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Battlefield 2042's Season One kicks off on June 9, but feels like too little too late

The spoils of war?

Nearly seven months after it released Battlefield 2042 is getting its first season of content on June 9 - introducing a single new map and a new specialist into the mix alongside two new helicopters as well as three new weapons.

It is, in short, not looking like an update that will turn the tides for Battlefield 2042, a game that's struggled since launch thanks to design decisions that sat poorly with players as well as the baffling omission of key features such as a leaderboard and voice chat. Those features have since been reinstated, and Battlefield 2042's certainly improved a fair amount since launch - and while slim the new updates do at least seem to keep DICE's troubled first-person shooter on the right trajectory.

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New map Exposure is the headline addition, offering a smaller play space than the vast - and somewhat empty - maps of the base game, and are in keeping with a philosophical shift from DICE as it slowly moves away from the big 128-player count the original was sold on.

The new map Exposure feels like an improvement, and despite its name doesn't make you feel as exposed as you were in Battlefield 2042's initial wave of maps. If anything it's the antithesis of that bunch, with dense cover amidst its rich forests matched by the same kind of overstated vericality offered in the likes of Breakaway, while a Bond-like lair nestled in the mountainside offers tighter combat encounters.

It's a very different feel to what's gone before, and older maps are being brought in line with Battlefield 2042's new way of thinking - though it might take some time, as the previously trailed changes to Kaleidoscope which breaks up the previously barren space won't be seen until August when the revised map launches.

Elsewhere there are two new helicopters - the Huron and the Hannibal - that arrive with enhanced functionality over those already in the game, with both being able to flick between stealth and assault modes. As a counter, new specialist Ewelina Lis is packed with anti-vehicle measures inducing the ability to automatically spot and identify wounded vehicles, while her gadget is a guided missile that's well-suited to taking down aerial threats.

There are new weapons, too, by way of a crossbow that allows a stealthier approach - and a not-so-stealthy one, should you equip it with explosive darts - a smoke grenade launcher and a BSV-M, a mid-range rifle that offers dual firing modes. Of course, all this is enabled by an all-new Battle Pass that offers 100 tiers split across free and premium versions (with all gameplay-enhancing features being available to all players, while the premium tiers focus on cosmetic upgrades).

It's just enough to give Battlefield 2042 a fresh lease of life, but quite not enough to counter any thoughts that EA and DICE has already effectively moved on to what's next. The next Battlefield is already in pre-production - unsurprisingly, given the turnaround of a modern triple-A title - and would do well to not repeat 2042's mistakes. Until then, though, there's at least some signs of improvement in what's been yet another troubled launch for EA and DICE's series.

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