Battlefield 5 is exactly the game you’re expecting it to be, for better or for worse. It’s a solid game, where the shooting feels heavy and realistic, with varying recoil patterns for different weapons, in the hands of different soldiers. But it also doesn’t necessarily have any tricks up its sleeve.
Playing Battlefield 5 earlier this week in Stockholm, I spent time with both the single-player, and multiplayer portions of the game. The War Stories are back, fewer in number but lengthier than previously seen in Battlefield 1, while the multiplayer builds on the usual modes of Conquest and Rush, to include Grand Operations. Here are my five main takeaways from spending two days with Battlefield 5.
1: The War Stories Are Back With a Bang
Yes, there are fewer War Stories in Battlefield 5 than there were in Battlefield 1, with three at launch. But sacrificing quantity doesn’t mean giving up on quality, because two of the War Stories in particular are fantastic (sorry Under No Flag, your cockney accents didn’t do it for me).
The chronological first of these two outstanding chapters is Nordlys, taking place in Norway in 1942. It’s a cracking chapter of Battlefield 5, that sees a Norwegian Resistance fighter taking the battle to the occupying German forces. Stealth is key here since you’re on your own, but Battlefield 5 doesn’t beat you over the head with forced stealth. If you can stay silent and take out the enemy patrols, great, but if you can’t, then you’re free to go in guns blazing.
Second for the Battlefield 5 War Stories is Tirailleur, taking place in France in 1943. When I interviewed DICE design director Lars Gustavsson earlier in the week, he hailed Tirailleur as something that’s “never depicted in books, movies, or anything,” giving the development team some entirely new ground to cover, and events to portray.
2: Battlefield 5 Multiplayer Feels More Chaotic Than Battlefield 1
The single-player War Stories might be more streamlined and focused, but the same can’t be said for the multiplayer portion of Battlefield 5. The maps are huge, as you’d no doubt expect in a game featuring tanks and aircraft in a single match, but this doesn’t always mesh well.
Take the mode Conquest, for example. There are six control points on any map, all of which need to be captured and controlled by your team. These capture points are nearly always located in tight, confined areas, leading to chaotic gunfights, where bullets can come at you from any direction.
Combine this with the domination of automatic weapons in Battlefield 5, and battles for control points in Conquest are bloodbaths. DICE has always talked about Battlefield 5 as being a more team-focused game, and while there’s no denying this is the intent, multiplayer skirmishes can descend into lightning-quick gunfights a little too easily.
3: Fortifying Through Building is a Gamechanger
When Battlefield 5 was revealed back in May 2018, much was made of the new ‘fortifying’ feature. “Is it like Fortnite?" guessed the general public, wondering if you could raise entire buildings up from the ground with ease. It’s far more understated than this, as you can instead quite literally fortify a building by barricading doors and windows, and erecting a wall of sandbags around an objective.
What this leads to isn’t an overpowering feature, but instead something that brings a team together. There were countless instances where our team had to defend one single point in a match of Battlefield 5, and instead of everyone for themselves, our team banded together to fortify the rubble around the point, building up sandbags to form makeshift walls, in a last-ditch attempt to keep the point.
The fortification feature integrates itself perfectly within Battlefield 5. For those support players out there who don’t feel like hanging back as a Medic and watching everyone get blown to pieces, you can instead zip around the frontlines, barricading windows and doors, and you can still be invaluable to your team without a gun in your hand.
4: The Medic is Jesus Reincarnated
They can raise the dead with their bare hands, and if that doesn’t make Battlefield 5’s Medic the modern Jesus, nothing will. Sniped in the head by someone from a mile off? The Medic can have you back on your feet in a few seconds. Taken a rocket directly to the chest? If the Medic’s nearby, never fear.
Despite all this, the Medic never feels truly overpowering. Yes, all it takes is a mere few seconds to have someone back on their feet, but you still need to survive a hail of bullets to do this, and trust us, the opposing team is always going to be shooting at the Medic whenever they see you attempting to revive someone.
Played well and properly, the Medic is going to be your squad’s MVP. When you’re pressing up on a control point that’s owned by the opposing team, your Medic needs to be quick on their feet to save lives. If they can keep players alive and keep a squad together, there’s not a more rewarding role in Battlefield 5.
5: Tanks Aren’t Invincible
When seeing a tank roll towards me in past Battlefield games, the temptation to run away and hide was always there, not just because I’m a coward, but also because the vehicles are incredibly tough to take out. This isn’t the case with Battlefield 5.
In this Second World War game, DICE has given the footsoldiers ample power to deal some serious damage to the most powerful of tanks. The assault class has the rocket launcher strapped to their backs, which can take out an armored tank in three hits total. Three assault players can make short work of a tank, and since the tank driver only has control of the shelling cannon while driving, the tank can’t shell multiple people in one go.
Elsewhere, there are anti-tank mines, grenades, and other gear items that can deal some pretty heavy damage to tanks. Battlefield 5 might feature a variety of different heavy armored vehicles, but none of them can single handedly dominate an online match, creating a more even, fair playing field.
Battlefield 5 doesn’t change up the gameplay dramatically, but it does add subtle differences and tweaks, that can have a substantial impact. There’s plenty more to arrive in the coming months, with the PvE Combined Arms, and the Firestorm Battle Royale mode all debuting in early 2019. Look out for complete Battlefield 5 review in the coming days.