Battlefield V aims to give players everything they want, and while much of developer DICE's promise of what this WWII themed shooter will be and will offer isn't coming until later, what's available right now at launch is excellent.
Perhaps an odd thing on paper to see Battlefield V set in the past, especially after Call of Duty: WWII did similar recently and since the last entry was set in World War I, the setting plays to the strengths and origins of the franchise. Battlefield V is about the World War II locations and stories barely explored across media entertainment, and while story is absolutely secondary in this game, BFV's multiplayer may already be the best on the market.
Battlefield V takes the signature large-scale first-person shooter experience of the Electronic Arts brand, refines it, elevates it, and adds to it. It's better balanced between teams (partially thanks to map design), and better balanced between classes than Battlefield 1 and it does away with the weird browser-based Battlelog system required to matchmake in Battlefield 3 & 4. It even drops all of the progression loot boxes from those games, and avoids anything reminiscent of the problematic systems and design of the Star Wars Battlefront titles.
Battlefield V is Designed to simply be the Best Shooter There is
Battlefield V is the shooter long-time fans, and certainly fans of shooters in general, have been waiting for. And it's absolutely gorgeous. No words can describe just how well optimized and visually impressive this game is. From the best and most detailed destruction we've ever seen in a game like this, to incredible weather and lighting effects, to the little things players will certainly take for granted. Run or drive through tall grass and see a path created, watch other players trudge through mud or water and see them animate different, dive sideways into a prone position and see how the character leans. There's no shooter out there that does all of these, and does it so well. And that's barely scratching the surface of just how well designed Battlefield V is.
Most importantly however, Battlefield V plays and flows oh so well. The shooting is fast and the feedback is perfect. Auto leaning and cover works better than in previous games, and players are given so much control over their character. Run and jump through windows or smash through doors effortlessly, mantle over walls and dive into a covered position. Even dive backward and see your feet in front of you while aiming or moving. Everything works and controls exactly how players would want it to - so much so that other triple-A shooters feel dated by comparison.
...other triple-A shooters feel dated by comparison.
The core gameplay has never been as good as it is in Battlefield V and there are some added changes to the gameplay loop that bolster the experience. A key change is how health works, with players given one med pack from the get-go, able to replenish it from health stations near objectives or medics on the team (similar to ammo with support characters and supply stations, or picking up ammo from downed enemies). This gives players options of retreating or staying in cover a second longer to heal up and take a breath, and it makes medics even more useful - giving reason for players to build health stations and fortify base positions. Medics can quickly heal any downed teammate, but a change in this game is that downed squad mates also be revived by any other squad mate, regardless of class. It's just slower and you don't get all your health back.
Fortifications are another entirely new element added to the Battlefield formula in this game, where every player can build makeshift walls, place down sandbags or wire, board up windows, build supply stations for vehicles and infantry, and essentially partially rebuild destroyed structures (of which, there will be a lot of in every multiplayer match). It's a neat system that seems useful to block pathways from the enemy, but using and building this sort of cover is slow and risky, putting players who take the time to build or use this cover at risk. And since the Battlefield V is objective based, fortifying a position that could quickly become the enemy's is counterintuitive.
What Does Battlefield V Come With (And What's Still to Come)?
Battlefield V launches with eight maps that can be played through its core set of modes, headlined by traditional Conquest and Grand Operations - the latter being a spin on Battlefield 1's Operations mode where players engage in an ongoing battle over up to four in-game days, starting with one team parachuting into battle and pushing across map areas over different times of day and experiencing a war of attrition of sorts.
On PC, all of the servers are 32 or 64 player it seems, so not all of the modes seem accessible but there are a variety of objective-based, vehicle-heavy, or infantry-only experiences available. This is the bread and butter of any multiplayer experience and the variety of maps (from deserts to snowy mountains and green fields) is impressive.
A tiny campaign of sorts is available in Battlefield V through its three War Stories (with a fourth coming later). In total, this amounts to about three hours of game time spread across three distinct stories about different theaters of war. The campaign has some good character work but the mission designs associated with them are generic, and it's held back by some laggy cinematics and video-gamey gimmicks. Each sort of starts with a more linear, intimate gameplay scenario followed by more open-world segments with multiple objectives scattered around a larger maps. There's less polish here than in multiplayer (there's one section where the player has skis but they disappear under the snow and don't effect the snow) but the War Stories seemed designed to highlight different types of gameplay players will find in multiplayer. Think of it as a tutorial for multiplayer with interesting stories that highlight parts of World War II not commonly explored otherwise.
What's interesting with Battlefield V as a product is how clearly designed for the long-term it is. A War Story displayed in the menu isn't available yet, for example, and the game's Combined Arms co-op mode isn't even releasing until March. That's also when players will be able to play the Firestorm battle royale mode. In between now and then, other features are coming as well, from another map to a Firing Range practice area. These additional features and content packs are delivered as part of Battlefield V's Tides of War, a totally free live service which aims to keep players invested through continuously evolving and growing the game. It's here where more rewards and challenges will be added to the experience as well. Considering what Battlefield V ships with, and what's coming (for free), there's incredible value in what this game offers. DICE and EA are trying to prove something with this one.
NEXT: (Page 2 of 2): Battlefield V Loot, Microtransactions and Final Thoughts
- Battlefield V (2018 Video Game) release date: Nov 20, 2018