Later this fall, DICE and Battlefield are returning to the era where it all began 16 years ago. The beloved franchise is coming full circle by going back to World War II, but this time, it's all about the untold stories and the unsung heroes we've never before seen represented in video game form. Battlefield V, which either stands for "Five" or "Victory" (we still haven't figured which, to be honest), was revealed last month when EA showcased an extravagant, bombastic and highly scripted gameplay trailer that really turned a lot of people off. It was full of crazy explosions, tanks driving into buildings, a very bad-ass woman wearing a prosthetic arm, and the player characters were sliding down a hill while shooting down a plane. All of this happened in a matter of ten seconds or something, and that's fine and all, but we felt like we were watching a remake of Dunkirk written and directed by Michael Bay.
Actually, it kind of felt like DICE wanted to attract the attention of every single person out there still stuck in the vivid and crazy world of Fortnite, because it sure didn't look like anything relating to Battlefield. Luckily, that little trailer did not do the game justice, because after playing Battleifled V during E3 2018, not only are we convinced this next chapter is the kind of Battlefield we all know and love, we also think it's going to be the most immersive and stunning one to date.
While the game is still all about the traditional class-based, large-scale warfare that the series is known for, what really made an impression on us was the changes to the player movement. As soon as we spawned on the map of Narvik in the snowy Norwegian mountains and started running towards our objective with our squad, everything felt a lot smoother than in previous entries. Just sprinting down a hill, pressing the crouch button and sliding down and going prone while shooting at the same time felt incredibly satisfying, and not as stiff as similar actions in other games. Whether you're stumbling in the mud, getting knocked over by a forceful explosion, diving through a window on the second floor or bleeding out on the field and crying out for your teammates, Battlefield V both looks and feels fluid in action - which in turn weaves some hauntingly down-to-earth combat.
So while "immersion" is a big word developers like to throw around, DICE has always been able to back up their claim. And Battlefield V is no exception it would seem. The sound design and the environments play an equally important part here, with echoing gunshots alarming you of nearby battles and the frozen Norwegian winds blocking your vision at times. The environmental destructibility has been improved as well, and if you want to see just how crazy things can get, you need only watch a gameplay clip of someone driving a tank through a building and seeing the entire thing crumble like a house of cards. After an intense battle in Narvik, the entire village can be reduced to rubble. Nothing is scripted, and the debris can even hurt players too close to the chaos. That being said, Battlefield V won't only feature destruction, but also construction. Players can fortify different areas on the map with sandbags, ammo boxes and the like. During our time with the game, it felt like we were really there in Narvik, fighting in a real war to retake the bay from the Germans.
This sensation of actual warfare carried over to the brand new game mode in Battlefield V called Grand Operations, which essentially are four multiplayer matches thrown together into one narrative, taking place over the course of four days. Every day offers a new objective for each side, and new areas on the map to focus on. The siege of Narvik started out with the Allied forces jumping out of aeroplanes in a game mode called Airborne. All players on the team get to decide themselves where to land, and while touching down close to the objective might seem like a great idea at first, one might just end up being target practice for the German snipers on the ground. The British then had to search for explosives on the map to blow up German anti-air cannons, which in turn could be used by the Axis to destroy the aeroplanes carrying the paratrooper reinforcements.
The outcome of Day 1 decides what kind of advantages either team would carry with them into the second day of fighting. And just like that the match continued with the same players, with everyone keeping their stats but this time fighting over new areas in a new game mode. The Grand Operations can end earlier than the fourth day obviously, but if you do make it all the way to the end everyone will have to make a last stand with a few remaining supplies and low ammunition. It's like sudden death, but way cooler. DICE also revealed that they're working on a Battle Royale mode for Battlefield V, but they weren't ready to show it off at E3. That being said, the series is known for its big maps and tactical gameplay, so it's something we're definitely looking forward to seeing more of closer to the game's release on October 16.
If you're still not convinced that DICE is stepping up its game, wait until you hear this: Battlefield V won't have a premium pass. Instead, every single piece of downloadable content will be made available for free. This way the game's community will be unified by having access to the same content at all times. It's about time, if you ask us. Other welcome changes are even more of an emphasis on squad play, with squadmates being able to drag each other into safety when they're downed, and the removal of random bullet deviation from Battlefield 1. So while Battlefield V might look a lot like it's predecessor, this feels like a brand new experience thanks to smooth movement and some welcome smaller tweaks. We're glad DICE is focusing on these kinds of things since the core Battlefield experience is already well-established and probably shouldn't stray too far from the beaten path. It all adds up to a visceral World War II we're looking forward to experiencing later this fall.