( Editor’s note: After the news that Battlefield V was cancelled, I wanted to do a full review of Battlefield V with all the chapters installed and review it as a full game plus the base game that originally launched in 2018. It took me almost 2 months to come up with this review. It’s been a hard process to sit and write this, this review encompasses my thoughts on the game as a whole starting from Launch to Season 2. This review will be split in 3 different sections, starting from launch to Season 2. This review serves as the final blogpost on Battlefield V. I hope you enjoy!)
This is the end of Battlefield V. These are words that I knew I would eventually write at some point, but, I didn’t think I would be writing these words for the game’s obituary so soon. I thought the game would have lived until Fall 2020 or even the full year, showcasing and delivering some of the greatest battles to be ever fought in military history: From the Eastern Front to returning to the Western Front with Operation Overlord and Operation Market Garden. It just shows that Battlefield V is truly a sad game. A game that never lived to begin with. A game that could never get off the ground.
Throughout it’s life, beginning with the reveal, the game has had a really rough go, that almost turned around late last year with the arrival of the Pacific Theater and some of the biggest battles that were fought on that front. Battlefield V tested the mettle of the franchise and the franchise took a complete nosedive with this game. Back in my original review, I found Battlefield V to be one of the most entertaining games of 2018 since Bad Company 2 and was very intriguing but how little did we, as a community, know. The game was an utter failure, a disgrace to World War II, a disgrace to World War II games, a disgrace to the genre, a disgrace to the setting that made Battlefield so famous in the first place. DICE took a beating with Battlefield V, a beating I hope they learn from. Battlefield V ended up being a complete disappointment, a waste of time, a waste of potential, and a waste of the very setting that made the franchise so iconic in 2002.
As opposed to Battlefield 1 where DICE went above and beyond, they completely wet the bed with Battlefield V. Battlefield V is not as grand as Battlefield 1, not as epic as Battlefield 1, not as historical as Battlefield 1, not as good as Battlefield 1. A shameful experience from top to bottom. It’s a game that’s truly sad when compared to Battlefield 1. Battlefield V had unbelievable potential to be one of the greatest Battlefield games ever made, and, we never got it. It’s a complete shame what we got.
This game’s development cycle has been a complete train wreck. Watching this game from a distance is like watching your parents fight but you can’t do anything to help, you’re helpless. For me, Battlefield V is one of the most frustrating game launches that I have ever seen, especially because, World War II is Battlefield. It’s where the franchise started and to see DICE squander it in every possible way makes me frustrated and angry, this game will set us back so much for historical Battlefield games. We’re probably never going to see another World War II Battlefield game for another decade or more, it will be a long time before we see this setting come back. There is so much potential here, the setting is everything I want within a Battlefield game, you have so much here that to see it being squandered is so frustrated. I wanted to see a reimagined Battlefield 1942, I wanted to see World War II like you’ve never seen it before through the eyes of the Battlefield franchise but instead, we got Battlefield V.
The initial word I would describe of Battlefield V’s launch and of the announcement is confusement. The reveal didn’t help the game at all, the reveal trailer didn’t help the game’s case, DICE’s messaging about the game didn’t help, none of it helped. Seeing Norway as the initial highlights of the game was confusing but I was okay with DICE’s initial take on the game: a chronological look at World War II. Battles that you never seen in World War II games, battles like the Norwegian Campaign in 1940 and the Fall of France amongst the early North African maps that took place in 1941, all of it was fine as long as we got the full package of World War II. While, this idea, was a very good one and a unique one, it was a complete missed opportunity as everyone wanted the iconic classic battles of World War II like disembarking on the beaches of France on D-Day, parachuting into the French countryside at night as US Paratroopers, defending the American frontline during the Battle of the Bulge, storming the Reichstag in war-torn Berlin as the Red Army, fighting through the Russian countryside at Kursk and Kharkov with T-34s and Panzers beside you and not fighting through battles that don’t seem all that epic and large.
The initial launch of Battlefield V was divisive but it showed promise and at the same time, it felt like the beginning of a disaster. Grand Operations was a grand failure, there was no atmosphere, there was no immersion like DICE had promised in the initial announcement of the game, everything just seemed like a complete miss and at the same time, there was something there that could be tapped on if you could find it. Battlefield V brought the hardcore mechanics of the older Battlefield games like Battlefield 2 and 1942 back to the forefront and the multiplayer was one of the biggest detractors for the franchise yet with a bunch of brand new bells and whistles that returned this game back to the refractor-era, but, it wasn’t enough.
Where the launch package promised something grand and something good, all of that was automatically shot down throughout the first season of the game. Season 1 buried Battlefield V even further with numerous controversies, delays, cancellations, and promises that never materialized.
Season 1 began with the launch of Overture that brought the conflict to Belgium and lasted until Chapter 4 where most of these controversies lay. Overture brought the Practice Range, Lightning Strikes brought Combined Arms, Trial through Fire brought Firestorm, and Defying the Odds never delivered what was promised at EA Play 2019, outside, of a few maps like Marita and Al Sundan, which was delayed 4 times, before its arrival in late September.
Beginning with Combined Arms, Combined Arms was an utter failure the minute it arrived to the game. Combined Arms promised to be the return of co-operative mode within Battlefield and promised to re-invent co-op through daily missions, a mission generator that would immerse you into the World War II setting via dropping you into places like occupied France, occupied Holland, occupied Norway, amongst many other locations and help the Resistance as a member of the SOE or OSS organizations but when it launched, that was a failed promise like everything else within Battlefield V. Combined Arms launched with four missions, and, was ultimately a waste of time and resources.
Moving onto March of 2019, Criterion dropped Firestorm, the promised Battle Royale that was announced at Gamescom 2018. Set on Halvoy in an unspecified period during The Second World War, Firestorm took what was best of the Battlefield games and translated them into a Battle Royale setting. Firestorm, was, legitimately a very good take on the Battle Royale genre and it showed promise, but like everything else within Battlefield V, that effort too was killed off by dumb decision making and by pure circumstances of the gaming industry.
Firestorm arrived too late onto the scene, failed to make a dent into the Battle Royale genre, which was by then, dominated by Apex Legends, EA’s other Battle Royale game, and Fortnite. By March 2019, the genre was brutally competitive and if you didn’t have the guts then your vision would be swallowed by Apex Legends and Fortnite. Firestorm, now, has been largely forgotten, a piece of forgotten content. A piece of forgotten content, much like the rest of Battlefield V, had great potential.
To regards to multiplayer, Season 1 brought a handful of maps and weapons to the base game and continued the promised timeline that DICE promised us that would take us through the Second World War. We went from the Fall of Greece to the British retreat on Crete to commando raids in German occupied Norway and France with maps like Provence and Lofoten Islands. However, the game’s continued controversies continued with game breaking bugs and glitches, delayed content, cancelled content like a promised 5v5 competitive mode that was due to arrive with Chapter IV, and cancelled features like soldier dragging and crash landings; during this period, it was quite difficult to be a fan of Battlefield and Battlefield V but something changed after the summer.
Once DICE released Update 4.2, majority of the issues had been sorted out and most of the major issues were patched and the game was in a better state, but, at the same time Chapter IV killed all momentum that the game had going for it just because of the disaster that Chapter IV was. Everything that DICE had built up with Firestorm and Chapter 3, it was tore down again amongst leaks that DICE employees were leaving the studio enmasse and that there was some kind of crisis going behind the scene at DICE Stockholm. Season 1 of Battlefield V’s life cycle truly tested the mettle of the franchise, tested the game’s resolve. A resolve that seemed to make the game stronger.
We have arrived to our final destination.
Season 2 launched in the Fall of 2019 with the arrival of the Pacific Theater and the US Marines alongside their vicious enemy, the Imperial Army and Navy of Japan. War in the Pacific took us to another part of the globe, as war in Europe returned again with the D-Day landings in France, the Marines were fighting tooth and nail across tiny islands in the Pacific.
This content drop turned the game around into something that everyone could get really behind. Iconic World War II battles that everyone wanted, iconic WWII weaponry like the M1 Garand that everyone wanted to use, the World War II fantasy that everyone wanted from the very beginning: taking part in these iconic battles with iconic weaponry that was used during the war. The Pacific update revitalized Battlefield V and everything was on the up and up: it truly seemed like the game turned a new leaf and DICE had finally understood what we wanted from them back in the reveal until the Time to Kill changes. The Time to Kill changes ruined this epic turn around, this epic comeback story that was just beginning and by the time DICE reverted the TTK change early in 2020 the damage had been done and the game was dead. What could’ve been an epic turn around was shot down by stupid decisions by people who never played the game or people who never understood the game from the very beginning.
Season 2 could’ve been the comeback story of Battlefield V, Season 2 could’ve taken us back to Europe to participate in the D-Day landings and the Battle of the Bulge alongside the Eastern Front but we’ll never truly know as the game was cancelled in April of 2020 and all future content was dropped to focus on the next installment that is set to release in 2021. Season 2 was the end of the line for a game that could never get itself off the ground and never had a chance to truly live. The game could’ve been something great if everything was done right the first time.
Battlefield V is a sad and pathetic game, sad because it never lived in the first place and was shot down automatically and pathetic because of its portrayal of World War II. Unlike Battlefield 1, Battlefield V didn’t have anything going for it outside of its mechanics and gunplay and was it the right choice to cancel the game? Yes, I believe so. Battlefield V needed to be put out of its misery and suffering, and, hopefully the franchise is better for it. Battlefield V was a learning lesson for everyone involved, consumers and developers alike. It’s a mistake that I hope doesn’t happen again. I wonder, if one day, we’ll see another WW2 Battlefield game once again but this time done correctly.