back to article Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system …

  1. Trigun Bronze badge
    Facepalm

    I was looking forward to this one... :(

    Back in 2006 I originally started out with BF2142 (have played BF2 since and a few other older ones) and I loved it (apart from the in game advertising boards lol) and also subsequently loved BF3 and 4.

    BF1 sounded like a great game, but I don't really enjoy WWI / WWII era FPS's, so I skipped it. That's no judgement on how good the game is or isn't.

    BF5 looked.. meh, Hardline (non-DICE) puzzled me conceptually and so ultimately I stuck with BF4.

    All this time I've being waiting for something which approaches BF2142 in in-game future-ish (but not too future-ish) technology and fun, so I had great hopes for BF2042. I even considered pre-ordering, something I've learned not to do over the years. Thank heaven I didn't. From all of the reports from sources I trust, this game has some major bugs (which no doubt are fixable), but more seriously, some major design choice issues - and that is coming across constantly from everyone I speak with and every review I read/watch. I'm not sure that DICE will reverse those decisions, given the work which may have to go into it.

    As such, I'll not be buying this game, sad to say, until it starts to look like it's worth the mega money being asked and when they start reversing some of their un-BF design choices. If it doesn't shape up then I won't buy at all, which might be likely.

    1. Dr. Vagmeister

      Re: I was looking forward to this one... :(

      I started playing BF2:Modern Combat on XBOX all through to BF4 (not Hardline). BF1 did not appeal, and BF5 tried the beta, and too many issues, but classes off, lighting poor, and people could see one another. So i skipped it.

      There were always bugs, and some were very annoying even with the final game, but BF4 (PS4) was great fun (as were the others). How they kept on making the same bugs in each sequel amazes me. I thought code reuses was optimal ?

      There were always designs aspects that were crap too. Brilliant that you had destruction but once everything was destroyed you were prey to every opponent in a vehicle. The strategic aspects of the game had some real howlers.

      If they remade BF2:MC all the way to BF4 again, fixed, and strategics resolved, i would buy them again, especially the favoured maps too.

      The statement, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, certainly applies to the BF franchise later games.

    2. goldcd

      Re: I was looking forward to this one... :(

      *small voice* - I'm quite enjoying it.

      I've bought everything from VietNam onwards, although 1 and V only got a small amount of play.

      I like the modern-ish periods and BF4 is still filling servers to this day.

      I feel a lot of the criticisms out there are unfair. Hiking across a map is part of the game (and punishment for letting your squad die). I don't need a bazillion weapons and mods.

      Now easier to get useful addons (no week of trying to snipe with ironsights to get a useful scope, while being picked of by those already with it etc).

      Being able to swap from a set of gun mods in game is a great improvement.

      Portal has the scope to be incredible.

      Some stuff I'm ambivalent about, like the new class/specialists.

      I like the flexibility - but it's now harder to at a glace work out what the people around you can do.

      The special skills is fun (but clearly a mechanism to screw more money out of us later)

      Some stuff I hate, but can be fixed. Big gap for me is the lack of tighter/smaller maps (and low number of maps in general in the main game), end of match stats.

      The bugs - last patch managed to prevent you from looking left and right.. (until you deleted your local config, which forced you to sit through videos and intro-bot-mission again).

      Some stuff I hate they're not going to fix (the f'in 'specialists' posing and catch-phrasing between rounds) - actually the general menu system is an unintuitive mess.

      If you want to give it a go, signing up for a month of EA Play gives you 10 hours - which is enough to decide if it's for you.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    I bailed after 2142

    My group of friends and I had a blast with Battlefield 2. It's simple : I played that game so much that the DVD broke and I had to buy another one.

    Of course, we played on my local server, hacked by a now-defunct team of dedicated Internet gaming experts which allowed me to run a 128-slot server populated by the largest maps and tons of bots for whatever slots were not taken up by players. We also had custom airplanes, and I particularly liked the Warthog.

    We had tons of fun, and our own ranking board.

    The only issue was that, of course, EA Games did not like that people had servers that they did not pay EA Games for, so every update broke the ranking and, sometimes, even broke the server. When that happened we had to find workarounds, like putting specific addresses in the hosts file to ensure that the server stayed local. It was an increasingly frustrating headache, but that did not make us stop.

    What made me stop was BF 2142. It was not uninteresting, but you couldn't play solo and you couldn't have a personal server. EA Games had obviously learned the lessons of BF2 and was determined not to let players have fun on their own.

    The issue I had with 2142 was that every single patch basically required that I reinstall 2142 from scratch. I did not have a fiber connection at the time, I was on a 10Mbps ADSL line. It took basically all day to update. It was a terrible update system and I hated every moment of it. The final straw came when the online install package asked me for my DVD key. DVD key ?!? What the blazes does an online store ask me for a DVD key ?

    So I fired off a rather angry mail to support telling them what I thought of this insane situation. The response : my profile got banned.

    You banned me because your shit-for-brains system didn't work and I had the gall to complain ? Fine, EA Games, we're done. You stole my money and you don't know how to make fun games anymore anyway.

    EA Games is now banned from my life. I don't regret it.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: I bailed after 2142

      I don't remember who said it but "It's worth noting that EA are so hated that they have twice won the award for being worst company in America against the sort of companies who's activities occasionally result in massive environmental damage and/or people actually dying." is right on point.

  3. Binraider Silver badge

    The trouble is we've seen it all before. New shiny slapped on top of the same or deteriorated gameplay plus usually lootbox and/or dlc mechanics do not make for games that FPS veterans want to go back to.

    Plenty of much more original and small team development to go to instead.

    As noted in the comments above, BF1942 was superb. Dated shiny, but fundamentally a good game.

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      I still play BF1942. Co-op maps, against 6-12 bots, with a couple of friends on my home LAN, all of us in the same room - great fun. Sadly, that's a mode of game-play that no-one seems to create any more. As noted in the article, playing against "foul mouthed tweenagers" is my idea of Hell.

      I really, really wish there were more local LAN co-op-versus-bot games out there. Right now I have Age of Mythology (2003), BF1942 (ditto) and Grim Dawn (2020) - and that's basically it :(

  4. Franco Silver badge

    Disclaimer: Never played any Battlefield or COD game prior to last month so I'm not a fan of either franchise by any stretch.

    However, I played a bit of Battlefield 2042 last month, purely because there have been Xbox Game Pass punchcards to earn bonus points. Whilst I'm not a hardcore gamer I do play a bit but I found it incredibly confusing with the UI. Objectives weren't clear, it was hard to tell enemies from team mates and (common problem on Xbox at the moment, looking at you Forza Horizon 5) it was incredibly clunky overall as if the games servers can't cope with the load on them.

    I've seen similar issues with so many co-op games that I've played (Wolfenstein Youngblood was an abomination to the franchise, also had similar issues with Back4Blood which again I only played because of quests) that it's put me off them as a genre. Also in the aforementioned FH5 the co-op races are full of idiots who take every overtake as a personal affront and try to ram you off the road.

  5. steviebuk Silver badge

    Miss it

    Haven't played in ages now. Loved BF2 and BF3 but think was it BF5 where they stopped planes from taking off. Instead they were already in the air which was shit. All to pander to the console market.

    BF2 I have the best memory. Flying over a semi dessert map where there was a canyon down the centre. I'd sit in the canyon with the AA tank as made it more difficult to be bombed. But the very best memory was flying ovet that map in a bomber. Spotted an AA tank in the distance so came in low to try and avoid the radar. I knew that when I get lock on, the player in the AA cab hears a buzzer to warn them. I was so low I saw the guy get out the cab and leg it across the desert to avoid my falling bomb. Was amazing.

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Miss it

      Flying over a semi dessert map where there was a canyon down the centre

      Yes, that was a trifle difficult.

      1. steviebuk Silver badge

        Re: Miss it

        Custard

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    EA have killed battlefield

    I stupidly preordered this game, stupidly didn't cancel the preorder after the so called beta was such a mess because I believed the lies that it was a very early build and the bugs would be fixed by release

    The game is absolutely nothing like the reveal trailer. It's soulless, boring and there is nothing in any roadmap that gives me confidence that the changes they are planning during the 'live service' will do anything other than make the game even worse by focusing on cosmetics and gimmicks instead of gameplay.

    With BF4 there were issues at launch but we could see the potential for a great game and with the DLC model, Dice had committed to at least 4 map packs, 16 new maps with new vehicles and experiences.

    What does Bf2042 offer? A vague season pass model with no commitments to release anything. They'll probably end up throwing out a few new specialists, vehicles and guns which will inevitably be either underpowered or pay to win as people who don't pay for the season pass won't get to access them

    The concept of time limited unlockable assets is a dreadful way to build a long term sustainable community, but it rakes in the cash so EA will sacrifice the franchise to boost short term profits.

    There is no DICE anymore, that studio is dead. And in 12 months BF2042 will be dead too

    1. Dr. Vagmeister

      Re: EA have killed battlefield

      I recall that EA stated that they were directly competing with CoD and aimed to take some of CoD sales - the DVD cover looked very much like the CoD cover.

      That was when the rot started, and EA pushed the game towards CoD gameplay.

      Squads made the game worse. Squads isolated the squad from everyone else, so teamwork with the side failed. In BF2:MC people talked to one another, then later with squads, especially in Europe, people just don't talk due to this ?

      EA obviously who have shareholders, went for the money, and all roads lead to CoD.

      The other funny things was for BF5 where they did the "woke" thing (complains online), and the reply from EA was, don't buy it then. And guess what, people didn't. That was hilarious.

    2. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

      Re: EA have killed battlefield

      I cancelled the pre-order after the beta. I'm glad I did.

  7. The Dogs Meevonks

    I worked on BF1942 Mods

    Back in early 2000's I got involved with the team that created the Desert combat mod for Bf1942, first as a tester and later as a map.level creator.

    It was my first ever work in the software industry.... even if it was unpaid, and even if the guy who set up the whole project did turn around and sell out the company he created of our work for a lot of money... to I think Dice... or a company that was taken over by them and then later on by EA.

    It was a lot of fun, but a very important lesson learned... don't trust people and don't work for free without clear contracts/agreements in place for compensation if required down the line.

    I'm still friends on steam with some of the people I used to play BF42 with some 18yrs later.

  8. martin 62

    all gaming companies are after is the $/£

    Anyone remember the old days of fps games such as call of duty? those days are long gone. Now its all about how much money they can make with as little effort put into the game as possible. i can (kind of) forgive titles such as fortnite/apex legends as they are free to play and companies need to make money somehow (they ain't charities) But in full priced games (upwards of £/$ 50 for "special editions") the lootbox/ paid cosmetics don't wash (not to mention in some games weapons are locked behind lootboxes looking at you call of duty). i for one will not be playing fps games from major publishers like EA/Activision until they stop this practice as the best way to vote is with your wallet. this debacle is the reason i stopped pre ordering games and wait for user (not critic) reviews (the battlefield 2042 critic reviews on metacritic seem highly suspicious with EGM giving battlefield 2042 100 and numerous sites giving it 90).

  9. jonathan keith Silver badge

    If it ain't broken... fix it?

    For me the high water marks of the series were BF2 and Bad Company 2. If I could force DICE to do one thing, it would be to reintroduce the Commander slot from BF2.

  10. very angry man

    no and no

    bf 2,3,4 i played and liked after that fu4K U.

    have found "OUTER WORLDS" its fun single player good story, has a conclusion and the challenge is NOT killing everything, not wiping out whole towns.

    just good clean homicidal fun, played it through several times not many bugs, wish there were more maps

    1. Vometia has insomnia. Again.

      Re: no and no

      I love TOW. Agree that more maps would be nice, as would a third-person mode after spending ages customising one's character, but I loved exploring, the interesting companions and the frequently absurd humour; and that it's not simply "shoot to win", as you say, and nor is the obvious solution always the right one.

  11. UrethralAnts

    "While an Nvidia GTX 970 could run Battlefield 4 on ultra settings, it looks like the days of pristine optimisation are behind us."

    That's a bit disingenuous, the 970 was released in September 2014 and BF4 was released in October 2013... And BF4 was absolutely terribly optimised at launch. Turning off all the stupid raytracing shite that just doesn't work properly yet lets my 2070 run BF2042 at 60+fps at 1440p, with most settings on high/ultra, which is what I expect from a 2 year old card and brand new game.

    2042 has issues, but its issues are balance based, like you said. Netcode is running fine (for the amount of stuff happening), which is more than could be said for BF4 at launch and for 3 months after launch. Balance can be fixed, netcode is much harder to fix.

    BF2042 has good bones, and is ready to be built upon. Do I agree about the price tag and the service based games? No, its dumb and you feel dumb for buying on day 1. Do I have fun on BF2042? Hell yes. Its chaotic, ridiculous and a blast.

    1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      BF4

      In BF I could just get an engineer, squad with a mate or a random, and we would team up on vehicles.

      in 2042 it is technically possible, but no real class makes it less of a cooperative game.

      Also, the game in single thread challenged. I do get that most ppl have 8 cores or less, but it is what it is.. I get more limited by my 5900x than for the 6900xt.. I don't get 100% GPU use with large number of players. And fps is not great.

      1. UrethralAnts

        Re: BF4

        I wasn't sure about the multi-specialist thing. And am still not 100% sold, but I found that each one does have its own label that fits different things.

        The lack of the engineer is the big one though - nobody takes the repair tool - its almost useless unless you know you're taking the gunner seat on a vehicle with a mate. I agree, that sucks.

        With the thread thing, its weird - my friend has an old cpu (4970k, overclocked) but a relatively modern GPU (10 series), and he is CPU locked, all cores maxxed out - so it is using multithreading and it is killing him only having 4 threads.

        Optimisation is not amazing, but I've seen worse. Look, Im not saying that the game is great, but it also isnt bad - it has a good basis to grow the next amazing BF on top of it - just like BF4 did at launch (which was really, REALLY bad if you remember... )

  12. Dabooka Silver badge

    Bah

    I've been bought a PS5 by Santa and I've had to warn my missus off buying me BF 2042 due to what I've read. Shame as I really liked BF2 BC on the PS3, BF3 was fab and even liked BF1 on the PS4.

    Saying that I'm happy to jump between this and COD depending what I'm up to and how much time I have so do I have any decent Christmas Day alternatives from COD to sample the PS5 delights?

    Cold War any good?

    1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

      Re: Bah

      Cold War wasn't popular. I'm not a fan.

      Modern Warfare and Vanguard are both good. COD Warzone is amazing ( and free ). And the new map running on the new engine is finally out on Wednesday.

      1. Dabooka Silver badge

        Re: Bah

        Nice one, thanks for replying.

        I'll have to have a look and see. I take it Warzone is just a download form the PS Store?

        1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

          Re: Bah

          Yes, it's free from the PS store.

        2. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

          Re: Bah

          If you aren't familiar with it at all, which I might be wrong about, here's a very basic primer:

          All of these are recent COD titles, in order of release:

          Modern warfare ( modern day, released 2019 ? )

          Warzone ( free, ongoing, new version out this week )

          Cold War (80's, released 2020)

          Vanguard (ww2, released 2021)

          Warzone links them all together, so at the moment we're at the end of the Cold War era, so Verdansk ( the City that Warzone happens in ) is in the 80's. Before Cold war we were modern day.

          Each title has its own guns, skins, etc, and all can be used in Warzone, levelled up either in the paid title or in Warzone itself.

          On Wednesday ( or Thursday for people who didn't buy Vanguard ), we're going to a brand new map in the Pacific called Caldera.

          As well as Verdansk, there's a smaller map called Rebirth Island. Apparently that's going to be the only one available to non-Vanguard owners tomorrow, until Caldera becomes available on Thursday. That's not on the playlist today but it's normally there.

  13. MrReynolds2U Bronze badge

    Imagine having the gall to charge 50 quid for a FPS that doesn't even have a solo campaign mode.

    (I know they are not the only one, I just don't get it).

    1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

      I thought that, then I got hooked on Warzone. Now I only play online multiplayer ( currently Vanguard and FIFA 22 ).

      Solo modes just feel scripted now.

      1. Dabooka Silver badge

        Same here

        Your comment above aside, I've been pretty exclusive online since the days of MW3.

        I've given the campaign a go but once it's done I rarely revisit.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's been shit since...

    Battlefield 1942.

    Those of us that have been around the longest also remember where it started with Codename Eagle. Which was fucking amazing and has never been matched for fun.

    Codename Eagle was so much fun and had so much nuance that people didn't just play it for the combat and multiplayer...it was also about mastering stunts and putting on a show. I played with a stunt group of 4 people and the shit we pulled with the physics engine was insane.

    You haven't lived until you've landed a plane, with a motorbike on top inside a zeppelin. You also haven't lived until you've jumped out of a zeppelin on a motorbike, then jumped out of that into the gunner seat of a passing plane, then climbed out, walked along the wing to the plane flying next to it (with no pilot), climbed in, barrel rolled under the first plane and had the pilot climb out and on to the underside of your plane, walked out on the wing to have you flip him up while you barrel roll back the right way to catch him on the top.

    Incredible game. Never been matched. Still has a community to this day.

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