The opening moments of Battlefield V show off a game at odds with itself. It begins with a montage of skirmishes on land and air that wax eloquent on the atrocities of World War 2 and its impact on humanity to the point of repulsion, marrying it with slick gameplay and production values in an attempt to keep you playing. While the Battlefield series has had a serious tone since its inception, with detours into cartoonish and dark humour with Battlefield Heroes and Battlefield Bad Company respectively, Battlefield V doubles down with dollops of stoic story-telling. So much so that it loses its impact and comes across as hollow. And that's in just the first five minutes.
Hours later after completing Battlefield V's single-player campaign, the initial impressions still stick. It's structured similar to Battlefield 1 with the action spread across separate adventures with different protagonists rather than a single, traditional campaign.
Some of these have some interesting gameplay sections, such as skiing through Nazi-occupied Norway stealthily slaying enemies as you uncover a sinister plot, but by and large they feel out of place in a Battlefield game despite an exceeding level of visual fidelity. Only one of the three missions feels like you're actually taking part in a large scale war with the others emphasising on the game's stealth mechanics that don't have any use outside of the single-player. It doesn't match some of Battlefield 1's missions such as teaming up with Lawrence of Arabia against the Ottoman war machine including an armoured train.
Battlefield V's multiplayer fares a bit better with a larger focus on squad-based play. Health doesn't regenerate beyond a certain point if you don't have a medic on hand to pass you a health pack and ammo is scarce, making support class players more valuable than they've ever been. Throw in responsive controls and an assortment of modes, and you have a tight multiplayer experience.
Its in multiplayer where developer Dice seems to have brought its A game with large scale conflicts being par for the course with 26 vehicles to wreak havoc in. The usual standbys such as Team Death match and Conquest are back, but much like Operations in Battlefield 1, Grand Operations is Battlefield V at its best. It takes place in actual World War 2 settings and stitches the action across multiple maps. One team is tasked with defending a location while the other has to complete a set list of objectives. The loser is penalised with fewer resources and respawns when the action shifts to another map and it culminates in a desperate fight to the finish with the final round leaving players with a single life and limited ammo. All of this results in an entertaining tug of war to the finish that few multiplayer experiences can match.
The progressing through multiplayer leaves you with cosmetic upgrades to your gear and weapons along with mild improvements to the recoil on guns which keep things level between newcomers and expert players, unlike Star Wars Battlefront 2's early days that rewarded those willing to spend more money than others on in-game boosts.
However, Battlefield V's multiplayer still manages to feel incomplete. For one, the much touted battle royale mode, Firestorm, isn't out till March next year. This is disappointing and misleading when you consider publisher EA's statements around the game during its announcement appeared to make Firestorm available closer to release than it really is. Secondly, while the core multiplayer experience is fun, it's filled to the brim with technical issues ranging from disconnections, menus freezing, and disappearing weapons from the selection screen which haven't been fully resolved despite developer Dice issuing a patch for the game recently. Tragic when Battlefield V looks as good as it does with gorgeous weather effects, highly-detailed weapons, and responsive gunplay.
If you're looking for a fun military shooter with a decent single-player campaign, you're better off checking out past Battlefield or Call of Duty games. Battlefield V's tone-deaf single-player, missing multiplayer mode, and bugs make it feel like an early access game instead of a full priced Rs. 4,699 title ($60 in the US).
Rating (out of 10): 6
Gadgets 360 played a retail copy of Battlefield V on Xbox One X. The game is available now on PS4 and Xbox One for Rs. 4,699, and on PC for Rs. 3,499 ($60 in the US).
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