In a year when Call of Duty has entirely opted out of trudging through the moral quagmire of campaign storytelling, Battlefield V finds DICE doubling down on its War Stories conceit – telling the many-theatered tale of World War II from stages never before seen in PC gaming.
But does Battlefield V break a leg, or accidentally break the fourth wall? Let’s find out how it went down with the critics – or as I like to call them, ‘future gaming historians’.
Our own reviewer, James McMahon, found proper emotional heft in the rarely-told stories of the three short single-player campaigns – especially the West African soldier Deme Cisse, called up to fight an Allied offensive in Southern France. For Cisse, the war represents a chance for belonging in a colonial homeland he’s never seen before.
“Even if you don’t care that Battlefield V is a game that’s trying to do good, it’s worth stating that far from imbuing the game with a liberal agenda, DICE is simply using the backdrop of the world’s greatest conflict as a canvas to paint human stories upon,” James says. “At a time when its biggest competitor has dropped single player altogether, DICE shows that the campaign format is a powerful way to give players the unexpected.”
Outside the campaigns, meanwhile, Battlefield has instilled multiplayer with real stakes. Non-regenerating health, for instance, leaves you mostly reliant on your squad’s medic. “This puts a huge emphasis on teamwork, which really does enhance the experience if everybody sticks to it,” James says in his Battlefield V review. “When it all falls apart, you have to hope a teammate hears your – really quite harrowing – screams as you bleed out.”
Exquisitely bleak stuff. Over on Metacritic, Battlefield V’s collated score currently holds at 84, though many sites have yet to reveal their marks. It’s almost as tense as the multiplayer.
Battlefield V scores:
Those numbers bode well so far. It remains to be seen whether Battlefield V can hold the line until launch on November 15 – we’ll update with new scores as they become available – but for our money it’s an ambitious and unusual FPS, and all the better for it.