Battlefield V looks to bring a ton back from its critically and commercially successful predecessor year’s Battlefield 1. The series’ current waiving of numbering convention confuses me a tad — Battlefield V is a sequel to Battlefield 1, but its official numbering means it technically comes after Battlefield 4, which was a modern warfare shooter. Regardless of the headache EA has created for itself with the numbering scheme, Battlefield V has moved onto the Second World War and looks to take its winning formula up a notch. Enter my weekend with the Battlefield V open beta.
If you’ve seen the trailers, then you would know that Battlefield V boasts some particular crazy action in an otherwise realistic setting complete with what seems to be an equally authentic tone. But before I go any deeper, let’s run through the basics. As per usual, you can still take part in Conquest, a gigantic 64-player mode across 2 maps, one being the Holland based town of Rotterdam map, and the arctic map Fjord, set in Narvik, Norway.
For Battlefield fans, this mode is pretty straight forward as you fight for control of various locations across the map, as you use a combination of traditional weapons and vehicles to get the job done. The maps here are admittedly large, varied and dense in the sense that Rotterdam gives you the opportunity to weave through ruined streets, crumbling buildings and unstable bridges in a matter of seconds, allowing each map to feel vertically approachable at the same time. While the Fjord map is less vertical and more ground based, there are plenty of places to traverse in order to get the upper hand.
The tides of war mode brings something which is admittedly interesting at first, but needs more work and polish in order to stand out from the pack. The tides of war mode basically hinges on various real life battles that shaped specific eras of World War 2. My issue with this mode however, is that it soon feels like a regular conquest match and less like a new mode aimed at delivering light story beats in a multiplayer driven battle. While the beta only offers a taste of this mode, I hope the full release realises some of the potential they have here. The added Grand Operations mode puts you in altered versions of the Fjord map and is just as fun as conquest.
Weapon customisation is back allowing you to unlock and craft a hefty portion of each weapon, from the barrel to the sight, to the clip. It’s great to see Battlefield V taking notes from it’s World War 1 predecessor, but doesn’t really break the rules in bringing this feature across. All this content is wrapped in some pretty decent graphics and neat presentation that it’s hard to call this an ugly experience.
However, it’s not flawless, and I understand this is a beta, but I do have some concerns. Battlefield V highlights it’s gender diversity as a major aspect of the experience but from what I’ve played so far, gender really has nothing to do with any particular skills, weapons or classes, and really seems like it was added for the sake of variety. While I came across very few glitches and bugs, the game could run a little better with the occasional frame rate drops and stuttering taking me out of the experience every now and then.
While I can forgive these minor flaws, the overall tone I get from Battlefield V is fine; but that’s the issue. The wheel isn’t being reinvented here, and considering that we’ve now come full circle, and have seen this type of shooter in recent memory from both the Battlefield and Call of Duty franchises, it’s “safe” nature has is coming off boring and slightly derivative. But in saying all this, it’s an open beta. Things will go wrong, they’re supposed to. Things will be changed, they’re expected to. And things will improve, because they honestly have to. Given the story mode may be fantastic, and the new battle Royale mode may be tons of fun, this little slice of multiplayer leaves me wanting to find out more in order to confirm my doubts. But who knows, that may be just what I need.