The Battlefield V beta has opened up to the public today, but we’ve already been playing the closed beta for a couple of days before today, giving us enough time to make our early judgements of DICE’s latest entry into the Battlefield series. The beta gives us the opportunity to play classic Conquest on two maps, Rotterdam or Arctic Fjord, or experience the first two days of a Grand Operation in Narvik, Norway (which also includes the Arctic Fjord map).
Rotterdam in particular is gorgeous. It’s a bright, vibrant, beautiful recreation of Rotterdam during World War 2 and I’ll make an early call that it will stand as one of the most popular maps in the game. The maps based in Narvik are equally aesthetically pleasing, as players fight in a snow-encompassed Norway.
The first feeling you’ll get when you jump into a game is familiarity. This is still very much a Battlefield game. The HUD, the gunplay, the movement (which does feel slightly smoother), the sound effects – this is classic Battlefield as we know and love it, but with some slight changes.
First of all is the class system. Classes include Assault, Support, Medic and Recon – so far, so familiar, right? But now we have Combat Roles. Combat Roles allow players to specialize their classes through ways of a skill tree to make them more adept at a particular role, such as focusing your Assault class to be better equipped to deal with vehicles over infantry. This will allow players to tailor their classes more intricately to better suit their playstyle.
Ammo is really sparse and it won’t take long before you run out
Ammo is really sparse and it won’t take long before you run out, I can’t tell you the amount of times I ran out of bullets mid-fight and had to quickly pull out my pistol to finish my enemy off; it’s an adrenaline rush and although some people may find it frustrating I think that making players keep a closer eye on their ammunition adds another dimension to the game. Luckily, if you do run out, there are ammo and health stations dotted around the maps where you can refill if you need to. Alternatively, if one of your squadmates is playing Support they can still toss you some ammo.
Speaking of squads, they will be more important than ever in Battlefield V. As well as the fact that you’ll be relying on your squadmates heavily for healing and ammunition, squadmates can now revive any other downed squadmates, even if they aren’t playing a Medic. Reviving a squadmate puts you in a short animation which takes a few seconds to complete, so it’s important that you make sure the area is safe before attempting to revive someone. It’s another great change and one that encourages you to stick together with your squad. The downside I have found with this is that, well, not many people do stick together and play as a squad. I have had a few instances of my squadmates literally running over me while I lay there appealing for them to revive me. This is a player issue and not a game issue, but it may prove that the squad system only really comes into its own if you play with friends.
Destruction is back and turned up to 11. On Rotterdam, full building fronts collapse in front of you and in Arctic Fjord entire buildings break down into rubble. As previously announced by DICE, every player has a tool kit which they can use to fortify damaged buildings – it’s another interesting new change that gives us a new dynamic that we haven’t experienced before in Battlefield and it’s one that I have found works well.
The beta also gives us a small glimpse of the much-promoted “Tides of War”
The beta also gives us a small glimpse of the much-promoted “Tides of War” feature, which appears to be a small set of challenges for the player to complete in-game rather than a new mode; these challenges include things such as “Capture 5 points on Arctic Fjord” or “Win a Grand Operation”. Completing these challenges grants the player XP and rewards. DICE have said that this is just a small taste of what Tides of War will offer, and that Tides of War will be an evolving journey featuring a new narrative every few months. Most excitingly, we know that Tides of War will bring with it new maps, all of which will be completely free to all players, thus keeping the player base from being split.
From a technical standpoint, the beta did have some initial stability issues which did seem to be ironed out quite quickly, it has been a smooth experience since then. It’s important that DICE get any stability issues completely sorted out ready for launch to avoid another disastrous launch like Battlefield 4 had.
From what I’ve seen so far, Battlefield V will do little to change the opinions of people who haven’t enjoyed Battlefield before. Battlefield fans should love it, Battlefield haters should hate it. This looks, feels and plays like every Battlefield that has come before it, to the point where it could easily be argued that this is a World War 2 reskin, but the small tweaks and changes lead to—in my opinion—a more polished, enjoyable, and immersive experience. If we add to that the fact that all players will have access to all of the new content for free, and DICE could well have a winner on their hands with Battlefield V.