Contrary to what seems to be the general consensus on Battlefield V, I actually have high hopes for this new entry in the long running military themed multiplayer shooter franchise. As loyal readers might have realized by now, I’ve refrained from publishing “clickbaity” articles deriding EA for their abysmal marketing strategy, and I am fully one hundred percent behind their decision to delay the game based on my hands on time with the Alpha and Beta builds.
However, my trust on DICE does not mean that I can let a certain elephant (and no, I’m not talking about this one) in the room go unaddressed. A really important aspect of the Second World War was that the tank played a big part on the European fronts, from the initial Blitzkrieg through Poland, France and Russia, to the massive columns of armored vehicles deployed by the Soviet Union near the end of the war. Sadly, after playing a shameful amount of hours during the recent open Beta, I found out that both game modes in offer would only allow two tanks per side. This seems to continue the trend set by Battlefield 1, which greatly limited the number of available AFVs in order to better represent their rarity during the Great War. Many players were actually quite happy with the change, as there is a fraction of the Battlefield community that prefers infantry combat over combined arms warfare, and it would seem that DICE took their feedback at heart, and implemented the same limits in Battlefield V.
I am not the kind of person that would scream in horror after finding out that inaccurate accessories are part of the customization system (after all, I quite enjoyed Battlefield 1, even though it was full of automatics and most of the available weapon choices weren’t common during the real war) but this particular decision strikes me as not only weird from a historical point of view, but also a potential gameplay liability, as putting such a stark limit to the amount of tanks in the field at any given moment will greatly increase the possibility of them being used as “armored snipers” instead of their correct role as part of a combined arms operation.
It would seem that the squad reinforcements system is partly to blame for DICE‘s actions, as one of the options available to squad leaders who have accrued enough points is to call in either a Churchill Crocodile or a Sturmtiger (which is laughably under-powered thanks to most buildings’ uncanny ability to stay up after being hit by a 380mm rocket propelled projectile, by the way). However, those special vehicles will not be available at the start of every match, and are themselves already limited, as I found out after trying to call one in while another squad was having a jolly good time with their flame-throwing monster.
I don’t have a problem with the use of late-war equipment in battles that actually occurred at the beginning of the conflict (since I understand that games are meant to be fun over all, and one of the most recognizable tanks of the war was the Tiger, so it makes sense that it’s Nazi Germany’s default heavy tank in-game, even though the initial Blitzkrieg was carried out with far less advanced vehicles). I do however have an issue with the gradual push towards infantry-only engagements started by Bad Company 2, and seemingly perpetuated in this latest entry in the franchise with no real explanation in sight.
Of course, not all is doom and gloom, as the “This is Battlefield V” trailer promises to let players “take part in one of the biggest tank battles in human history” with one of the two North Africa-themed maps. Hopefully this engagement will feature more than two/three tanks per side…