2016’s Battlefield 1 switched the action from the modern combat setting that has been the focus of the series since Battlefield 2, to the First World War. With Battlefield V the series comes full circle, returning to the conflict of the Second World War.
As usual, Battlefield V has both single-player and multiplayer components. Always seeming to play second fiddle of Call of Duty’s campaign, Battlefield’s single-player modes tend to deal with the human toll of war. Whilst the action is there, war is never glorified.
As with Battlefield 1, the multiplayer aspect has been complimented by a series of standalone War Stores. These mini-campaigns offer a personal snapshot of conflict from the eyes of the protagonists.
For Battlefield V, we have three War Stories with the promise of a fourth later this month. The game starts, however, with an interactive intro sequence showcasing the different theatres of war in the game, set to narration from British actor, Mark Strong.
The first of the stories, Under No Flag, follows Billy Bridger, a recent recruit to the fledgling Special Boat Squadron – the template to which all the world’s Special Forces is based upon. This sequence stars UK hard-nut actor, Craig Fairbrass, who is no stranger to the genre, having provided voices in many Call of Duty games, including that of Ghost in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. The two-man mission has you taking out German facilities and fending off assaults amongst the desert ruins of North Africa.
Next, it’s on to occupied Norway for snowy tale, Nordlys, following Solveig Fia Bjornstad, a Norwegian resistance fighter waging a one-woman guerrilla war against the Nazis trying to both save her captured mother and disrupt the supply of heavy water essential to German nuclear weapon research.
The third and final mini-campaign available at launch, Tirailleur, features the Senegalese soldiers of the French Colonial Forces as they fight to liberate a country that most have never seen before. This story is more of an all-out battle than the others as new recruit, Deme Cisse fights alongside his fellow Tirailleurs though the forests of southern France and on to a German-occupied chateau. It’s a particularly touching tale as not only did the Tirailleur have to deal with the Germans, they also had to deal with prejudice from the very people who they were fighting for.
I’ve been fortunate enough to play Battlefield V in an extremely powerful Asus-based PC, equipped with one of the new Nvidia RTX 2080ti GPUs. Not only does the game run at a solid sixty-frames-per-second at 1440p, Battlefield V is the first game to make use of the Direct X ray-tracing features of the RTX GPUs. All the reflections in the game are rendered this way creating realistic visuals without the usual graphical trickery.
The multiplayer game is pretty much unmatched right now. Huge levels bring about epic conflicts. Foot-soldiers, tanks and aircraft all compete across maps ranging from the open fields of France to the streets of Rotterdam.
As it the norm, multiplayer is a career mode with you progress earning XP unlocking both class and vehicle perks. Player choose from Assault, Medic, Support and Recon classes, which can be customised in both appearance, cloths and even gender. Weapons and add-ons, like scopes and grips, can be swapped out for each of the classes, giving your virtual squad a unique look. You can also customise vehicles so that, when you spawn in them, they are unique to you.
Progressing in the game earns credits that can be spent on extra items and gear. Loot boxes are also earnt in-game in the form of Shipments which, when opened, add extra weapons, attachments and gear to you stash. Whilst this looks to be begging for it, happily, there’s not a microtransaction in sight right now.
Battlefield maps are traditionally huge and peppered with land, sea and air vehicles. Battlefield V is no exception. These huge maps and servers accommodating 32 and 64 players turn favourites such as Domination and Team Deathmatch into epic conflicts.
Tanks thunder across maps, whilst fighters scream overhead and infantry charge at the enemy. The action is frantic and fun.
Gameplay-wise, Battlefield V feels very similar to Battlefield 1. I felt that the maps looked better this time around, if nothing else because the French countryside looks better than the burnt-out war zone of no man’s land.
The Frostbite Engine brings its A-game to the party, not only supplying some gorgeous graphics, but also some great destructible scenery. Take on the sniper in the tower, as well as the tower itself with a well-placed tank shell is something special.
Battlefield V is, first and foremost, an excellent multi-layer combat shooter, but with a series of excellently chosen mini-campaigns highlighting the efforts of some of WW2’s unsung heroes. The game is beautifully realised, looking particularly amazing on PC. Another great Battlefield game that should appeal to fans and newcomers, alike.