Is Battlefield 2042 worth revisiting with the upcoming Season 5: New Dawn update? We recently got invited to get some early hands-on for ourselves in an online media preview event. Here’s what you need to know.
Battlefield 2042 was initially deemed to be KIA when it launched with a number of technical and systematic issues that strayed too far away from the established formula that made the franchise unique in the first place. Since then, DICE has been hard at work providing seasonal updates to add more content and quality-of-life changes that were sorely missing from the final product. This has included map reworks, weapon balancing, a much-needed shift to a traditional class-based system, and performance fixes. More than a year later, Battlefield 2042 is slowly becoming the Battlefield experience we’ve all expected from it.
Season 5: New Dawn is gearing up to continue the momentum the game has recently gained. A brand-new map, weapons, types of equipment, and further gameplay refinements provide much-needed ammunition for Battlefield 2042 to stay in the fight.
What’s coming in Battlefield 2042 Season 5?
Before I talk about what happened in the media preview event, let’s first lay out what to expect with Battlefield 2042’s Season 5: New Dawn update.
The main event is the brand-new combined arms map: Reclaimed. This is an abandoned Czechian industrial facility that is slowly being retaken by nature. The map includes 6 key areas which also serve as the main flag points.
Flag A1: Crash Site, where a derailed train with destroyed cargo and debris scattered around can be seen. Vehicular and medium-range infantry combat will be the go-to.
Flag B1: Landing Zone is a circular area with more rocks, trees, and cargo that offer opportunities for close-ranged infantry combat. A proper air strike can destroy trees to open up new sight lines.
Flag C1: Abandoned Turbine Hall is a semi-destroyed warehouse-looking indoor place that has a layer of verticality with elevated platforms and opportunities to get to the roof. This is easily one of my favorite areas as a main infantry player because it’s a place that lends well to medium to close-range combat.
Flag C2: Military Storage. Yet another warehouse-type POI with concrete pillars, high steel shelves, and destructible cover. Another favorite of mine as fighting through squads on foot and surrounding vehicles makes this one of the most populated and contested flags on the map.
Flag D1: Fortified Bunker. This is an enclosed and underground area that has a lot of narrow corridors and tight spaces. Setting up a good position with an LMG makes this one of the best farming spots for kills as soldiers just flood through a doorway. A lot of intense infantry combat can take place here.
Flag E1: Fuel Silos. This place has 4 central structures that are surrounded by a road. Having infantry pinned down in the middle as vehicles try to pick them apart from the circular road layout is a thrilling setup and opens up some highly flashy combat scenarios if successfully defending/ capturing the flag.
Three new weapons are also being introduced into Battlefield 2042’s arsenal with Season 5:
The XCE BAR is a high-precision bolt action sniper rifle with an expanded attachment capability. This one felt more versatile compared to other snipers in 2042 as it was fairly easy to run around with it for medium-range combat scenarios while also being a great option for picking enemies off at a distance. It is a bit on the weaker side so hitting those chest-high headshots are crucial for success.
The GEW-46 is an old favorite from Battlefield 4 and it’s coming back in 2042 with an improved look, sound, and feel. This is a bolt-action assault rifle that offers high stability with short-burst fire. If handled by the proper hands, this is a deadly tool for the many medium-range combat scenarios in the new map.
The BFP.50 is a stunning hand cannon that kicks as well as it looks. Size, sound, and power are the names of the game with this one and it’s definitely a fun sidearm to have as a powerful alternative should your primary gun run out of ammo.
Keeping up with player feedback, DICE has made it so that all vault weapons will have access to Battlefield 2042’s attachments and skins.
If you’re an AR player, you’re gonna love this one. At the start of Season 5, you’ll be able to use the M16A3, ACW-R, A91, M416, MTAR-21, and AEK-971.
Three new grenade types will be introduced in Battlefield 2042’s Season 5:
Spring Grenade. This is a small nade that bounces into the air before detonation, dealing heavy unexpected damage to infantry players.
Anti-tank Grenade. Once thrown, his will detonate on impact against vehicles. While it’s not overly powerful and you’d still need a couple of C4s to destroy a tank with it, it is definitely a fun thing to use if you time it right against a helicopter or a speeding vehicle coming to you.
Mini Grenades – These can be thrown faster and further than regular nades at the cost of damage power. However, you do get 3 instead of just 1. You can easily cause chaos with these if you’re pinned down by a group.
And finally but most definitely not the least, DICE has been reworking Battlefield 2042’s launch maps. These include adding in more geographical changes, war-torn aesthetics, and populating open areas with more cover and terrain details to allow for more interesting combat scenarios rather than being a running simulator going from one flag to another.
For Season 5, the latest map that will receive a significant visual and systematic lift will be Hourglass 2.0. The overall size of the map has been reduced to focus more on combat. Main routes will be littered with combat damage providing cover and extra geographical changes. The village area that used to just feel like an empty space with boxes is now a military base. Downtown roads will be filled with raging fires and abandoned cars. The main bridge is now collapsed creating a huge crater that will open up an entirely new underground section.
There’s a lot to look forward to in Battlefield 2042’s Season 5. And I’m going to further tell you why.
Battlefield 2042 Season 5: New Dawn first impressions
During the online preview event, we were provided a pre-release build of the game which contains all of the new content in Battlefield 2042 Season 5 mentioned above except for the opportunity to see Hourglass 2.0.
We were able to play Breakthrough and Conquest on the new Reclaimed map. Unfortunately, due to the closed nature of the event, I personally didn’t get the opportunity to get in a lobby with fellow media and creators despite all queuing up at the same time. We were only able to play full matches with bots. Nevertheless, I still did my best to make sure I had a good feel of the map flow and try out the new stuff as best I could. And just to cut to the chase: I was not disappointed with what I played.
The new Reclaimed map has a great flow to it. Definitely, a far cry from the barren wastelands of the launch maps of 2042 when they were first released. The POIs are distanced well enough from each other not being too far but also not too near. Each flag has its own quirks and highlights to love.
As I mentioned, I mostly play infantry in battlefield games since I just love running around with a gun and feeling the scale of combat only the Battlefield franchise can provide. I feel like an ant in a field as explosions, vehicles, helicopters, and jets zoom around me. It’s exhilarating and definitely, a visual spectacle to engage in. This was a feeling that was lost during the first few months of Battlefield 2042. I recently revisited the game when I saw that updates were slowly starting to pour in and I was fairly glad to see that 2042 is slowly starting to gain its footing again. However, It still felt like something was still missing. While existing map reworks felt great, I still thought the combat sandbox hasn’t quite reached the chaotic feel previous Battlefield titles excelled on.
I’m so happy to say that Season 5’s Reclaimed is more or less exactly what I was looking for. It ticks all the boxes having tight areas for intense infantry battles while being surrounded by properly placed open spaces for vehicular domination. The map just felt great to play around in.
I rarely, if ever, had an instance similar to the launch maps of 2042 where I was just running around in a bland and barren location begging for some action to happen only to be unfairly picked off by a sniper camping in some faraway area that was impossible for me to know or counter. I’ve had a match where my team was pinned down in the bunker POI because the enemy team kept flooding in and holding us while the roads were being blocked by their tanks. It was a thrilling problem to solve and once I eventually did, I found myself fighting through an army since they were positioned on the paths on the way to the next flag. This was possible because DICE really is doubling down on populating maps with more cover opportunities and small terrain details that allow for combat sequences to happen.
The only thing that was missing is that one big set piece that is usually a highlight of a Battlefield map. No falling skyscrapers, exploding fuel reserves, tornadoes, etc. There could’ve been one but I wasn’t able to experience it myself during my 2 hours.
As for the gameplay itself, I noticed that movement felt a little better with the motion feeling a bit more natural and smoother. Initially, I thought it was because a buff was implemented with the speed of running or sliding but when I asked one of the developers, they mentioned that no such thing happened.
Essentially, DICE did what they call a “physicality pass” with the camera relating to movement. If you’re running with a pistol you’ll get a lighter camera bob, if you run with say a sniper or RPG, the camera bob becomes more aggressive. This brings it closer to what it would’ve felt like if we ran with any of those in real life. From what I played, it felt great and definitely an improvement from the somewhat robotic feel 2042 initially had.
As for the weapons, I was not able to try out all of them but I did my best to pass through all of the ARs. This was a weapon class that felt a little too inconsistent since 2042’s launch. But with Season 5, a developer confirmed to us that they tweaked accuracy values. After trying it out for myself, I can safely say that AR players should definitely be excited. Medium-range combat felt much more tight and trying to chip away at enemies at a longer range also felt more possible this time around.
As for the new sniper itself, I did try to use it as more of a medium-range weapon with slight success. As I mentioned, it felt a little bit like it was on the weaker side so headshots and upper chest shots are definitely a must for this one. It’s not as overpowered as I feared it would be. We all know how frightening those Battlefield snipers are when they’re positioned well on the map.
Battlefield 2042 Season 5: New Dawn is a crucial and exciting time for the game. Will this be what brings back old players who were too burnt by the problematic launch while also bringing in a new crowd? With all the changes and refinements made, I’d say this is a safe bet to take.
The new Reclaimed map has an engaging flow to it, new weapons feel fantastic, infantry gameplay receives subtle yet impactful camera tuning, and all the other QOL changes are more than enough reasons to jump back into Battlefield 2042. This is a game that is being offered in Xbox Game Pass, was given for free in PlayStation Plus, and is constantly on sale. While they are a little bit late on their promise of next-gen war combat experience, Season 5 is a huge step in the right direction for Battlefield 2042.