Over the years, Battlefield has undergone numerous iterations to remain relevant and exciting. While we’ve seen soldiers parachute off a crumbling skyscraper, we’ve also seen the emotional and realistic perspectives of World War I soldiers. The newest Battlefield game continues EA’s iteration process by adding a natural disaster feature that ravages and alters battlefields, too little to justify a $70 entrance fee.
For a multiplayer-only game with few innovations, it’s hard to warrant a $70 entrance fee, especially in light of free-to-play games like Fortnite, Halo Infinite, and Call of Duty Warzone. That was until Battlefield 2042’s sandbox mode, Portal was announced, an addition that adds longevity and creativity to an, otherwise, standard shooter.
What Is It?
Portal is not a crossover with the Valve puzzle game, but a user creation mode that intermingles several Battlefield eras. We got a clear picture of Portal’s chaotic wackiness from the trailer at EA Play 2021. A soldier stands in the middle of a hanger as different vehicles circle around him, all representing a different era. After a montage of battles across varying maps, we start to see an amalgamation of eras.
A World War II plan chases down a present-day jet as a 1940s battalion of soldiers faces off against the futuristic weaponry of 2042. As if that isn’t crazy enough, we see a team wielding deliberators charge at a team wielding knives. Another battle pits 100 small robots against a tank. Essentially, Portal throws balance out the window to reinforce nonsensical and wacky gameplay.
For some specific details, Portal lets players mix and match elements from Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Battlefield 3, and Battlefield 1942. Moreover, players can use logic-based visual coding to develop different modes for others to enjoy. These modes can range from a clever take on Conquest to whimsical zombie mode – it’s all up to the players.
This mode is a colorful addition, but, above all else, it’s ammunition for the battle of relevance. For a game that’s constantly iterating, Battlefield is behind the times, considering its $70 price tag and the rise of free-to-play multiplayer. Battlefield, a full-priced game without a campaign, is going against Halo Infinite’s free multiplayer and Call of Duty Warzone. Battlefield suddenly becomes a difficult purchase when its competitors are free and of high quality.
This is not to deny how good 2042 looks, in fact, it’s shaping up to be one of the best entries in the franchise. The magic is its adherence to Battlefield roots: massive battles, huge player counts – 128 players, and destructible environments. The problem isn’t in its quality, but an outdated pricing structure. With that in mind, the introduction of Portal suddenly becomes a major selling point for the latest Battlefield entry.
When a game releases with a full price point, we expect an experience that matches the value. A multiplayer-only game, no matter how good, is never worth the $70 standard. For the most part, casual players won’t stick with the multiplayer experience, dropping it for the next big release. History shows us that free multiplayer is the best way to gain steady profit. It’s also a standard that most gamers gravitate toward, especially if a service fee such as PlayStation Plus, is required.
Portal adds a needed sense of longevity to the experience by providing an ever-expanding library of game modes. Take Dreams, for the PlayStation 4, as an example. Every time a user opens Dreams, there is a new, sometimes quirky game to explore.
Portal adds that same sense of discovery to an already solid multiplayer game. The $70 buys players an endless stream of new, innovative gameplay instead of a static set of game modes. This doesn’t even take into account the countless amount of creativity Portal brings to the player’s fingertips. A concept that expounds on Battlefield’s greatest feature: chaotic warfare.
The history of Battlefield has been one of conflict. Just like opposing forces fight for dominance, Battlefield’s identities also go head to head. The franchise is often marketed as a realistic experience that uncovers the monstrosity of war. Battlefield 1, for example, followed six war stories that pronounced the humanity behind the gun. At the same time, gamers are standing on top of airborne bi-planes, throwing grenades at enemy aircraft.
The seriousness of the marketing never encapsulates the best part of Battlefield. Finally, Battlefield 2042 is honing in on the chaos, making it a key part of its marketing. The first trailer showed a soldier ejecting out of a jet, shooting a missile at an opposing jet, then safely falling back into his jet. Another scene showed a soldier driving a Humvee off a skyscraper and ramming into a helicopter. Suffice it to say, Battlefield 2042 isn’t going the realistic route.
Now that the marketing is in line with everyone’s favorite part of Battlefield, EA must fully embrace the chaos – Portal is a perfect way to do so. While the officially developed gameplay modes strive for balance, Portal doesn’t have to adhere to such rules. Sure, balance brings the exhilarating competitive nature out of gamers, but sometimes we don’t play games for the heart-pounding deathmatch. Sometimes we simply want to be goofy. Consider barely losing a heated game of conquest then booting up Portal to crush tiny robots with a tank. It’s a whimsical break from the solid, even experience of Battlefield proper. Both experiences are good in their own right, granting the player several avenues of play.
Moreover, the logic editor grants players the freedom of creativity. Within the Battlefield context, talented players can make whatever they want, and we can’t wait to see what they create, like browsing through the endless sea of YouTube videos. It’s a never-ending source of context that pulls from the multiplayer antics Battlefield is known for. That $70 price tag never looked so enticing.
EA is gearing up for another Battlefield 2042 announcement titled Hazard Zone, which may be some type of co-op experience. We can’t wait to see what else EA has in store for one of their biggest franchises, but until then stay tuned to Gaming Instincts via Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook for more gaming news.