author: Mike Manka
The Best Battlefield is The Crazy Battlefield
The first presentation of Battlefield 2042 has outraged some fans, who accuse the game of deviating into completely unrealistic gameplay. BF ended with Kill 'Em All. But I think Battlefield is returning to its golden days.
Read the review Battlefield 2042 Review: Hazard Zone
This text was based on the PC version.
The Battlefield series started off as a historical game – the first entry in the series was the 2002 release, Battlefield 1942. Then we got to the war in Vietnam, the presence, and even distant future – as well as two parts of Bad Company, the second of which remains one of the-all time favorites to many fans.
To be honest, I haven't been riding this train until Battlefield 3, but the two consecutive installments set in modern times yielded for me countless hours of awesome multiplayer. I loved it so much I even played Hardline, and I guess I must have totalled about 1500 hours in all these games. It's no doubt a modest score, since players tend to spend thousands and thousands of hours in BFs, but I'm not bragging – it's just to prove my credentials.
I remember the period right before the announcement of Battlefield 1 and the discussions about what the historical setting would bring, how cool it would be to go back to the roots of the series, and at the same time what it would mean for gameplay. Back then, there was a lack of decent games set in the past times of war, may they only appear on computer screens.
Today, having received installments with action taking place during both World War I and World War II, I have to admit that it wasn’t exactly what I had imagined. I had a pretty good time, I spent a total of several hundred hours with 1 and had V, both on PC and on consoles, but something was surely missing there.
Battlefields set in historical past had a tough nut to crack in terms of balancing reality and simple fun. Parts 3 and 4 accustomed us to rich weapons customization and large-scale combat. I remember sniping on the aircraft carrier, or the tower on Gulf of Oman, trying to reach targets about 1km away, using a x12 scope, and having a hard time because my PC was rather poor and the projectile would disappear for a moment before actually reaching the target, which made correct my aiming a hell.
I've also taken breaks from typical matches by going Operation Metro with 1500 tickets, just to enjoy the pure mayhem of the deadlock, cast grenades left and right, and revive my mates and matesses for an hour. There was no shortage of thrills, despite the rather static gameplay – if you sometimes managed to break through the line, you often ended up taking enemies one by one from behind their backs – if you were lucky, you could get 5, or even a dozen kills, sometimes changing the course of the battle. And do you still remember the Armored Kill add-on and the huge swathes of land, for example on Armored Shield, where we waged huge and epic battles with vehicles? Sniping helis with heavy tanks is still one of my favorite gaming activities.
Both world-war installments couldn't offer exactly the same thing, as gamers expected a dose of fidelity in rendering the time period. Despite going for compromises, DICE still got hit for a number of things, like too abundant automatic weapons, the presence of women on battlefields (but let's not get into misogyny right now), as well as the inclusion of the huge war engines could completely demolish your hard-won advantage in BF1. In an effort to be at least partially true to history, the developers were curbing many gameplay options, and only with Battlefield 2042 I was reminded that what I've been missing is precisely more freedom to wreak havoc.
What we’ll 'get back'
The two videos showing off Battlefield 2042 are a veritable fan service, through and through. The already mentioned RendeZook, C4 quads, the leap that looks like Damavand Peak remastered, and collecting dog tags with successful knife kills. Of course, the idea for the trailer itself is a result of the moderately positive reception of the first announcement of Battlefield 5 – there must have been an entire team in DICE devoted to the taks, probably called something like "Battlefield epic gameplay heritage preservation." I am thrilled.
How can you not be happy with all these crazy returns? We're getting many things back, like extensive weapon customization, very large maps, and spectacular battles involving vehicles – all that should make for a positively mad experience with 128 players. Jets are back, helicopters are back (we haven't seen those in BF since Hardline – apart from Firestorm in BF5, but that was different). Greater verticality returns, with not only parachutes, but also elevators (harking back to Shanghai map). And all of this cranked up to 11 with the capabilities of next-gen platforms. I mean, 128 players is many players.
Some seem to believe Battlefield used to be more realistic, and what we get now is Call of Duty influence – not to mention games like Fortnite – on this alleged tactical series. But Battlefield has always involved crazy stuff.
Here's an example from my own experience. In 2013, playing capture the flag with my mate from college, we opted for a quick escape after capturing said flag, and (with friendly-fire disabled, ofc) launched our bike into the air with a large amount of explosives. Nothing out of the ordinary! We drove to the flag, set up the motorcycle, I put C4 behind the rear wheel, the flag mate got on the motorcycle, I propeled it towards our base by detonating the C4 – and that's victory! Unfortunately, he did not survive the rough landing.
I can't count how many times I've gotten rid of enemies using strategically placed mines. How often I have collapsed a roof over someone's head and buried them under a pile of rubble thanks to the advanced destruction system. “Roadkills” using a jet or helicopter were also quite a feat. Of course, pilots had to be careful – everyone was out to get them, from AAs to infantry with RPGs. Landing an accurate sniper shot on the pilot? Sure! Or jumping out the jet and taking the other pilot down with your own rifle. Roll the dice, honey. Let's not even start talking about killing enemies with a defibrillator. I mean, if you don't know what's up, see clips like "Battlefield 3 and 4 Top Plays." There are hundreds, if not thousands of them.
In Battlefield 3, I usually played engineer and either jumped out of the tank in the middle of the battle to fix it, or trolled opponents a bit with the repair tool. People often jumped out of the tank to neutralize the annoying individual, and usually ended up in front of my own gun. These are fond memories.
Those were the days; these are the days too!
Some of the readers will surely disagree, but it's not my goal to convince you that Battlefield 2042 will be a must-play. After all, you may have played Battlefields very differently than I did. However, when I was exchanging impressions after watching the trailer with a fellow journalist, and he said he could see why people find this trailer a bit over the top, but at the same time, he'd found it to use a completely appealing vocab. DICE finally spoke to us in a language we understand as fans of the series – a language of epic actions, if sometimes to the point of ludicrous.
To conclude, I'll leave you with a cult episode of Battlefield Friends. If you feel like it, I highly encourage you to check out the remaining parts: it sums up perfectly all the hallmark elements of these games, even breaks down the types of players you could encounter. It's also the perfect way to remind yourself what's what in the series if you haven't played it for years.
Of course, it's way too early to talk about the ultimate quality of the game – until we play it, it's hard to judge whether the novelties, including binning the class system in favor of specializations, will be successful additions.
However, one thing is for sure: I'm stoked that Battlefield doesn't strive for realism anymore, as it were precisely those Just-Casue-ish moments that had always made this series great. If I want something more tactical, I'll play Squad or Arma (which I do every sometimes), and if I want a fast-paced shooter where I know what's actually going on, I'll pass on CoD and go for Titanfall 2. However, if I'm in the mood for a game with a little more nuanced combat, but in which I can also launch my friend on a motorcycle with C4 to bring the enemy flag back to our base – then I'll give Battlefield 2042 a chance. Even if there won't be a CTF mode.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I spent almost 1500 hours with Battlefield and my best memories are of installments number 3 and 4. I also used to watch a lot of fan recordings, compilations like "Top Plays" and things like that. My most memorable experience from that time, aside from Battlefield Friends, was the Say When series by players bigMooney06 and NickBunyun, who both played identical, random combinations of classes and gear.
Mike Manka | Gamepressure.com