Author Archives: Ryan McCaffrey

  • Grounded: Obsidian Gets Back to its Roots with Hot and Hazy Update

    It’s no secret that Grounded, Obsidian’s backyard survival game, is very different from anything the prolific RPG developer has made before — something the developers themselves have poked fun at in the past. But while the microscopic multiplayer adve… Continue reading

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    Battlefield 2042 Open Beta Preview

    Battlefield has always prioritized a certain degree of multiplayer insanity, but nothing in the series thus far prepared me for a mega-cyclone tearing across the map, wrecking cars, uprooting trees, and sucking up any poor souls who’ve gotten too close with their parachutes. Between the bullets, the gunships, and the artillery, we also have to watch out for this?Battlefield 2042 aims to take us into the near future, with a world on the brink and a cascading series of environmental catastrophes towering over the petty squabbles of mankind. After a few hours with the beta that’s about to open up, it is clear that DICE has gone absolutely giddy with excess — totally lapping the chaos it experimented with in its previous historical veneers. The Battle of the Bulge was hellish, but at least there weren’t any tornados.

    Battlefield 2042 will be the first entry in the franchise released with the PS5 and Xbox Series X in mind and thus, naturally, DICE has juiced all the specs. The maximum headcount in the matches has increased to a galactic 128 players, all of whom are strewn out across dense, multipronged maps. We played on Orbital, set in French Guiana, where I found space shuttle launch sites, flooded coastal villages, and vertigo-inducing skyscrapers, all smashed together in one volatile warfront. The sheer size rivaled the average battle royale island, and I quickly realized that my tried-and-true Battlefield strategy of hustling from one skirmish to the next on foot was untenable at this scale. Thankfully, with the tap of the “B” key, I could airdrop in a fresh set of wheels like it was coming straight from Metal Gear Solid’s “Mother Base.” Suddenly, 2042’s scope became a lot less overwhelming.

    Environmental apocalypse aside, Battlefield diehards will be right at home in 2042. Once again, EA has created a bedlam-generation machine, with more things going on in every firefight than any one person could possibly process. In one particularly memorable sequence, I found myself at eye-level with a whirring helicopter on top of a building, like an impromptu boss encounter. (I came out on top with a shot from my rocket launcher.) The gunplay also feels consistent with the pace and mechanics established in both Battlefield V and Battlefield 1. You will spend a lot of time taking potshots at microscopic targets across the environment, and constantly need to be wary of your flanks.

    However, the most useful addition to 2042 is the ability to customize your arsenal on the fly. Do you have a clean shot and need something a little more precise than your assault rifle’s iron sights? No problem, snap on a scope and squeeze out some rounds. Battlefield has long made us feel like grunts in a war effort; but in the apocalypse, we all have a smidge more tactical flexibility.

    That same philosophy carries over into 2042’s reworked class system. You are no longer bound to the rigid roles first established back in 1942. Now, you choose a specific specialist — complete with their own name, personality, and trait — and can adjust the rest of your loadout from there. The end result is similar to Rainbow Six: Siege’s operators. I spent most of my time with Mackay and his wondrously versatile grappling hook, which has a knack for putting you at an optimal vantage point. I didn’t try to attach it to a helicopter, but that will be my first stop on live servers.

    The most useful addition to 2042 is the ability to customize your arsenal on the fly.

    All that said, EA warned me I was playing on an old build, and sure enough a number of noticeable bugs leaped out at me. I was unable to pull up my full map, and the corpses of blown-apart vehicles would freeze in the air and flicker to the ground at single-digit frame rates in the distance. Most prominently, I started up each of my matches with an invisible weapon — just my soldier’s hand floating out there in the ether, cradling a muzzle that simply did not exist. So the eternal question is, will those rough spots be ironed out before launch? DICE has gotten really good at making Battlefield games over the years, but the left-field postponement from October 22 to November 19 leaves me slightly worried.

    Of course, that delay bought some time for fine-tuning, and if DICE does successfully squash enough of the bugs, Battlefield 2042 has the potential to be the first great shooter of the new generation. Finally, a chance to snipe your friends from the heart of a superstorm. The end of the world has never looked so bright.

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    Xbox in Japan: Why We’re Optimistic – Unlocked 514

    Battlefield 2042’s short delay has set up a heck of a Fall/holiday season for first-person shooter fans. We discuss each of the five major FPS games out between now and the end of the year: Far Cry 6, Back 4 Blood, Call of Duty: Vanguard, the aforementioned Battlefield 2042, and Halo Infinite. And please welcome back guest panelist NeoGameSpark!

    Subscribe on any of your favorite podcast feeds, to our new YouTube channel, or grab an MP3 download of this week’s episode. For more awesome content, check out our Halo Infinite Flight performance preview, which does a deep-dive tech analysis on the still-in-development slice of Halo Infinite multiplayer:

    Oh, and you can be featured on Unlocked by tweeting us a video Loot Box question! Tweet your question and tag Ryan at @DMC_Ryan!

    For more next-gen coverage, make sure to check out our Xbox Series X review, our Xbox Series S review, and our PS5 review.

    Ryan McCaffrey is IGN’s executive editor of previews and host of both IGN’s weekly Xbox show, Podcast Unlocked, as well as our monthly(-ish) interview show, IGN Unfiltered. He’s a North Jersey guy, so it’s “Taylor ham,” not “pork roll.” Debate it with him on Twitter at @DMC_Ryan.

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