Three Hours: Should You Play ‘Battlefield 2042’?

Three Hours is our way of telling you if a game is going to hook you within the first few hours of playing. We will play a game for a minimum of three hours — sometimes more if a game needs it — and tell you if we recommend playing it or not. Today, we’re looking at Battlefield 2042, the latest game in EA’s largest military shooter franchise.

What is Battlefield 2042?

Battlefield 2042 is the latest game in EA’s hit military shooter franchise. Before games like Fornite and Apex Legends took over the shooter landscape, it was always a fierce fight for supremacy between Call of Duty and Battlefield. The key difference between the two is that Battlefield isn’t a yearly release, so there’s more pressure on each release to have a longer-lasting impact and show a major quality difference between the previous iteration of the game and the new one.

Battlefield 2042 is the first new Battlefield release in three years. Not only that, this is the first game in the franchise on new generation hardware such as the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. The expectation for 2042 is that it will show it is still a multiplayer shooter worth putting our valuable hours into, especially since there’s no campaign. That lack of campaign means that they’re going all-in on the multiplayer being good enough for us to spend a significant amount of our time playing.

That multiplayer has three modes:

  • All Out Warfare: This is where players will find Battlefield classics such as Conquest and Breakthrough.
  • Hazard Zone: A smaller scale mode where squads fight it out for data drives and extraction points.
  • Portal: A mode where players can play on classic Battlefield maps with a nice next gen look to them.

Considering the variety of modes, Battlefield does a good job justifying the pricetag of a game that is multiplayer-only. But does it have the depth inside those modes to make a minimum of $60 worth your while?

Why You Should Play Battlefield 2042

  1. Vehicles are fun
  2. Explosions look great
  3. When it clicks there is nothing better

There are moments in Battlefield 2042 where everything comes together and it meets every expectation that has been set for it. These moments usually occur in the middle of intense battles through Conquest or Breakthrough where pure chaos is unfolding everywhere: explosions all around the player, gunfire flying by your head, etc. It feels like even one slip up will lead to a zone falling to the opposing team. It’s what Battlefield has always been known for and those high-intensity moments are where the game continues to shine even now.

Why You Should Not Play Battlefield 2042

  1. Bugs
  2. Empty maps
  3. Lack of depth

Unfortunately, those highlight moments are few and far between. If you’ve ever played a Battlefield game at launch, you won’t be surprised to learn it has numerous bugs that require fixes. These bugs are such a problem right now that a major update is on the way. While patches can fix performance, this year’s Battlefield still has unfixable problems, like huge maps meant to hold the new 128 player limit. It an ambitious idea, but there are a lot of empty spaces that result in running around only to get killed by someone you couldn’t even see. You will then mash, then hold, the respawn button so you can load in faster and do it all over again.

Our Take

Unless you have a squad of friends that have been playing Battlefield together for years, either pass over this one or wait for a significant price drop. There is a serious lack of depth in Battlefield 2042 that is honestly surprising. There’s very little motivation for playing matches beyond watching experience numbers go up. Customization options feel basic and forgettable, the class system is dull, and the character avatars are uninteresting. Squad balance feels pointless, even in modes like Hazard that are meant to emphasize the importance of a balanced team. Hazard, in particular, just isn’t very fun without a strong group of friends to play it with.

If this is going to be a multiplayer-only game, then the multiplayer needs to capture us. It never did. Maybe we’ll give it a try again after the patches go through and it’s been updated significantly, but with so many other shooters out there, we’re not sure when that will be.