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Letters from the Front

The Tides of War Live Service has finally begun and DICE released their first post-launch content for Battlefield V, a month after launch. The Tides of War Live Service will take us on a sped-up historical journey of the Second World War as it happened 79 years ago.

The first expansion pack to Battlefield V is titled “Overture.” and marks the beginning of the Live Service that will take us on a journey of the war. Overture brings one new map and a plethora of new content like vehicle customization, plane customization, and much more. The theme surrounding Overture is the Fall of Western Europe as the German war machine breaks out of the Ardennes Forest and pushes the British and their Allies back towards Dunkirk.

This is Battlefield at its finest. The expansion brings one new map to the table and it is the largest one yet at this stage of the game. Panzerstorm is all about tank on tank warfare as the German war machine enters Belgium as the rest of Western Europe falls.

Panzerstorm is quite impressive as it is the largest map, only second to Hamada from the base game, it occupies about five kilometers of digital space, taking in beautiful rolling hills, beautiful countryside, and a small village. This map is truly meant for tank warfare as you won’t find any infantry sections here, infantry is none existent on Panzerstorm since everything on the map is based around tank warfare and it heavily reminds me of Caspian Border and Bandar Desert from 2011’s Battlefield 3 since it has such a heavy focus on vehicles.

It makes sense that DICE focuses on the tank aspect in this section of the DLC and I have a feeling that we will see more maps like Panzerstorm in the future as the Live Service progresses into other theaters of war like the Eastern Front and North Africa. Some of the biggest tank battles in history occurred during the Second World War like the Battle of Kursk and El Alamein so it makes sense that DICE highlights tank on tank warfare and I hope to see those battles in the game as the Live Service continues on.

There are no new vehicles here in Overture since it builds upon the base game and adds more to it but it continues to add to the feeling of how expansive World War II was. This is true warfare, not just skirmishes or infantry fights, Panzerstorm doesn’t lend itself to the tactics that are seen in other maps in the game like Arras or Twisted Steel.

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It’s up to you to make the terrain work to your advantage. Master the terrain of Panzerstorm to gain an advantage or hide from the enemy tanks, use the terrain to your advantage like you might want to hide your tank somewhere or use your tank against infantry players who will set down mines and set up ambushes with the Panzerfaust to take you down. What makes sense in one match will be suicidal in the next one, Panzerstorm feels grand and immerses you in the early aspects of the Second World War and it is devoid of the typical generic map design that was quite prevalent in Battlefield 1.

Panzerstorm is a pretty solid and channels that classic Battlefield map with combined arms coming together to win the match. The maps within the base game are very unique and Panzerstorm matches that level of quality and manages to hold its own and it plays very well.

On the other side of things, Overture brings a practice range and three brand new weapons for each class. Let’s begin with the weapons. Assault players receive the Automatgevär m/42, a Swedish semi-automatic rifle that was briefly used by the Swedish Army from 1942 until 1960. For Support players, the VGO can be used, the VGO or commonly known as the Vickers K was an LMG specifically used for British planes but was later adopted for land use and was a favorite of British commandos operating in secret on the continent. Lastly, Recon players get their hands on the Selbstlader 1906, a prototype weapon that was first seen in Battlefield 1 and it has made its way into Battlefield V.

Lastly, Overture brings back the practice range. The Practice range was last seen in Battlefield 4 and now it has made a comeback. The Practice Range does exactly what it says, it’s a practice range meant for you to practice on whatever thing that you need help with in-game. From weapon challenges to flight challenges, you can learn the game’s mechanics and get better at playing the game. The only problem for high ranking players like myself is that it is useless.

The practice range is supposed to be meant for everyone but it takes a liking to novice players. For someone like me, practice range doesn’t offer much because it doesn’t have the things I’m specifically looking for. It doesn’t have specializations for aircraft or weapon or not much since it favors novice players which is understandable. On top of that, the practice range seems a little underwhelming since it doesn’t have much. I hope as the Tides of War continue that DICE continues to add to the Practice Range.

Finally, the Overture update brings the last and final War Story to Battlefield V in the form of “The Last Tiger.” , which focuses on a German Tiger Crew in the last days of the war. 

This final chapter focuses on a German Tiger crew who is now becoming disillusioned with the war and what they’re fighting for now that Germany is crumbling. It has to be my favorite war story out of the bunch. It doesn’t take sides and it isn’t biased like how many games tend to portray the German Army.

The war story takes place on the banks of the Rhine in the town of Cologne in 1945 and it pits you against American forces, a first in the history of World War II triple-A video games. The combat here is fairly easy and pacing is decent, the biggest challenge comes in the final act when you have to fight outside of a bombed-out cathedral. The mission’s only stumble is when you have to get out of the tank and man an AA gun which messes up the pacing a bit but not too much. 

The conclusion is gutting with the final text referencing the Final Solution and the Nuremberg Trials and that German soldiers, especially the Wehrmacht, were just following orders. It’s a very powerful story and I really wished that DICE took that concept and applied it to the rest of the War Stories since they lack in comparision to the Last Tiger.

Finale:

Battlefield V: Overture is a decent expansion pack. While it doesn’t add much to the base game, it is a promising start to a 2-year journey that will take us on a historical trip throughout the Second World War. Starting off in 1940 has its ups and downs but one of the upsides is that you can go anywhere and the road is filled with interesting content; from the Soviet Union to the Pacific Theater, World War II is filled with interesting stories that you can add overtime. Let’s hope the journey takes us on a very special trip across the war.  For a World War II game, I have never seen a game with so much potential and promise like Battlefield V; let’s hope that EA and DICE recognizes this.                 

                                                             
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