Battlefield Season 6 - Up and Up
Long after a lot of people had thought it was dead, Battlefield 2042 is going from strength to strength. Ahead of the upcoming sixth season, I was lucky enough to attend a preview event where I got to go hands-on with the latest map from DICE, fighting my way through Redacted, the first map designed for infantry-only combat. No tanks, no air support, just the No-Pats fighting for survival through the maze that is the underground facility known as Boreas.
Launching October 10, Redacted evokes the memories of Operation Metro and Operation Locker, fan-favourite maps that put soldiers through the proverbial meatgrinder as they tried to break through the various chokepoints and take control of the map. Just like these classic maps, Redacted has multiple choke points that will have to be earned with the hard-fought blood of the No-Pats, but there are also multiple pathways designed to keep the game competitive and allow teams to break through and prevent being spawn-trapped. The two stand-out sections of Redacted are the two middle of the four objectives. Both of these objectives are training areas, complete with cardboard cutouts and structures for cover, and led to some exciting gameplay moments both attacking and defending these objectives.
Since Redacted is composed of an entire underground facility and does not need vehicles the map is, of course, smaller than your normal traditional Battlefield maps. To compensate for the smaller map size, the player count has been restricted to teams of 32 players so as not to get too chaotic. For those who want to see just how chaotic Redacted can get, BF2042’s Portal mode will allow for 64-player teams, though it remains to be seen if players will be able to make any headway through the waves of grenades a match of that size will bring.
To help keep the soldiers both alive and armed, the support class is receiving a new gadget that will allow squads to keep pushing forward. Ammo and Medical pouches will allow healing and resupplying in the squad without having to stop and wait for the crates to do their thing. Now of course they come with a catch, for example, the ammo pouch is good for bullets only. There will be no fast restocks of grenades for soldiers, those can only be acquired by staying in the vicinity of the traditional ammo crate.
Another incoming addition in season six is the Pondhawk, a two-person aerial transport vehicle designed to be called in by players and allow them fast movement around the maps. Unfortunately, given that Redacted is entirely indoors, I did not get to see the Pondhawk in action but from what the devs said in a Q&A following the event, while the Pondhawk is an airborne vehicle, it is not designed to be zipping through the skies amongst the helicopters. That doesn’t mean that players won’t find new and exciting ways to make use of the transport.
Finally, the developers detailed some of the balances and tweaks that players can look forward to as season six kicks off. To help balance the inherent difference between a controller and mouse/keyboard combo, DICE have tweaked the aim assist, hoping to help create a better balance between cross-play opponents. We will also see some changes to the way ground vehicles handle along with some changes to the recon class and how they work in conjunction with the No-Pat recon specialists.
Personally, as much as the Battlefield series has been about big maps that combine infantry and vehicular warfare, I have always enjoyed jumping into the meat grinder maps. Sometimes I would use it as the warmup to get the blood flowing in the fingers before a long session, and I got the same sort of vibes from Redacted. I look forward to jumping on and experiencing Redacted with a full complement of players, and yeah I’ll probably have a crack at a 128-player game on Portal and experience true chaos.