Ah Battlefield. The ever-dependable FPS from EA takes another trip into the past with Battlefield V – a game that hasn’t had the smoothest of journeys to launch but it’s finally here. EA’s looking to innovate; promising a touching single player mode, an expanded multiplayer, adding the latest trends like ‘Battle Royale’ and free DLC to boot. Sounds great on paper but what’s it like in practice? Let’s find out.
Building on Battlefield 1’s new storytelling, ‘War Stories’ are back to tell the story of WW2 from multiple viewpoints. The game itself starts with a taster of this, whizzing you through battles, characters and mechanics over the space of about 20 minutes. It really sets the tone for the game and elevates it beyond just a standard campaign whilst hammering home the gory truth of war. I’m a big fan of War Stories’ 3 character arc as you get just long enough with each character and can experience more of WW2 in a realistic way. You could take away the setting and still get sucked in which is a compliment! While it’s not the longest campaign out there, looking at its rivals this year *cough* Call of Duty, Fallout 76, Fortnite – at least they made the effort!
I’m not quite sure if it’s fair to review Battlefield V’s multiplayer. For a start, it’s major developments like Tides of War (a multi-month event based war experience) isn’t out until December and the Battle Royale mode, ‘Firestorm’ (much hyped at EA Play earlier this year) isn’t out until March. At this rate, the game will be free on EA Access by the time that’s out. So, what’s left to review? As harsh as that might be, I do have to give kudos to EA for their policy on DLC this time around though.
The standard modes are here joined with a multi-day battle across maps with various modes during matches. It’s a fun addition but what breaks it for me is, if you win one day, you go into the next battle with extra perks. Essentially, a bad start can often cause multiple days of losses and not an enjoyable hour. This needs a lot more balancing.
Secondly, we see new ways to customise with ‘The Company’, a way of customising your character (on both sides of the war) and new specialisations to allow you to develop a weapon/vehicle to reflect your playstyle. Personally, I’d rather not have to customise each class twice – it feels like needless padding.
Fortifications are a new entry to the series and feels a bit bolted on. Each player can build sandbags, dig trenches or build mounted machine gun points across key locations in each map (normally around capture/demolition points). While nice in theory, I personally found it provided little reward, points-wise, and made little difference as they can be easily destroyed (as capture points are often spammed with grenades and artillery). It’s also very finicky to do this on console.
There’s been some nice improvements in other areas though. Jumping out of a plane and parachuting onto the battlefield is a nice touch, so is being able to fall onto your back while going prone. The new revive mechanic is nice too, being able to hold on for a medic (or any team-mate with a health-pack) is a nice touch – or you can give up. Surprisingly, I found that a lot of team-members were happy to revive others, about 50% of the time.
Frustratingly, the best and newest ideas are ‘coming soon’
Overall, while the War Stories mode isn’t worth the admission price alone, right now there isn’t enough in the multi-player to really make up for it. Frustratingly, the best and newest ideas are ‘coming soon’. I’d honestly love to come back and review this game in 6 months and give a full thoughts but right now it feels like a marginal upgrade to Battlefield 1 (which is barely 2 years old). This game really could have benefitted from being delayed into 2019, the new modes would be ready and the game would avoid the end of year craziness of Red Dead, Call of Duty, Fallout 76 and Tomb Raiders amongst many others.
If you’re a Battlefield fan, then this builds on all of the basics, retains its best in class graphics and has an enjoyable single-player mode to boot. If you’re on the fence, I recommend waiting it out until next Spring.
The review code was provided by Electronic Arts – reviewed on Xbox One X. Battlefield V is now available to buy in stores and online in Ireland.