Title: Battlefield V
Release Date: November 9, 2018
Reviewed On: PC
The Battlefield series has taken a step back once again from covering the modern age with Battlefield V. Instead the developer has opted to focus on World War II; which seems appropriate considering Battlefield 1 took place during World War I. In a year full of dull shooters Battlefield V doesn’t do much to put the genre on the map in 2018, but it does enough to hold my interest.
DICE has decided to revisit a less conventional campaign once again with Battlefield 1’s War Stories. It’s worth mentioning that I’m writing this review based on the game as it is on December 17, many of the features that weren’t included at launch are now included, so I’m going to score the game as fairly as I can base on that. Furthermore, DICE has addressed several bugs that were in the game at launch.
If you’re unfamiliar, War Stories are a small set of tiny campaigns that cover different tales from World War II. While I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t craving a more conventional storyline that had me invading the beaches of Normandy, or rushing through the streets of Berlin in the Frostbite engine, what DICE has decided to cover here is admirable as many, if not all, players who aren’t history buffs will find that the content here is really unique and I give the team a lot of advice for tackling such small stories in such a big war.
I played each campaign on the hardest difficulty, and I’d say they’re all pretty enjoyable, the weakest being the earliest storyline that has you playing as an English Special Unit. The remaining three are far more interesting, and I’ll give them credit; I learned a little bit about things I didn’t know about. Additionally, many of the campaigns feature characters who speak in their native languages, a really nice touch that adds a sense of realism to each one.
Overall, if you’re looking for heavy single-player content, you won’t really get it with Battlefield V, which was also the case with the previous game. The four campaigns took me around six hours to complete on the hardest difficulty. The bulk of your time will be spent in the game’s multiplayer which has been dramatically changed since the last couple of entries in the series.
DICE has completely overhauled squads, almost in a defiant step towards making players more aware of what’s going on in-game. With the ability to spawn on your squadmates and pick them up after they’ve been downed, a squad that plays together certainly wins together in Battlefield V.
Additionally, each of the four combat roles has become wildly different from one another. Medics can now pick up any downed teammate, and they do so much faster than other units. Recon units are the only ones who are able to mark units and enemy vehicles. Support units are equipped with ammo packs, while assault units are the best equipped for a multitude of fights, but can be rather useless on their own.
Regenerating health has been completely eliminated from the series. Each unit starts with one medkit while the medic unit has an endless supply. This stops any potential run and gun methods as players will have to be aware of their health. This follows over into equipment as well, as you’ll be given considerably less ammo at spawn, small bundles can be picked up from enemy units but the bulk of ammo can be acquired through support units and supply crates. DICE has put their foot down, and these new changes do well in making sure players are tackling Battlefield’s online which much more consideration to more than just running and gunning.
Vehicles also make a return in Battlefield V and they feel better than ever. DICE has mastered making vehicle control very accessible to players who may be intimidated by it in other games. Whether you’re flying an airplane or a tank, a few minutes of use will have you accustomed to how they control shortly.
There are nine maps currently available in Battlefield V. From European countrysides to formerly bustling cities, and outposts located in North Africa. Each map is very varied but leaves a little more to be desired compared to maps in previous entries. There isn’t a single one that sticks out to me personally like in games like Battlefield 4 and Battlefield 1.
The United States and Russia are notably absent from all corners of Battlefield V. And with that, it would’ve been nice to see more maps based on the first entry in the series, Battlefield 1942. Not because I’m a sucker for nostalgia, even though I am, but it would’ve been nice to see this iconic set pieces recreated in Frostbite 3. With all upcoming DLC being free, I hope we’ll see the inclusion of more countries and locations.
Whereas Battlefield 4 had events that could drastically change the landscape of a map, and Battlefield 1 offered a giant zeppelin that could come crashing down along with environmental weather changes, Battlefield V feels uncomfortably quiet in this regard. There is no map altering moments, but dynamic weather effects to make a return so that’s nice.
Where Battlefield V doesn’t falter is in its sound design. DICE has produced one of the realistic sounding depictions of war to date. I often find myself cringing at the bloody screams echoing throughout the Battlefield, and genuinely feel kind of bad when I take down an opponent. They’ll lay on the floor begging for one of their teammates to pick them up. The sound of bullets grazing ever so close to you, smashing into walls throughout a city, or dirt on an open field put me in an actual movie. It’s fantastic and easily one of the best qualities Battlefield V has to offer.
Many guns from the second world war feel great and it’s nice to finally get a chance to go hands-on with them again in a video game. I grew up with these weapons in games like Battlefield 1942 and Call of Duty World at War, so it’s especially exciting seeing them make appearances again in a modern game. There are many absent weapons with the exclusion of a multitude of countries through which is relatively disappointing. However, I quickly forgot about my gropes when I realized Battlefield V’s main weapon list is over 40 weapons strong, with seven additional side arms, and a host of melee weapons to choose from.
Surprisingly, DICE has done a good job at buffing out bugs that I heard many players dealt with at the launch of Battlefield V. There are some technical hiccups here and there, but the game really does look spectacular and plays very solid.
Overall, Battlefield V is a fine entry in the series, in its current state it’s totally not perfect by any means, but what we have here is an acceptable package. I’d say it’s the weakest Battlefield we’ve gotten in some time, which is disappointing considering it covers World War 2. With more DLC coming later in free content drops to all players, I’m looking forward to seeing what the team over at DICE has next in the pipeline.
Review by: Jordan Boyd
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