Single Player Campaign Interesting… but very uneven
Conquest mode feels like the weakest link
The long running Battlefield franchise from EA has always been about frantic and chaotic gunplay amongst cinematic and fairly memorable backdrops, and the newest entry doesn’t stray far from the the established formula. Although stifling for some other franchises, for Battlefield V, this is probably the strongest positive.
Having said that, while Battlefield outwardly looks pretty similar to the previous entry in the series, some minor tweaks have been done within the engine. I found the weapons to be a little more punchy, and the gameplay a little more tight, due to having a more generalised player experience, with class specializations being more defined. An example of what I mean by this is for example: while all classes can revive fallen squadmates, the medic has an instant revive.
While picking up ammo is the norm for every class, the assault class has a perk that lets them get more ammo while going through the spoils of a firefight. Battlefield V also introduces an attrition system into the equation, where resources will be more scarce, and sometimes having a support around to distribute ammo, or having a medic around to distribute medkits (despite the regenerating health) is key to surviving multiple firefights, and further emphasises a need for sticking together with squamates. This is not to say you can’t go full solo and be a one man war machine – it is just much less viable.
Fortifications are also introduced, and I personally enjoyed this feature. The system lets you build structures to help with defences, such as sandbag walls and barbed wired coil lines. Playing as support would let you build faster, and allows you to put some some heavy, stationary guns to hold the line with. Having such an option is terrific, as when buildings and cover have been utterly demolished, being able to construct some cover will help hold down and objective point. For a poor shooter like me (especially on a controller), putting up fortifications actually made me feel like I was contributing to the general war effort.
Oh, and before I forget, vehicular combat is still available, and still visceral, and somewhat overpowered. If you’re caught out with the proper weapons to deal with them, just prepare for a respawn.
Battlefield V does have a single player campaign, and much like Battlefield 1, is titled War Stories.
Set during the turbulent war times of the Second World War, War Stories is comprised of an anthology series focusing on 3 different, less told theatres of the global conflict. From the sabotage missions in northern Africa, to the frozen landscapes of Nazi-occupied Norway, to the unique Tirailleur perspective on the liberation of France, each self contained story puts you in a beautiful setting to play around in.
All are fairly well written with some unique mechanics woven into the gameplay due to the setting. These mechanics don’t overstay their welcome and aren’t overly obtrusive in the story of each storyline. I won’t get too much of the narrative of each campaign, but two of the three campaigns available at launch somewhat enforce a serviceable stealth play style contrary to what you’d expect from a run and gun shooter, and personally I feel that while it might be a fresh way to experience Battlefield V, they don’t fully embrace the strengths of Battlefield; large open maps of large scale, chaotic warfare with teammates by your side.
And that’s almost a shame, because that’s really where Battlefield V truly shines. Chaos reigns all around in the multiplayer, and it perfectly embodies the chosen setting of World War 2. Bullets, explosives and various forms of munitions all just part of the different ways to shift, demolish and remodel the landscape into a true battlefield. The series’ mainstay of Conquest mode remains, though personally I felt that the maps were slightly too small for the number of players; cheap kills were all around, and it wasn’t difficult to just wander onto a random spawn kill or a flanking an opposing force facing the wrong direction.
Perhaps it is to simulate how utterly messy a war zone battle actually is and how actually easy it is to be killed in war, but it can be slightly frustrating to be on the wrong side of deaths in a video game. That being said, it is still a quick, fast and somewhat enjoyable experience, though I found the Grand Operations to be a much better representation of the excellent gameplay.
Grand Operations are a series of three back to back to back consecutive matches interwoven with some narrative that I believe is inspired by real life World War 2 events. As modes go, each match builds upon the last, keeping the tension and momentum with well packaged game modes, such as airbourne, frontlines, and culminating in a final stand. It doesn’t matter whether you are attacking or defending, this is personally what I feel to be the best mode of the game.
All the while you’ll also be earning XP for the progression and upgrades for each class. Most of these are tweaks to weapon proficiency and different parts to make it more suitable for your personal play style, though if you are looking to upgrade vehicles, you going to spend more time grinding as parts are harder to come by, and each vehicle ranks up separately.
You can also customise each class’s outer appearance with different uniforms. All of these are cosmetic in nature, and can be gotten by using the in game currency, which in turn can be earned completing the daily orders and completing matches. Micro-transactions are not available yet, but probably would be implemented in the future for cosmetics.
The Battlefield series has always been defined by the large scaled, controlled-chaos firefights, and Battlefield V is no different. Gunfire and explosions are the perfect symphonies to enjoy levelling the beautiful war zones to rubble, and while it feels familiar, it feels great at the same time. Some small tweaks have given the formula an added impact on gameplay and gunplay, and that probably is the most felt when you’re pushing up to objectives with your squamates in multiplayer. Overall, solid gameplay all around.