It has, somehow, been a full year since Battlefield 2042 launched, and while it'd be premature to say DICE's shooter has bounced back from a disastrous launch it's certainly on firmer ground than it's been for a while. The belated launch of Season One in June was a small step in the right direction, while August's Season Two took bigger, bolder strides. Season Three, which kicks off on November 22nd, promises even more in the most radical season yet.
What's most promising is the influx of players that should come as Battlefield 2042 hits Game Pass and EA Play, hopefully ensuring once sparse servers are fully-populated. It's part of a bigger push to get people playing Battlefield 2042, with free play periods for everyone across all platforms across December - on Xbox you can play for nada from December 1st-4th, on PC from December 1st-5th and on PlayStation from December 16th-23rd.
Season Three - which has been dubbed Escalation - also makes some big changes, with the most profound being a return of sorts of the traditional class system to Battlefield, with specialists now being grouped by their roles. There's a new specialist in the mix, too, with Rasheed Zain joining the fray. He's a double-amputee whose traits include a faster health recharge and an airburst launcher.
There's a new map coming too in the form of Spearhead, a moderately sized space set in the Swedish wilderness that plays to Escalation's focus on ground warfare. Interestingly enough - well, I found it interesting, anyway - it's the first Battlefield map set in developer DICE's homeland of Sweden.
New weapons and gadgets are also inbound, led by the fancy new EMKV94 tank that offers up two modes. In mobility mode it's able to move your squad at speed, while switching to siege mode slows you down but affords you more firepower from its rail guns. Railguns are something of a theme for Escalation, with the Rorsch MK-4 leading the way when it comes to new weapons and joined by the new NVK-S22 shotgun and NVK-P125 semi-auto pistol - while long-standing Battlefield fans will be pleased to learn that throwing knives are making a comeback.
Finally the Manifest and Breakaway maps are being reworked throughout the season, with Manifest getting the makeover treatment first. Breakaway's getting perhaps the most radical reworking yet (and given the issues with the map - one of the worst at launch, in my opinion - it's very necessary) with the oil rig being completely relocated.
Will it be enough to win people over from the newly-released Warzone 2.0? I'm cautiously optimistic, and whether the player numbers return in earnest or not I'm at least pleased that some glory is being restored to Battlefield, which remains one of the most entertaining first-person shooter experiences around.
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