With sixteen years of momentum behind the series beginning with Battlefield 1942, Battlefield is back again with its latest instalment to the famous series – Battlefield V. Logically, following on from the World War I focused Battlefield 1, the “fifth” game provides a focus on World War II. Tonally, the game immediately strikes a great chord with recreating the bleak terrain, horrible weather conditions and bristly environments that feel reminiscent of the scenery and feeling of World War II within its maps, from the swirling snowstorms in Narvik to the explosions and sound of artillery fire all around you in the eerily abandoned Rotterdam.
Between playing the Tides of War event and Conquest, I’ve quickly learned that teamwork is the key to success in Battlefield. A prime example of this is the new ability to be able to revive your teammates, which, in turn, not only obviously helps them but also provides you with a fair score of points. Although, in saying that, in my experience as a solo player thus far, I was mainly ignored by my fellow teammates who were far more interested in trying to improve their K/D score than trying to help the team. While the negative long-term consequences of this are potentially losing the game due to lack of teamwork, the question is that do these type of party assist systems in games require a short-term and a more tangible penalty for zero co-operation? Some food for thought heading forward.
The controls are, for the most part, very slick, and movement across and through terrain of all types is seamless. While there’s a learning curve for driving tanks or piloting aircraft in Battlefield V, it isn’t too steep, and it allows you to grasp the rudimentary skills required to use either vehicle after a handful of attempts. Overall, this adds to the authentic feeling of chaos and carnage that war creates, and establishes another element of tempo to the gameplay as well. All players can add constructions during the game, such as sandbags to fortify areas that are under siege from enemy players and don’t currently provide cover. The construction mechanic is backed up by a simple and intuitive system, which highlights where you’re able to build and provide cover for yourself/your team.
As can be expected from a beta release, there were a few bugs still to be ironed out but nothing incredibly drastic that stopped me from playing the game entirely. I did once encounter a HUD issue where all visible notifiers of allies and enemies disappeared, meaning I ran around blindly shooting at everything until someone killed me and it re-loaded after I respawned. Despite this one minor hiccup and some random clipping issues intermittently through my various playthroughs, the game is generally running top notch for something that is in beta access.
While I haven’t had unfettered access to all the modes that will be available on launch, Battlefield V has proven that a solid foundation exists for what is to come. With the addition of World War II Stories, Battle Royale and more awaiting the finished product, it’s apparent that players will get spoiled for choice come day one. While I’m not generally an everyday FPS player, it was a treat to be able to experience something different and play from outside my comfort zone. It’s a credit to the game and its play/mechanics, as well, that I could distinctly track a pattern of self-improvement from when I first started until when the beta closed. Ultimately, for longtime Battlefield fans and newcomers alike, Battlefield V looks to offer a strategic and accessible first-person shooter to all types of players. So far, the early signs are encouraging, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the final product rolls out later this year.