the snowtrooper armour, I don’t think I’ve unlocked that particular cosmetic for the game just yet. Battlefront II offers a sizeable cosmetics collection, although owing to how little I’ve played the game, I’ve not spent too much in unlocking them for use. With this being said, DICE has been kind to the Battlefront player-base, and a legendary Rey skin was made free to all players following the release of Skywalker Rises.

  • Second to the assault class is the support class, which uses a repeating blaster and can be outfitted with ion rockets for anti-vehicle combat. While their blasters don’t hit as hard as a standard blaster on a per-shot basis, they are great for laying down suppressive fire, and the high RPM on the repeating blasters mean that they can melt through enemies in close quarters. In Battlefront, my game changed completely once I unlocked a repeating blaster; the lower damage was offset by the high RPM, and it was really from there that I began enjoying the beta to the extent that I did.

  • Battlefront II was released a mere two years after Battlefront, and in many places, the game has not seen too dramatic of an increase in visual fidelity. However, particle effects have been increased in Battlefront II: whereas Hoth in Battlefront was clear of any blowing snow, Battlefront II presents Hoth as featuring more snow effects. Skyboxes are also more detailed: both Imperial and Rebel vessels can be seen in the atmosphere. The particle systems must’ve been optimised to a good standard, since I’m still rocking a very reasonable 70-80 FPS with everything turned to the ultra preset at 1080p.

  • It is not lost on me that Hoth resembles Battlefield V‘s Fjell 652 in terms of aesthetics: with bright blue skies and snowy mountains: Fjell 652 was the first map I ever played in Battlefield V, but owing to poor visibility and bad map design, I would come to quit out of any match if the map was Fjell 652. By comparison, Hoth has a much better design, and Battlefront II has superior player visibility: even the white armour and fatigues that Imperials and Rebels alike sport on the map don’t render them invisible, whereas in Battlefield V, even players lacking camouflage gear could hide in the open owing to how the palette was chosen, making for a frustrating experience.

  • As a sniper, players have access to a slower-firing rifle with high-magnification optics that are suited for longer range combat. These rifles can drop distant enemy foes in as few as three shots without leaving one vulnerable to return fire from conventional blasters; while conventional blasters have a reasonable range, they cannot deal damage consistently at ranges for the sniper rifles. Fortunately, sniper rifles can be wielded at close ranges, as well, to get one out of a quick pinch if needed.

  • I admit that for me, one of the main appeals of Instant Action is the absence of other players one-shotting me from across the map owing to their superior star cards. This is one of the drawbacks about multiplayer games with intricate progression systems: players who spend more time in the game will inevitably unlock more items to use, but players who do not invest as much time have a much narrower range of options. While I’ve been able to sink a nontrivial amount of time into something like Battlefield, in general, one can really only focus on one game at a time, and in my case, I’ve simply not put in the same amount of time for Battlefront II.

  • During one chaotic firefight, I managed to down Lando: the CPU team is permitted Heroes, as well, and they can be quite devastating. I died at the hands of the CPU Lando at least three times before finally taking him out: on standard difficulty, AI bots are nowhere nearly as deadly as human players and can be handled with ease, although in large numbers, they can still deal some damage.

  • In the final moments of this post, I’ll showcase some of the kills I got while using Darth Vader. Unlike Luke, Vader is a bit trickier to control, and I was not quite as effective with him as I was with Luke. With this being said, Vader’s abilities are quite fun to use; sabre throw offers Vader a longer-range attack for handling distant foes, and Force choke can temporarily stop multiple opponents in their tracks. Over time, I acclimatised to Vader’s powers, I was able to going on a few kill-streaks.

  • I’d been running around and dealing enough damage as Vader during my final match to completely shut out the CPU. This brings my Thanksgiving post to an end, and as the evening sets in, it’s time to take things easy: unlike 2015, there’s no Battlefront beta going on this time around, so rather than trying to get the maximum experience from the beta as possible, I can direct my time towards other things.

At this time last year, I had just wrapped up Battlefront II‘s campaign: the September update that added Instant Action to the game also accompanied a massive sale, during which the game went for a song, and it became a no-brainer to pick it up. I recall that the campaign was reasonably enjoyable, although I’ve never really given the multiplayer or other modes a go. However, the presence of Instant Action means that I have the ability to spin up my own lobby and immerse myself in Star Wars whenever the inclination to arises. This past weekend, with the release of GochiUsa: BLOOM‘s first episode, I found myself feeling a bit nostalgic for an older time, and having picked up Battlefront II last year, it meant that I was, in effect, able to return to Hoth and fire Star Wars blasters the same way I did five years ago, when GochiUsa‘s second season began airing. The difference here is that, since Battlefront II is a fully-fledged game and not a beta, coupled with the fact that an update meant that I can run with any loadout of my choosing in Instant Action, there is no particular rush to have another go at things; this makes for a rather more relaxing weekend. Looking back, it would appear that it’s been consecutive Thanksgiving long weekends where I’ve written about Battlefront to some capacity. It would definitely seem that this time of year, with its autumn leaves, cooler weather, and shortening days, are the perfect time to go grab a blaster or lightsabre and either help the Rebel Alliance topple the Empire, or smash the Rebel scum in the name of the Empire after a warm and delicious turkey dinner, which, in conjunction with health and family, are the most important things that I give thanks for during Thanksgiving.

Battlefield V: A Swansong, The James Bond Loadout, Fields of Lavender and A Desert Encampment

“The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it.” –George Orwell

The final content patch that Battlefield V received adds one new map, Al Marj Encampment, expands upon the existing Provence for full-on conquest, along with five new primary weapons and two new sidearms, four new gadgets, three new grenades, two new armoured vehicles and new aircraft. This content update stands as one of the biggest updates that Battlefield V received in its lifetime, and while perhaps not as large as any of the DLC packages in earlier Battlefield titles, this update is one of the best boosts Battlefield V has had. Both of the maps in this final update bear the hallmarks of what I’ve come to count as being a good map, featuring a design that allows any class to be successful. Al Marj Encampment is set in Libya and is infantry-only: from narrow canyons of the western end and a desert village at its centre, to the airfield on the east, Al Marj Encampment features narrow streets and tight quarters on the northern end that favours high RPM weapons, but a large road running east-west provides open space that allows snipers to keep an eye on enemy movement. Fast paced, chaotic and unpredictable, Al Marj Encampment plays similarly to Operation Underground in its layout, while possessing the aesthetic of Battlefield 1‘s Zeebrugge and Achi Baba maps. Provence was completely reworked, as well: for all intents and purposes, it is a new map now set under a swift sunset providing the last light for lavender fields and a small riverside town. With both confined streets of town and wide open lavender fields separating two villages in the map’s western end, Provence is a map accommodating vehicular play as well as frenzied infantry combat in town. Being set during a sunset means Provence’s colour palette has also changed considerably: with the golden sunbeams washing the map in the melancholy last light of day, Provence feels like a visceral visual of Battlefield V‘s sunset. The map itself is a triumph that mirrors the end of Battlefield V, with its sunset signifying the end of Battlefield V as players have come to know it.

As the last content update, all players gain immediate access to the new weapons, gadgets and grenades. The assault class receives M1941 Johnson, a semi-automatic rifle that lost out to the M1 Garand. With a slight recoil and lower firing rate, the M1941 is a reliable and accurate weapon for the assault players that offers a hard-hitting weapon. Medics gain the Welgun, a replacement for the Sten gun that fires slowly but has solid hip-fire accuracy and reach further than the other submachine guns. Support players get two new weapons: the Chauchat and Sjögren Inertial shotgun both make a return from Battlefield 1. The Chauchat light machine gun is perhaps the most hard-hitting weapon available in its category (at close range, it can down enemy players with three shots), and this comes at the cost of a high recoil. However, because it can be configured to fire in semi-automatic, the weapon can be made to perform like a semi-automatic rifle, making it a longer-range weapon that can compete with some of the longer-range weapons in the game. Finally, the recon class is given the M3 Infrared semi-automatic rifle and the K31/43. The former is a bulky, cumbersome weapon with an unusual set of optics: the infrared optics occupy the entire right-hand side of the screen and can reduce visibility, but the weapon itself is remarkably effective at shorter to medium ranges. The K31/43 is a similarly entertaining weapon, allowing players to freely switch between the side-mounted optics and iron sights. This helps players to remain stealthy by removing scope glint, and overall, the K31/43 is fairly consistent and effective. Finally, the game also adds the Walther PPK, a German semi-automatic pistol that was popularised by Ian Flemming’s James Bond, and the Welrod, a suppressed pistol that is immensely effective at close range. On top of new vehicles, Battlefield V‘s final update feels like a send-off for what was probable the most troubled Battlefield title in memory, although with the new content and retaining the game’s solid gameplay, this is a bit of a bittersweet conclusion to what could’ve been a journey with a much greater scope and immersion.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • This is probably going to be the last Battlefield V post I write in a while, so I figured that I’d make it a bigger post: I will be showcasing forty of my favourite moments from the summer update. Per tradition, I open with my first kill on the map – after spawning at capture point echo in the M4 Sherman, I made my way over to the town and managed to get a kill. For the first few matches after the update was live, I lost consecutive matches. With my current record, however, this did little to affect my stats, and I took the time to get used to the map.

  • The addition of the Walther PPK to Battlefield V allows me to run an authentic James Bond loadout: Ian Fleming chose the PPK as Bond’s sidearm on advice from one of his readers, Geoffrey Boothroyd, made the suggestion that the PPK was well-suited for Bond given that it used the 7.65 mm cartridge, which both was relatively common and hit harder than the .25 ACP Beretta that Bond had previously carried.  A firearms expert, Boothroyd’s letters to Fleming would shape Bond forever: Fleming had greatly appreciated this and ended up naming Bond’s armourer after him. In Battlefield V, the PPK deals less damage than most pistols, but has a very high firing rate and short reload time.

  • The M3 Infrared is probably the most unusual gun in Battlefield V: the real-world incarnation was developed ahead of the invasion of Okinawa, and 105 units were built. Essentially an M2 carbine with modified optics, the M3 is one of the earliest weapon with a functional set of infrared optics, and despite its extremely limited range as a result of the sight’s shortcomings, it found applicability in picking off night patrols. The early technology meant that soldiers worked in groups of two or three in order to be effective, and the concept would be improved, extending the night vision scope’s effective range by the time of the Korean War.

  • The BAS Welgun is a submachine gun chambered for the 9 x 19mm Parabellum round and intended to replace the Sten. Originally designed for the Special Operations Executive, the weapon was incredibly compact and accurate, but other submachine guns were selected, with only a handful ever being made. The precise reason behind why the Welgun never was selected was lost to time, and while it’s a weapon with a cool bit of history, I honestly would’ve preferred to have the Sterling Submachine Gun, which was developed in 1944 as another Sten replacement. The Sterling was exceptionally successful, and after it was formally introduced in 1953, would become a mainstay in the British Army until 1994, after which the L86A1 was introduced. The Sterling would influence the design of the E-11 Blaster that Imperial Stormtroopers would use in Star Wars.

  • Admittedly, I miss the bright blue skies of the original Provence map. The original lighting on the map was that of either a late morning or early afternoon, and it gave the map a Sora no Woto-like feeling, bringing to mind the streets of Seize as Kanata browsed through the open market while on break one day. However, by setting Provence during the evening (evidenced by the fact that the sun is in the west rather than east), the golden light creates a much more varied palette for the map, as well as symbolising the end of Battlefield V.

  • There are a couple of drivable tractors on Provence, and while these are fun to operate (I ended up using them to travel quickly between a few capture points in my time), they are also incredibly fragile: a single rocket will destroy them. Here, I managed to get a kill on a player using a tractor with the Bazooka, and felt a twinge of remorse – players typically drive the tractor for fun, but they also represent a target that could potentially reach a capture point. My remorse quickly evaporated, since my team had been losing that match.

  • The assault class’ M1941 Johnson rifle is a short-recoil operated semi-automatic rifle that was a contender along with the M1 Garand as the main service rifle for the United States Army: its internal capacity was greater than that of the M1 Garand’s, and it could be topped off with 5-round stripper clips or individual rounds, whereas the M1 needed en bloc clips that required the entire clip be ejected before a new one could be replaced. However, the M1941 Johnson rifle’s recoil operated mechanism made it more susceptible to failure, and the weapon’s construction meant that it was shipped with small parts that were easily lost. The weapon was less reliable than the M1 Garand, but its designer, Melvin Johnson, would continue refining the weapon, and the M1941 Johnson’s bolt design would eventually be used in the AR-15.

  • The bridge at capture point charlie is typically the most contested area on Provence during conquest: players on foot will typically swarm around the bottom of the bridge by the river in the hopes of remaining unseen by enemy vehicles, while the top of the bridge usually sees vehicular traffic. The team that can control this point and hold it will gain the advantage during the match, as each team has two capture points that are relatively easy to take ahold of (one in the fields in the south, and one in the town in the north side of the map).

  • During one match, I ended up managing to grab a Sturmtiger that my squad leader had called in. Admittedly, I’ve not operated one since January of last year – for most situations, the 380 mm rocket the Sturmtiger fires is impractical, having a very low muzzle velocity and a 7.5 second reload time that limits its usage to close ranges. Moreover, the driver doesn’t have access to any coaxial weapons for mopping up infantry, being completely dependent on gunners to ensure no one can sneak up on the tank. However, the Sturmtiger is indeed a monster with its armour and primary weapon under some circumstances, such as in the narrow streets of Provence.

  • I thus find myself eating my words that the Sturmtiger is better suited for an anti-infantry role; I managed to go on a small rampage with the 380 mm rockets as the match drew to a close, demolishing several tanks with a single shot. As the match ended, I got a triple kill on another tank that had been attempting to take back capture point bravo. Overall, the Sturmtiger’s greatest strength appears to be its durability, which exceeds that of even the Tiger I: the American T34 Calliope has a much more versatile loadout and can similarly destroy vehicles with its rockets, but otherwise has the same durability as a standard M4.

  • Besides new weapons, the update to Battlefield V also adds a pair of new armoured vehicles for the German and American factions. The Germans get the Sd.Kfz. 234 Puma, a wheeled vehicle fulfilling the role of a light tank. Capable of moving swiftly across the map and capturing points, the Puma is lightly armoured, and in its base configuration, is equipped with a 20 mm autocannon that is better suited for dealing with infantry and light vehicles. I promptly swapped it out for the 50 mm cannon as soon as that became available, allowing me a fighting chance against more heavily armoured vehicles.

  • Of the two maps, I prefer Provence because of its setting: the sunset portrayed in the level is downright beautiful, and DICe did a fantastic job of extending the play area out into the lavender fields outside of town. It is not lost on me that under different circumstances, DICE could’ve likely done the same for the Lofoten Islands map: besides connecting all of the play areas together and adding boats, the Schwimmpanzer II and DD Valentine could’ve been included as amphibious vehicles. As it stands, Lofoten Islands will become a forgotten map that is only accessible through Team Death Match and Squad Conquest game modes, lacking support for the 64-player matches.

  • One loadout I experimented with was the Sniper Elite V2 endgame setup – towards the end of the game, OSS sniper Karl Fairburne acquires the Gewehr 43, which has the fastest firing rate and magazine capacity of any sniper rifle in the campaign. This comes at the expense of a lower muzzle velocity. For most missions, Fairburne is also equipped with the Welrod, which is suited for stealthily removing a lone guard from the equation. The Battlefield V Welrod is an exceptionally powerful pistol at close quarters, being able to take out opponents with a single headshot at ranges of 25 metres or less. This demands patience and a steady aim: missing with the Welrod is a death sentence if one is dealing with a player alerted to one’s presence.

  • Of the new gadgets, the most fun is probably the pistol flamethrower, which offers players with a pocket flamethrower. Most effective against infantry, the weapon is useless against vehicles, and for the most part, I prefer running dynamite to maximise my ability to deal with vehicles; here, I manage to get another triple kill with dynamite after blasting an unlucky jeep that had passed by me while trying to reach the capture point. Triple kills in Halo 2 are a big deal, but by this point in Battlefield V, I’ve seen my share of them more often: Battlefield V, with its superb weapons handling and large player counts, is naturally more conducive towards multi-kills compared to Halo, where 4v4 matches means that it would take a bit of luck in addition to skill to score an overkill (formerly killtacular).

  • While I’ve elected to run with the M1 Bazooka for its range, the proper Karl Fairburne loadout in Battlefield V is the Gewehr 43, Welrod pistol, Panzerfaust and Dynamite, plus an offensive grenade of some sort. If memory serves, my interest in Sniper Elite V2 was because it took players into the streets of Berlin during the latter days of World War Two and the fall of Germany, including the massive flak towers that Hitler had ordered built to defend the capital from Allied strategic bombing. Eight were built in Germany, with three in Berlin: these reinforced concrete structures had walls up to 3.5 metres in thickness and possessed a large number of FlaK 30 20mm cannons, as well as the 128 mm FlaK 40.

  • One of the potential maps set in the fall of Berlin, then, could have been at the Tiergarten Flak Tower, featuring the Soviets attacking against the defending Germans. In a potential breakthrough map, the Soviets would attempt to capture the flak tower. This could have come alongside a map to capture the Reichstag building. Of course, in present circumstances, such an experience is relegated to the realm of the imagination along with D-Day and Stalingrad, unless DICE decides to revisit World War Two properly in the future.

  • While I had been hit with a streak of losses early on whenever I made to play matches on Provence, my fortunes would eventually turn around, and during one particularly thrilling match, I ended up securing enough squad requisition points to call in a V-1 rocket that scored a triple kill. Players have gotten wise to the use of the squad reinforcements, and no longer crowd around on a capture point towards the end of a match – towards the end of a game, players tend to steer clear of capture points since most squad leaders will attempt to drop a V-1 or JB-2 in a bid to clear it out. Consequently, the massive multi-kills I got early in Battlefield V‘s lifecycle are no longer as frequent.

  • The American equivalent of the Puma is the M8 Greyhound, which replaces the LVT as the light vehicle. Compare to the basic Puma, it is slightly more compact, has inferior handling and stability, but slightly better firepower thanks to the 37 mm cannon. This can be further improved by adding armour-piercing shells, although in general, the Greyhound remains best suited for engaging light armour, transports and infantry while swiftly capturing points. Here, the lavender fields are just visible; the flowers are beautiful, and lavender itself is an immensely useful herb. Oil extracted from the plant is used in traditional medicine, being useful in maintaining skin health and stress reduction, amongst other benefits.

  • In the week after the update, finding matches on Al Marj Encampment was quite difficult, since there were only a few servers running the map at a time. I was lucky to find one, and promptly went about testing out the new Sjögren Inertial shotgun, which first made its appearance in Battlefield V. Like the other shotguns of Battlefield V, the Sjögren Inertial is a powerful close quarters weapon that can one-shot infantry but becomes increasingly inconsistent at longer ranges. The shotguns of Battlefield V see very limited utility for most engagements, but are sufficiently powerful so that I continue to see the occasional complaint about their usage as low-skill weapons in the text chat.

  • Al Marj Encampment is set under sunny skies and terrain reminiscent of the deserts surrounding Binoten in Broken Blade, as well as Sora no Woto‘s Seize. With a similar aesthetic as Achi Baba of Battlefield 1, and a layout reminiscent of a scaled down version of Sinai Desert, Al Marj was originally a map designed for the now-cancelled competitive 5 v 5 mode and was reworked to support 64 player game types. Historically, the battle here was fought earlier in World War 2, being a battle between the Australian and Italian armies on February 5, 1941. Battlefield V completely dispensed with historical accuracy, and while this is acceptable for gameplay, World War Two games typically carry the expectation that battles be depicted with some degree of realism. This is why there’s been a desire to see Battlefield return to the modern era, which would allow for more creative freedom.

  • On this match of breakthrough, my team had been doing a phenomenal job of pushing to capturing objectives, and shortly after I spawned in, I scored a kill with the suppressed PPK, James Bond style, before exiting the church. As my team pressed into the final sector, I was shocked when my power had gone out: lightning in the province over had knocked out transmission lines, leading to blackouts in my area. I gave up the win on this match, picked up a book and began reading, before taking a quick kip. The power outage lasted for a shade over an hour, after which power was restored and I continued on with my Battlefield V adventures.

  • One of my goals in Battlefield V will be to get all of my ground vehicles to a point where I’ve unlocked everything for them. The Puma and Greyhound are both strong vehicles for rapidly moving around a map, making them great for seizing the initiative in capturing points: this is my plan for levelling them up quickly, since there is a sizeable reward for neutralising and capturing in conquest. While the vehicles can hold their own against infantry, even a basic M4 or Panzer IV will turn the light vehicles into scrap metal.

  • For the past three weekends, thunderstorms have torn through the area, bringing with it a copious amount of rain and lightning – we’re about a week away from summer and have already seen at least four thunderstorms in the spring alone. The storms seen this year have all been direct hits, whereas most years, storms would pass by north of the city. With their potential for hail damage, thunderstorms are no joke, but they also bring about cool, refreshing air once they pass through the area.

  • One conspiracy theory I’ve seen making the rounds about in Battlefield V is that low level players are given a very minor damage and health buff to ensure that they are not blown away by veteran players who are much more familiar with game mechanics. Player speculate that this is the case, given that lower level players seem to absorb more damage and can score kills faster than what is normally possible compared to players of a higher level. Having seen what lower level players do for myself, I wouldn’t consider this implausible – players under level thirty always give me more trouble than experienced players.

  • Of course, this could just be that I remember being killed by a low level player better than the higher level players because of the innate assumption that a higher level player spent more time in Battlefield V and therefore is more familiar with the mechanics. Here, I play in probably the most one-sided match I’d ever played in Battlefield V: the opposing team was simultaneously disorganised and we ultimately smashed them. I ended up 10-0, since the match ended rather quickly, marking the first time I’d completed a game without dying once.

  • The Chauchat originally made an appearance in Battlefield V‘s Tirailleur campaign mission as the starting weapon for Deme Cisse. Similar to its Battlefield 1 incarnation, the Chauchat is a slow-firing, hard-hitting light machine gun best suited for medium range combat. The recoil on the weapon is very noticeable when firing on automatic, even more so when the 3x optics are equipped, but with the Nylar sights, the weapon jumps around less when fired in automatic.

  • Conversely, switching the Chauchat over to semi-automatic fire turns it into a makeshift marksman rifle for the support class. In this mode, players can reliably hit more distant targets without wasting ammunition. The Chauchat does fit in with recurring trend in the latest update, which brings numerous slow RPM weapons to the table that favour steady aim at moderate ranges. While the Chauchat is a fun LMG to use, the KE-7 and Bren remain my preferred weapons. I refuse to use the Lewis Gun on principle: with its large ammunition capacity and no overheat, the Lewis Gun is the weapon of choice for cheaters.

  • The last time I fired a suppressed PPK in a video game, it would’ve been 2003’s 007 Nightfire, which I count to be the best James Bond game in recent memory. Players eventually upgrade to the Walther P99 in Nightfire, which has a larger magazine capacity and better damage. From a gameplay perspective, I prefer the P99, but from an aesthetics perspective, the PPK is the better weapon for Bond, since it is much more compact. GoldenEye 64 popularised the PPK’s suppressed variant, and while Battlefield V has a more realistic firing sound for the suppressed variant, a part of me was hoping that the weapon would feel like its GoldenEye 64 counterpart.

  • Here, I score a kill with the suppressed PPK on “zlMAXIMOllz”, a rather vocal player who was insulting everyone on my team even as they were winning and topping their scoreboard. A quick look suggests that zlMAXIMOllz is someone who pads their stats the same way Eris pads her chest. I disagree with the suggestion that lower level players who perform well in Battlefield V are simply just “good” at the game – every Battlefield game has slightly different mechanics that take some getting used to, and Battlefield games differ greatly from those of something like Rainbow Six: Siege or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. To suggest one could be an instant expert within a half hour of picking up the game is ludicrous, since there are nuances one must pick up over time.

  • Originally, only Provence had a dedicated playlist, and I spent most of last week on Provence. This week, Al Marj Encampment got a dedicated playlist, so I’ve been able to play on servers running this map exclusively to get a feel for it. Being an infantry-only map, Al Marj Encampment possesses transports that, while fodder for any assault player with AT weapons, can nonetheless make quick work of infantry. Transports are especially valuable in the breakthrough mode, which offers as intense and chaotic an experience on this map as breakthrough on Operation Underground.

  • With its massive infrared flashlight and a dedicated 3x telescopic sight that picks up the thermal signatures of enemies, the M3 is a bit of an impractical weapon to use in practise. The optics and housing block out most of the screen, and the optics themselves barely pick out thermal signatures of enemies, who can defeat the weapon with smoke grenades. However, with a high rate of fire and a suppressor, the M3 Infrared can be used to tag enemies at medium range more effectively than the pistol carbines, and it can hold its own at close-medium range combat: in the right situations, the weapon is certainly very entertaining to wield.

  • While the K31/43 might not be the most impressive of the bolt-action rifles in Battlefield V, it certainly is one of the most entertaining weapons to use owing to its ability to switch between the side-mounted optics and iron sights. Resembling the rifles of Battlefield 1, the biggest advantage about the K31/43 is that while using iron sights, scope glint disappears, allowing one to be much stealthier. Switching between the two enables players to identify targets and pick them off with accuracy.

  • On this particular match of breakthrough, I was landing headshots with the K31/43 and keeping hidden, ending the match on a very strong note as my team successfully prevented the enemy advance. The specialisation tree for the K31/43 is an intriguing one: options for the weapon include a 6x scope to replace the default 3x optic, a bipod to eliminate weapon sway and a box magazine for faster reloads. While not the most damaging rifle in the game, the K31/43 does have some interesting options available to it that make it a unique weapon to use.

  • The Battlefield V incarnation of the Welgun puts it as a slower-firing, but hard-hitting weapon similar to the M3 Grease Gun. Performing best when hip-fired, the Welgun has better accuracy and range compared to most submachine guns, but for some reason, I initially had considerable difficulty in making the most of the weapon: its low rate of fire corresponds to a low DPS, and players equipped with faster firing weapons would melt me before I could get the killing shot off because I had engaged them at extreme close quarters rather than a more suitable distance.

  • Once I acclimatised to the Welgun’s handling and characteristics, I began to have more success with it; the weapon is great for combat out to around 40 metres, the range that the faster-firing submachine guns like the Type 2A and Thompson begin to lose their efficacy. Like the other submachine guns, the Welgun excels when it is specialised for hip-fire performance: as I rank the weapon up, I’ll look to put in points to maximise its hip-fire accuracy, which should help offset the lower rate of fire.

  • Sneaking around the southern edge of the map to get a flank for capture point C, I managed to get the jump on two players here and finished them off. With Al Marj Encampment’s terrain reminding me of Broken Blade, and following an enjoyable conversation with a buddy on the anime, I note here that I will have plans to write about Broken Blade in the very near future – the desert terrain and weather of Broken Blade remind me of Sora no Woto, and when I first watched both series, I was set to take my basic operator’s license.

  • I’ll save that story for the Broken Blade post proper, and return to Battlefield V: while my team ended up losing this game of conquest, and I found myself being smoked by a rather uncouth player calling himself “beserker1000”, who considered camping to be “skill”. Their foul attitude was only matched by their pusillanimity, and as I roamed the map, looking to help my team out as best as I could while rocking the Welgun, I didn’t encounter that particular player again. I ended up bringing my own KDR back to positive anyways and got a better measure of the Welgun from that experience.

  • Capture point echo, located close to the American deployment, is a spice market. Even during the frenzied combat, small details, such as the different boxes of spices, are present. Because the focus is on capturing points, dealing with enemies and helping teammates out, on most matches, I’m less attuned towards the attention paid towards making maps authentic. I can see myself returning to empty servers to go exploring at some point in the future to really appreciate the amount of work that goes into each map. Further to this, I believe that there is a dinosaur Easter Egg on this map, as well, that is closer to capture point Charlie.

  • I’ll close this post off with me scoring another kill with the M3 Infrared while overlooking the desert beyond town. Al Marj Encampment ended up being a fun map that feels like an infantry-focused variant of Sinai Desert. It is a bit sad to see the last of Battlefield V – in the future, I may return periodically to complete weekly assignments for the Battlefield Currency, which would allow me to unlock premium cosmetics, as well as finish ranking up the ground vehicles, but otherwise, I won’t be playing Battlefield V with too much frequency. Having said this, the game does end on a reasonable note, and one cannot help but wonder if, under different circumstances, DICE might’ve pulled off a comeback for Battlefield V the same way they had previously done for Battlefield 4.

Battlefield V ends on the best possible note with its final update, and overall, I’ve had an immensely enjoyable experience with the latest maps and weapons. On the whole, Battlefield V has tended towards being more enjoyable than frustrating for me: despite my encounters with cheaters and the lack of iconic maps, I’ve had fun going through Battlefield in the past year-and-a-half. With this being said, the biggest challenge I face in Battlefield games is the progression system: it takes a bit of time to unlock everything, and this is time that I may not always have available to me. In conjunction with a community that is becoming increasingly malignant and flippant, it becomes difficult to contemplate a return to Battlefield: when timed weekly challenges necessitate I continue returning to unlock things in servers filled with players who have no intention of playing objectives and spewing insults to those calling them out for not playing properly, a core part of the Battlefield experience becomes lost. My experiences with Battlefield V have shown that my time as a player of the Battlefield multiplayer is likely at an end: while I can still hold out against the meme-oriented players in terms of raw skill, I do not believe I will be able to commit so much time towards games with intricate progression systems in the future. With this in mind, I reiterate that I did have fun with Battlefield V, and I have no regrets whatsoever: while the game did not deliver an iconic World War Two experience, the gunplay is amongst the most satisfying I’ve ever experienced, and there was a joy to unlocking and using period weapons to mimic various loadouts I’ve seen in anime, from Girls und Panzer and Strike Witches to Sora no Woto and even Girls’ Last Tour. I play games to relax and do wild things, which Battlefield does offer, but I prefer to unlock things at my own pace: as it stands, I will not be picking up the next Battlefield game for this reason. Instead, the time has come for me to return to the realm of Halo, as well as get a start on the other titles in my library that I’ve accumulated over the years, but have not yet gotten around to looking at.