Battlefield 2042 could give the new Call of Duty some serious competition

Battlefield 2042
(Image credit: EA DICE)

EA DICE has finally revealed the first Battlefield 2042 gameplay trailer - and it looks epic, to say the least. 

Battlefield 2042 is set to offer a multiplayer, first-person experience on a larger scale than anything we’ve seen before, with 128-player maps on PS5, Xbox Series X and PC. And we finally got a look at one of these massive battles in action thanks to the recent gameplay trailer, which showcased Battlefield 2042’s Hourglass map. 

Having seen Battlefield 2042 in action, I can safely say that even though the latest Battlefield entry lacks a campaign mode, the All Out War multiplayer experience looks like it could give the new Call of Duty some serious competition.

A city lost in time

Set in Doha, Qatar, Hourglass is one of Battlefield 2042’s larger maps -  with the honor of the largest map going to Breakaway, set in Antarctica. Hourglass is a “city lost in time” and sees players fighting for a lost convoy, either taking the side of the USA or Russia - the last remaining superpowers in Battlefield’s fictitious 2042 setting.

"With so many new toys to play with in Battlefield 2042, and an ever-changing battlefield, it’ll be interesting to see how players choose to utilize them."

Battlefield’s Hourglass map features a neon city, with skyscrapers that light up as massive sandstorms pass through, a stadium overrun by sand, and a huge highway intersection where the convoy has come to stop. 

Hourglass is the perfect showcase of what EA DICE have promised us with Battlefield 2042: utter chaos. The gameplay trailer shows tanks shooting down helicopters, which unceremoniously collapse in a heap of flames among the sandy dunes, while soldiers crawl all over the map like well-armored ants. 

We already know that vehicles play a huge role in Battlefield 2042 and, while we saw tanks and helicopters in action, you’ll also be able to commandeer quad bikes, fighter jets and more - which can be requested at any time to any location. An EA DICE developer even told us at the Battlefield 2042 reveal that it’s possible to summon a vehicle to land on top of an enemy sniper - talk about taking a hammer to a situation. 

According to the developer, vehicles in Battlefield 2042 are a “platform for great team play”. Each vehicle seat has a vital role to play, so having more players in your vehicle makes it a more efficient weapon. Seeing this vehicular combat in action was quite the sight and it looks like it’ll make for some very destructive and over-the-top battles, while also allowing for a different way to approach fights. Vehicles look like they will add a real sense of verticality to Battlefield 2042, too, with battles taking place not just on solid ground but in the sky and at sea. 

This verticality also applies to foot soldiers. The Battlefield 2042 gameplay trailer gives us a look at Hourglass’ neon-clad skyscrapers, with elevators allowing players to reach the top floor - and we’re hoping all the floors in between, though that wasn’t shown. Once players reach the top of these skyscrapers, they can zipline across to other rooftops or utilize their wingsuit to soar from their new vantage point. 

The gameplay trailer also gives us a look at Battlefield 2042’s dynamic weather, which is bound to cause complete mayhem. The footage shows a tornado ripping through the Hourglass map, causing utter devastation, but these randomly generated world occurrences can either be a boon or bane for players. While you can choose to avoid the tornado - as much as possible - by seeking refuge in skyscrapers, you can also choose to utilize it to your advantage and devastate your enemies. 

EA DICE has said that this emphasis on the game’s sandbox element leads to some fun, unscripted and unexpected moments - and we can see why. With so many new toys to play with in Battlefield 2042, and an ever-changing battlefield, it’ll be interesting to see how players choose to utilize them. 

Stiff competition 

Battlefield 2042

(Image credit: EA DICE)

Battlefield 2042 looks to offer a truly multi-dimensional multiplayer FPS experience that aims to utilize the power of the PS5 and Xbox Series X to their utmost. If the gameplay trailer is anything to go by, EA DICE looks to have succeeded in that ambition. 

It also sets a new bar for the new Call of Duty, which is set to release in late 2021 - likely between October and November if history is anything to go by, though there are rumors of a delay - while Battlefield 2042 is releasing on October 22. Even though Call of Duty takes a slightly different approach than Battlefield, leaning more into shooter elements than the sandbox side, both games will be vying for the attention of first-person shooter fans. 

While you could simply say “why not both”?, with both Battlefield 2042 set to cost $69.99 / £69.99 on PS5 and Xbox Series X, and the new Call of Duty likely to weigh in about the same price, “both” is becoming less and less of an option for gamers. 

But, there’s one aspect where the new Call of Duty - regardless of its gameplay - may already have the lead: a campaign mode.

Battlefield 2042 and the new Call of Duty may end up weighing in at the same price, but Battlefield is offering solely multiplayer for that cost. Granted, there are three multiplayer experiences being touted - with two to be officially revealed - but we’re expecting Call of Duty will pack in a campaign, multiplayer modes and free Warzone for that price tag. Where EA DICE could claw this back is by making Battlefield 2042 available on Xbox Game Pass from day one - a realistic aspiration given that the service already offers a plethora of EA titles, thanks to integration with EA Play.

As it stands, Battlefield 2042 is offering a very enticing proposition. And, while we don’t know what the new Call of Duty is bringing to the table quite yet, I’d be surprised (read: very pleased) if it’s bringing something of Battlefield’s sheer scale.

Vic Hood
Associate Editor, TechRadar Gaming

Vic is TechRadar Gaming's Associate Editor. An award-winning games journalist, Vic brings experience from IGN, Eurogamer and more to the TechRadar table. You may have even heard her on the radio or speaking on a panel. Not only is Vic passionate about games, but she's also an avid mental health advocate who has appeared on both panels and podcasts to discuss mental health awareness. Make sure to follow her on Twitter for more.