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Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Battlefield V – A Year One Honest Review

Battlefield V was, at the beginning of its life, a prime example of how not to release any game, let alone an AAA title and was also egging customers to not buy the product! After this, many players actually chose to not purchase the game, resulting in pre-orders down 85%. Since all of this social justice drama kicked off, the game has been in a turbulent state regarding the female soldier with prosthetic arms wielding cricket bats wrapped in barbed wire on the Western Front among other things.

We have had the pleasure of seeing how things panned out. Plenty think that EA should have portrayed women in realistic settings. One example of true accounts of women in combat roles would be women snipers on the Russian front. By all accounts these all women units were widely feared, for they were some of the best snipers in the world.

Even just going down the historical route would have been better than alienating your customers, just to have your 5 minutes parading the fact that Electronic Arts is a champion in the fight for women’s equality. I am all for women being treated equally in our society, but I just don’t believe EA has any place getting involved given that their general track record is one of the very worst in gaming.

Battlefield V was quite possibly the worst release in the history of the series Image of hook arm women here

One year on Battlefield 5 is by all accounts a solid game, both mechanically and also from an immersion standpoint. However you won’t have to look far to find gamers from both console and PC groups slating the game. Right from launch until now the selection of some weapons has been lacking. Mainly pistols, shotguns, medium range medic rifles and AT weapons and launchers. I could live with the lack of anti tank weapon choices on offer if only they were more effective.

The major problems caused by the 5.2 TTK changes have recently been almost totally reversed. This has made some of these issues better, but plenty remain. Assault rifles and light machine guns actually perform how you expect again. They nerfed range so hard before that everything felt like an SMG with rubber bullets. The gunplay has always been pretty solid and so with weapon balance back in a good place the two come together to make for some great gunplay. The reverted TTK has made a big difference, not just in game but also in improving community morale which is a big thing for any multiplayer focused game.

I do feel it is time to mention that the new stripped down weapon customisation system is not a good move, in my opinion. Other than equipping optical sights on your weapon, the rest of the customisation available will not impact weapon performance. Instead you have a perk tree with just two choices for each of 4 stages. Battlefield games years ago had huge options for weapon and vehicle customisation. It is such a shame to throw away a tried and tested part of the franchise for such a lacklustre alternative. This severely limits the ability for players to experiment with different setups to find the best. There simply aren’t enough options in the new system.[vc_gallery type=”nivo” interval=”3″ images=”1080,1084,1083,1082,1081″ img_size=”large”]As always the Frostbite engine delivers both a visual and audio masterpiece from an artistic standpoint. Being a first person shooter, gunplay and infantry combat is a large part of the multiplayer experience. Weapons are visually pleasing with good attention to detail artwise. Audio is another area that the game excels in. Bullets, tanks and planes all have their own unique audio often also providing you with vital battlefield intelligence, that you can utilise to go on and win.

As you dash through the battlefield, making your way from bomb crater to blown up tank, all whilst dodging bullets, grenades and explosions all around, you can rest assured the Frostbite engine will truly immerse you in the experience. Explosions throw debris into the air and what goes up must come down. You really do feel as if debris is falling all around. It is moments like this where you really see the Frostbite engine come into a league of its own. The importance of good audio is often overlooked, but I am pleased to see Battlefield has in this case really taken advantage of it.

As has become a standard and is thus expected from games using the Frostbite engine the maps, character models, weapons and effects all look absolutely fantastic. Everything from the swaying grass, tropical islands with vibrant green bushes and trees, intermingled with the weapons of war left by the Americans, Japanese, British and Germans that are scattered all around. I have to say I am not a huge fan of the vanilla but there are some good ones especially on the breakthrough gamemode. Narvik, Twisted Steel and of course the remake of Operation Metro into the new and renamed Operation Underground are by far my favourite vanilla infantry maps.

The maps are not bad from a gameplay perspective. I think the real problem lies, in that they didn’t always instantly place themselves within the WW2 scope. The latest additions to the map pool such as Iwo Jima and Solomon Islands have become fan favourites and for good reason too.[vc_gallery type=”nivo” interval=”3″ images=”1078,1077,1076,1075,1074,1073,1072,1071,1070,1069″ img_size=”large”]One of the biggest changes to combat is the attrition system. EA describes this new system in the following statement. “We’ve designed this system of Attrition to give squad play and team work even more meaning – but that’s not all. Scarcity of bullets and medical supplies also makes the game more dynamic, encourages you to think on your feet, assess risks, and make choices in whatever situation you’re in.” (https://www.ea.com/en-gb/games/battlefield/battlefield-5/news/attrition-system-battlefield-5)

To really break it down, you no longer spawn in with full ammo loads for anti tank/personal launchers, explosives, mines etc. You can use ammo resupply points or a support class deployed ammo box to resupply while in combat. This system has reduced grenade spam and has added a new strategic element to gameplay overall.

When it comes to game modes, you have all the usual modes you expect to see in a Battlefield game. The full list of game modes are as follows – conquest, breakthrough, grand operations, team deathmatch and squad conquest. By far my favourite mode is breakthrough. This mode is heavily focused on co-ordinated teamplay. You will either be defending or attacking and will need to work together to halt the enemy in their tracks. Hands down, breakthrough has been the most rewarding experience for me in BFV. Conquest is another fan favourite and as always provides plenty of action and team based gameplay. If you want things a little faster paced you can opt for the team deathmatch gamemode.

I think this Battlefield severely suffered from being rushed, as is far too often the case in the AAA scene

Many have said the game appears to lack direction and I have to agree with this view. Only recently has the game been heading in the right direction. Moving on, we must address the concerns players had with women in frontline situations they just wouldn’t have been in. Personally I think they should have either used, some of the known instances of women serving in combat roles during WW2 (the all women air squadron 46th “Taman” Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment or the well documented cases of elite women snipers), or instead they could of gone down the a-historical route. Either way they needed to make it clear which direction they were heading in regard to this.

Review Summary/Overview

It is clear to anyone who looks at this game from an objective standpoint, that it is a title that could have been one of the very best if only things had been managed differently. Maybe even just giving the developers more time would have smoothed out what became a huge public relations disaster for Electronic Arts

Regardless of how you view the numerous issues this title has had, it is hard to deny that at its core it has plenty of good hidden within. Content is still being added and the last 3 months have been some of the very best for Battlefield V.

I would say avoid purchasing this game for full price, given that you don’t have to look far to find an official sale over on Origin. I often see Origin sales drop as low as £13 which is an amazing price for BFV. Overall I think the game has great graphics, audio, solid gunplay and a much improved map pool as of late.

However, for all the good BFV does have to offer, the sheer number of bad decisions and EA/DICE’s inability to listen and make changes based upon what the community wants has negatively impacted BFV.

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