The Battlefield series went from setting the standard in massive multiplayer map mayhems to losing itself in trying to chase the newest trend. This started to turn back in the right direction following the enjoyable Battlefield 1 but it’s only with Battlefield V where DICE have really brought the series back to its glory, even if it may not have been in the oven long enough.
Battlefield V features War Stories once again breaking the single-player across multiple campaigns, protagonists, and locations. While some set pieces are produced incredibly well with stunning visuals and finely-tuned set-pieces, it doesn’t take full advantage of the Battlefield sandbox and instead feels like a muted version of it’s full potential.
Throughout the 4-5 hour campaign, you will spend a surprising amount of that time completing objectives of a smaller scale than you might expect or even want. There was too much focus on slower paced gunplay as well as stealth sections that felt out of place at times and unnecessary in others.
So many other aspects of War Stories, however, do a great job of easing users into many of the different mechanics and modes of attack that you will face in the multiplayer. It’s also not that the single-player is bad, it’s still really enjoyable and could possibly the best single-player content in a Battlefield game to date but the multiplayer takes everything to a new level and is definitely where you should be spending all of your time.
Battlefield V features squads of four like it has in recent games but more than ever does it reward players who work together. First off, it’s not only the medic that can revive downed players anymore as every other player in your squad can now pick you up, albeit slower than dedicated medics. It rewards players to stay close together and support each other, creating charges and flank opportunities.
It also rewards squads that rack up points together whether it’s from killing, capturing, or generally supporting each other. The Squad leader has access to a special menu that can allow for supply drops should the squad obtain enough points. Resources are limited so don’t expect every squad leader to all drop the same things but there is an indicator showing how many your whole team is in possession of so it further adds to the cooperation if you see the team is lacking in one front or another.
On top of the larger changes to the squad play, there have been many smaller changes that affects the moment to moment gameplay in pretty much all positive ways. First off, each player spawns with a much-reduced ammo amount requiring the need to teams to spec different classes and stick together. Another small but important change is the fact that only recon classes can tag enemies and only shooter at the to draw attention to their position. These and many more have created a finely-tuned multiplayer experience that feels less scattered than it has been in recent iterations.
Battlefield V sets a new standard of showing the destruction caused by conflict. Maps can start rather beautiful as the sun cascades from the sky, piercing the leaves on a tree of reflecting on the rain-soaked streets but by the end of every match, it looks like hell on earth. Smoke billows from buildings as debris occupy every pathway and avenue. It’s a game that truly feels like you are taking part in a battle rather than running down corridors on static maps. It’s hellish, somber, and a sometimes-sobering experience.
There a number of modes across the maps included, with some of the smaller ones being offered on sections of the map. While some fit totally fine, some do feel like it just doesn’t suit the mode. Thankfully there’ enough options in terms of modes and maps that one bad experience is usually met with a spectacular series of matches afterward. And with the promise that more maps and modes are coming in the future for free, this is a great foundation for the multiplayer.
Despite its multiple ups and downs, Battlefield V feels very much like a “foundation” game. It’s got small issues that will be ironed out in time, it lacks content in places that will eventually be filled out and it’s got underutilised features that will become more complete over time. Could Battlefield V had a bigger impact had it released six months later? Definitely. However, as it stands, it’s the best Battlefield game to release in quite a while.