Battlefield can often be referred to as the rival of Call of Duty, or at least that’s how many gamers see it, you’re either a Call of Duty player, or a Battlefield player etc. I love both series dearly and oppose the idea that they are in direct competition, in the shooter space sure, but they are both a different kind of shooter compared to the other. Large scale warfare is what the BF series excels in, can the same be said for Battlefield V?
Much like in the previous game, the single-player content is split up into War Stories, smaller mini campaigns designed to give a look into different fronts and perspectives of what it was like in World War II for those in active duty. I loved this take on a campaign in BF1 so welcomed the idea of the developers doing this again. My expectations were set high and I believe this time around they missed the mark a little, primarily in quantity rather than the quality.
Under No Flag (UNF) is based in North Africa in 1942, immediately your thrown into the role of Billy Bridger, a prison inmate turned soldier who looks to redeem himself and prove his worth to others. A relatable character for many and someone I found myself empathising with. The missions are straight forward and place you on wide-open maps with objectives such as blowing things up more than anything. An issue I faced was that the second mission relied heavily on stealth gameplay, don’t get me wrong I love that normally, but Battlefield for me has always been about loud, chaotic action. Fortunately, going in stealth isn’t mandatory, however that being said, going in guns blazing is a tougher fight, all the enemies rush to you, reinforcements get called and you need to keep aware of your surroundings to survive. The final act in this story is very much a worthwhile and earned climactic finish that pits you in a survival effort to take on wave after wave of enemy forces in an epic encounter.
Nordlys is the story that was a part of the main marketing push, we had brief looks into this several months prior to launch and is set in 1943 Norway. By this time the country has been occupied for three long years, and it’s time to kick the Germans out. Instantly this feels miles apart from the previous campaign, playing as a young Norwegian resistance fighter who seeks to save her mother and liberate her country. Absolutely love it, the fact that already I’m seeing a contrast in Nordlys and UNF in terms of setting, characters and the mission itself. Much like UNF however, there is a heavy reliance on being quiet, sneaking through and silently killing enemies, this time around though it feels like it fits, I enjoyed playing that way in this scenario.
Tirailleur takes place in 1944 where infantry fight in Provence, France. This completes the trifecta in yet again delivering a new environment, varied characters and a new ideal behind why you are fighting onwards. This time you are a soldier taking part in Operation Dragoon, the goal of liberation is still there but Deme, the character you play seeks for him and his allies to be remembered as Kings for succeeding in a mission where no-one else can. Fighting alongside troops and a close friend makes each conflict feel different to the ones you face in UNF and Nordlys.
I adore the variety in the single-player content, the one thing branching all three stories kind of puts a bad taste in my mouth, stealth enters all three and it doesn’t fit, it absolutely works in Nordlys but feels rather forced in the other two. That aside, I enjoyed my time fighting in the desert, going from there to the snowy mountains and from there to the woodlands, it’s refreshing to witness each setting change and puts the point across that in WWII, the war was quite literally everywhere, a scary profound point. Three characters each come from different backgrounds, a white male prison inmate, a female resistance fighter and a black infantry soldier also show that from 1939-1945, everyone was affected no matter who you were.
It is common knowledge that perhaps everyone gets Battlefield for the multiplayer, each year it is the most important part of the game to get right. It needs to offer something for everyone and provide enough reason to keep playing beyond just killing people and telling them you fornicated with their mother.
There are six game modes to play with eight maps to jump into, the content is there, now it’s just about execution. Breakthrough is straight up attackers looking to push the opposition back by capturing each point in a sector and then onto the next one. Frontlines takes the Breakthrough style and turns it into a two-way street, like a tug of war with both teams trying to push forward point by point. It also has a smaller player count with 32 compared to Breakthrough’s 64.
Conquest is all out war between two teams with the same goals of holding as many objectives on the map and running down the other sides life count. Domination is basically Conquest on a smaller scale, the same exact rules but with half the number of players. Team Deathmatch is as basic as it gets, just get those kills in a 16v16 environment.
Finally, Grand Operations (GO) is the pinnacle of the game mode offering, a massive conflict that spans multiple days, maps and even other modes with the outcome of each day affecting the next. By far one of my favourite modes to play in any game. It switches things up and keeps you on your feet. No matter how many times I played the same GO it was different each time in terms of what transpired, due to differing team strategies that can drastically alter the field.
It is unfortunate that the other remaining modes are mostly clones of each other with slight revisions. There isn’t much change going from one to the other and someone who likes to switch it up constantly, may be hard to find themselves pleased.
I am happy to say that the maps are varied, all eight are completely distinct from each other. Being able to fight anywhere, on barren wastelands, in farming fields, upon snow covered mountain tops and in once great cities reduced to rubble, is satisfying. No matter the map, I found myself falling in love with the level design, art design and attention to detail, they feel authentic.
Visually it is one of the most stunning games I’ve seen, and DICE have done a fantastic job in putting the Frostbite engine to work, which aesthetically always raises the bar. Everything from design to execution impresses, lighting to weather to ‘leveolution’ it all comes together to produce something that can near enough deceive your eyes. The characters are unique, coming with their own recognisable characteristics and appear lifelike at a glance.
The soundtrack is gorgeous and emotive, combining with the visuals it truly makes for an immersive experience. Going from sad subtle tones to loud booming battle pieces it really takes you on a journey. Alongside that you have the sound effects that bring war to life on the screen, rushing around the field has literally never felt so daunting before in a video game. You hear every bullet, explosion and impact it’s quite unsettling at times, just goes to show the power of audio.
Progression is important, without it there is no reason to continue playing, in this case, it’s a little convoluted but a lot of fun and allows for plenty of experimentation. Your loadouts can be different for each side which allows you to not only choose your assault, medic, support and recon class but for both forces, be it Allied or Axis. The same with vehicles, these can be adjusted with specialisations to suit your playstyle. Going further in you can change your combat role, weapon sights, skins, appearance and much more, I felt a sense of ownership of my character, like it was really mine.
OVERALL: 8/10 – GREAT
Battlefield V takes the same formula it always has, massive warfare and done little to change it up along the way. Not there’s anything wrong with no straying from a successful path but more innovation is needed to distance itself from previous titles to not be considered a re-skinned iteration in the series. There isn’t enough in terms of story but what is there drew me in hook, line and sinker. Grand Operations is a brilliant achievement in technical design that breathes fresh air into the multiplayer suite. Progression is complex but it incentives you with customisable weapons, vehicles and characters to keep fighting.
Reviewed by Rhys Baldwin.
(Disclaimer: Jester Says received a review copy of Battlefield V, however this does not in any way affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)