It’s been nearly five weeks since the reveal trailer for Battlefield V was released, and two weeks since a select few gamers (unfortunately not this one) were able to get a hands-on look at EA’s EA Play event in Los Angeles last weekend in the lead up to E3. Despite only a limited number of notable players having access, the community at large is lucky enough to see and hear all about DICE and EA’s newest baby, thanks a plethora of YouTube videos that have been released from the event. Say what you want about EA, they do know how to get the hype for their games going, and having the most popular streamers and YouTubers show off their content is the way to do it. And, in some more good news for BFV fans, the closed alpha build of the game is being released today, June 28th, so we will soon get a bunch of new content coming very, very soon. We already knew the basics, including the WWII setting and an increased player customization feature, but what do we know about Battlefield V now that the best in the business have had a chance to play?
A whole new level of immersion
If the Battlefield series is known for anything, it’s a degree of realism that is unmatched by any other mainstream FPS out there. Partly due to the team-based gameplay mechanics, what really makes Battlefield stand out is the visuals that the Frostbite graphics engine brings to the game. BFV promises to build on the successes of Battlefield 1, the most visually-stunning FPS to date despite being over 18 months old. Improvements include of course more polished graphics, but also better ragdoll physics, with much heavier feeling bodies flying around the battlefield. Another addition is realistic environmental response to the player. As you move through tall grass or vegetation, the leaves will move as your player model does, allowing the potential for you to be spotted even if in brush cover. How player models move will also depend on the environment, kicking their legs up to move through mud or water, holding a weapon high to keep it dry, and DICE has even added new prone positions including lying on your back and continuing to fire. Environmental and building destruction, a key feature of all Battlefield titles, is taken to the next level in BFV, reacting realistically to the location an explosion or vehicle plows through. All these changes will not only add to the immersion of the experience, but also the visual clutter and chaos around the map, meaning a keen eye will make all the difference for the player.
Gameplay changes: the basics
The realism enhancements don’t stop at what the player sees, but also to how the game is played at the individual level. Gone are the days of random bullet spread meaning unreliable accuracy for fast firing weapons. This will be dramatically reduced in favor of a more reliable but harder to control recoil pattern for most weapons. In other words, where you aim, you’ll shoot, given you can actually control it. This was a big complaint from the community that it’s great to see DICE address in this installment. Another complaint DICE tackled was the amount of “bad” spawns players complained about due to the overhead spawn in screen, also known as the “I just spawned on my squadmate who was staring down the barrel of a shotgun” instant spawn death. I’ll be honest, I’ve been close to throwing the controller because of a few really poor spawns. Well, this will now be up to the player to decide, as from the squad spawn screen you will have an over the shoulder look at the teammate you’re about to deploy on. Another Battlefield mainstay, this one less frustrating, is the spotting system, which has also been reworked. In the past, when a player was spotted, their icon was visible to enemy team and followed them around the map, in addition to being visible on the minimap. In BFV, this “follow” spot will still exist in a limited capacity, thanks to the spotting flare gadget, but the main spotting mechanic for the player will be replaced by a static spot. Meaning that, if you see a player duck behind cover and hit the spot button, the only information that your team will get is a spot on that area where they were last seen. More of a, “there’s a guy in that general vicinity” than a big blinking “here he is” neon flashing sign following the player around. I’ll admit this one makes me nervous since I more or less exploit the spotting mechanic in BF1. Looks like a change of strategy is in the cards for this guy…
A theme of the main changes so far is the reliance and necessity of working with your squad. Players can no longer play solo without joining a squad, and they will definitely need one. While everyone is going to be pretty trigger happy with the new WWII weapons (favorites like the STG-44, MP40, and Thompson machine gun are back!), they’ll need to keep near a support player since the ammo carry capacity is reduced. The ability to passively heal is gone too, meaning a medic will have to drop you a med pouch if you don’t want to be running around on 15% the whole match. Squad revives have been reworked, and you won’t need a medic necessarily if you’re downed, any player can revive a teammate. Squadmates can even drag downed players behind cover to get a revive without being fired on. Medics will still revive much quicker than other classes, meaning they are preferential, but if the whole team is playing sniper (believe me, it happens), you won’t have to skip straight to the spawn screen every time you’re downed. Other class rebalances are in place as well, so expect new interactions both with your squad and the enemy.
New game modes
The Battlefield franchise was built on one game mode: Conquest. The control point capture game mode will return, as well as many of the more popular modes from previous titles. There are some new game modes being introduced as well. Combined Arms offers players a chance to work together in a four-player squad to cooperatively take on campaign style missions handed out by a mission generator. It promises to be a mash-up of the multiplayer and single player experiences in BF. The crown jewel of new game modes is Grand Operations, an expansion of the 64-player Operations mode from BF1. In Grand Operations, your team fights through multiple maps and game modes over a few in-game days (day and night cycling through each section of the game). Check out some videos of this mode, it really is a sight to see. Deploying from planes that can be shot down, fighting for and controlling objective points, and the massive multi-day scale make this mode look like a home run, and a great expansion from the Operations mode of BF1.
More to come?
As you can tell from the previous thousand words, Battlefield V is once again pushing the envelope for the modern multiplayer FPS. And to think, we have so much more coming with the closed alpha release! What’s most exciting is that we have until October 19th (or October 16th for early access players) for more tweaks, changes, and new features to be announced. Keep it tuned to the Best Segment You’ve Ever Nerd (Best Blog You’ve Ever Nerd?) for more news, gameplay breakdowns, and everything else Battlefield V. To see the newest gameplay for yourself, well, you won’t get it from me since I’m just a no-name guy with a blog. But you can be sure as soon as I can get my hands on it, I’ll have a comprehensive review.