It’s that time of year once again: the Electronic Entertainment Expo festivities have begun with Electronic Arts kicking things off at its annual EA Play fan event. Everything you would expect was at the show, including the next iteration of its popular first-person shooter franchise, Battlefield V. Luckily after the EA Play event, we had a chance to play the World War II shooter’s revamp of its Operations game mode, Grand Operations.
Unlike the Operations mode seen in Battlefield 1, which brought elements from its other modes to create a story experience for multiplayer, Battlefield V‘s Grand Operations expands on that. Instead, Grand Operations is bringing 64 players to a story-driven multiplayer experience that lasts a number of rounds — or “days” as they are referred to in the new mode — to tell its tale. Each day will be different in terms of gameplay and narrative, depending on how well you do.
For example, if you do poorly on the first day, you may have fewer resources, such as ammo, at your disposal at the beginning of day two. If you turn things around on the second day, you may garner more respawns at the beginning of the third day.
At the start, you will join either an attacking or defending team. During our time at EA Play, we only played on the attack. On the map that we played, the first day’s objective as the attackers was to destroy the opposition’s artillery by locating explosives to use. This portion required a little less cooperation because once the cannon was destroyed, there was not much else that the defending team could really do. We easily cleared the four cannons and proceeded to the next day on a good note.
However, day two is when things got a bit more difficult. The objective was to capture three points on the map simultaneously. Capturing the first two points wasn’t too difficult, but we could not gain full control of a third point, inevitably ending our time with the demo.
Unfortunately, we did not get a chance to play as the defending team, so I can’t speak from experience there. However, it is important to note that this is where the new fortification system comes in. As the attackers attempt to destroy your artillery, you can put down turrets or walls at by using a hammer tool useable by any class; the fortification you can make is indicated by a shadow figure of the structure.
Grand Operations looks fantastic on paper, but playing it in such an uncoordinated fashion — for example, at a press/fan event — is not the way to play this. The mode requires more coordination and communication than any of the multiplayer modes from previous Battlefield games. Grand Operations is a great addition, but one that is better served at home where I can get a group of friends and play the objective, rather than trying to get as many kills as possible.
Since Battlefield 3, DICE has always stepped things up after each game’s release in terms of presentation, and Battlefield V is no different. As I jumped out of the airplane, there is a moment where you are a sitting duck in the air. You have a bit of time to breathe before you thrust into battle, giving you a moment to take in the beautiful snow-blanketed, mountainous environment.
That tranquil moment is quickly gone once your boots hit the ground, as bullets zoom past you and the view of explosions in the distance fill the screen. Everything from the sounds of the guns to the building destruction immerses you in a way that few multiplayer shooters accomplish.
On a gameplay level, it brings the same shooting mechanics from Battlefield 1 that feels ever-so-slightly improved. The gunplay felt just a bit tighter than previous iterations — it should also be noted that I was playing on a high-end PC with a mouse and keyboard instead of an Xbox One, so that may be a contributing factor to that sentiment. The only criticism I have is due to its sluggish traversal. However, slowly moving through the snowy wartorn land isn’t too much of a hassle thanks to the gorgeous graphics the game has been known for to give some appealing visuals along the way.
We did encounter a few bugs while playing. The less problematic issue was when one of us got stuck in the environment. The one that caused two of our writers the most problems was a glitch that would not let the player spawn: it seemed like the game thought the player was still alive while on the respawn screen and in turn, could not spawn in the game because they were technically already spawned. We do understand that it is an early build of the game: hopefully, that bug can be ironed out by release.
Battlefield V looks to be a solid entry for EA’s long-running franchise. Although it presents the same gunplay mechanics and gorgeous graphics the series is known for, it provides you with gameplay that is more refined than even the most recent iteration, Battlefield 1.
The new Grand Operations multiplayer mode brings a level of cooperation unlike any of the various modes we’ve seen in previous iterations. The lack of communication in any sort of fashion will be your team’s downfall, something our team learned just a bit too late into our match. It also requires the player to be committed to a long match time; while our match may have lasted around 30 to 40 minutes, it has been said that they can last up to an hour, which is a lot more time than your average online multiplayer experience.
However, every minute spent on the battlefield is worth it; the cooperative and fluid nature of the mode makes this an incredibly rewarding experience. Grand Operations is definitely a worthy addition to the franchise, and I’m excited to see everything else in-action when Battlefield V releases on October 19th, 2018 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
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