After the success and positive reception of Battlefield I, players eagerly awaited the next title in the franchise. With Battlefield I set during World War I, it made sense for the next title to return to the franchise’s roots by taking place during World War II. The announcement of Battlefield V was initially met with great anticipation by the gaming community. However, as more information began to come out about the nature of the gameplay and the focus of the campaign, players began to turn against the game. This anger steadily grew until the game’s release where it was met with much criticism as well as a great deal of review-bombing. Then just as quickly as it had arrived, the game seemed to disappear from the public spotlight as gaming news became focused on other titles. I haven’t played much of the Battlefield franchise, but after the backlash it received I was curious to explore the game nearly two years after its initial release and see what all the fuss was about. What I found was a game that managed to entertain and frustrate me at the same time.
Violence: Strong and mostly realistic violence is portrayed throughout the game as it tries to be accurate to the carnage of World War II. If any case you are not into or you can’t handle violence, playing online poker at 666 casino is not a bad idea, playing classic online casino games is fun anyways. Characters are shot, stabbed, dismembered and incinerated by all manner of weapons. Bloody mist will appear when players are shot and players waiting to be revived are shown with their hands covered in blood. Player deaths are often accompanied by intense cries of pain and pleads for help.
Language: Strong language is used abundantly in both the campaign as well in the multiplayer. Many uses of f–k and a couple uses of c–t. In short, if it is a cuss word that exists, then it is in this game somewhere.
Sexual Content: None.
Spiritual Content: A couple of characters ask for God’s protection as they prepare to go into battle. Some battles in the campaign and multiplayer take place inside of abandoned churches.
Positive Themes: Strong themes of heroism and courage in the face of extreme adversity are present throughout the campaign. The campaign also uses fictional characters to address real world issues that came to prominence during World War II. These characters are used to show the evils of racial discrimination and the dangers of hyper-nationalism.
Battlefield V‘s campaign is divided into four chapters called “War Stories”. Each chapter of the campaign is set in a different theater of World War II and follows a different group of characters that bring a unique perspective to the war. The chapter titled “Under No Flag” follows a couple British commandos of the Special Boat Service (SBS) as they attempt to sabotage Nazi operations in North Africa. “Nordlys” follows a female Norwegian resistance member trying to derail the Nazi project to create a nuclear weapon. “Tirailleur” follows two Senegalese brothers in the French Foreign Legion who return to France to aid in its liberation. Finally, “The Last Tiger” follows a German tank commander and his crew as they struggle to survive against the American army breaking through into the German homeland.
Each of the chapters is divided into three “acts” which seems to be referencing the traditional three act structure of a movie in which the first act introduces the conflict, the second act explores it, and the third act resolves it. The campaign is very cinematic with a lot of focus on its beautifully-rendered cutscenes. As a side-note, each of the characters speak in their appropriate language with subtitles added which I find to be a nice touch. I’m a little tired of the war movie/game trope in which the Germans speak English and sound exactly the same as the British. Structurally each act is essentially one long mission that the player completes and tends to be focused around a specific objective and gameplay style. For example, in “The Last Tiger” the central gameplay revolves around operating a tank. However one act will see the player facing an onslaught of Allied tanks while another will force the player to exit the tank and sneak around Allied troops.
While I enjoyed each chapter as a whole, it was “Tirailleur” that stood out to me as my favorite. The missions in the chapter are the most enjoyable as you go from storming a German fortification in a massive charge to quietly infiltrating a French chateau. The other chapters focus heavily on either all-out battles or stealth missions, but “Tirailleur” has a solid blend of both. The story of “Tirailleur” is also the most compelling as the player follows two Senegalese brothers who are fighting for France despite the fact that they are looked down upon by their European counterparts. This touched on a part of the history of World War II of which I was previously unaware and as a World War II buff, that really surprised me. Based on the story alone, “Tirailleur” could have easily been made the whole campaign of the game and I would have been satisfied.
The biggest problem with the campaign as a whole is that each chapter takes around forty-five minutes to an hour to complete. This means that the campaign as a whole only takes between 3 to 4 hours to complete depending on the level of difficulty you are playing on. While what I did play was fun, by the time I was done I felt like I had only gotten a taste of what the game seemed to be offering. Had the game chosen to expand the length of each chapter or make one chapter the focus of the whole campaign, it would have left a much greater impact. As it stands, the campaign is a fun experience but seems to end just as quickly as it begins.
Most of Battlefield V‘s multiplayer modes stick closely to the tried and true formula established by the previous titles in the franchise. “Conquest” is the central mode of Battlefield V’s multiplayer putting the player into a massive 64-player battle in which they must work with their squad to take objectives and kill enemy soldiers. The player has access to four different classes of soldiers which each have unique abilities and weapons. Assault soldiers focus on attacking, Recon soldiers focus on sniping, Medic soldiers focus on reviving fallen allies, and Support soldiers focus on repairing vehicles and resupplying allies. I found Support to be my favorite class to play due to their ability to use heavy machine-guns and their usefulness in most battle scenarios.
Battlefield V‘s multiplayer gameplay does not innovate much from previous titles in the franchise, but rests upon a solid foundation nonetheless. On top of the classes, the vehicles in the game are also fun to control. I actually tend to do the best in the game when operating a tank. Nearly two years after its release, the game is still very technically impressive and runs very well the majority of the time. I also experienced very few technical glitches in spite of the scope of the battles. Most of the other multiplayer modes are essentially variations of “Conquest” with some minor tweaks such as removing vehicles or having players fight over one central control point.
My personal favorite of Battlefield V’s modes is “Breakthrough”. This mode puts the player on a team of attackers or defenders. The goal of the attackers is to attempt to take various objectives to push the enemies back to their last line of defense. The defenders, meanwhile, try to protect their points by killing enough of the attackers to win the match. While the standard Conquest mode is very chaotic and a bit overwhelming, Breakthrough puts the players into distinct battle lines. This makes combat feel more ordered and organized. It also makes the combat more immersive as you fight with or against waves of soldiers in a similar manner to real historical World War II battles.
The mechanics and gameplay of most of Battlefield V‘s modes are solid; however, the way the game handles character progression and customization is somewhat frustrating. In order to get better equipment, the player must play as a specific class for long periods of time in order to improve their character for that specific class. As such, the player has to spend a lot of time working on each specific class in order to get it to the point where they have a fighting chance in battle. This is not so bad in and of itself, but the amount of time it takes to get each character to a decent level adds up over time. With this game having been out for almost two years, it is frustrating to run into level sixty players with my level ten character simply because I have not owned it for very long. It is a mechanic that makes success in the game depend less on skill and depend more on hours spent.
In addition to the slow character progression, the game has followed in the EA tradition of allowing the player to purchase in-game currency for cosmetic customization options for their characters. These cosmetic items can be obtained through randomized loot boxes but the probability of obtaining certain items is very low. While the items available for purchase in the in-game store are largely cosmetic, I still wish I could have these customization unlocked already and not placed behind a paywall.
The slow character progression and cosmetic micro-transactions are annoying, but they are not the worst aspect of Battlefield V’s multiplayer. Easily the most disappointing and ill-conceived aspect of the multiplayer is the “Firestorm” mode. Firestorm is a 64-player battle royale mode in which players must scavenge for weapons while avoiding an ever-tightening circle of fire. Most will quickly recognize this mode as being reminiscent of popular battle royale games like Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG). However, while those games construct the core of their game-play around the battle royale setup, Battlefield V‘s battle royale mode attempts to fit traditional Battlefield gameplay into a game mode that it was not made to accommodate.
The foundation of Battlefield V’s mechanics does not work for the kind of battle royale mode established by the likes of Fortnite and PUBG. Battlefield as a franchise has stood out from other games in the first-person shooter genre due to its roots in squad-based gameplay with different classes of soldiers and vehicle battles. Firestorm removes both the class system and most of the vehicles from the gameplay, reducing the gameplay down its bare bones. By removing these elements, the developers essentially created a game mode that doesn’t feel like a mode from a Battlefield game. On top of this, the mode continues to be very unpopular with the Battlefield community and as such trying to find a match to join is often very difficult. Even when I did manage to find Firestorm matches, the player count had been reduced by nearly half in order to accommodate for the lack of a solid player base. While the other modes in Battlefield V are enjoyable, Firestorm feels like a cynical move by a corporation trying to ride the coattails of other popular games without understanding what made those games popular to begin with.
At the end of the day, is Battlefield V the garbage fire that so many online claimed it to be? By no means; in fact I would go so far as to say that it is a solid game that I had quite a bit of fun playing. The graphics are top-notch, the campaign, while brief, is engaging and most of the multiplayer modes are fun. The biggest fault of the game is that it often chases the trends established by other well-known shooters. The clunky implementation of a battle royale mode and various micro-transactions are troubling sights to behold in an established long-running video game franchise. There are a vast variety of first-person shooters to choose from so a successful game has to make sure it stands out from the crowd. Battlefield V lies somewhere in this nebulous state in which it is neither so bad as to be uninteresting, but neither does it do enough new to truly stand out from its competition. Hopefully as EA and Dice continue to push the Battlefield franchise forward, they will attempt to set future games apart from other first-person shooters rather than chase the trends of the current gaming landscape.
The Bottom Line
Nearly two years after its initial release, Battlefield V is a solid first-person shooter with an enjoyable campaign that unfortunately continues to suffer from many of the issues that tainted its launch.