After a rough 2021 launch that was marred by bugs and technical issues, EA’s first-person shooter has received significant updates since. But in 2023, is Battlefield 2042 good and close to the game it was originally promised to be?
What is the Battlefield 2042 Controversy?
Was Battlefield 2042 a flop? After Battlefield 5 — which was a massive disappointment in terms of sales and fan reception — EA and developer Dice set upon creating Battlefield 2042. This was intended to be a return to the modern warfare approach seen in Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4. But they did so with a neo-futuristic twist.
The initial reaction pre-release was positive, so why did Battlefield 2042 fail so badly? Upon release, Battlefield 2042 was riddled with bugs and controversial changes made to the game’s core mechanics. This included the removal of classes in favor of operator-type characters. Furthermore, the game was criticized for its map design and the overabundance of vehicles as a result of its new airdrop system.
To say the least, it was a disaster. The game was maligned by both reviewers and the core Battlefield player base. Like its predecessor, Battlefield 5, Battlefield 2042‘s botched launch led to low sales figures and mediocre player counts.
Should You Play Battlefield 2042 in 2023?
Despite its rough launch, EA and Dice have made an effort to craft a better player experience. Several patches have been released, fixing many game-breaking bugs prevalent at launch, including issues with hit registration and some players even becoming invisible. Indeed, certain maps have been modified to encourage more action. The most notable example of this is the map Kaleidoscope. Despite being among the smaller maps in the base Battlefield 2042 experience, Kaleidoscope’s capture points in Conquest didn’t encourage constant battle between teams. Dice remedied this by adding more points and altering the terrain to force teams into conflict.
The developers also abandoned the controversial operator system. Instead, they brought back its Assault, Engineer, Support, and Recon classes to give players a more traditional Battlefield experience. Like previous titles of the series, this gave players more strict parameters with tradeoffs than the Specialist system that gave players access to whatever gear they wanted to use. While this might sound preferable and liberating on paper, what it did was cause games to be unbalanced. In fact, most players used a similar, sometimes identical, loadout when it came to gadgets.
So, is Battlefield 2042 good in 2023? My answer would be yes. The game has greatly improved with the return of classes and the modified maps. As of last year, the game has been added to Xbox Game Pass and EA Play, giving players affordable access to the title. On top of having more free play weeks, the player count for the title is as high as it has been in recent years. Finding full matches won’t be a problem.
Naturally, these improvements won’t be enough for many, and rightfully so. I can only speak for myself. The trend of video games coming out in de facto alpha states for the full AAA price has become increasingly disheartening and frustrating. And there will be plenty of people who think that EA committed the gaming cardinal sin by selling such an incomplete and faulty product to the public. They’ll refuse to give them money ever again.
On top of that, it may be too little too late for Battlefield 2042. Yes, the game has definitely improved since its release. And yes, classes have been reintroduced, as well as vital changes to maps. However, many of the series’ longtime fans still don’t think it’s up to the standard the Battlefield series has set in the past.
If it’s any consolation, the game is essentially free if you have EA Play or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. This includes EA Play as part of the package. Battlefield 2042 has also added free play weekends, which gives players limited-time access to the full game free of charge on at least two occasions this past year. The most recent free play period — which ran from October 12 through October 16 — seems to have breathed new life into the game and resulted in an all-time high player count, meaning that many gamers have been satisfied with the overall experience.
If you’re willing to give it a chance, I think most people will find that Battlefield 2042 is good now and absolutely worth a try.