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Letters from the Front

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( Editor’s note: Thanks to EA for granting me early access to Battlefield V via the Origin Access Premier which is a service that allows you to play all EA games, including Battlefield V, early. These impressions are from a 3-hour session with the open beta map “Rotterdam.” on the Conquest game mode. Grand Operations will come tomorrow. ) 

I run into an apartment building and set up a forward position by using fortifications, I deploy my MG34 and begin firing on a group of enemies and the sound it makes is a sound that I haven’t heard in a long time and I can’t help but grin as I get the quadruplet kills and the gun begins to overheat. I fire again in the air just to hear that frightful sound and I die by a tank shell.

World War II has always been a mainstay within the gaming sphere and when it comes to World War II, most games usually follow the same route again and again without doing anything new: beach landings, forest fights, and urban combat usually in the later stages of World War II and usually specified in the year 1944 without showing anything new. When it comes to World War II, most games usually fall into the trappings as they believe that such movies as Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers are the tell-alls of World War II but within Battlefield V, that isn’t the case at all.

Battlefield V rewinds the clock to the early campaigns of 1940 like the Battle of France and the early North African campaigns of 1940 and returns us to the familiar era of potato mashers and Panzer tanks in a way that’s done right despite not being very true to the era but that was really the whole point.

The best way I can describe the gameplay of Battlefield V’s multiplayer is that its a mix between Battlefield 1, Battlefield 4, and Battlefield 3 and it pulls me in the direction of Battlefield 4 and Battlefield 3 just a tad bit more hardcore than those two are. It shares a lot in common with those two games as it is a return to a more hardcore and skillful game while taking some inspiration from Call of Duty with the squad reinforcements and it strikes a balance between hardcore and casual. It’s really nice to hear the burp sound of the MP40 once again and the terrifying sound of the V1 Rocket as it rips past you into the hard ground below.

As in Battlefield 1 before it, listening to your environment and being aware of what’s around you is really the key to success here. I was in a building and I was hiding from my attackers as my whole squad was wiped except for me, I listened as several footsteps came my way and slowly approached. I fired through the door and got my enemy and I peeked around the corner to see his teammate which I shot in the chest and his body fell to the cold ground. I later died however as I ran outside and a Sturmtiger turned its turret towards me and fired.

That level of pressure is something I haven’t really seen since Day of Defeat and the early World War II games like Call of Duty 2. I played Battlefield V for about three hours and I came away super impressed.

Customization

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Battlefield V is probably the biggest detractor yet in the franchise, it does a lot of things new and brings a lot of new features to the franchise that I hope it stays part as the franchise continues into the future. The biggest change is soldier customization alongside gameplay mechanics, let’s start with soldier customization.

For the first time in the franchise, Battlefield V introduces an in-depth soldier customization in the vein of the recent Call of Duty games and in the vein of some other games like 2017’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands. I’ve always been a big supporter of DICE adding an in-depth soldier customization and we finally got that feature here.

Here, you’ll find everything that is authentic to the 1940s and the World War II era. From uniforms and helmets to face-paints that soldiers used during the war. You can customize your soldier’s gender, their skin color, their uniforms including shoes and the best part is that everything that you can customize is faction specific so you won’t spawn in with a Stahlhelm on your head if you’re on the British team and vice versa. Customization is a big part of Battlefield V as the soldier you play in the multiplayer is part of your company and let’s get into that.

The company is your set of customizable soldiers and vehicles that you can take with you throughout the multiplayer maps, co-op, and the Tides of War system that will launch sometime this week with the Overture DLC. You can customize your soldier as you see fit, for now, DICE has gone for the historically accurate route and who knows if they’ll implant something wackier for those that want to stand out. Everything that you see in the Company is yours to customize which is nice because you have a sense of ownership as the soldiers and vehicles in your company will evolve as the war progresses into the late-war era, like 1944 and 1945, you’ll see a difference in your company as the Tides of War live service keeps churning out new content.

Next, let’s get into the Gameplay and Game Mechanics.

Gameplay & Game Mechanics

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Battlefield V is a more hardcore game than its predecessor, Battlefield 1. Battlefield V returns the gameplay to be a more tactical and hardcore experience than Battlefield 1. Much like Battlefield 1, listening to your environment and being aware of things around you is key to success here as you won’t be able to run and gun across the Battlefield as you could once do in Battlefield 1.

Things in Battlefield V are slower and still just as fast as they were in previous games, you have to be aware as a shot can come from anywhere and you always have to keep an eye on your ammunition because you never know when your gun will be dry. This is known as the attrition system where you have limited ammo and won’t be able to run around killing everyone, at one point you’ll have to head towards an ammo depot to gather more ammo or pick up pouches of ammo from the people you killed. This adds a nice layer of tense gameplay and adds a nice layer of decision making where you have to decide to go for more ammo or try your best to kill that enemy that you just saw. This mechanic doesn’t just stretch to ammo but also stretches to basically everything else within the game, do you want to heal yourself with your medical pouch or heal your ally whose beside you and needs more health than you do to continue the fight.

In other parts of the gameplay mechanics, the game has been overhauled in certain areas like gunplay, spotting, and reviving. The gunplay in Battlefield V is more akin to Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4 as it is skillful and you don’t have random bullet deviation to account for which was the mechanic seen in Battlefield 1 where the bullets will deviate from where you shot at. Without random bullet deviation, this means that wherever you shoot, the bullets will head towards that direction. This makes the gunplay more skillful in nature which I like.

Spotting as also been reworked in Battlefield V. In previous games, when you spotted something or someone, your character would do a callout and a red dot would be hanging over their head for you to go over there and kill them or your team. Now, it’s more of a location thing than a red dot. If you press the RB button or whatever button on your platform, your character will do a callout and a location will appear for you and your team can go over there and investigate for that player. I really like this mechanic as I thought that the spotting mechanics in previous games needed a rework.

Reviving much as the rest of the features seen in Battlefield V have also been reworked. All classes now have the ability to revive you or a downed teammate which makes the emphasis on squad play more important than ever before. Reviving also comes with the brand new dragging mechanic where you can drag your pal behind cover and revive him, this mechanic adds more immersion to the game and adds to the feeling that you’re actually there.

Round-up:

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Battlefield V’s multiplayer component is probably one of the best multiplayer components in recent history. It’s not only addictive but its bloody good, it is skillful and tactical and returns the franchise to where it all began all those years ago in 2002. I can’t wait to hop back in and fight across the Western Front once again.

Come back tomorrow for my first impressions of Grand Operations.

( UPDATE: Reviving is coming after launch, sorry for the confusion.) 

 

 

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