Battlefield 2042: 4 reasons to be excited and 2 to be worried

Battlefield 2042
(Image credit: EA)

Battlefield 2042 is one of the most anticipated games of the second half of 2021. Based on the tantalizing snippets of gameplay we’ve seen so far, the upcoming shooter looks like it will feature all of the elements that have made the series so popular, as well as a few new tricks. 

Between its next-gen visuals, dynamic large-scale maps, and a setting that has been much-requested by fans for several years now, Battlefield 2042 looks like it has all of the ingredients to be one of the strongest multiplayer games available on the PS5, Xbox Series X, and PC. 

But that doesn't mean that everything we know about it is positive. While the game certainly has our attention, there are a few small issues that suggest it might not be the perfect next-gen Battlefield game we’ve been waiting for. 

We expect to see more of it at the upcoming EA Play event scheduled for July 22, but for now, here are four reasons we’re very excited for Battlefield 2042, and two reasons why we're keeping our optimism levels set to cautious.

Reasons to be excited #1: 128-player matches

Battlefield 2042

(Image credit: Dice)

The ability to support up to 128 players per match is probably one of the most fan-requested features for Battlefield 2042, and that's now been officially confirmed. 

That’s twice the current 64-player limit on the last entry in the series, Battlefield 5, and this jump in player count should enable the game to feel even more epic than any before it. The series has always been renowned for its grand scale and doubling the player count will only bolster this. 

It’s worth noting that this feature is exclusive to the PS5, Xbox Series X, and PC. While Battlefield 2042  will be releasing on PS4 and Xbox One too, on those consoles the limit will be set to the standard 64 players. And that's surely all the incentive you need to hunt down a PS5 restock

Reasons to be excited #2: The (slightly) futuristic setting

Battlefield 2042

(Image credit: Dice)

While the historical trappings of Battlefield 1 and Battlefield 5 made for a refreshing change of pace after a string of modern-day-set instalments, Battlefield 2042’s slightly futuristic setting looks to be a real winner. 

Firstly, having access to current-day weaponry gives developer Dice a lot more flexibility in the types of equipment they can offer players. The locations in the game can also be more diverse, with glass-clad skyscrapers and industrial constructs dominating the maps. Plus, the reveal trailer has given us a look at a very Minority Report-style UI for switching weapons, which looks remarkably slick.

It’s also been confirmed that equipment currently in development in the real world will be included in the game, including robot dogs (yes, really). The decision to set the game two decades in the future already looks like a very smart one. 

Reasons to be excited #3: Next-gen features

Battlefield 2042 wingsuit

(Image credit: Dice)

As noted above, Battlefield 2042 should play beautifully on PS5 and Xbox Series X (though PC might be the superior platform choice), but the next-gen features go beyond just an expanded player count. 

For starters, it’s already been confirmed by Dice that maps on PS4 and Xbox One will be “tailored to smaller-scale,” which means on PS5/Xbox Series X you’re going to be getting areas that are larger in order to accommodate more players. 

We also expect that visually, Battlefield 2042 will look significantly better on next-gen hardware, and will benefit from features such as faster loading times and a more stable frame rate. Plus, the game is likely to take advance of the unique capabilities of the PS5 DualSense controller, for instance its adaptive triggers and haptic feedback. 

We’ve been waiting since the launch of the new consoles for a true next-gen shooter and Battlefield 2042 looks like it could be just that. 

Reasons to be excited #4: Multiple new modes

We already know that franchise staples like Conquest and Breakthrough will be featured in Battlefield 2042, but we’re more excited about a pair of new modes that have already been teased. 

Hazard Zone is an “all-new high-stakes multiplayer experience,” with more information promised later this year. It sounds promising. Dice has also remained frustratingly tip-lipped on a “redacted” mode that will reportedly be unveiled at EA Play later this month. 

This will apparently be a “love letter” to Battlefield fans, and one leaker has suggested it could be a mode that features classic weapons and maps from throughout the franchise's history. Consider us intrigued and very keen to hear more. 

Reasons to be worried #1: No traditional single-player campaign

After much pre-announcement speculation, it was confirmed shortly after the game’s grand unveiling that Battlefield 2042 will be an exclusively multiplayer title. In short, there will be no traditional single-player campaign. 

You can play offline multiplayer matches against AI-controlled bots, but if you want a proper single-player story with unique levels and a full narrative, then Battlefield 2042 will leave you disappointed. 

There’s no denying that the online component is the main draw of a Battlefield game for most people, but the lack of a single-player campaign is still disappointing. It creates the concern that the game could feel rather barebones, which is especially worrying as Battlefield 2042 will come with a premium $70 price

Reasons to be worried #2: The new Specialists system

Longtime players of the Battlefield franchise will be familiar with the series' traditional class system. You select either a recon, assault, support, or engineer archetype at the start of a match and then have access to class-specific weapons and equipment. 

You’re also expected to perform a certain role when playing as each class. For example, the support class is designed to be played as a field-medic, focused more on healing and reviving teammates than racking up killstreaks.

Battlefield 2042 is controversially scrapping this system in favor of a "hero" system that looks inspired by the likes of Overwatch and Rainbow Six Siege. In 2042, you pick from a list of named Specialists who each have a unique active ability and a unique passive ability, but which otherwise can use any unlocked weapon or equipment. 

The Specialist system is clearly designed to bring greater flexibility to Battlefield 2042, allowing you to play exactly how you want. It could be a roaring success, or it could be an unneeded replacement for one of the franchise’s staple features. Time will tell. 

Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.