Battlefield V Review – Brutal And Beautiful

We’re all familiar with the controversy surrounding Star Wars Battlefront II in regard to the loot box controversy and the pay-to-win mechanics that many people felt plagued the game. It’s only fair that Battlefield fans as well as the wider gaming community have been awaiting the release of Battlefield V quite cautiously. I’m happy to report that both EA and DICE seemed to have learned some valuable lessons, and then some.

Battlefield V takes everything good that Battlefield 1 delivered on with a WWII twist. It feels like an all-round improvement on the franchise’s core values and this is highly evident in the game’s maps. I can’t remember the last time where I played a multiplayer game and absolutely loved each and every map, but this was definitely the case with Battlefield V.

Spanning across multiple countries and two continents, each location offers the player something different. French maps, Twisted Steel and Arras, are contrasted in both size and layout but are equally brilliant. The bridge in Twisted Steel makes for some intense, narrow firefights as you push the central objective, while the open flower fields of Arras paired with its compact and modest town centre forces you to play smart and always keep on your toes.

In Norway, Allied troops storm the German-occupied Narvik, a snow-laden harbour town which features multiple vantage points over the open map, as well as a fun combat zone along a destroyed train depot line. Then, atop a treacherous mountain, Fjell 652 is a kamikaze pilot’s dream (i.e. me, because I can’t fly to save my life- might as well die). Small pockets of land are connected by narrow and winding paths, making for some very interesting encounters when rushing objectives.

Next, you’ve got the North African maps: Hamada and Aerodrome. While Hamada is laid out almost too symmetrically, the verticality and openness of the map make it a playground for all vehicles. Aerodrome is a sniper’s haven; from the numerous watchtowers, to the raised rocky outskirts. Both African maps are not surprisingly dry and barren, so remember to customise your company characters with the appropriate gear.

And finally, the Netherlands maps – My favourite two of the bunch. Rotterdam is a spectacular map set in a dense residential and commercial part of town. The cobblestone streets weave underneath a immobile light rail system, and the surrounding buildings create a myriad of flanking routes via first, second and even third floors. Then Devastation happens. Set in the very same town, the remains of Rotterdam see a sad-looking church looking over the rubble of neighbouring collapsed buildings. Fortifications are a great idea on this map, and I’ll explain that next.

Every map has something special about it, both visually and in composition, forcing you to think and play strategically. It’s easy to tell these maps were worked hard on to give the player a sense of how battles were won and lost in WWII – and it’s up to you to find out how to best play each map, each mode, and each situation.

I mentioned fortifications, which are a brand-new addition to Battlefield, and a very useful one at that. Every class can fortify on set parts around each map. Simply take out your hammer and whack the build icon closest to you. The support class can build faster than all the other classes, too – and by an advantageous pace at that – making support players highly valuable when taking over an objective before getting ready to quickly defend. You’ll find sandbag walls, anti-tank obstacles, wooden barricades and platforms, turrets and razor wire fences amongst the things you can fortify your position with.

Previously, I had found it hard to adapt to Battlefield’s system over Call of Duty’s, but honestly, there is an undeniable charm in Battlefield V that is so satisfying I cannot ignore. Maybe that’s just my preferences changing, maybe that’s the game being better, or maybe it’s both.

I absolutely adored the guns and bullet physics in Battlefield V. The models of the weapons, the unique sound of each weapon working, and watching the tracer bullets drop and you lead your shots on a moving enemy – I would consider myself only moderately skilled when it comes to first-person shooters, but I’ll be damned if that tracking headshot doesn’t raise my self-esteem for a week.

Get a quality pair on headphones and jump into a game, and you’ll honestly be Private Ryan cowering and screaming as debris flies everywhere. I legitimately felt small amounts of fear during my play time and I loved it. Invoking that emotion is exactly what DICE aimed for, and I sure as hell felt it. Everything from dirt hitting the ground after a grenade blast, to the banter shared and expletives yelled by the characters- it feels authentic. That’s all I can really say. As far as sensory experiences go, you just need to hear it for yourself.

Activision opted to drop the single player in Call Of Duty this year, but DICE were adamant that Battlefield V would maintain a single player campaign, which was absolutely music to my ears. War Stories is back in Battlefield V. Similar to Battlefield 1, they’re short, impactful stories, which I actually appreciate over a long-winded campaign. A solid, impactful story that lasts a good hour or so is what you can expect from each War Story, and with EA DICE putting in the miles into the narrative of Battlefield V’s depiction of World War II, you would be robbing yourself of some genuine gaming experiences if you glaze over this mode.

With Battlefield V, Grand Operations will be your go-to for the real action. Being the successor to BF1’s Operations mode, but on a much grander scale, this mode has it all. Played over 3 or 4 “days”, Grand Ops essentially give you a campaign, through the pairing of maps in each country, with varying modes of Conquest, Breakthrough & new addition, Airborne. What’s so striking about this game mode is the feeling of determination to succeed

It’s worth talking a little bit about the ‘Game Economy’ which is laid out plain and simple within the game. Company Coins (or ‘Grind Coins’ as Senior Producer Andreas Morrell called them) are the main currency which you earn by playing through the game and can be used to purchase anything. ‘Battlefield Currency’ is the premium currency that you buy with real-world money and will be introduced months after launch, but this can only be used to purchase cosmetic items. There won’t be any loot boxes in Battlefield V and everything can be obtained by playing. Now, this isn’t something that EA should be greatly praised for, it was clear after last year that this is the way that gamers wanted it to be and the change is worth celebrating.

Battlefield V was only days away from launch when I played, and there are issues that I worry will affect the game – some ways worse than others. I experienced many times some insane (but admittedly, always funny) rag-doll physics upon death. One match on Fjell, before even seeing an enemy, I witnessed an ally get thrown down a mountain in spectacular fashion, screaming helplessly as she cartwheeled out of play. In another instance, I was hit with a melee shot out of nowhere on Aerodrome, and while I slowly died alone and forgotten, I could see the player who stabbed me. The character model frozen in time. When I returned to the scene of the crime and sure enough, she was still there, arm stretched out firing a pistol shot every few seconds. Suddenly, while standing a few metres away to her 4 o’clock, multiple shot spam impossibly in my direction, killing me.

Whilst I was playing in a review event environment, I’m slightly worried about is server issues. At multiple times I witnessed and experienced game crashes of varying sorts. After a death, I returned to the overview to find clicking on nothing worked, while the player next to me could see inside his dead soldier’s legs and boots, with no sign of respawning. More instances like these were apparent, but hopefully somewhere in the day 1 patch notes directly acknowledges and fixes these issues.

In saying that, DICE is adamant (and it’s been the case with Battlefield 1 and Battlefront II) that they’ll continue to support and improve the game as time goes on, so it’s worth helping to improve the game as time goes on.

THE XBOX ONE VERSION OF THIS GAME WAS PLAYED FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS REVIEW. THE REVIEWER TOOK PART IN A REVIEW EVENT IN STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN.
9
Conclusion
Battlefield V retains heart in its single player War Stories mode and variety in its multiplayer modes. New & improved personalisation within 'Your Company' gives each of the classes a fresh, personal feel to your soldiers, while remaining authentic to the era. A solid road map of content is set to deliver new maps, modes and seasonal events to keep gamers coming back, which is a good thing as no other game does raw gun play and bullet physics quite like Battlefield. It just feels right and Battlefield V is no exception.
Positives
Amazing Gunplay And Beyond Incredible Sound Design
The Maps Are Great
Grand Ops Is Tough, Draining And Long. Perfect.
Negatives
Occasional Character Model Glitching Issues
Unpredictable And Infrequent Server-to-user Freezing/Disconnections
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