Battlefield is without a doubt one of the most successful first-person shooter series in video games history. This can be attributed to most of its entries gaining both commercial and critical success. The BF franchise has been with us for almost two decades and has spanned several generations of consoles and windows as well.
Since its inception, every battlefield game has committed to presenting an engaging, tactical, and multi-layered approach to showcasing warfare.
The franchise is popular for featuring huge, sprawling multiplayer maps and was one of the first military first-person shooter IPs to incorporate player-run vehicles like drones, jets, tanks, etc.
In this comprehensive list, we are going to look at every single Battlefield game in order of release up to the date of this writing.
However, we are going to primarily focus on the major releases throughout the years and a few spin-off entries worth mentioning. With that being said, let us delve into it.
Battlefield 1942 (Released 2002)
The first on the list is Battlefield 1942. This initial entry did not have much to offer in terms of a single-player campaign, and instead focused on unit clashes, be it against the AI or other players in multiplayer mode.
In addition, BF 1942 marks the initial appearance of the franchise’s class system, allowing players to pick a distinct role from the following:
While BF 1942’s graphics and visuals are dated compared to the recent releases, it was deemed phenomenal at the time and would go on to win many awards.
Battlefield Vietnam (Released 2004)
This was the first Battlefield iteration to be developed by DICE. BF Vietnam sought to expand upon the original formula with mechanics that allowed you to haul vehicles onto the battlefield using a massive aircraft.
In addition, the vehicle passengers had the ability to shoot from the sides as another player drove around the field.
The multiplayer mode remained mostly unchanged, but it benefited from an array of new maps, vehicles, and guns, all inspired by the actual Vietnam War!
The graphical department saw small improvements, but the primary focus was still the appealing multiplayer-driven war and gunplay.
Battlefield 2: (Released 2005)
The Battlefield franchise began to gain a modern look and feel with this entry. BF used a new engine and introduced new class mechanics like the Medic having a deliberator to revive downed playmates.
There was a lot of work that went into making the BF experience more realistic in regards to graphics and this explains why the developers switched to a different engine. With more realistic hits and improved dynamic lighting, players were ushered into action in a more convincing manner.
In-game voice chat was ideally introduced as one of the primary new features, assigning each team a Commander and Leader, both of which would communicate directly to ask for supplies, airstrikes, and reinforcements.
These new additions would create the foundation for the BF franchise formula going forward and most of them are still prevalent in the recent releases.
Battlefield 2042 (Released 2006)
The fourth game in the BF franchise decided to shift things and take the action into the year 2142, where the world would apparently experience a new Ice Age.
In this new story, the Pan Asian Coalition and European Union are in a conflict, fighting for the remaining unfrozen region. As expected, the futuristic setting came with new tools including hovercraft tanks or mechs.
Titan, one of the primary game modes revolves around teams trying to bring down each other Titan-class warship, which is pretty challenging, given the crafts’ robust defenses.
Anyone who played BF 2042 remembers the exhilarating part of taking down the Titan-class warship; launching an assault team to blow the ship from the inside. This was a different style compared to previous BF iterations, but it was an interesting and engaging one.
Battlefield: Bad Company (Released 2008)
Platform: Xbox 360, PS3
As a console-only release, BF: Bad Company was the first to have a full, story-based, single-player campaign. You get to follow Private Preston Marlowe and his team as they try to steal gold from mercenaries in the middle of a war between Russia and the United States.
This entry also introduced a Gold Rush mode for multiplayer that saw players either attack or defend valuable Gold Crates.
All this was powered by the relatively new Frostbite Engine, which paved way for better visual effects and complex physics, as attributed by the destructible environments.
Battlefield Heroes (Released 2009)
BF Heroes is more or less an experimental game. It was made free to play, with ads and optional smaller payements covering the up-front cost.
Also, it is was a third-person shooter, a deviation from the standard FPP formula in every BF game before it. As if that wasn’t enough, this entry did away with the realistic style and settled for a cartoonish style, which gave it a Team Fortress 2 feel.
Overall, Battlefield Heroes was extremely fun to play even though its Conquest mode worked rather differently from other battlefields.
Each team had a finite number of lives that would reduce as killing and capturing flags went on. The IP also featured an intelligent spawn system, which ensured you are never too far from the battlefield.
Battlefield 1943 (Released 2009)
Platforms: Xbox, PS3
Another console-only entry quickly followed BF: Bad Company and for good reasons. As the title suggests, the action takes place in World War 2.
This time, however, you can only play as part of the Imperial Japanese Navy or as a U.S Marine. Similar to Bad Company, only 24 people could participate in a single map, but once 43 million kills were achieved, the developer released a new map.
Unfortunately, BF 1943 didn’t feature a single-player campaign, but it showed big ambitions with the Air Superiority game type that players also had to unlock through fragging each other by the millions in the multiplayer mode.
In this iteration, the number of classes was cut down to 3, but vehicles were further classified into 4: Landing craft, Tank, Car, and Fighter.
Based on the quick sales, BF 1943 holds multiple titles and was an interesting entry, given it overshadowed almost every other Xbox Live Arcade title that year.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (Released 2010)
Platfroms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Following the success of Bad Company, a sequel was bound to happen. This time, all popular platforms namely Xbox 360, PS3, and PC got their releases. Bad Company 2 takes off right where you left on the previous iteration.
In the single-player campaign, you retake your role as Preston Marlowe. The action takes place during a fictional take of World War 2 and sees the protagonist and his team taking on the Russians to secure a new-age weapon.
Its online mode was improved and expanded to cater to the following game modes:
- -Squad Rush
- -Squad Deathmatch
The Frostbite Engine also saw some refinements that paved the way for more exhilarating destructible environments, immersive visuals, and sound effects throughout every game mode.
Battlefield Online (Released 2010)
There is not much to say about BF online other than Neowiz Games and DICE picked up BF 2 and made it into a free-to-play online game based on a different engine.
It only featured 4 classes: Sniper, Anti-Tank, Engineer, and Medic. This told something about how the developers wanted people to approach battles. BF Online allowed up to 100 players per battle before it went offline in 2013.
Battlefield Play4Free (Released 2010)
BF Play4Free was unsurprisingly similar to BF Online and Heroes, in that it was an online game that is both available for free and not demanding in terms of hardware.
It did not have the cartoonish style in BF Heroes, but it featured a premium store with the same content. Before BF Play4Free went defunct in 2015, it had its appeal.
Battlefield 3 (Released 2011)
Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
BF 3 marked the beginning of a new age for the famous series both in terms of graphical fidelity and large-scale multiplayer content.
This new iteration brought back into the series picks up where Battlefield 2 ended and told the story of various characters participating in a ‘War of 2014’. The story mostly occurs in the Middle East, but occasionally takes detours to other parts of the world.
The multiplayer mode featured a bigger selection of vehicles (jets), weapons, and maps that could host up to 64 gamers per session.
Further tweaks to the Frostbite 2.0 game engine resulted in better visual effects, which were substantial compared to the previous entry. Even now, a decade later, BF 3 is still one of the best-looking entries in the whole series.
In the online multiplayer mode, BF 3 featured 4 classes, namely: Recon, Engineer, Medic, and Assult, each with varying abilities and a dedicated weapon.
During its lifetime, Battlefield 3 had many updates, including variant class ability options, weapon customization, and new multiplayer modes.
Battlefield 4 (Released 2013)
Platforms: PC, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360
Both DICE and EA received some criticism due to the lackluster single-player campaign, technical issues, and legal issues associated with the IPs release state.
However, B4 would eventually get positive reviews and commercial success with the multiplayer version selling over 7 million units.
People loved the dynamics of BF 4, great graphics, and detailed maps. After all, most people enjoy Battlefield in a group setting compared to the single-player campaign.
Thanks to the new Frostbite 3.0 game engine, environmental destruction saw improvements, allowing gamers to alter the physical aspects of the map like demolishing skyscrapers to create huge plumes of dust and smoke.
The Commander mode, initially introduced in BF 2 saw a comeback, leading to new team strategies as participants coordinated their attacks.
Battlefield Hardline (Released 2015)
This was the first entry in the franchise to be developed by Visceral Games (the renowned studio behind the Dead Space series). BF Hardline shifted from the standard military-focused formula that previous iterations were known for.
Rather than going to war with another nation, you go to battle with the police and criminals. In the single-player mode, you play as officer Nick Mendoza and fight crime on the streets with your partner.
Similar to other BF entries, you can tap into various resources with both criminals and police, namely dangerous weapons and heavily powered vehicles. Also, you can do a lot of destruction to the environment.
The multiplayer mode introduced an array of new game modes that worked really well with the IPs crime-fighting style. There is Heist, Blood Money, Hotwire, Levolution, hostage-oriented Rescue, and Crosshair, all of which had something special to offer.
Although BF Hardline didn’t get many raving reviews, it still made noteworthy sales.
Battlefield 1 (Released 2016)
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
After the underwhelming reaction from fans about BF Hardline, the developers got to work on the next entry in the series, Battlefield 1. The IP brought back WW1 again, this time with the benefit of the experience gained from the previous entries.
In the single-player mode, you are transported to World War 1 and get to follow the battles fought by soldiers from various parts of the world.
When it comes to BF1 multiplayer experience, the primary course is Operations. This mode plays across various maps, moving the front one way or the other, depending on the team that wins the previous battle.
Also, there’s a War Pigeons mode, which is a twist on the Conquest or Captures the Flag mode and adds vehicles such as a big Zeppelin to help teams experiencing heavy losses. New weapons such as flamethrowers and poison gas were also added to the online multiplayer mode.
The BF1 world maps can easily distract players, and come with various interesting class options that unlock varying features. For instance, you can be a tank operator or ride a horse. This type of gameplay was a fresh take and many players took a massive interest.
In addition, the Frostbite 3.0 engine would pave way for enhanced graphics, and shed light on one of the most important events in history.
Battlefield V (Released 2018)
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Although DICE had made a comeback with BF1, the franchise’s success would be short-lived with the release of BF V.
Battlefield V introduced battle royale mode to the franchise, under the title Firestorm. It also features a 4-player co-op Combined Arms Mode, if you don’t vibe with the intense PvP that’s prevalent in other multiplayer modes. One appealing thing with Combined Arms missions is that they are never exactly the same.
Unfortunately, the story and setting were suspiciously similar to the campaign in BF1 with the return to World War 2. In addition, the previous iteration’s Operations mode was recycled and renamed as Grand Operations, even though it came with new vehicle and weapon modifications.
At the end of the day, BF V became another divisive iteration in the franchise, with critics praising the variety in gameplay, while fans had issues with the lack of innovation and the entry’s historical inaccuracy.
Battlefield 2042 (Released 2021)
Platforms: PC, PS5, PS4, XBOX Series X/S, Xbox One
The next entry in the BF franchise is BF 2042, due out October 21st in 2021. Given the information we have so far, this installment features a host of new things and visual fidelity, thanks to the ever-evolving game engine, Frostbite.
BF 2042 sees gamers competing across different modes including the well-known Breakthrough and Conquest as well as the co-op, focused Hazard Mode.
Given this installment is set in the future, you can expect a wide array of futuristic weapons and vehicles like drones and turrets.
The new BF 2042’s Plus system will allow you to customize your weapons on the spot. The overhauled class system will also allow you to pick from 4 distinct specializations including Medic, Engineer, Recon, and Assault.
Conclusion: Is Battlefield the Best War Game?
From a closer look at all the franchise’s entries, it’s clear that BF has always focused on the combined arms playstyle which entails cooperation between ground vehicles, air superiority, and infantry.
The installments also tend to gravitate towards teamwork via various classes that are obviously geared to specific roles. Most entries in the Battlefield franchise are centered around huge battles with dozens of players.
The Call of Duty franchise is the primary Battlefield competitor which is geared towards twitch-shooting and individual performance.
The playstyles of both installments are different enough to make each franchise safe in this niche. However, there are clear overlaps like BF including single-player campaigns, which has been a staple of Call of Duty games.
So, it all comes down to your taste and preference in FPS games. This is one long shot, but we hope it covered important details that you would love to know about Battlefield. There are many good games in this list worth getting into as you look forward to the coming release this October.
By EA – Giant Bomb, Fair use, Link