When we reviewed Battlefield 1 in 2016, one of the things that stood out was how it seemed like after staying stagnant for a couple of years, the world of Battlefield finally looked ready to take some steps forward. Unfortunately, the latest entry in the series – Battlefield V – doesn’t seem to keep that in mind. While the game has been for some time (and thus, our review a bit late), the latest Battlefield to land has been anything but embraced. After a rocky announcement and an even rockier release, things are looking up for the game, but too much has kept them from achieving their primary goal of coming out of the gates strong.
After giving us a taste of World War I via Battlefield 1, Battlefield V takes us back into the trenches of World War II, and things very much feel like a lot of the same. Much like the previous game, BFV features War Stories, a small collection of single-player experiences for people to jump into if they want to experience some sort of story. Once again, the War Stories focus on different people during different times of World War II, and unlike Battlefield 1, the War Stories in Battlefield V don’t really live up to the hype. Whereas Battlefield 1 took us to some amazing locations and presented some truly heart-wrenching stories, the tales in Battlefield V often feel like boilerplate WWII stories, and most often filled with lots of “go here, kill Nazis, and move on” moments.
Of course, the single-player isn’t usually what draws Battlefield fans in, and Battlefield V is no different, including when it comes to bugs. The multiplayer in Battlefield is often filled with some iffy happenings, including lag, collision detection issues, and getting stuck in various menus. However, Battlefield V seemed to take many of these issues and double them, and in my initial time with the game, I encountered a ton of bugs that plagued me. It wasn’t all bad, however, as the game did bring in some innovative features to keep things fresh.
One of these additions, fortifications, allows players to channel their inner WWII soldier and dig trenches, construct walls, and build a number of other objects for their squad to utilize. Despite the sheer size of the maps (some of them are huge), you can still build just about anywhere, although there are some limitations to where you can drop a wall. It isn’t the most perfect system but certainly does add a great mix to the game, and is something that you see players using a lot in an effort to stay alive.
While the multiplayer may have its issues, it isn’t terrible at all. With the addition of Grand Operations (a tweak on the Operations mode from Battlefield 1) and the ridiculous amount of customization options given to you, there’s actually a lot to keep you playing. Of course, even the good has its dose of bad, as players have already begun to complain about the fact that microtransactions will begin infiltrating the game in the future. Still, players can earn the in-game currency (dubbed Company Coins) by playing the game, but it is a bit disappointing to see even Battlefield jump into the microtransaction ring, no matter how small.
When Battlefield V was initially announced, one of the most anticipated game modes was Firestorm, the games battle royale mode that planned to go toe-to-toe with Call of Duty’s Blackout and the ridiculously popular Fortnite. Unfortunately, that mode didn’t make the cut for launch, and is still not anywhere to be found, as it’s not slated to release until March. Even though the game is packed with single and multi-player options, the video game world is very much captivated by the battle royale craze, so for Battlefield V to not have one at all until March seems like a huge overstep.
Despite some of the problems, Battlefield V is definitely a marvel to behold. Somehow, the team at DICE continue to find a way to improve the look of every game they work on, and this one is no different. Thanks to the various locales of the game, we’re treated to some serious eye candy of sun covered valleys, frontlines that are littered with debris and burning wreckage, and even dynamic weather littered throughout the game. Also getting an improvement is the sound design, which DICE has also become known for. You can be sure that you’ll hear all the bullets whizzing by you, the shouts of enemy soldiers, and the buzz of planes flying overhead.
By now, you either know whether or not you like Battlefield V. Realistically, you should know whether or not you like it regardless, as fans of the franchise seem dug in on their views no matter if the game is great or not. Where Battlefield 1 managed to reinvent some aspects of the franchise, Battlefield V seems like a step back in some regards. The campaign isn’t as solid, the multiplayer feels unbalanced and not completely finished in some regards. Still, thanks to some truly impressive visuals and a true eye for detail, Battlefield V has the potential to become a great game with some changes in the future.
This review was based on a digital review copy of Battlefield V for PlayStation 4 provided by EA.