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Glitches and guns! Battlefield 2042 beta is riddled with bugs but full of multiplayer promise

Battlefield 2042 beta screenshot
(Image credit: YouTube)

You can play the much anticipated Battlefield 2042 beta right now to get a taste of the multiplayer action to expect from the full release of Battlefield 2042. That's exactly what I did, and I have some thoughts. 

I have been lucky enough to get early access myself and after putting several hours into the game, I’m torn. The beta has convinced me that Battlefield 2042 could be a very special game, but has also raised concerns that the game may not be ready for prime time just yet. 

Battlefield 2042 is easily one of the most anticipated games of the remainder of 2021, but you may want to approach it with cautious optimism. Allow me to explain why Battlefield 2042 is looking promising but in serious need of some polish. 

War on a massive scale 

Battlefield 2042

(Image credit: Dice)

The second you jump into Battlefield 2042 the scale of the game immediately hits you. Not only is the map included in the beta massive but on PS5/Xbox Series X/PC the player count has been raised to 128 combatants. That scale is undoubtedly impressive.

No other series does warfare on a massive scale quite like Battlefield, and 2042 absolutely nails this aspect. Running across a vast map blanketed by torrential rain as jets fly overhead and tanks speed past you, feels exhilarating even after several matches in a row.

The actual gunplay is thankfully fairly solid as well. I was able to get to grips with the intricacies quickly, and pulling off long-range headshots feels satisfying. In the majority of head-on encounters when I died, it was because of my own failings rather than the controls letting me down. 

I’m still getting used to the new specialist system, which replaces the traditional Battlefield classes. Specialists each have unique abilities and equipment. Canadian nomad Mackay is an early favorite of mine thanks to his extremely useful grapple gun. I do miss the clearly defined roles of each class, but specialists are fun to experiment with.  

Battlefield 2042

(Image credit: Dice)

The ability to switch gun attachments on the fly is also hugely welcome. With just the press of a button, you can bring up a menu that lets you cycle through different scopes, barrels, and grips. This allows you to customize your gun to fit specific situations as needed, and it’s a feature that I would now struggle to play without.   

The theme of Battlefield 2042 is clearly evolution. The core of the franchise remains the same, but there have been some smart tweaks that make Battlefield 2042 one of the most dynamic and easy to pick up installments in the series to date. 

Unsure about Orbital 

Battlefield 2042 orbital map artwork

(Image credit: EA)

Unfortunately, one aspect of the beta that has really disappointed me is the Orbital map. It’s the sole location included in the beta, and it’s doesn’t feel designed to facilitate the intense showdowns and cutch moments that Battlefield is known for. 

It features far too much vacant empty space and not enough choke points where members of the opposing team will naturally meet. I’ve found myself regularly running about unable to find anyone to shoot before being sniped in the back — which doesn’t make for a particularly fun experience. 

The giant rocket launch platform on the map looks visually impressive but it’s far too open for enjoyable firefights. There’s a wealth of flat concrete terrain surrounding the location that becomes a sort of “no man’s land.” If you wander into this area you’ll be quickly shot by enemy soldiers waiting in the nearby bushes. Which is similarly frustrating.   

Most multiplayer shooters have a couple of dud maps among the bunch, so it’s easy to forgive the odd stinker. However, Battlefield 2042 is only launching with seven maps, so any more subpar arenas like Orbital and the balance may start to tip an unfavorable way.  

In need of some spit and polish 

Battlefield 2042 screenshot

(Image credit: Dice/EA)

If there is one area that Battlefield 2042 really does need some work, it’s overall polish. It should be noted that this playable beta build is not the finished product. Furthermore, developer Dice has claimed it’s actually three months old at this point, but based on what I've played Battlefield 2042 is fit to burst with bugs and glitches. 

From elevator doors that can be phased through like you’re a ghost to camo-colored parachutes that clip into buildings, trees, and vehicles. Not to mention bodies that ragdoll across the map upon death. I could fill dozens of YouTube compilation videos with all the graphically oddities I’ve experienced in just a handful of hours. The game has also hard crashed on me twice. 

While several of the graphical hiccups are pretty funny, the sheer quantity is greatly concerning. Battlefield 2042 feels like a game desperately in need of a few extra months in the oven to squash as many remaining bugs as possible. Hopefully, Dice have the necessary time ahead of launch to get the game into a more stable state. 

The other area badly in need of extra attention is the UI, which is bizarrely designed. Unimportant icons and information dominate the screen, while essential bits are barely visible without squinting. The menus themselves also look unfinished and viewing a scoreboard mid-match appears to be impossible, which is a strange oversight. 

There are still promising signs 

Battlefield 2042 wingsuit

(Image credit: Dice)

If the beta is any indication, Battlefield 2042 is in a rough state right now. Dice has claimed that the build is outdated, which does go some way to alleviating my worries about the stability of the game. Although, why Dice would want our first impressions of the game to come from such an old build is a puzzler. 

Nevertheless, the core of Battlefield 2042 is fantastic. The scale is unlike anything seen before in a previous Battlefield game, and the gunplay is rock solid. Using vehicles is hugely enjoyable as well, not to mention when everything is functioning smoothly it’s a darn fine-looking video game. 

The big question is if the bugs, glitches, and UI problems can be ironed out before the game’s current November 19 release date. I’m cautiously optimistic as we approach that date, but a part of me is wondering whether a delay into 2022 might be in the game’s best interest. 

Rory is a staff writer at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics including tech news, deals, gaming, streaming and more. When he’s not writing hot takes on the latest gaming hardware and streaming shows, he can be found watching a borderline unhealthy amount of movies and being thoroughly disappointed by his terrible football team.