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Letters from the Front

By 1941, the Second World War was in its second year and Germany had conquered all of Western Europe. The German momentum had crushed the Benelux countries and France which was now under German occupation after the British evacuation from Dunkirk; as the German momentum now looked eastwards towards the Soviet Union, the Italians had invaded Greece which the Greek Army repulsed but the German Army intervened and began their advance into Greece. By May 1941, Greece had fallen and the Germans now invaded the small little island of Crete.

Battlefield V: Trial by Fire pushes the Tides of War timeline away from the early German campaigns across Western Europe of 1940 and into the invasion of Greece in 1941, this is the first time and will most likely be the last time that Battlefield V and DICE themselves tackle the unknown, the unplayed, the unseen mantra of World War II that they were going for now that the timeline is heading into the most iconic battles of WWII. Trial by Fire pushes Battlefield V into 1941, a crucial year in WWII history as the German Army invaded the Soviet Union and America entered the war on the side of the Allied powers.

Trial by Fire is centered around the Battle of Crete in May 1941, Crete is the crown jewel of this free update. Set on the island of Crete during the German invasion, the British must defend the island and hold it against all costs in the face of overwhelming odds like the elite German paratroopers and the Luftwaffe. Crete is a large island and it brings all-out war, a feeling that the game has been missing since it launched in November 2018. BF109s dogfight British Spitfires while Stukas nose dive and bomb the radar station and the small village while infantry duke it out across the entire island, it’s a thrilling experience as you see a Stuka nose-dive in front of you and commences a bombing run before it pulls up. Unlike Panzerstorm where you must master the terrain and work the terrain to your advantage, Crete offers a completely different playstyle in which you can work the terrain however way you want and it’s up to you and your personal playstyle. Much like Panzerstorm, it channels that classic Battlefield map design that combines both infantry and armored units, especially planes instead of armored vehicles, and uses both aspects to win the match. Panzerstorm was a very unique map that offered a haven for players who preferred tanks and liked to play with tanks, Crete is the exact opposite and offers a haven for pilots and infantry players to come together.

Additionally, a handful of new modes enter the game and one brand new operation enters the game in the form of the Battle of Hannut Grand Operation which brings in a nighttime version of Panzerstorm and a reworked Arras that features the Rush game mode which makes its first appearance in a separate mode that isn’t the standalone mode.

Also on offer, a handful of new weapons enter the game and each must be completed within a week via in-game assignments that will bolster your Tides of War rank to level up. Weapons like the MAS 44, the Darne M1922, the ZK383 can be brought via Company Coin while the brand new weapons like the Lahti-Saloranta M26 can be unlocked via Tides of War challenges. For the first time since Lightning Strikes, combat and field medics receive two new weapons in the form of the Commando Carbine, known as the DeLisle Carbine, a silenced rifle used for assassinations and the Tromboncino M28, a grenade launcher that was installed on the Italian WWI era rifle known as the Carcano which was also used in The Second World War. It’s nice to see DICE starting to move away from World War I era weapons and begin introducing weapons that were used in World War II.

Not only does Trial by Fire brings Mercury, a respectable map in its own right but also brings Firestorm, the first time Battlefield has done Battle Royale and this is where Chapter 3 focuses most of its attention on. Firestorm is set in an unknown period during World War II in southern Norway and takes the large environments, realistic WWII weaponry and vehicles the franchise has always revolved around and places it in a huge map. It’s original but it doesn’t do much innovation but it has the hooks to keep me playing and possibly has the hooks to draw in new players.

Firestorm maybe a more polished and less distinctive version of what PUBG put forward but that’s really the whole point and the whole idea of Firestorm. Set on Halvoy, on the coast of southern Norway, 64 players drop onto the map that is already set ablaze by the Firestorm to fight it out. The map is absolutely gorgeous. The menacing fire ring, lush green forests, snow covered hilltops, blue forests, and watchtowers populate the map and all come together to create an eye-catching map. Halvoy is the most aesthetically pleasing battle royale map and the most aesthetically-pleasing map in Battlefield history, the only issue is that the map locations aren’t as distinctive or memorable as in other BR games like PUBG or Apex Legends as most of the map locations are small villages, watchtowers, rolling hills digging sites and more which takes away experiences and telling stories; the absence of landmarks made it uninteresting as the map is beautiful and offers a unique playarea as opposed to other Battle Royale maps.

In other aspects, Firestorm does a fantastic job when it comes to loot drops and interesting loot to pick up. There’s a great amount of diversity among loot drops and loot pickups: there are different tiers of armor, weapons, and pickups to scavenge for, you’ll find items like backpacks and pickups, these pickups range from artillery strikes to vehicle drops. The great diversity of items keeps things fresh and allows you to change it up every game.

When it comes to the Battlefield formula, it works here in a surprising fashion.Vehicular warfare separates the Battlefield franchise from other franchises and Firestorm seamlessly adds that to BR in a way no other game does. Tractors, cars, the first prototype helicopter, different variants of tanks like the Staghound and Panzers, and more can be found all over the map. Tanks can be found in secret bunkers that are scattered across Halvoy but to obtain Tanks and the loot that is inside the bunkers, you have to open up two doors which sounds off an alarm that can be heard across the map. It isn’t worth it in solo play but it’s definitely worth it in Squads as tanks have to operated by two to three people.

Firestorm plays it safe a lot of the time by taking the revamped gunplay from base Battlefield V and vehicular combat from the base game and adds it into a Battle Royale mode. Nothing is bad in Battlefield’s first take on Battle Royale, it is a good setup but feels like it came way too late and missed its mark on making a big splash and not making it free to play has made it hard for Firestorm to make that splash. Battle Royale for Battlefield is a good idea but it came way too late, especially after the launch of Apex Legends.

Trial by Fire, the third update for Battlefield V is once again a good content pack for the game. Not only does it reinvigorate the game a bit but it launches the game into a new year and a new era, hopefully after Trial by Fire, Battlefield V makes the comeback that it desperately needs.

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