Game Reviews

Battlefield V Review: A fun, but expensive early access game

The road to Battlefield V has been a rocky one. It’s been filled with controversy and backlash, but never the less the game is coming out.

Battlefield V is an interesting package featuring some of the series’s most exhilarating action, but also some decisions that are just sigh-worthy.

War Stories

Battlefield V features 3 campaigns at launch dubbed as “War Stories”. The 4th mission where you play as a German is “coming soon”, more on that later. The game’s campaign kicks off with an intro right when you boot up the game that you’re forced to play.

It’s incredibly heavy handed in trying to deliver some sort of deep and touching message, but it ends up being painful to stomach.

While it’s trying to deliver the same sort of “every soldier is human” message that Battlefield 1 did, Battlefield 1 did it in a such a subtle and impactful way. Seeing your soldier’s name, birth year, and death year delivered this message so effectively, but Battlefield V tries to do it with poetic, inspirational narration, sad music, and children singing to images of war.

Luckily the 3 campaigns included at launch weren’t quite as bad as the introduction.

The 3 missions include Under No Flag where you fight with the British Special Boat Forces, Nordlys where you play as a Norwegian female resistance fighter, and Tirailleur where you fight in the French Army as a Black soldier.

Both Under No Flag and Nordlys suffer from the super soldier feeling that you get when it’s you vs an entire army. It’s easy enough to kill the entire army alone, and that’s disappointing in a game where the multiplayer features so much teamwork. Under No Flag is extremely forgettable as most of the mission feels dull with some forced humor thrown in for good measure. However, the Nordlys campaign has some strange hit or miss decisions.

In Nordlys you will find yourself skiing around the map at times throwing knives at Nazi soldiers as you zoom by. It’s somewhat fun, but it’s a strange way to go about a mission making you feel like some sort of ski ninja.

Tirailleur is easily the best of the 3 campaigns simply due to the fact that you fight alongside an army. These big battles are what Battlefield games do well and it’s a shame they don’t capitalize on them more often.

While you’ll experience everything from stealth missions with shotty AI to large scale battles that actually feel like a war in the 3 campaigns, the inclusion of vehicle gameplay is severely lacking.

Action packed multiplayer

The multiplayer on display in Battlefield V is some of the most exciting gameplay to date in the Battlefield series.

Conquest mode feels more at home here than it did in Battlefield 1, and features a good number of vehicles during a typical match that deliver a good bit of fear to foot soldiers, but they don’t make the mode feel overly chaotic.

Maps are a little on the small size though, so some of that classic slower paced gameplay the Battlefield series is known for will be missed.

If you want chaos though, head over to the new Grand Operations mode.

Grand Operations sees 32 defenders holding off 32 attackers from capturing objectives on a portion of a full map. If the attackers capture and hold all objectives in a sector, defenders will have to fall back to defend the next set of objectives.

The mode begins with players parachuting in amidst AA fire and the shots of defending enemy players. It’s probably the coolest intro to a normal multiplayer map I’ve ever experienced, but during the duration of the match it doesn’t play out as well.

You’ll only have to deal the the parachuting during the very first sector of the match, but after the initial drop it becomes a little repetitive and frustrating as it’s possible to be shot down before even jumping out of the plane. This problem is furthered by the fact that the game limits your jump window so by the time you’re allowed to jump, you’re already about to get shot out of the sky.

During all modes action is intense, firefights are exhilarating, and teamwork is crucial. While again, maps are all very small, the typical teamwork that Battlefield games are known for is alive and well here. And actually, with the addition of some new mechanics it’s even more important here than ever before.

Every player is equipped with a new tool used for building barricades and stations. You’ll be able to build huge sandbag walls, fortifying your team’s position on a key objective and you’ll be able to build medical and ammunition stations at designated points on the map.

The stations allow players to refill the single-self heal every player is given as well as refill on ammo and equipment.

Worthwhile additions

Battlefield V has introduced some changes to normal gameplay that are extremely welcome. On top of the single use self-heal every player has, every player can revive anyone in their squad. Non-medic squad revives take longer to execute than normal revives via medic do, and also only bring players back to life with partial health, but it’s nice to not have rely on a medic being nearby as much. This also cuts down on some of pissed off moments you’ll have when a medic doesn’t revive you regardless of being 5 meters away.

The revive system is a little buggy though, animations for downed players are pretty horrible. They’ll jerk from their rackdoll model post-death to their crying out for help position in an instant, and animations for reviving someone often times clip through a player you’re reviving or a wall they’re near.

Revived players also seem to teleport when they get up quite a bit. One moment you’ll see someone being revived by a team mate right in front of you, and once the downed player is back up they’ve somehow teleported 10 feet away from their downed position.

One of Dice’s most bragged about additions to the game is the huge amount of character customization.

While it is true that you can do a lot to make your character your own. In a game like Battlefield, character skins and outfits feel unnecessary, but credit to Dice for making available customization options distinct. And even with all the customization, you’re still able to tell the difference between Axis and Allies fairly well during gameplay.

The big negative though, is the gun customization is the horribly boring and lack-luster gun customization. The gun camos you’ll unlock naturally are extremely boring and dull, and the cool camos you can buy with in-game currency are far too expensive. It would take hours upon hours just to get a single skin set for a single gun. That is, unless you pony up and buy some of that sweet sweet in-game currency with real people money.

Actual gun customization is also piss-poor. Other than sights and bayonetts there are zero attachments. Guns that can have bipods have them equipped by default, but there are no choosable attachments.

Destruction

Battlefield’s destruction has been a key issue in the community with the series’s recent releases. And while Battlefield V features a good amount of destruction, it’s a little hit or miss depending on the map. While some maps feature a decent amount of destruction, other maps feature none at all.

Maps such as Arrack and Narvik feature plenty of buildings to rip apart, but other maps such as  Rotterdam and Devastation feature basically no destruction at all.

Rotterdam is a city littered with things that would be cool to blow up and destroy, but it’s just not there.

Devastation is already destroyed, and while that’s fine and all, it seems like they thought it was destroyed enough so nothing the players do impacts the map at all.

And while it would normally be acceptable to have a couple maps be static, that’s just not acceptable when almost half the games 8 maps don’t really have Battlefield caliber destruction.

But that’s okay right? Because Battlefield V will have tons of DLC and it will all be free.

Well, this is the next issue with the game.

Coming Soon

While playing Battlefield V you’ll see tons of “Coming Soon” title cards. Everything from vehicle customization to the campaign has some sort of “coming soon” attached to it. Even the previously teased Battle Royale mode isn’t coming out until March 2019.

I understand releasing a steady stream of content, but what seems to have happened is Dice couldn’t finish a good amount of the games features so they decided to put them into the game’s “post launch content”.

Even normal Battlefield features weren’t in the game at its initial “early” launch for Origin Access Premiere members. Ever sniped someone out of their plane’s cockpit? That was just enabled during the writing of this review.

Beauty in war

That all being said, Battlefield V is easily the most beautiful game in the series to date. The particle effects alone deserve an award as they are jaw dropping. Tank shells and machine gun fire hitting African sand is remarkable as it flies into the air clouding the area in a thick dust, snow blows over the icy hills of Norway in stunning detail, and smoke fills the air as a war rages on in an already devastated Holland.

Lighting is also gorgeous. Every map feels distinct from one another, and some maps even have night and extreme weather variations.

It helps to make the low number of launch maps feel a little more varied, and it definitely gives the game a cinematic feel even in normal multiplayer matches. You start to fear the enemy a little more when you can’t see more than 20 feet in front of you in thick sandstorms, and the shade of night makes the quiet moments feel stealthier while highlighting firefights with bright muzzle flashes.

Conclusion

When it comes down to it, Battlefield V is great fun to play. It’s new features are welcome editions, and its cinematic, chaotic approach to WWII pays off regardless of not being historically accurate.

That’s not to say it doesn’t contain any issues. The lack of weapon customization, lack of destruction, dull campaign, and “coming soon” title cards are huge thorns in this game’s side.

But in the end, you’ll enjoy your time with Battlefield V.

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