Battlefield 5 Gameplay Preview: Hands-on from E3 2018

Battlefield 5 is the latest entry in DICE’s beloved shooter series and will feature a robust solo campaign, online multiplayer and even a battle royale mode. Taking the series to a gritty and realistic WW2 setting, players can expect another explosive experience later this year.

Below is everything we know thus far about Battlefield 5. Trusted Reviews will be going hands-on with the game at E3 2018, so stay tuned for our full thoughts on how the game feels in practice.

Battlefield 5 – What is it?

Battlefield V is the latest entry in the incredibly popular Battlefield franchise. Many internet sleuths tried to decipher what the “V” in its title represented, what it could mean, and I’m sorry to disappoint, but it really does just mean “5”.

The game takes place during World War II with DICE hoping to tell some of the lesser known stories of the global conflict.

Related: EA Play 2018

The game’s single-player ‘War Stories’ campaign will see players journey north of the Arctic circle to Norway, witness the devastation of Rotterdam, and battle across the French countryside amongst other locations.

Battlefield 5 release date – When is it coming out?

So, this is a little more complicated than usual, because Battlefield 5 actually has three different release dates.

Firstly, we have the EA Access Trial, which begins on October 11 from EA Access subscribers on Xbox One. Then we have the Battlefield 5 Deluxe Edition Release Date, which is the premium edition of the game, launching three days early on October 16. Finally, we have the Standard Edition launching on October 19.

Battlefield 5 Gameplay Preview

It’s fair to say the reveal of Battlefield 5 became a bit of a hot topic. While press were treated to a deep dive into the mechanics of multiplayer to great detail that, at least for myself, built excitement for what’s to come later this year, the public event was frustratingly vague. Then came a bizarre negativity from corners of the internet from people angry that the women that served in World War II would have their efforts recognised by being in a Battlefield game. The simulated horror.

Moving beyond the nonsense and the noise, I sat down at E3 2018 to actually let the game speak for itself. Getting a chance to play two days in the new Operations mode on the Norvik map, the game spoke loud and clear: it’s utterly phenomenal.

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There’s something about Battlefield 5 that makes it feel so much more grounded in its setting than Battlefield 1. While the latter was a great game in its own right, there’s a lot more tweaking and refinement that’s gone into its successor that makes it feel utterly engrossing, gripping and submerged in the conflict in which its set. The segment I played was visceral, immense fun to play, and had a focus that made every bullet fired feel more important.

Let’s start with the map itself. Norvik features a design that strikes a balance between tight corridors perfect for mini-battles between squads, and bigger expenses for large-scale vehicular-based battles.

When the vehicles do get added to the mix, the Frostbite engine’s evolved real-time construction damage comes to the fore, and it’s breathtaking. Watching buildings crumble in such realistic fashion occasionally makes trying to focus on the battle at hand tricky. When a tank destroys the wall of a house, the snow on the opposite side will cascade down the roof and wooden slats will dangle, before eventually collapsing to the floor. It’s beautiful destruction.

In my time in the map there were hardly any moments where I was running for large periods in open terrain. That was an issue I had with BF1 but here, there were plenty of buildings to duck and dive between, plenty of spaces to spot my enemies and — equally importantly — still spaces where I had to beware of my vulnerability to enemy fire.

Speaking of spotting, DICE has tweaked the means of locating enemies for your allies so that rather than spamming a button to make a reticule pop above enemy heads for easy points and make for easy targets, you can now only bring attention to locations in the terrain. In other words if a couple of enemies are hiding the other side of an abandoned train, you’re limited to pointing out the obstacle itself rather than the enemies.

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It all plays into BFV’s emphasis on communication, which is key to success in multiplayer. Playing in a match full of strangers at EA Play, I did what any sensible Brit would do and refused to say a word, but even in my silence, the in-game systems meant teamwork was inherent in gameplay.

Sticking with my three squadmates was natural because it led to greater rewards and better survivability. Only my squad could revive me should I go down in combat, so naturally I stuck with at least one of them in dicey situations. We can’t wait to see how this squad combat plays into the recently announced Battlefield Royale mode.

The best part about all this is it makes the game far more welcoming to newcomers. The addition of all these systems, at least from what I played, on top of the increased depth and variety of soldier archetypes, seems to create a more balanced playing field. It ended up feeling like there was a much greater sense of fairness and very few instances of being killed so soon after spawning.

Now of course, once the game launches and the expert players get their mitts on it, this may be a different story, but it was promising at least in this early experience that there wasn’t a sense of anything or anyone being particularly over- or underpowered.

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Throw in the complete removal of season passes, the fact that they’re only offering cosmetic items for purchase and the addition of an upcoming Royale mode, and you’ve got a game that feels like a very enticing prospect come October.

First Impressions

Battlefield 5 blew me away from this gameplay demo. I was a big fan of BF1, but what DICE has done to evolve the formula in a single sequel is phenomenal. It’s an incredible refinement on an already excellent game and could make this game an absolute must-buy when it launches in October.

Battlefield 5 War Stories – What are they?

War Stories makes a return from Battlefield 1. This time around the intention is to give an insight into some of the lesser-known conflicts of World War 2.

The first one DICE has discussed is titled ‘Nordlys’ (Norwegian for Northern Lights). Set in Norway in 1943 during German occupation, it tells the story of a young woman who must make the ultimate sacrifice in order to save her family.

Hopefully DICE can replicate some of the excellent storytelling seen in Battlefield 1, but with more content to keep players returning over the course of Battlfield 5’s life cycle.

Battlefield 5 Battle Royale – It’s coming

Electronic Arts and DICE announced during its EA Play event that Battle Royale is coming to Battlefield 5. It’s still in the early stages of development and details are light, although players can expect the mixture of gunplay, vehicles and scale the franchise is adored for. We’ll receive more details later this year.

 

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Pricing of the Deluxe Edition was not revealed during the presentation, nor its contents, but we’ll update this page once this is known. Stay posted!

 

Battlefield 5 Multiplayer – What can we expect?

Right now, DICE hasn’t revealed much regarding multiplayer, with a full debut trailer to come during the EA Play conference at E3. The number of maps is still uncertain, but we do know that the classic modes of Conquest, Team Deathmatch and Domination all return.

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However, some mechanics were discussed. Spotting — where players can ‘mark’ an enemy player for the rest of their team to see — has been removed to stop players scanning an environment and simply marking all enemies. Instead DICE has put much more work into creating a dynamic environment that makes it easier to naturally spot opponents based on the way the world reacts. For instance, a player running through tall grass will make the grass move, leaving them vulnerable to overseeing snipers.

Although it’ll be easier to spot enemies, you’ll also have more movement options if you’re the one being hunted. Running soldiers will to drop to the ground and turn and look in any direction, picking off chasing enemies, or diving left or right to shoot into a corridor of enemies and gain an advantage.

Revives also now require physical interaction with the downed teammate. Rather than just running around stabbing a syringe into thin air, you must go down to a fallen ally, revive them and pick them up off the floor.

Reviving a teammate will also become much more common thanks to the fact that all players within a squad can revive each other. This process, known as ‘Buddy Revive’, takes much longer to do so if you’re not a medic. However, whether you’re being revived by a qualified medic or just a buddy you can never recover full health, unlike in previous games.

One mode that was discussed in detail is Grand Operations, a huge combat mode that sees players engage in conflict over four in-game days. Each day will see a unique and distinct multiplayer mode with custom rules and map layouts. The final results on one day will have an impact on the next, such as less resources for one team or affected respawns.

If the conflict reaches the fourth day, the mode reaches a sudden death battle called Final Stand. Each player is given one life and one round of ammunition in their primary weapon, emphasising the theme of a war of attrition. Buddy revives are still in effect. Last team standing wins.

Battlefield 5 Combined Arms – What’s this?

Combined Arms is a new four player co-operative mode that DICE describes as the bridge between single player and multiplayer.

During the presentation, DICE noted that some players of Battlefield can be overwhelmed by the series’ intense multiplayer experience, and wanted to use this mode as a gateway to get people invested without struggling against other players.

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In Combined Arms, the goal is to move into a territory and try to complete as many objectives as possible. Resources are scarce, and it’s up to the players whether to try and complete the next objective or extract out of the zone.

In this mode there’s a mission generator which will randomly create new objectives to keep things feeling fresh for players.

Battlefield 5 Tides of War – How does it work?

Tides of War is Battlefield 5’s new metagame that will exist across the whole experience. For the first time in the series, you will be able to customise soldiers, vehicles and weapons by unlocking new skins and apparel as you play the game.

Each player will have their own “Company”, a group of soldiers that will level up and progress along with them. You can specialise your character classes via progression to suit your own play style. You unlock new gear through playing the game, and this gear creates a unique look for your Company.

In the presentation, the depth of the gun customisation was very impressive, having an almost CS:GO like aesthetic, and offered a great variety to each gun. I could certainly see the appeal of making each weapon your own. Some looked incredible.

DICE said these items can be unlocked via in-game currency, which it described as “grind currency”, a term we weren’t particularly fond of. It wasn’t noted whether progression could be sped up or unlocks purchased via microtransactions.

To speed up the earning of currency, there will be Daily Orders and Special Assignments. The former take less time to complete and will reward lesser currency, while the latter can take days or even a week to finish. However there will be multiple ways to complete the objective, meaning that each type of player is catered for, be you a player who spends their time healing others, attacking enemies or taking the objective.

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Battlefield 5 Season Pass – Is there one?

Here’s the good news: No! EA and Dice have decided to scrap a season pass for this game, following the trend of other multiplayer-centric games to offer free multiplayer maps to avoid segregating the player base.

Maps released post-launch will both offer historically accurate stories with restricted rule sets for added realism, such as limited weapons and vehicles, as well as other maps that will take historical accuracy less seriously.

Being able to get free content following the initial purchase is great news for gamers, but how EA mitigates this loss in the form of microtransactions remains to be seen.

Are you excited for Battlefield 5? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter @trustedreviews.