After hands-on time with three of the four available single-player War Stories in Battlefield V, I was both surprised and a little disappointed — surprised at the potential some of these stories seem to hold, and disappointed with the experience I had with the one I was most interested in.
That was Nordlys — a tale of a resistance fighter in Norway trying to find her mother. After exploring the beautiful snow-drenched landscape of Norway (via skis, no less!) and ploughing through German soldiers, Solveig’s objective quickly changed from finding her mother to destroying German heavy water facilities, which were being used to produce city-levelling bombs.
Nordlys took around two hours to finish, and from a gameplay perspective I enjoyed what was on offer. Being able to ski around open locations and between objectives was good fun, though the process of doing specific tasks felt more mundane than anything else. Arming bombs, clearing out checkpoints, and blowing up heavy water trucks all felt a bit lacklustre in the grand scheme of things. And while I understand this story is purposely built to feel a little more grounded when compared to the other War Stories on offer, it lacked any sense of excitement that the Battlefield name tends to elicit. Major firefights and riveting gunplay were thrown to the wayside for stealth-focussed missions and a fairly weak narrative that I just couldn’t get behind, which made the experience a bit unimpressive for the most part.
I only got to play through the first acts of both Under No Flag and Tirailleur, though I had a lot more fun with those. The former, which follows two English soldiers in North Africa during 1942, was packed with witty writing and enjoyable banter, whereas the latter follows the Senegalese Tirailleurs in the French countryside. I found the premise behind both of these stories to be as compelling as Nordlys, but also delivered on a bit more action and enjoyment than what the Norway-based narrative offered up. As such, I’m definitely keen to see how both of these play out.
More than anything, all three War Stories played like they’re gearing you up for what’s to come in Battlefield V’s multiplayer. Nordlys, for example, gave me a wide open space and objectives to work through as I see fit — which is reminiscent of some of the modes you’d see in the game’s multiplayer. Similarly, Tirailleur almost played out like a operations match, where we’d slowly take back captured locations and progress forward, pushing back the German forces in the process. Each story seemed to also serve as a good way of getting to grips with the many weapons included in the game (alongside some vehicles to make use of, too), and should act as a nice way of getting familiar with the gunplay and controls in Battlefield V.
So yeah, it does feel a bit like the stories I played through were built with a secondary purpose of gearing you up for everything else Battlefield V has to offer, while also providing a narrative component to go with it. It’s a shame that Nordlys didn’t stick out to me in any sense, though Under No Flag and Tirailleur hold a lot more promise after I played around 30 minutes of each during the preview session. I’m definitely keen to play more, and I’m especially hopeful that the final war story, The Last Tiger, can hold up its promise of being something really special.