I like it, but I don’t really love it. I have always loved Battlefield games and yes that includes Battlefield 1, I was excited to play them for hours on end, but this, unfortunately, is not the case with Battlefield V.
DICE has made quite a few changes, which when you say them they look like small things, but they change the game in a drastic way. One change, for example, is the removal of 3D spotting and I kinda like it. Now instead you can only place 3D markers and have to communicate with the team about it. This makes the game more tactical, but this isn’t the Battlefield I grew up with. I was so accustomed to the 3D Spot mechanic and seeing the minimap light up like it’s Christmas with all those juicy orange triangles… Now you cannot do that and as a result, you will get killed by a camper who is hiding in a dark room or you will run to capture a flag only to find that there are about 15 enemy guys already there which will turn you into an actual strainer.
But as I said, I like this change as it makes the game more engaging and tense than ever before. Another change that builds upon that is the new attrition system. You don’t have hundreds of bullets with you anymore so you cannot shoot for half an hour before you need to resupply from an ammo crate. Just like, I guess, real life you have only 2 or 3 extra magazines with you and that’s it. What this means is that many times you will be caught with your pants down aka. you don’t have any bullets in your main gun so you’ll have to make do with your 1911 pistol. To get back your ammo you have to run to a restock pile which are spread out in the maps. Or you can get it back from an ammo crate dropped by a support player, but even then you don’t just restock ammo forever like in the previous Battlefield games, you have to hold a button and after that, there’s a cooldown for when you can restock again.
The same thing happens for your health as there’s no more full-health regeneration like previous. If you get hit, you have to heal yourself with the one health pack you have with you, medics have infinite ones, and to get another health pack you have to run back to a health restock pile. And once again the same thing happens for the vehicles such as tanks and planes, your ammunition is finite and you have to drive/fly back to a restock pile to get ammo. All of these things combined make up for a new different more tactical Battlefield experience, one that you will need some time to get used to.
Gunplay has also received some changes mainly now bullets go where you aim, unlike the randomness spread that guns had in Battlefield 1 and I don’t really know how to feel about this thing. I mainly play on the PS4 and I don’t know, but something feels off with this new gunplay. Maybe it’s the lack of helpful random headshots while shooting at an enemy or maybe is the lack of aim assist on consoles or the hitboxes, something feels wrong. In many cases, I lost gunfights where I shot first cause of the aim, I just couldn’t target the enemy. And of course, maybe it’s my fault, I need to git gud and all of that stuff, but I don’t really have this as a problem in Call of Duty or Destiny.
In those games, I aim next to the enemy and even if I am slightly off target, the game helps me and connects the shot. I have not experienced that while playing Battlefield V. I am like just spraying lead at an enemy and I hit him or her just once or twice… what? I may not be the best player in the world, but sure as hell, I am not the worst. PC players don’t really have this issue as playing with a mouse is lightyears more easy and comfortable than with analog sticks. It may sound like I am complaining cause well, I am complaining. I need more aim assist in my life so please DICE can I have some more aim assist?
As for the multiplayer modes available, the usual stuff is all here: Conquest, Conquest Assault, Domination, TDM. New is the Airborne mode, where you parachute down and mount an offensive. Each team gets a set number of tickets that represent a player’s respawn, where each death drains the total number of tickets until there is a winner. However this is not really a separate mode per se, but it is tied to the Grand Operations mode of Battlefield V which is like the Operations from Battlefield 1, but you know… more… Grandeur. A similar thing happens with the Final Stand mode where it appears depending on how well your team performed in the first three days of a Grand Operation. If the two factions are evenly-matched after day of fighting, you’ll find yourself armed with depleted ammo and no respawns, in this mode to determine the winner.
Destruction is still as big and as important as ever, where you can demolish pretty much any building, cover, bridge, and whatnot. And you have lots of cool tools to cause this destruction, dynamite, mines, grenades and rocket launchers which by the way are a ton of fun to explode enemy players and not just tanks. However, in Battlefield V we see the introduction of Fortifications which is kinda a counter to all of the destruction you will see and cause while playing. You can build defenses, bridges, turrets etc. in pre-specified places that will aid you while playing.
Player progression is better in my opinion where you unlock stuff by just playing the game and then choose what stuff you want to unlock unlike Battlefield 1 where you had to offer a sacrifice to the RNG gods just to get a cool skin or whatever. You can customize your guns, change the parts along with the skins and you can also customize your soldiers with different outfits, face paints etc. Again, it is a welcomed addition, but the UI and UX of it, at least on console, is a mess. Just to change the equipped weapon you have to go through 3 different screens by pressing 3 different buttons. They need to work more on improving that whole experience and tune it for a controller not just mouse and keyboard.
At the moment the multiplayer has only 9 maps, which in my opinion, are not enough. The multiplayer modes too, are not enough as they feel really similar between them and at the end you will just end up playing Conquest over and over again. Grand Operations is cool, but it’s a mess, 64 players are way too much to fight for just one or two objectives. There are a lot of silly bugs that don’t really disrupt your enjoyment, if you are enjoying the game in the first place that is, but are more of a distraction or minor nuisance when things are tense. IGN made a great video with all of the bugs that the multiplayer has and yes, you will experience all of those while playing. These bugs, as I said, are small things, things that can be patched in an upcoming update. What baffles me is that some of these bugs are just right there in your face and I don’t understand how they pass through QA. It almost feels like Battlefield V was rushed out of the door way too soon…
So what else is there for you apart from the multiplayer? Well, there’s also a singleplayer campaign or a collection of 3, at the time of writing this review, mini War Stories which try to portray real, relatable people facing brutal warfare filled with Battlefield moments, similar to what Battlefield 1 had. I loved the War Stories that Battlefield 1 had mainly because I did not know much about the 1st World War. But I do know a lot of stuff that happened in World War 2 and well, none of those “cool” moments are touched in the Battlefield 5 war stories. By the way, war is not cool, it is terrible and it sucks. So when I say cool I mean the events that everyone knows about like D-Day or the Battle of Stalingrad. I want to experience these events again in the full Frostbite glory. The War Stories in V are more personal, but you can’t really care about or relate to someone that you see for like less than an hour. Maybe if they focused on only one War Story, eg. the one with the young Norwegian commando, would have been something way better than just 3 mini-stories.
I still like Battlefield V, even though it has some silly bugs and introduces some big changes to the Battlefield formula. It’s different and you need to get to know it better before you become better as a player. You need to learn new tactics and work together with your squad to dominate the battlefield. Change is always difficult to accept and maybe if I continue to play it, I will grow to love it. And I believe I will continue to play it cause the future looks exciting. They will add a new single-player War Story dubbed The Last Tiger, add a new co-op mode called Combined Arms, do battle royale the Battlefield way in Firestorm, experience new game modes and Grand Operations, and hone skills in the upcoming Practice Range. All of these cool sounding things will be part of Tides of War which will serve as the live service journey through the Second World War. If you love the Battlefield games, you are probably enjoying V and this review will change nothing for you. But if you are waiting to pick this up, I would say to just keep waiting for a little while longer while DICE fixes the broken stuff and the content starts rolling in. Thanks to EA for providing the PS4 review copy and thanks to you for reading this review.