Battlefield is used to a bit of chaos - it's at the series' core, after all, with manic moments in its sandbox what makes it stand out from other shooters - but the disarray of Battlefield 2042's first weekend in the wilds has been hugely frustrating. Since Battlefield 2042 went live on Friday, I've endured hard crashes, server problems and whole nights where the whole thing is simply unplayable. This is another Battlefield that's launching in a sorry state, and it's up there with Battlefield 4's infamously sorry start. From my own experience on Xbox Series X, it's considerably worse.
A lot of that frustration stems from setting aside Friday night to get stuck into DICE's new shooter only to spend the whole evening butting up against a data persistent error that was, shall we say, persistent - across a whole night it was impossible to get into a single match of the All-Out Warfare that's the core of this new Battlefield experience, and only the classic matches and rulesets of Portal offered any joy.
Even then, the experience has been spotty. More than half the matches have ended in server issues that have me rubberbanding across the map, removing my avatar's head from its body and rendering the whole thing entirely unplayable. Removing crossplay - something that can only be done on a system level on Xbox - helped a little, but even then I had to quit out of over half the matches I've had since launch because of the atrocious performance issues.
It seems like the Xbox version is bearing the brunt of the problems at the moment, so my experiences aren't perhaps representative of those on other platforms - but that's the platform Battlefield 2042's leading on, so surely it shouldn't be quite so bad. There's also the point that Battlefield 2042 isn't technically out until November 19th, making this effectively early access - but should those who've ponied up the extra amount for that access be subject to such a shoddy product?
It's not as if Battlefield 2042 doesn't have plenty of other problems to contend with already. I'm still not sure about the replacement of the old class system with the hero-esque specialists, nor am I sold on the removal of the old scoreboard, the complete lack of in-game voice comms or the expansive maps that have been built to accommodate the new 128-player count.
For all that, though, there have been more than a few flashes of the old Battlefield magic - downed helicopters tumbling down in flames and wiping out an enemy squad as you push to capture a point, distant explosions on top of skyscrapers soundtracking your own efforts on the ground and the impression that anything is possible. It's been a deeply frustrating first weekend with Battlefield 2042, but I'm still keen to get stuck into its mess and see how much more magic there is amidst all that. Take this as an apology for our review taking a little longer, then - and here's hoping some of these more fundamental issues can be fixed before launch proper later this week.