“It’s a cinematic start to my journey. And then Skratman joins Discord”
Low expectations are met in BATTLEFIELD V
It’s with a sense of dread that I fire up the Battlefield V beta for the first time, the sound of Battlefield 1’ s Sopwith Camel biplanes still buzzing in my ears. As the game opens, the camera slowly pans around a beautifully detailed soldier and the game’s melodic music sets a sombre tone. He’s a man moulded by war, every pore on his face tells his horrific story, and now I’m about to step into his boots. It’s a stirring cinematic start to my journey. And then Skratman joins Discord.
“Strike, how do I invite you into this?” he shouts, as I’m immediately yanked out of sentimentality mode. I haven’t seen Skratman online for months, but BFV’s brought him out of hiding. He’s a barman from Maidstone, and was an amazing Blackhawk Pilot back in Battlefield: Bad Company 2.
“I don’t know mate, I’m confused already,” I reply.
The next ten minutes are spent bumbling around through menu after menu and reminiscing about how good Bad Company 2 was. Finally, we manage to join each other.
We’re playing the snowy Narvik map in Conquest mode, and I select the last of the four icons. It looks like a steering wheel, so I presume it’s a sniper class. This is my first time playing so I’m hanging back.
I pop off a few shots towards a railway bridge and break my own rule immediately by getting drawn in towards it. As I get closer there’s a ‘ping’ on my helmet and I’m left reeling in agony on the floor like I’ve just slipped on a banana peel. But this is a serious historical war game, and rationing meant there definitely weren’t any bananas during the Second World War.
As Skratman leads the way, I spot a couple of enemies in the ruins ahead and spam ‘Q’ to spot them, prompting my soldier to shout ‘Enemies over there!’ in a lady’s voice. As we move forward I find one of the Germans I spotted lying on a pile of coal and I see him off with the last round in the chamber. The meaty shot combines with the great reloading animation sounds to make the kill feel satisfying.
We find ourselves capturing an objective within a group of houses on the shoreline, and soon realize more Germans are coming. I only started with what seemed like a dozen bullets, but luckily there’s ammo nearby. “Watch this,” says Skratman, as he conjures sandbags out of thin air. “It’s Battle-craft,” he says, and we laugh at the pointlessness of it. I try to remember the last time I wanted to build sandcastles in Battlefield, but draw a blank. This monkeying around gets us both killed.
After a few rounds it’s clear that the menus, the UI and the overall feeling of the game are similar to BF1, making the BFV beta feel like an ambitious DLC pack. This kind of Battlefield is here to stay, but damn I miss those helicopters.
I’m left reeling in agony on the floor like I’ve just slipped on a banana peel
“Hey Fritz, catch the Prosecco.”
Alright, I really need to upgrade my GPU.