We shall fight on the beaches… over and over again
The heavy, rapid thud of our assault rifle as we take down some unwitting soldiers poking up above cover; scrunching forward through snow as we stay low to the ground; the drone of planes overhead punctuated by intermittent machine gun fire; and the whirr of treads as a tank crashes through a nearby building – friend or foe? Perverse as it may be, all that’s the sound of home. To clear a capture point we lob a grenade into a firststorey window. It explodes and the interior of the building crumbles piece by piece around the cadavers of the enemies within, the collected snow sliding off the roof as it collapses outward. With enemy soldiers cleared for now we rally and capture the point.
That’s a story of success. But across these huge multiplayer maps tons of these little micro-stories are playing out at once. As we capture this point, just across the way comrades are beaten back. There’s a reason the game’s called Battlefield, after all. Check your quickfire deathmatches at the door – conflict in Battlefield V is epic, sprawling, chaotic, and always, always deadly. Lone wolves will get the team killed, and squad play is the key to that big “V” victory.
TURNING THE TIDES
Our latest hands-on with Battlefield V is played as the game should be – with heaps of other people running amok thanks to the shooter’s Tides Of War mode. With 64 players in a game, it’s the sort of
“CONFLICT IS EPIC, SPRAWLING, CHAOTIC, AND ALWAYS DEADLY.”
thing you can only truly experience alongside many fellow online soldiers, where you’ll make quick friendships with your comrades, and also forge heated rivalries as you contest points.
The Dutch city of Rotterdam was devastated during World War 2, but here we play through it early in the conflict while it’s still fairly intact, navigating wide roads and elevated train tracks, ducking through narrow alleys, and weaving between open buildings around the port. The huge number of different routes through the streets can easily see your team de-synergise if you’re not careful. There’s a whole new sense of tangibility and physicality to how you scramble over the maps, fighting to control critical points in the city.
We get to play around with each of the four main classes: Assault, Recon, Medic, and Support, with one combat role to try for each (though in the full game, each main class will have several possible roles). With each class having different loadouts and traits, getting a good spread in your team is a must. Assault’s Grenadier role is perfect for flushing out points, Recon’s Sniper is great for picking off advancing troops, and the Field Medic can use Syringe Revive to recover any fallen ally (regular troops can revive their squadmates – squads are sub-teams of four players that can act as a unit, and
provide moving spawn points).
NORWAY AROUND IT
The Arctic Fjord map, set in Norway, also impresses for other reasons. The snowy setting couldn’t be more different to Rotterdam’s port city streets, not just because we have to battle the Scandinavian elements, but because it’s a wider map that seems to lead to some stricter laning and tighter squad play as a result. Even when you play in Conquest mode, aiming to control key points just like in Rotterdam, it feels quite different. But the Fjords are also the setting for a taste of the new Grand Operations mode – where, in the full game, four in-game day mini-matches roll into the next from one another.
In our two-day taster of the Fall Of Norway operation, we play through Airborne, which sees paratroopers on a night-time raid escorting explosives to destroy anti-aircraft guns, and then a match of Breakthrough the morning after, where two points at a time have to be captured and held before moving on to the next segment of the map, as territory is battled for fiercely and big pushes are made to gain ground.
Things aren’t going too well for a while as we tussle for control over the final two capture points. It’s a bit of a stalemate, and both teams are nearly neck-and-neck with revives as the clock ticks down. But then we hop in a tank – a big British Churchill Crocodile – and all our cares melt away as we trundle down the hill to the final point, rag-dolling enemies out the way with massive explosions. Our tank is taken down, of course, but it provides just enough of a window for us to get that last capture. And that’s just day two of the Grand Operation – with two more days to play through, who knows how it will progress from here? As usual, there’s going to be plenty of content to chew on in Battlefield V, but the true war stories are going to be the ones we make ourselves along the way.