For the first time in nearly a decade, this year’s “Battlefield” game is returning to World War II.
The game’s name: “Battlefield 5”.
That’s right – despite the last game in the series being named “Battlefield 1” – the series is returning to a standard numbering convention.
Semantics aside, “Battlefield 5” promises to be the largest “Battlefield” game yet. Here’s everything we learned about it in a recent briefing from the folks behind the “Battlefield” series, EA’s DICE studios.
The first major change from previous “Battlefield” games is character customisation: It’s a core component of “Battlefield 5,” both in terms of looks and gameplay.
“Battlefield 5” is set in World War II, but isn’t intended as homage – it’s a setting for large-scale multiplayer combat. To that end, there’s a level of character customisation in “Battlefield 5” that’s unprecedented in the series.
The game’s debut trailer showcases British forces taking on German forces in what looks like Western Europe. It also showcases the British woman you see above with the metal hand.
Though it’s possible that there was a female soldier with a metal hand fighting for England, the intention here is to demonstrate the game’s fictionalized approach to the era. Simply put: The metal hand is a nod to player customisation.
Yes, you will be able to purchase items for your characters. No, it won’t impact gameplay.
The same company behind “Battlefield 5” was behind “Star Wars Battlefront 2”: Electronic Arts (EA).
When that game arrived late last year – a multiplayer-focused shooter set in the “Star Wars” universe – it was derided by fans and critics for its microtransactions. In short, players felt ripped off by the in-game store, which charged real money for loot boxes that could provide gameplay advantages.
“Battlefield 5” isn’t making the same mistake. The long and short of it is that there will be cosmetic items available to purchase for “Battlefield 5,” but they won’t convey any gameplay advantages. That’s a crucial difference.
Of note: Customisations can also be unlocked through simply playing the game.
As usual for the “Battlefield” series, “Battlefield 5” is class-based.
The standard four classes are back, as seen above: Scout, Assault, Medic, and Support.
But there’s one major change right off the bat to that lineup: Any member of a squad can revive other members. The medic is still the only member of the squad who can revive other members to full health, and the only member who can provide health pick-ups, but the change otherwise points to a shift toward squads in “Battlefield 5.”
The series was already geared toward playing with squads – groups of four players – but, with this move, “Battlefield 5” is adding more incentive to play as a team.
Through detail and minutia, “Battlefield 5” intends to be the most immersive entry in the series to date.
“Battlefield” is a first-person shooter series with a focus on large-scale, tactical, squad-based multiplayer. Its gameplay is slower than something like “Call of Duty,” and far more nuanced.
“Battlefield 5” takes this approach another step further.
For example: Rather than simply picking up ammo invisibly, a teammate will resupply you by physically throwing a magazine to your character. The idea is to add immersive details at every turn, even the most mundane.
The standard multiplayer modes you expect from “Battlefield” are returning in “Battlefield 5,” and there’s at least one major addition.
The standard multiplayer modes from previous “Battlefield” games return in “Battlefield 5”: Conquest, Domination, Team Deathmatch, Frontlines, and Breakthrough are all in there.
Additionally, there’s at least one major addition and it’s named “Grand Operations” – a huge new mode that combines multiple maps and game types, then culminates in a massive final battle. You could start a round by parachuting into battle, progress through a round of Breakthrough, and then end up in a massive tank battle.
EA specifically says these are tied to “historical battles,” though it’s not clear which historical battles will be represented in the game – it’s easy to imagine something like storming the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, or The Battle of the Bulge, being recreated in this mode.
There’s still no standard single-player campaign mode — but “War Stories” is making a return.
The “Battlefield” series is a multiplayer series. No one expects it to deliver narrative storytelling.
And yet, with the last entry in the “Battlefield” franchise, a surprisingly subtle, interesting new single-player mode was introduced: War Stories. In the mode, you played what were essentially short stories set during World War I (the setting of the previous “Battlefield” game).
When the mode returns in “Battlefield 5,” it will feature one-off, unique vignettes pulled from various parts of World War II. The woman you see above, for instance, was described as a “young Norwegian resistance fighter.” To that end, War Stories will take players to parts of the globe impacted by World War II that aren’t normally depicted – from Norwegian mountains to the desert of North Africa.
The war machines of World War II play a crucial role in “Battlefield 5.”
“Battlefield 5” features a variety of era-appropriate vehicles, from the hulking tank seen above to smaller, more mobile vehicles.
The game’s first trailer, for instance, shows one player pulling up on what looks like an early four-wheeler. Another player hops on the back, firing off rounds as cover while being driven to safety.
Remember that customisation stuff from earlier? It applies to vehicles as well – you can outfit your tiny, nimble vehicle with a massive anti-air gun, for instance.
It looks like you’ll be able to customise planes as well, giving them sweet paint jobs like the one seen here:
The final component of “Battlefield 5” is a co-operative mode called Combined Arms.
Into squadding up with friends, but not interested in wading into the flood of human beings online? Combined Arms may be for you.
In the co-op mode, four friends can team up to take on enemies powered by artificial intelligence rather than human brains. It comes with its own objectives, but this isn’t another narrative-based mode. It’s not even a horde mode, where waves of increasingly more difficult enemies must be taken down – it’s more of a practice mode before jumping into online multiplayer.
There is one major benefit to this mode: You can earn XP and unlock stuff that directly transfers into standard multiplayer.
As always, “Battlefield 5” looks stunning.
The “Battlefield” series is one of the most consistently attractive. Each successive game looks better than the last, and “Battlefield 5” is no exception. Everything we’ve seen so far – admittedly, still images and target gameplay footage – looks stellar.
Under normal conditions, I might be inclined to doubt that the game will look quite so good when it arrives. In the case of “Battlefield 5,” I have no doubt that it will look even better than expected.
As evidenced by the weaponry and vehicles, “Battlefield 5” is a return to the World War II era of battle, but it isn’t intended as an accurate depiction of the real events.
To be completely clear, “Battlefield 5” is set during World War II, using weapons of the era and theatres of war directly pulled from that global conflict, but it isn’t intended to accurately represent what happened historically.
This isn’t “Saving Private Ryan” or “Band of Brothers” – “Battlefield 5″ is a World War II-themed virtual playground.
I don’t intend that to sound crude, but to set your expectations about what this product is. If you’re coming into this expecting a respectful homage, you’re going to be disappointed.
But you probably knew that, right? Great!
Take a closer look at “Battlefield 5” right here in the game’s first trailer:
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