HomeTechnologyKotaku Reviews Battlefield 2042’s Season 3 Update: Escalation
Kotaku Reviews Battlefield 2042’s Season 3 Update: Escalation
November 25, 2022
Last time we looked Battlefield 2042the beleaguered online shooter had just released its second major update and was finally starting to feel like something approaching a finished video game. With season 3 out this week, it’s now even closer.
Note that I do not make that statement as a criticism. Battlefield 2042 was released in the midst of the pandemic, with almost two full years of its development affected, and as a long-time series fan – but also as a video game journalist who is familiar with how this works-I’ve made peace with the fact that the game was clearly rushed out the door by executives to achieve a short-term financial goal, regardless of the damage it has done to the brand’s long-term standing.
So I just don’t quite make it when I say – like anyone who played the game at launch knows that – it just wasn’t ready for release in November 2021. Those of us who still found something to love in the game and kept playing for several months, essentially playing and testing in public an unfinished video gameone that would only ever feel “complete” (at least compared to its predecessors) after months of updates.
Well, we are now at the point of “monthly updates” as before Battlefields would have been the scene where the game had been significantly addedbut in The 2042s the case is fair where it is within touching distance of par.
This week saw the release of Season 3, which adds a huge new map (set in Sweden around two boxy robotic arm factories), a new anti-tank vehicle, a railgun, and a new specialist whose unique weapon is a miniature air blaster explosive rifle.
Battlefield 2042 | Season 3: Escalation Gameplay Trailer
Everything is good! The card, Spearhead, is a large, and like Stranded before it is purely differentiated by having two large indoor playgrounds for close combat, surrounded by large open spaces for snipers and vehicles. I have had a really good time with it as its long design and rocky terrain between the two buildings means that games often turn into meat grinders over the central control points, leading to huge, explosive battles.
The new specialist, Rasheed Zain, is also something the game has needed; his air-blast rifle is capable of killing enemy forces bunkered down in cover or around corners, giving infantry the kind of space-clearing ability previously only available to vehicles or the rare few who can actually use grenades properly.
I’m not quite as sold on the other two main additions, the railgun and anti-armor tank. The latter, EMKV90-TOR, plays like StarCrafts Siege tank; you can drive it around a bit with limited firepower, but when you really want to mess things up, you can lower its suspension and sneak up on enemy tanks from across the map.
Railgun, meanwhile, is all about timing; it’s useful as both a mid- and long-range weapon, but only if you can master the way it charges itself, automatically discharging when ready. Almost all of the game’s current roster of weapons and vehicles feel somewhat modern, with gentle concessions to the fact that this game is set 20 years in the future; these two add-ons look, sound and have more desire glory arms.
Looking back at all the work and updates the game has received since launch – not just new stuff, but overhauls of old maps and tweaks to things like Specialist looks and their soundbytes, giving the game a more cohesive tone – it’s definitely a much improved experience!
I think when the unpopular Specialist system reworked next month to return to traditional Battlefield classes, the years of effort to make this the game it should have been will be done. Which, given how disastrous the game’s launch was, will be one hell of an achievement.
And yet it also can’t help but wonder: what could this game have been if the last 12 months had been free to add to the game, instead of just doing emergency repairs? I really like the setting of 2042one of the few blockbusters to ever take the threat of climate change seriously, and its near-future arsenal has been so much more fun to use than the historical gear available in the last few games.
We’ll never know! A pandemic and the investor class conspired to curse this game and if all we can look forward to is one last season 4 update before it’s all scrapped and everyone moves on to the next one Battlefield, then that’s what I’m looking forward to. Me and the other people who have enjoyed the game since launch. There are dozens of us! Dozens!