Battlefield V kicked off a closed alpha today, giving players a taste of what’s in store for the latest entry in EA’s shooter series, which will be released October 19. My coworker Paul Tamayo and I are huge fans of the Battlefield series, and have been dying to play the game. We sat down earlier today for some multiplayer matches and noticed changes that make the game feel more approachable than 2016's Battlefield 1.
If there’s one thing we noticed right away about Battlefield V, it’s that it feels smoother. Battlefield 1 had a weightiness to its animations and weaponry: machineguns chugged out bullets, running was slower and the screen bobbed more, vehicles were creakier. Battlefield V feels like going back to Battlefield III, which was quicker, its kill counts higher. The guns don’t seem to kick as much, either. The end result is gameplay that might not feel as harrowing, but gives players more command over their character. It’s more video-gamey, for better or worse.
In spite of this, it’s actually the smaller changes that affect things most. You can’t hold much ammo in Battlefield V at the moment, meaning that you’ll have to restock your supplies with teammates playing the Support class more often. This is fine if you’re on the frontlines, but it does affect snipers and even Medics who might want to play things further back.
You also can’t spot enemies as easily now. In older games, it was possible to place a marker on an enemy with the press of a button. The range was liberal, allowing you to mark enemies at extreme distances. That’s toned down significantly now, and you need to keep your eyes and ears much sharper. Combine that with the low ammo count, and you have a Battlefield that incentivises up-close, frontline combat.. Gone are the days of massive sniper battles on Sinai: If the alpha is any indication, you can expect shorter engagement distances and, with any luck, a severe reduction in the number of lone-wolf players.
There’s only one map, the snowed-in village of Narvik, available in the closed alpha. Players can select a standard game of Conquest or try the new Grand Operation mode. Grand Operation is an expansion of Battlefield 1’s Operation mode, tasking the German team with defending the town from an attacking British force. British troops fall into the map from an aeroplane and need to plant bombs on anti-air guns in the village before driving the enemy out. There’s more context here than Battlefield 1, where you were mostly just capturing points on the map. It’s not a huge change but it does make for an exciting start to each match.
Paul and I have only played a handful of matches, but we walked away excited. I’ve been playing as a Medic and saving lives much easier thanks to the changes to how the game feels. I’m curious to know what the rest of the maps and the new battle royale mode will be like, but it’s good to know that Battlefield V appears to be on track.