Battlefield V brings the Battlefield franchise back to its domain: World War 2. Nothing says Battlefield quite like Allied forces storming German occupied cities, and when we learnt Battlefield V was heading back to WW2, calling Rocket Chainsaw excited would be an understatement. Battlefield One introduced a bunch of new ideas as the franchise headed to The Great War, players got Operations and War Stories modes, and finally it felt like Battlefield had earnt its spot in the modern era of the graphical prowess of 4K resolution. With new GeForce RTX ray tracing, steady framerates and beautiful graphics, Battlefield V shapes up to be a mighty competitor to the other leading first-person shooters of 2018.
War Stories are back in Battlefield V and this time players will experience an emotional rollercoaster in each chapter. We got to play the Battlefield V War Stories ahead of the game’s launch in an exclusive Battlefield V experience at the National Art School in Sydney, so we had a pretty good idea of what we were heading in to. There are just three War Stories available at launch, with a fourth (and in our opinion the most dramatic) war story coming soon after launch. The Last Tiger will for the first time have players experience life in the eyes of a German soldier as they battle in an unwinnable scenario inside one of the most powerful machines ever made. DICE says this war story was largely inspired by staple war flick Das Boot which is conveniently being made in to a Netflix TV series starting 21st November, 2018.
As for the War Stories available at launch, Nordlys demonstrates some amazing lighting and snow effects as you ski down to German bases. Fortunately the skiing in Nordlys is not limited to one segment, and players will find skis useful for travel throughout the entire mission when traveling downhill. Under No Flag is a solid run and gun war story that focuses on the SBS, elite British forces that became soldiers in a more unconventional way. This war story was probably the most enjoyable due to how much stuff you get to blow up, but players are also encouraged to find their own way around the map in this one and use what they find on the Battlefield to complete objectives. Finally, Under No Flag is a whitewashed war story that the French pretended didn’t exist for several decades. Battling against the unformidable German forces, this war story provides unforgettable sombre moments.
At the core of Battlefield V is its online multiplayer, and while there are of course the dramatic differences of this game being set in a completely different world war to Battlefield One, the underlying mechanics are the same. The main new online mode is Grand Operations, which is similar to Battlefield One’s Operations mode except it plays out over four fictional days, and the winning team of each battle is given rewards and bonuses for the next battle. If the Grand Operation ends in a draw then there is a chaotic Final Stand. We found queuing for Battlefield V online modes to be somewhat lengthy, having to wait as long as the expected time of a few minutes if not longer, however there is thankfully still the option to view and filter all servers and simply join a game that’s nearly full and in progress, meaning you’re never too far from the action.
Leveling up in Battlefield V works the same way as previous Battlefield games, unlocking new customisation options as you work your way through the military rank structure. We found earning XP to be not terribly difficult in Battlefield V as long as you were playing the game properly and not just blindly spraying and praying. While BFV is a fun, fast-paced FPS it still requires a certain amount of tactics and skill to perform well, and most players with higher kill/death ratios aren’t just lucky, but actually work incredibly well with their team mates and, more importantly, their squad mates.
There are four classes: Assault, Medic, Support and Recon, and the squads that can utilise these classes the best are usually the most successful. Even though online games can hold up to 64 players in a 32v32 battle, several squads of 4 soldiers make up each side, and you’re rewarded with a lot more XP if your squad works together. There’s also the benefit of everyone in your squad being able to revive each other, as only medics from outside your squad also have the revive option. We spent most of our time online as the Support class, throwing ammo packs at fellow soldiers. In Battlefield V online you don’t start each life with full ammo, so you either have to leg it to where you know weapons and ammo are located on the map or hope that a friendly Support soldier will offer you resupplies. We found this class was a great way to learn the maps while following your squad mates around and earning easy XP while providing invaluable assistance.
Speaking of maps, Battlefield V has a great range of locations, including some new unforgettable Battlefields such as the streets and tight laneways of Rotterdam, and the destroyed bridge in the French fields in Twisted Steel. There are maps that we found less favourable such as the snowy peaks of Narvik, mostly due to feeling like sitting ducks without many areas to regroup or plan an attack without being assaulted from multiple directions. We are interested to see what post-launch maps come to Battlefield V, and whether we see some iconic WW2 locations brought to life with modern graphics.
Battlefield games have always been about attention to detail and the artists at DICE are some of the best in the industry. Building on assets and textures from Battlefield One, and their experience of making World War 2 machinery, Battlefield V looks nothing short of incredible and if you’re lucky enough to own a GeForce RTX card, you can also experience real-time ray traced reflections and other stunning visuals making Battlefield V one of, if not the most realistic, looking WW2 game to date. Close attention to detail has been paid to all weapons and vehicles, meaning war buffs and hardcore FPS gamers alike can experience and enjoy the tools that the soldiers back then had at their disposal.
Sandbox environments mean many buildings can be completely flattened to the ground, and the Support class once again becomes useful in building shelters, trenches, or boarding off houses for extra protection. Battlefield V’s graphics are some of the best we’ve seen this year, right down to when you’re prone and creeping through tall grass. The only thing we can really be critical of is the character models which seem fairly basic, and often move awkwardly across the Battlefield.
The Battlefield V soundtrack was written by Johan Söderqvist, a Swedish composer known for films over the past couple of decades and of course Battlefield One’s music. The music in BFV fits with the mood of the game and works well both offline and online. The rest of the audio is all as realistic as one could expect; we enjoyed the sounds of canons firing, both stationary and mobile, as well as the sound of bombs being dropped via aerial assaults. The most annoying parts of the sound are the repetitive nature of your allies calling orders or requests, and the music piping up towards an end of an online round or during a busy gunfight in War Stories. We prefer authenticity, and not having music assist in creating drama, but of course you can always turn the music off.
With games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite dominating the shooting games scene this year, we were eager to see how Activision would respond with Call of Duty and how EA would respond with Battlefield. What we got was a solid first-person shooter that feels like a reboot of the franchise, returning home to World War 2. With new ideas and new graphics, Battlefield V still feels and plays like a traditional Battlefield but players will find many new features that not only separate it from other Battlefield games but also make it more playable and more attractive. While we didn’t spend much time with Battlefield One in the end, it’s looking like Battlefield V might be a long-term experience, particularly with all the promised post-launch content.
Rocket Chainsaw reviewed Battlefield V Deluxe Edition on Windows PC via Origin using an EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FTW graphics card and found next to no graphical bugs, we did however come across several gameplay bugs online including Grand Operations that don’t end when the timer hits zero, and balancing issues in conquest mode. It seems the balancing issues may have been addressed in the day 1 patch, but the Grand Operations issues were still occurring on launch day.
For more information, head the official Battlefield website.
- Stunning visuals in a true sandbox environment - Enough new content to keep even the most hardcore Battlefield fan satisfied - A solid return to the WW2 period.
- Only three War Stories at launch leave us wanting more - Some minor and major gameplay bugs at launch that will hopefully get patched soon.