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Battlefield V

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Action
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: DICE
Release Date: Nov. 20, 2018


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PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'Battlefield V'

by Redmond Carolipio on June 13, 2018 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

Enter mankind's greatest conflict with Battlefield V as the series goes back to its roots with a never-before-seen portrayal of World War 2.

Pre-order Battlefield V

Electronic Arts' reveal of Battlefield V to the masses set forth small geostorms of discussion that ranged from the volatile (female combatants vs. history) to the more game-oriented and technical, such as the pending existence of a battle royale mode along with a fleet of overt and subtle gameplay adjustments.

Some of those questions were answered at EA Play, the company's pre-E3 event that showcased upcoming titles for media and fans alike. One of the biggest attractions was the ability to get hands-on multiplayer time with Battlefield V.

The demo we experienced focused on the game's Grand Operations mode, featuring up to 64 players at once and dropping them into a battle scenario in Narvik, Norway. When I say drop, I mean drop – anyone on the side of the Allies actually parachutes into the fray (courtesy of the game's also-new Airborne mode) to face off against their German foes, tasked with preventing the Allies from destroying their artillery.

Each Grand Operations mission takes place over the course of two days, and whatever happens in Day 1 has a direct effect on Day 2. In our play session, the Allies were the big Day 1 winners, which meant our counterparts on the German side now had to hold the line (or in this case, capture points), defend everything as best they could and retreat if needed.

Playing defense is where I actually learned the most about the Grand Operations experience, since it's where the skills of fortifying and actually countering the damage done to some buildings comes in especially handy. Destruction has always been a calling card for DICE and its deft use of the Frostbite engine, but players have always been sort of left to marvel at it and then scramble away from it if they're on the wrong end of the chaos. Now you can reinforce walls (memories of Rainbow Six Siege), lay down some sandbags or board up windows. The savvier players among the dozens of people in our mass play session actually defended their comrades as they worked on fortifying the landscape's wrecked structures. It's a possible tide-turning feature that can at least curb the efforts of aggressors who just want to blow up all buildings and leave you nowhere to hide. There's room for tension with this fortification system as well, since you can only use the tools in certain spots instead of just anywhere on the map.

I noticed how Battlefield V, especially in the Grand Operations setting, feels more geared toward you working within a team structure and actively thinking about making positive, worthwhile contributions instead of trying to play hero-ball and take on entire squads by yourself or focusing only on kills. For me, the experience didn't feel built for that; every gun I used and every weapon I picked up carried a sense of weight and realism that faster-twitch players might take a little time getting accustomed to. If you're a sniper, know that you have to commit to every shot because you can almost feel the recoil. It's almost fruitless to try and rely on your arcade reflexes to load-miss-reload-aim-fire before a bullet from someone else takes up residence in your skull. I am not the most adept, quick-twitch shooter, so I liked the idea of finding a place within my squad, alternately reviving downed comrades, trying to fortify buildings, offering covering fire and then occasionally nailing an enemy who crossed my sights at the wrong time. To use a basketball analogy, it's like being a point guard – move the ball, contribute, keep the offense flowing and communicate, and then take good shots when they're open.

The revive system led to some intriguing battle dynamics. This time, anyone in your squad has the ability to revive each other, and there's an actual moment during a revive where someone stops, turns you over, looks you in the face and plunges what I assume to be a needle of healing goodness into you. Medics can heal people much faster than anyone else and can also bring you back to full health, while a revival from one of your squadmates gives you enough to stay alive and fight. I found that taking the time to revive someone involved a certain amount of risk — it was a business decision, if you will. Do you take the time out to revive someone and expose yourself longer to possible doom, or do you move on to preserve yourself and keep your squad more intact? There's also a third option: dragging someone to safety and then trying to revive them, an act of in-game heroism I'd only seen and heard about but never got to execute or experience. 

The Frostbite engine looked like it got a workout for Battlefield V, as the game moved and looked superior to Battlefield 1 in practically every instance. This was especially true when we got to see the lighting and weather effects during Day 1 of the Grand Operation in Norway, along with animations of acts, like hopping through windows, feeling buttery smooth compared to the previous chapter. You're more agile in general: In addition to diving through windows, rolling and tossing back grenades, you're also able to sprint in a crouch. I wasn't able to try the whole move set during the demo, but the flexibility I was able to witness helped stave off death if only for a few more moments.

Away from the demo, Battlefield V will also feature War Stories, which will function as the game's single-player element. It's a collection of missions that will tell the stories of WWII through the eyes of several different characters. There's also a four-player co-op campaign called Combined Arms, which, according to what was said during the Battlefield V reveal, will have a self-sustaining mission generator.

Battlefield V promises a variety of enhancements to the Battlefield 1 experience, along with simply a lot of content to keep people entrenched, so to speak, for hours and hours on end. Those who might be looking for a change of pace from the hyperactive chaos that other shooters offer could find plenty to do here. The game comes out Oct. 19.

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