Some six months ago, DICE unveiled their version of a modern WWII game. Unlike the WWII games of the past, Battlefield V would focus on the lesser known battles of the war and do away with season pass DLCs. To sustain the game, DICE opted to implement the games as a service microtransaction model. Conceptually, this could’ve resulted in the ultimate WWII game. DICE would be free to add entire theaters of the war to Battlefield V over time, and no one would have to pay an extra cent. On launch, it was certainly promising. If nothing else, Battlefield V’s gunplay and environmental destruction mechanics are virtually unmatched by its competitors.
Since launch, Battlefield V has received some extra content. The problem is that it likely wasn’t what people were hoping for. To this day, the game hasn’t even come close to touching the Eastern Front or the Pacific Theater. There aren’t any new factions either. Instead, DICE released a unique singleplayer campaign chapter called The Last Tiger, a battle royale mode, a co-op mode, a few new maps, and a few new guns and vehicles. While development of new features takes time, things are seemingly progressing slower than expected.
In all fairness though, the post launch singleplayer campaign chapter is amazing. The Last Tiger tells the tale of a German tank crew during the final stages of the war as Allied forces close in on Germany. The story is exceptionally well-written, and arguably one of the most memorable and poignant parts of any WWII game ever. The only fault with the chapter is that it is short. DICE could’ve really broken new ground if they followed the crew of The Last Tiger through the whole war, but it is quite understandable that they didn’t for obvious reasons. If DICE were working on more campaign chapters of similar quality, then it seems unlikely that many would complain. The co-op mode also exists, for those who want that sort of thing. It’s not as good as The Last Tiger and is frankly somewhat forgettable. Needless to say, co-op is decidedly not the main draw of Battlefield V.
On the multiplayer side of things, the live service microtransaction model has proven to be disappointing and not for the usual reasons. It took months for microtransactions to be implemented, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, this was mostly because DICE was busy doing who knows what else. From an outside perspective, it didn’t feel like they were working on maps. Or for that matter, factions. The new guns and vehicles are fun enough to use and relatively easy to unlock, but they’re not exactly going to be enough to keep people interested if they’re fighting on the same maps for months. That being said, the new carbines and tank destroyers are quite viable and enable different playstyles. In regards to implementing the new weapons and vehicles, DICE did an excellent job.
With such a lack of meaningful updates, logic would dictate that DICE spent most of the time on the battle royale mode. Dubbed Firestorm, it’s an interesting take on the genre, that much is undeniable. The inclusion of vehicles is obviously the main draw of what is essentially Battlefield: Battle Royale. Other than that, Firestorm plays exactly like how you would expect a standard battle royale game to play like. Predictably, there’s no way that Firestorm is outright competing with the established battle royale titans, but it doesn’t really need to. It works and it’s there for those who want to play such a thing. If you don’t, you’re not missing anything particularly special.
In some ways, Battlefield V feels like the result of having too many chefs in a kitchen. Everything starts out great, the main course (core gameplay mechanics) is fantastic. Then, out of nowhere, you’re getting some free experimental fusion dishes. You may not have asked for these things, but they’re acceptable. Why complain right? But now you’re getting antsy because you want a specific thing like a dessert or drink. You know that the chefs can make it because these are world class chefs of great renown. Except now the only thing that you’re getting from the kitchen is wave after wave of tiny complimentary appetizers and no word on the progress of the chefs. For that matter, you’re not even sure that the chefs are still in the kitchen. It’s almost frustrating that Battlefield V is so good, yet DICE is letting it stagnate. A decade ago, this would be a non-issue, but things have changed.More About This Game