It’s been a couple of Battlefield entries since the franchise has managed to get its hooks into me, but I think Battlefield 2042 has pulled me back in as if I’m Michael Corleone. Thanks to EA Australia, the testament to this is the recent three-hour hands-on preview event I attended. I thought I’d do around two hours and get something else done. Surely enough to do this article, jump off, grab a bite, come back for the QnA session — but no, instead, I insisted on “one more game” continuously up until the final minutes when I knew I could sneak into the last queue before the event ended. 

You’ve probably heard the MO, but I quick recap, just in case. Battlefield 2042 has no single player. Instead, developer DICE has focused on the multiplayer experience and what story there is you’ll find tucked into maps, and I’m sure, continuing game updates. 


Over my three hours with the game, I played Conquest on Orbital, which is the same map and mode available for those jumping into the beta. Conquest is still Conquest: players work to capture points across the map while deleting enemy team tickets with each successful kills. However, Orbital is a massive island map like none other in the history of the franchise. With a rocket on one end that can be launched or destroyed, there’s a figurehead at the far end of the island, and you always know where you are relative to the rocket. I caught the back end of it launching one time, and standing right below it was a wind force of both sound and smoke that made the firefights happening directly below it a mess. Vehicles skidded to a halt, smoke filled the air and made it hard to see opponents, and players, myself included, were caught in crosshairs as they stopped what they were doing to watch them take off from below.

Orbital looks big in pure square kilometres, but it’s also got a lot of verticalities, coming from both the design of the island and the new tools players have access to in Battlefield 2042. The Assault class has access to a grappling hook that they can use to reach rooftops in an instance or disengage from enemies. There’s plenty of stone-faced mountainsides for snipers to find a nice spot to suppress enemies from afar, while others move in to capture points. 


Each of the classes in the game has a passive ability now. For example, the Sniper class has a passive ability that lets them sense approaching enemies, which saved my ass more than once as I lay prone and reacted ahead of time to the enemies coming from my side to flank my squadmate and me. 

I loved each class’s different traits and abilities but found it refreshing not to be locked into a specific load-out. If you want to run the Medic class with a sniper and ammo crates, you can do that, and although it wasn’t available in the hands-on build, the full game will let you customise specific load-outs for the different classes. 

Each of the classes does have a name, they’re characters, and I assume we’ll learn more about them and how they fit into the Battlefield 2042 universe as time goes on. Maria Falck, for instance, has a healing gun that lets you shoot syringes at ally’s to heal them from afar. That’s awesome. What’s her story? I’m excited to at least learn the backstory of each of the characters in the game. There was four available in the preview event, but ten in total will be available at launch. 

However, what made the Battlefield 2042 experience feel so different from past games is the ability to adjust your weapon’s attachments, including scope, on the go. A literal game-changer, and I’m happy to report it doesn’t feel broken, silly, or hard to use. At any point, you can press a button to use the ‘Plus System’, which opens a wheel that lets you change between all four of your weapon attachments. This new mechanic is a godsend for the Sniper players out there that allows you to swap to a mid-range scope when needed and back to something for long rage when you’ve reached a vantage point. You can even change suppressors or add a silencer within a second or two. The Plus System will break the mould on what many Battlefield regulars players are used too, but it’s a welcome change. It won’t be available until the full game, but players will be able to customise their default load-out and what attachments they bring into a match to better suit your playstyle. 

There’s one other quick-access wheel introduced in Battlefield 2042 that lets you call down vehicles, drones and sentry units from above. You can’t do this everywhere, and you can’t spam vehicle calls into your opponents, but once you control an area, being able to call down an ATV or truck to rotate onto the new objective is super handy. Especially since 99% of the time, any vehicles parked near an objective — they’re going to be blown up in the ensuing firefight. 


I am super disappointed I didn’t get to witness Battlefield 2042’s key marketing point, which is, of course, the killer weather. I have seen some rain, but not the tornado which can rip through Orbital and, as DICE has explained previously, be used against or for players advantages. The QnA portion of the event following the hands-on DICE explained that the build we played had the tornado chance set at 10%, although this will likely change before the full release. I would like to see the possibility of weather events occurring increased. Not getting one for an hour, okay, but after three hours, I was disappointed.

For the hardcore Battlefield fans, there is no suppression in this game—a choice made by DICE as not to affect the combat experience. I know suppression is a love/hate situation for many fans, but as someone who put hundreds of hours into Battlefield 3, I kind of miss it. 

I did really hate the ping system DICE has chosen to use in Battlefield 2042. It’s a super simple mark button, and there’s no way to give specific commands, a choice the devs wanted to stick to, but will be open to hearing players thoughts and could change down the road. I’d be surprised if there isn’t a majority call for a variable ping wheel; I would like to use it in the game.


Playing the beta on my PC (Ryzen 5 2600, RTX 2070 Super, 32GB DDR4), I could achieve an average of around 45-50FPS with all the settings on High. Tweak some things, and 60fps, I’m sure is possible; I, however, decided just to play the game. I would hate to lose the texture quality in Battlefield 2042, however, as it is beautiful. The grass, in particular, constantly caught my eye, as did the smoke particles left behind as a helicopter fired a rocket down upon the unwary. 

On PC, Xbox Series X|S and PS5 Battlefield 2042 will include 128 players. On PS4 and Xbox One, 64 players, although DICE did want to echo that the Battlefield experience will be as good, across the board. 

Even as rusty as I was, I had a blast playing Battlefield 2042, and this is on one map, one mode and without access to customisation or unlocking new things. I feel pretty confident I could happily sink a few hundred hours into this game when it releases on November 19th for PC, Xbox Series X|S, PS4 and PS5.