Hi, yes, it’s me again, a die 14 people on earth who love to play Battlefield 2042. Like I entering my sixth month of playand as I approach the maximum level of the gameI’ve found my attention lately turned to the finer details of the cards in the game, and the ones I prefer to play.
Six months ago, I think I hated them all. Or at least hadn’t yet figured out how they work in this much-tweaked entry in the series. This is similarly, I think a lot of series veterans still struggle to come to terms with so many other things about Battlefield 2042. They all seemed so big, so empty, so suited for chopper and tank play and nothing else.
I’ve put enough hours into the game now to know it’s only somewhat true. Some of the cards in the game are indeed barren wastelands in dire need of readjustment, but others have become some of my favorites in the entire series. Let’s find out which is which (and note that I’m just classifying 2042 own original Conquest/Breakthrough maps here, not the classic maps in Portal like Caspian Border which have had their day!)
Yeah. This map is a complete disaster, top to bottom. Which, oddly enough, are the only two levels Kaleidoscope takes place at. Its flat, central “bowl” shape has made it a meat grinder, a place where only the snipers positioned in the towers overlooking the outskirts can have a good time, and I’ll moan audibly every time I will see it load. And I’m a sniper, so that’s saying something.
There are some cool areas here on this huge desert map, like the half-buried stadium, residential villages, and downtown, and when battles focus on these hotspots, they can be awesome! But the large open dunes between them are a nightmare for infantry (because of vehicles) and vehicles (because of helicopters), and every time you hear of a player complaining about long infantry efforts, that’s probably the card they’re talking about.
Jeté looks much more interesting than it actually is. The various huge rusting shipwrecks should be the highlight here, but the wide open spaces around them and the repetitive architecture make them a bit overwhelming. In place, it’s the smallest advantage points at the edge of the map, such as a temporary settlement associated with a communication tower, which lead to the most pleasant confrontations.
If anyone complains about a long walk and it’s not Hourglass, it will be Breakaway. But DICE’s depiction of a weather-ravaged Antarctic base also features delightfully intertwined capture points in its main cluster of buildings, and a formidable elevated “gateway” point where the towering ice shelf descends into the valley below. I’m also a big fan of the absurdity of its hill station, accessible only by plane or single zip line.
The most visually appealing map in the game, Renewal’s defining feature – and my favorite thing about it – is a gigantic wall that crosses it in the middle, separating a desert region from verdant agricultural land. Huge battles are therefore almost always centered around who holds the central entry point of this wall, which looks cool as hell, but also in turn makes any flank breach an exciting firefight.
Here is a big surprise! If you had asked me a week after the release what was my least favorite card, I would have said Manifest, because the fact that it was 70% stacked shipping containers was repetitive. But first impressions can be deceiving, as this map’s varying elevation levels, and the endless struggles to control the central hill looking down over the rest of the map, mean that this is actually the one of the most interesting and varied maps available, in terms of the types of experiences it offers across all vehicle classes and types.
None of the cards I listed above are perfect. They’re all struggling with compromises or half-finished design ideas, like the rest of the game. Orbital, however, feels like a brief, brilliant fulfillment of what Battlefield 2042 was meant to be. It’s a big map, but it never feels like a chore to get around, and has large open spaces for vehicle duels but also plenty of cover and variety of terrain for infantry. It has iconic focal points but also vast expanses of interesting campaign in between, and even the game’s map-based trick, when a huge space rocket takes off or explodes on the launch pad mid-game.
Battlefield is at its best when everything is big, loud, chaotic, and explosive, and Orbital is where you get the most out of everyone in 2042.
A note before we go: I tried to rank them according to some sort of vague overall level of enjoyment, instead of adapting it to certain styles of play. And that’s how things are in MMarch 2022; I’ll be adding to this list whenever the game receives new maps, which hopefully will arrive soon!