Battlefield V has gone live for those that have purchased the premium EA access package for $15 or $20 respectively (Canada). Many reviews have come out and most of the people I’ve talked to all agree, this game is amazing!
Battlefield V brings the series back to World War Two. Some people didn’t like the idea of the series going back to WWII, others rejoiced, it was a mixed basket. The open beta showed a glimpse of the game and many people disliked it and vowed to not buy the game. Then the 9th of November rolled around and everything changed. Many of my own friends who swore they wouldn’t buy the game have now bought and are currently playing the game, thoroughly enjoying themselves. I will touch a little on singleplayer, and more in-depth on multiplayer in this review as that will be where a majority of players will spend their time. Please, bear with me, this will be a rather long review as there is a lot of content to cover.
Singleplayer is back in the form of War Stories. Yes, War Stories made its return from Battlefield 1. While I wish it was a traditional campaign, these stories are well made. They’re rather short and to the point, which is the only reason I really disliked them. Each puts you into the shoes of a soldier on a mission. You play through the scenario through three different maps, some large and open, some very small and linear. I can’t really dive too much into these stories without making major spoilers, so I’ll leave it with this: The stories are filling, they’re fun, while short, and get a short story across in a good way. You will, however, spend plenty of time hunting down collectables. These collectables unlock special melee weapons for multiplayer that can only be obtained by hunting down all of the collectables in each story. Expect to spend a couple hours per story finding everything. It took me roughly 3 hours to collect everything on the first story. It was worth it, I got a nice cricket bat that really makes melee satisfying in multiplayer!
Multiplayer is what everyone loves about the Battlefield series. There are many players that disliked Battlefield 1’s take on combat, I was one of them. They have changed the formula slightly for BFV, and I can’t exactly put my finger on what they changed, but it worked. I feel like, for the most part, my weapons have punch and feel somewhat realistic. Without hardcore mode, you can’t really get that feeling, so that’s yet to come, if ever. The good news is hardcore isn’t absolutely required this go round. Bullet damage seems to be higher than normal. Time to kill is substantially lower than BF1. The only caveat is the vehicles. Back in the beta planes were very weak. They have since buffed them, and vehicles in general it seems. Tanks, in particular, take a ton of damage before they go boom. It took my whole squad shooting rockets at a Tiger to kill it. We hit it with at least 7 rockets and an anti-tank grenade before it exploded in a fireball of doom. I think this is something they are still working on to adjust just how powerful they should be.
Vehicles feel great. Tanks feel like tanks, seriously. In previous Battlefield games, tanks seemed to be very fast, even way back in BF1942. They were so fast they really didn’t feel like they had any “weight” to them at all. That has changed for the good in BF5! Tanks, depending on their class and weight, move slow. Sure, the smaller lighter tanks are substantially faster, and I do mean faster, than the medium and heavy tanks, but they’re meant to be. A medium tank, such a Panzer IV, or a heavy tank such as a Tiger or Churchill are very slow. So slow you can run faster than them on foot. The turrets transverse so slow it’s often hard to follow and trace a foot soldier down once they get up on top of you. Tanks are to be used at distance now, for the most part, and situational. You can’t just plow through there like the Cool-aid man anymore. Well, you can, but expect to die in three seconds flat. Tanks are not the end all be all anymore. Sure, they can take a beating, but they die pretty fast even still. Repairing isn’t quick, and once you’re tracked, you’re toast. Did I mention you can disable the turrets? You can still move them, but they’re extremely slow. Forcing you to repair, which you can’t while taking damage.
Planes got a huge buff between beta and launch, particularly bombers. Planes take an insane amount of damage now, except from the beast of an AA Tank. Their buff, however, truly comes in the form of a substantial buff to damage for the bombs. You can actually kill people, and tanks, with these things now! The flight model is the same as previous instalments, so don’t expect anything drastically different. It’s still easy to fly and have fun. Not much has changed in that regard.
Infantry players have their work cut out for them, which is actually a good and a bad thing. No one really wants to jump into the game and instantly have everything unlocked. I, at least, like to have a sense of accomplishment by unlocking weapons and attachments. Let’s not make it sound easy, however, because it’s not. The starting weapons aren’t that great. Some are better than others, but in general, they’re they’re the worse weapons in the game. You don’t really unlock attachments like you used to, however, most come already unlocked and you simply purchase the default versions with credits. As you play, you will unlock different variants, “skins” for those attachments. The main thing you’re going to be unlocking is the weapons. Just like most recent Battlefield games, there is a progression system. Play a class, earn experience, level it up, unlock weapons at various levels. Some are much easier to unlock than others. But let me say this, once you do unlock the good guns, the skill gap increases substantially. Take the STG 44 for example, sure they nerfed it from the beta, but it’s still a killing machine. You can take down an enemy super quick with this rifle and have enough ammo left to mow down his squad-mates as well. The difference between you using an STG 44, and other players using the default weapons is like night and day. That’s not to say you can’t kill someone with a better gun, you’re just going to have to make better shot placements and hope you’re quicker. This makes a huge difference, and many people will like it while many others will not as they think it’s unfair. I like it for the simple fact that you feel like you’ve done something when you finally unlock the weapon you’ve wanted and it’s actually a good weapon.
Many new weapons are available now in launch. You’ve got access to a better rocket launcher, which I honestly haven’t seen a difference between them, throwing knives, among other really fun guns. I did say throwing knives, and yes they are overpowered as all get out. One knife can kill someone, not many weapons in the game can one shot a player. That being said, there is something for everyone, whether you want to sit back with an MG34 and lay down fire, snipe with a Kar98k, or rush ahead with an STG 44 or MP44, it’s all there and you have plenty of ways to customize it to your liking.
Performance is where we start to get some hiccups in an otherwise amazing game. Servers are running at 60 Hz, which is pretty good for a game like this. The problem is that there seems to be a hit registry issue sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes. Take my tank story above for example. I think 7 rockets and an anti-tank grenade is a bit overkill for a tank, no matter the size. I think this has to do with a random hitreg issue. I cannot confirm it, only what I’ve seen. I’ve seen it happen multiple times on multiple vehicles and enemies. People will take a ton of damage only to die 5~ seconds later. I’ve watched (and have had it happen to me) people walk around a corner and fall dead 2 seconds after they’re around the corner fully. Something is up there, what it is who knows.
Graphics disparity is another issue I have with the game. I play the game fully maxed out. I like it to be as beautiful as I can make it because the game is extremely gorgeous. Other players, however, don’t because they can’t, or wish to take advantage over lowered graphics to see enemies better. What do I mean by that? Players seeing through smoke because their graphics are set to a point that they can see a lot easier through smoke than if they were maxed out. Objects such as rocks and fallen trees have different degrees of “form” to speak based on graphics settings. While maxed out it may look big enough to cover you, but on the lowest setting, it is barely covering half of you, with the other half sticking out. I’ve died countless times because I should be hidden from sight (on my screen), but in reality, on their screen, I am just standing in the open. I think that is something that definitely should get fixed soon. I understand not everyone can play the game maxed out, it’s taxing on your system, but simple things like bushes, rocks, or fallen tree geometry shouldn’t be so vastly different that you cannot rely on them for cover. Never the less, the game is absolutely beautiful fully maxed out, that’s one massive big thumbs up it has going for it.
Dx12 is horrible. It was horrible in BF1, and it is still horrible in BFV. I don’t think they’ve learned how to fix this issue, as it’s been an ongoing issue since the launch of BF1. I had horrible micro-stutters on random maps, mainly Aerodrome, and couldn’t figure out why. My FPS was at a steady 144, I shouldn’t be having these issues. I did some research, remembered what happened with Dx12 in BF1, and decided to do some testing. Sure enough, once I disabled Dx12 I stopped having any stutters what so ever. So a heads up for anyone having those kinds of issues, or FPS issues in general: turn off Dx12.
Let’s talk about maps for a minute. In general, they have done an outstanding job on the map design for BFV. I’m not too fond of Narvik, but it’s fun in its own way. Fjell 457, on the other hand, isn’t fun for me. Mainly because it feels like Operation Metro 2.0 while set in the mountains with very limited areas to move in. If you were one of the players that really loved some Operation Metro, Fjell 457 is going to be right up your alley! The rest of the maps, Arras and Twisted Steel, in particular, are simply phenomenal. They are not only simply beautiful to look at, but really force the combat in a way that no other map does, or can for that matter. They’re rather wide open, but also not, it’s hard to explain. There’s plenty of places to go, many ways to attack an objective, you don’t feel confined in at all. The objectives are laid out in a way that just makes sense. Nothing seems out of place, they’re just really great maps. All of the maps are fun in their own way, with the exception of the above, which is really odd to see. Many of the previous Battlefield titles have had numerous maps that I just absolutely hated and skipped. I have so far only avoided Fjell 457, which says a lot to me. Once you play them, you’ll fall in love with the design and yearn for more maps.
The last thing I want to touch on is the squad mechanic of the game. Squads are limited to 4 players, which sucks. I was hoping we’d have at least 5, as many of my friends play and limiting us to 4 means someone always has to play by themselves without being in our squad. That being said, Squad play is extremely important in BFV. No more do you just stat pad to be the best squad or squad leader. Your points actually matter now. Each time your squad completes an objective, such as the squad leader placing an attack or defend marker and you fully secure that objective, you earn squad points. These points are assigned to the squad leader and do transfer if you promote someone else to squad leader. These points can be used to call in 1 of 4 things to aid you in the war. You can either call in an air supply drop of resources (Ammo and first-aid), a transport vehicle, a tank, or a JB-2 Rocket. I’ll give you one guess at what everyone calls in, and why. Yes, the JB-2 rocket is absolutely overpowered goodness. It will absolutely decimate anyone on any objective it hits, including yourself. Because there is no friendly fire your teammates are all fine. But any enemy within the entire cap radius is dead. I’ve gotten 7 kills from a single JB-2, it’s insane. They are loud, and easily avoided because of being so loud, but not all the time. You get tunnel visioned, don’t hear it, or think it’s going somewhere else, then boom, lights out. They also go through buildings, so you’re not hiding from them, sorry. So yes, they’ve kind of sorta made a kill-streak type of reward system, and I think it’s great. No longer do you have squads that aren’t really working as a squad should. Now you have a real purpose to actually listen to your squad leader, and take the objectives they mark. Promoting team play is absolutely a great way to make a good game better.