When it all clicks, Battlefield V is an awe-inspiring experience that rivals any modern multiplayer game on the market. The sounds of gunfire over your head, buildings crumbling around you, and powerful war machines loudly declaring their presence can make you forget you’re playing a video game.
Yet, while the multiplayer largely succeeds in delivering a fun experience, it’s marred by a bland single-player and some odd mechanics. This doesn’t make Battlefield V a bad game, but one that often feels at odds with the franchises’ unique style and gameplay.
Like the previous entry, Battlefield V offers three separate campaigns known as “War Stories.” These typically last between 2-4 hours depending on your general skill level and playstyle. Each of these three campaigns focuses on a different person during the war and narrows in on how they perceive this conflict.
They are all generally well written and voiced, but Battlefield V falls into the same issues as its predecessor. We are given just enough time to care about our main protagonist, but then the credits roll and it’s onto the next campaign. DICE is clearly attempting to tell a slower more emotional story – especially with the Norwegian campaign – but it doesn’t have the time to do it.
The general gameplay for the single-player is mixed, with the various set-piece moments acting as the highlights for all three campaign missions. However, these campaigns feel completely disconnected from what Battlefield is generally about. Instead of making the player feel like one part in a larger machine, the single-player stories turn the user into a WWII Rambo. It’s jarring and does a pretty poor job at setting up the player for the online mode.
Of course, this is just an appetizer to the 64 player chaos that is Battlefield V’s multiplayer. Taking cues from previous iterations, users can assume the role of four classes – Assault, Medic, Support, and Recon – each of which has their own unique arsenal. Support players can utilize light machine guns that tear through cover and suppress targets while the Recon class deals death at a distance with long-range rifles.
All of the classes feel expertly balanced, with no single group dominating the other. Different situations call for different classes, forcing the player to adapt and understand the changing landscape. Weapons can also be customized which is a nice touch, especially when you find that one gun that perfectly clicks with your playstyle. Thankfully, these cosmetic and general changes unlock the more you use the weapon, rewarding players for mastering their firearm of choice.
Customizing a weapon’s performance is a bit different, as every gun has its own unique skill tree. As you level up your weapon, you can spend the in-game currency to purchase one of two upgrades in each tier. Since it’s tied directly to the gun’s level, it requires the player to actually use this firearm in combat. The buffs offered range from a faster aim down sights time, better recoil control, and quicker reload speeds.
Reviving teammates has received a radical change that adds a new layer of depth to combat. Instead of just relegating reviving to the Medic class, players in the same squad can pick one another up after sustaining a fatal blow. This forces users to weigh the risks of running out to save someone or remain in cover so they can spawn on them. It’s a nice alteration that reinforces the squad first mentality Battlefield is known for.
However, my favorite addition is the Fortification mechanic, which allows users to construct cover in pre-determined locations. When activated, players can see where fortifications can be placed and simply have to fill up a progress bar for the cover to be instantly constructed. While you have no direct control over what cover is made, all of the options can shape firefights or entire matches.
Boarding up windows prevents snipers from taking cheeky potshots at enemies while sandbags offer temporary cover. Trenches can also be dug, allowing your team better maneuverability in fields or other open areas. Building fortifications reward points, making it advantageous for users to stop and quickly reinforce a specific control point. Players can even set down AA guns or other emplacements, allowing users to rapidly turn the tide of a losing battle. It’s an elegant system that doesn’t slow down the pace of battle but instead makes it far more exhilarating.
The problem is you may end up staring at the sky bleeding out more than at your foes. Dying comes much faster in Battlefield V, as enemies can rapidly dispatch you with little effort. Even though this makes some firefights tense, it can also produce some frustrating experiences. Previous Battlefield titles offered a slower more methodical style of gameplay that really emphasized the moment to moment combat.
In contrast, Battlefield V moves at breakneck speeds with armies funneling into big battles around key chokepoints. This is equal parts frustrating and fun since you there are a lot of times where you’ll just spawn and instantly die. While it’s important to know when to spawn on your squadmates, Battlefield V feels especially oppressive at times.
It doesn’t help that the framerate dips a lot, even on PC. With the flow of battle sped up, it’s critical that there are no hitches when you’re trying to get into cover. This is not the case and it gives Battlefield V an unpolished appearance. Visually the maps are striking, but various bugs and technical mishaps can sour one’s experience.
Finally, Battlefield V offers a nice handful of maps and modes – with the multi-stage Grand Operations being the centerpiece. Just like in Battlefield 1, this mode is an absolute standout and showcases Battlefield V’s greatest strengths. Maps also feel expertly designed, with no side having a clear advantage over the other. Since virtually everything can be destroyed, watching the map evolve from pristine villages to ruin and rumble has a sobering effect.
Battlefield V Takeaways
Battlefield V is not the best in the franchise, but it’s a respectable entry for those who are longtime fans. Even with the shorter time to kill, battles are still intense and often mesmerizing. Despite some technical issues and a generally underwhelming single-player experience, Battlefield V is the logical evolution of Battlefield 1’s multiplayer. DICE has once again delivered a stellar experience that stands out amongst a growing online market.
Our Battlefield V Review Score: 8/10