First-time impressions of Battlefield V

Editor's Note: This is a preliminary version of Battlefield V for PC; A complete overhaul is under way, but it will take a lot more hours to fully engage and evaluate everything the game has to offer. The general opinion is subject to change through the review process.

The Battlefield series has always aimed to capture the dimensions of the war, and Battlefield V provides as expected. Large maps made of both open fields and narrow lanes knock down players in chaotic battles to capture targets and deplete the number of enemy respawns. Different classes give power to soldiers with specific skills that provide distinct advantages in the right situations. And, of course, tanks and aircraft change not only the dynamics of gameplay, but can make the fortunes of the battle fluctuate in skilled hands. The initial impression is that Battlefield V has a certain familiarity: this item does not differ from the franchise formula, but it is a good execution until now.

It's been a while since the franchise set foot in World War II, but this time it does so with less known conflicts on the front lines. It is strangely refreshing to discover aspects of history that have been neglected. Before releasing a snow-covered Narvik map, the game's landscape collection consists of several pieces. The lush vegetation of Western Europe and the harsh deserts of North Africa present beauty in the wake of total destruction – all these battles were inspired by history books and made in a refined Frostbite engine, which has never been better. However, the maps themselves have their limits.

Battlefield V is as devastating as it is beautiful.
Battlefield V is as devastating as it is beautiful.

The conquest has always been the base of Battlefield. Two huge teams fight to control the points of capture through a sprawling map, which helps to speed up the consumption of the number of enemy tickets. It is a mode tested over time, but also highlights the shortcomings of some maps. I can admire the spectacle of Fjell 652 and the close fights of fire that take place around the capture points, but navigating through the narrow paths of the map was not a lot of fun. Narvik's capture points encourage a variety of encounters regarding distance, elevation and space, but rather than scrolling together, the maps feel like a collection of disparate parts to allow these types of engagements. Metropolitan maps have certainly worked in the past series, but Rotterdam has not been a great showcase of Battlefield V's strengths as games can easily turn into tedious shootouts on the streets of the city.

If you find yourself out of place, you will be punished – in other words, you will be hit in the back and often flanked by unsuspecting places. While it can become frustrating, overcoming seemingly hopeless scenarios is part of the process.

Grand Operations takes you into war scenarios that bring teams together for a series of three consecutive games, each in a different game mode and a map (or a variation of a map) from the same theater. This mode can be a challenging task, but so far it has been the best part of Battlefield V, as Grand Operations keeps the momentum and shakes the gameplay just enough to keep the players in the course of the entire series of games. The light contextualization of what both parties are trying to achieve in each phase helps (always slightly) to paint a more tempting image of multiplayer, rather than blasting you without so many ceremonies into the melee.

Success in Battlefield V depends a lot on being in the right place at the right time. If you find yourself out of place, you will be punished – in other words, you will be hit in the back and often flanked by unsuspecting places. While it can become frustrating, overcoming seemingly hopeless scenarios is part of the process. Adaptation to situations that develop in the field and being a useful teammate are further encouraged by the four return classes: Assault, Doctor, Support and Recognition. So far, it seems like a small adjustment helps to bring out teamwork: teammates can revive each other independently of the class, without denying the importance of doctors because they can revive someone and distribute additional health packages.

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Player progression is dispersed in different ways. For one, you have career progression, which is your simple general rank. Then there is the progression of the class, which paves the way for unlocking the equipment to further customize your loadout. And finally, both weapons and vehicles contain their progression paths. There seem to be many systems at work, but the rewards seem quite thin outside the skins and individual advantages of the weapons.

Microtransactions are currently absent from the game, so we can not yet comment on the business model. However, in-game currency earnings called Coins Company, which seem to be primarily intended for the acquisition of cosmetics such as soldier uniforms and camouflage weapons. Some things like weapon bonuses cost the company's coins, but fortunately they are cheap and require you to reach a certain level in advance.

The game is not a multiplayer game with the return of War Stories, the offer of the single player campaign that debuted in Battlefield 1. It serves as a tool to familiarize with the basics of the game while providing points of view from the theaters conflicting war. Battlefield V itself begins not in a main menu, but in a playable puzzle of each War Stories vignette. Part of me wants to fully accept the sincerity that is trying to be communicated through the narration and the scenes, but I can not help but feel it divert into the melodrama because of it. I have only touched the English countryside, but I hope that it will give a humanizing tone to what it seems.

Sliding in the mud into a tank in Twisted Steel is necessary
Sliding in the mud into a tank in Twisted Steel is necessary

Battlefield V can be approximate to the edges. Players' models can circumvent the geometry of the world, sometimes sending bodies into a ragdoll frenzy. You could see teammates revive only for their character model that frantically whizzes for 20 feet in another direction. As of now, servers occasionally have instability in terms of performance and packet loss (which causes irregular movement in the game). Fortunately, I did not find any crashes or server leaks.

The initial impression is that Battlefield V has a certain familiarity: this item does not differ from the franchise formula, but it is a good execution until now.

As of now, it seems that Battlefield V is a variation on a well-defined theme. It maintains the tradition of the big show series with an incredible sound design, strong impact armaments and a large-scale multiplayer chaos. There's a lot more to dig, like the fortification system, team reinforcements, and how destruction can change the dynamics of the map, and spending more time with the game will paint a better picture. At the end of the day, it's still Battlefield, and Battlefield V promises to be a good example.

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