We’re wrapping up 2018 and you know what that means – the holiday release blitz! We’ve got a new Hitman, new Pokemon, new Smash is on the way and, of course, we’ve got first-person shooters to spare. Last month brought us the yearly megahit Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and now we’ve got its most direct competitor in EA’s Battlefield V to check out.
Battlefield V is essentially a direct sequel to Battlefield One. No, we’re not going to talk about how that numbering scheme works. As a sequel, however, it’s not surprising this title shifts events over to World War II as opposed to Battlefield One’s numerically appropriate WWI. You’ve got a few short single-player campaigns, several takes on multiplayer and a whole lot of promise that hasn’t really come into itself yet. This is actually important as sizable chunks of Battlefield V just aren’t available yet, in particular the much-anticipated new Battle Royale mode Firestorm which is due to launch in 2019.
Unlike the latest COD (Blops 4) there’s actually a real campaign here, though more WWII-ified takes on One’s vignettes, meaning they’re actually fairly solid but short for what they are. Hey, at least they exist! Multiplayer is, well, more FPS multiplayer, which given the pedigree means best-in-class. Pick a class, get sorted into a squad, stick together to ensure you get revived when you’re shot and get to blasting away. Since you’ll need a Medic or Support class to heal and reload, those tend to feel a bit more satisfying to play than a combat-focused class.
You’ve also got various weapons to choose from depending on your class, various vehicles to drive depending on what’s available and various maps to do your shooting and driving in. That’s all combined with various modes, like the new objective-focused Grand Operations. There’s even a co-op mode! Well, theoretically…like so much of Battlefield V it’s not in yet.
Gameplay feels pretty solid in action. Weapons have a nice, solid kick and feel great to shoot (I’m particularly fond of the bipod-equipped LMGs) while the vehicles are an absolute pleasure once you’ve died the requisite few times necessary to figure out what you’re doing. Still, I generally found myself longing for the greater variety and more unusual aesthetics of similar recent shooter Black Ops 4; in particular, I’d have loved if Firestorm had launched with Battlefield V given how much I enjoyed Blops 4’s Blackout. Generally speaking, what we’ve got here is a slightly more team-focused WWII take on the usual console FPS cycle of “serve as meat for veterans to level on until you get a handle on how to get your own kills, then repeat forever.” It’s fun if not spectacular.
What is spectacular, on the other hand, is Battlefield V’s presentation. It’s gorgeous! Look at those graphics! Dig up some videos, feast your eyes! Play it using GeForce RTX 2080 if you’ve got the game on PC as it’s quite spectacular, though marquee ray tracing is a drain on system resources – but those reflections though. On higher-end consoles like the PS4 Pro and (especially) Xbox One X you don’t get fancy ray tracing but you do get a nice, solid graphical display that runs super smoothly. What more could you want? Well, mouse and keyboard controls, since as usual playing an FPS on a gamepad hurts, but aside from that you’re golden.
Here’s the thing: Battlefield V is pretty alright as it stands. But it’s being offered at full price with an enormous chunk of new content only being promised as post-launch DLC.Therein lay the dilemma: if you’re not hurting too badly for an experience that innovates on the better elements we saw in Battlefield One, then go nuts; you’ll have a good time with Battlefield V. On the other hand, if entirely new modes and new experiences are essential for your enjoyment of a new game, you might want to wait a few months. There should be more content and chances are you’ll be able to pick up Battlefield V for a bit less than MSRP.