Read our final Battlefield 2042 review (opens in new tab) here.
Battlefield 2042 (opens in new tab) is finally out for everyone today, and it's not off to a great start on Steam. As of this writing, the game's user reviews (opens in new tab) are "Mostly negative" with over 14,000 negative reviews and just a few thousand positive assessments.
Many of the Steam reviews echo a sentiment that's been boiling in Battlefield 2042's official subreddit during the past week: DICE has stripped too much away from traditional Battlefield. Many players are citing disruptive bugs as a major problem, but the majority of early criticisms focus on deliberate design decisions DICE made for BF2042 that players perceive as missing features, like the lack of a traditional scoreboard (opens in new tab) or aim bloom on assault rifles that's probably too harsh right now.
One of the most common complaints revolves around specialists, Battlefield 2042's new character roster that replaces the traditional class structure seen in every Battlefield before it. During BF2042's open beta, longtime Battlefield fans argued (opens in new tab) that specialists discourage teamplay by letting anyone fill any role they want, but DICE later affirmed that they're here to stay (opens in new tab).
"They swapped classes, a Battlefield staple, for specialists because they would be easier to monetize," wrote Steam user Mr Nobody in their review (opens in new tab) today. "They got rid of so many great details and gameplay additions from old Battlefields, so they could focus on making the game more sellable, not playable."
Premium cosmetics are clearly a reason DICE and EA have gone with unique characters in this Battlefield, but as someone who agreed that specialists were dumb during the beta, they've really grown on me in the full release. It turns out I never really liked having to stick to a gun type I didn't like to play as a medic. Mixing and matching gadgets/weapons is working for me, and early worries like "what if everyone just takes a rocket launcher/sniper rifle and the meta is a nightmare" haven't come true in its first week.
A common approach reviewers have taken is to make an exhaustive list of everything they think is wrong or missing in Battlefield 2042, most of which are features present in previous games. The review currently marked as "Most helpful" on Steam is mostly a copy/paste of a popular Reddit post.
The 94-complaint list covers everything from "No standard server browser," "No crouch sprinting," and "No thermal optics" to ultra-specific nitpicks like "No swelling crescendo of dramatic music near the end of a match. Static Noise does not count."
Meanwhile on the game's subreddit (opens in new tab), where frustrations have already been boiling during a week of early access for those who bought the expensive editions of the game, things have gotten ravenous.
The top post at the moment is a screenshot of the game's negative review status on Steam with the title "The slaughter has begun." Another post climbing to the top points out that BF2042 is currently the sixth worst reviewed game on all of Steam, and another calls on redditors to write "proper" reviews on Steam so that EA "can't just pull the review bomb card on media," referring to a policy on Steam to adjust review averages when a game is being inundated with what Steam determines to be "off-topic" posts.
It makes me morbidly nostalgic to see the loudest corners of the Battlefield community in uproar on launch day. I remember being here a decade ago with Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4, and history is repeating itself: I am having a good time with Battlefield while the community is on fire.
For what it's worth, I think there's a lot of fun to be had in Battlefield 2042 right now. The guns feel pretty good after my first 12 hours (but need some work), specialist gadgets are surprisingly helpful, and Portal mode makes it easy to hop into a personalized match of throwback Battlefield with old rules and guns. It also ran like crap for me until I upgraded my CPU earlier this week and I'm getting real sick of the bug where revives don't work half the time.