“Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” –George S. Patton
As the Pacific War chapter continued in the aftermath of a disastrous update that rendered most of Battlefield V‘s weapons ineffectual, DICE also introduced the Wake Island map; the original is remembered as being the first Battlefield map most of the world had experienced, being featured in the Battlefield 1942 demo. With its distinct horseshoe shape, the map created a very narrow battlefield that, on the conquest assault game mode, resulted in concerted rushes to dislodge defenders, or creative use of positioning to flank around enemies. Since the Battlefield 1942 incarnation, Wake Island would return in Battlefield: Vietnam, Battlefield 2, Battlefield 2142 and Battlefield 3, becoming something of an icon. By Battlefield V, the island has been re-imagined as being much flatter, with foliage and structures providing cover for players in place of geological features like hills, and the map is set under a swift sunrise. Battlefield V takes creative liberties with history; whereas the Battle of Wake Island saw Japanese forces successfully invade and hold the islands from their invasion in December 1941 out until September 1945, Battlefield V chooses to present the Americans as the invaders, American forces did not attempt another amphibious invasion, and instead, American forces would periodically strike the islands. In practise, the Wake Island map presents opportunity for amphibious tanks to flank around enemy defenses, creating a very dynamic sense of gameplay in both the conquest and breakthrough game modes. Battlefield V‘s Wake Island is much larger than its previous incarnations, and matches on the islands are quite interesting. The other map Battlefield V has added is Solomon Islands: with its dense jungle environment, the Solomon Islands map is modelled after the Solomon Islands campaign, which ran from January 1942 to August 1945, and resulted in an Allied victory. Set in an unspecified part of the Solomon Islands, the fourth Pacific map features heavy jungles that give Battlefield V a distinct Battlefield: Vietnam feeling, creating a compelling environment for close quarters combat that, while simultaneously creating the sort of chaos that maps like Argonne Forest were known for, also provides mindful players alternate routes to break a stalemate. From a maps and content perspective, Battlefield V remains in a tenable position, providing enough to keep folks entertained even as the DICE team struggles to determine what Battlefield V‘s future entails.
Battlefield V‘s unexpected shifts notwithstanding, I found myself adapting unexpectedly quickly to the new changes. Weapons had certainly been weakened to the point where some loadouts were untenable, even suicidal to use, and skill-based combat had devolved: with weapons hitting less hard and recoiling less than they previously, firefights felt quite different. However, this feeling dissipated, and I found myself making use of the newly-unlocked weapons with decent efficacy. I was still able to help my team win matches of conquest on Wake Island and scored a killtacular with the M2 Flamethrower during one game of team death match. Towards the end of the fifth chapter, I earned the M3 Grease Gun and somehow managed to explode a Jeep with it to earn what I felt to be one of the most unusual, if epic, triple kills I’d gotten. The M2 Carbine and Type 11 LMG have been excellent additions to the game, offering new variety. On the heavily-forested jungles of Solomon Islands, I broke a personal best with a 34-streak behind the wheel of the Type 2 Ka-Mi as a defender during breakthrough: this amphibious tank had not been one I drove frequently, but nonetheless, I went on the longest kill-streak I’d ever gotten in Battlefield V, and in the process, also wound up going 61-12 that match. It was the most kills I’d gotten in a game, and despite my team losing in the end, it was also the most fun I’d had in Battlefield V in a while. Battlefield V remains able to command excitement despite stumbling in critical areas, and following the introduction of the sixth Tides of War chapter and the Solomon Islands, Battlefield V feels fun. With new weapons and gadgets that increase variety in the gameplay, Battlefield V somehow continues to hold my own interest. With news of the 6.2 patch on the horizon and a likely return to the more skill-driven mechanics, Battlefield V appears to be on an upwards trajectory again. The latest Tides of War Chapter means that I’ve been having the most fun I’ve had since Iwo Jima and Pacific Storm from November, and that, in the end, is what matters most.
Screenshots and Commentary
- I’ve been waiting quite a while to showcase images of Wake Island, and admittedly, had been hoping to write about Battlefield V again back in January, but without any new maps, that wasn’t really going to lend itself to a post worth sharing. Because my journey into the Battlefield franchise began with Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Wake Island is not so iconic for me, and it was Battlefield 3‘s Operation Metro and Noshahr Canals that became the most memorable maps for me.
- For the first few weeks after the new weapons balancing patch was applied, most of the weapons felt weak and ineffectual. The StG-44, on the other hand, became a powerhouse, and I ran most of my early matches with it, finding great success in using the weapon as my main: the StG-44 was solid at both close and medium ranges, and while defending one of the capture points at the hangar, I ended up landing a triple kill with the weapon on three players who had rushed in.
- Tanks remained immensely effective after the patch, and more so than any previous Battlefield game, I feel competent with tanks enough to make a difference in the game for my team. The tank gameplay in Battlefield V is excellent, striking a balance between providing players with powerful vehicles that can terrorise the enemy team in the right hands, while also balancing them so that tank players must support the infantry in their role and also be mindful of their ammunition supply. Earlier Battlefield titles had tanks be quite vulnerable to infantry, who would have an incredible array of anti-armour weapons to work with, and in Battlefield 1, tanks were nigh-unstoppable owing to a lack of good anti-infantry weapons.
- The BAR M1918A2 ended up being a modestly entertaining addition to Battlefield V, allowing me to run the Charlotte E. Yeager loadout alongside the M1911 pistol. The main curiosity about the BAR is that it has two firing modes: a high RPM mode for close-quarters engagements that comes at the expense of damage at range, and a low RPM mode for longer-range firefights where every bullet hits slightly harder. Switching between the modes for different ranges can be quite fun, although I’ve treated the weapon primarily as a close-quarters weapon by leaving it in the higher RPM mode.
- Of course, I am curious to try the weapon again once it’s been balanced in the 6.2 patch, and on paper, the BAR seems to be a versatile weapon that demonstrates the Charlotte E. Yeager loadout to be effective. Owing to the unusual way melee weapons are handled in Battlefield V, and the reduced number of sidearms, running authentic Strike Witches loadouts becomes much trickier in Battlefield V than they did in Battlefield 1, although rumours have reached my ears that there are unreleased weapons from the now-scrapped competitive mode, and that these weapons are being modified so they fit into the standard multiplayer modes better.
- I am curious to see how the new weapon balance will impact the BAR, and if its ranged effectiveness goes up, I definitely do see myself using it more frequently. In general, the support class is one that I prefer playing at medium ranges; weapons like the Bren and Madsen give me the confidence to pick away foes at medium range, while I’ve come to fall back on the KE-7 as a reliable LMG for closer ranges. For the most part, I don’t roll with MMGs unless I’m playing defense on breakthrough, since those weapons are too limiting to be versatile for the highly mobile style that I prefer.
- Here, I glide over the open water and marvel at the water effects: Battlefield V nailed water, and ripples will properly propagate as soldiers and tanks pass through water. Compared to the M4 Sherman, I played with the LVT to a much lesser extent shortly after the initial release of the Pacific Theatre content. However, while more powerful in a combat role, the M4 will sink and be rendered useless in deep waters. LVTs, on the other hand, have improved acceleration and handling, on top of being able to traverse deep water like a boat. In maps like Wake Island, they become immensely valuable for flanking enemy positions, and with the right specialisations, can be very effective in their intended role. Both the LVT and Ka-Mi can be outfitted with heavy machine-guns that turn them into mobile AA solutions, although these specialisations have one further application: the LVT and Ka-Mi become highly effective anti-infantry weapons, even more so than the dedicated AA tanks from the British and German factions.
- While the M1 Garand was fun to use shortly after its introduction, the fact that they were deliberately weakened and now take a minimum of four shots to kill mean that I’ve not been running the semi-automatic rifles for the assault class anywhere nearly as much as I had prior to the 5.2 patch. While specifics behind the upcoming patch are limited so far, I do hope that the semi-automatic rifles are restored to their former glory at closer ranges and become three shots to kill again like before.
- While this moment is not on either Wake Island or Solomon Islands, I chose to include it because it was a lucky kill with the JB-2 Rocket that landed me another killfrenzy. At this point in the game, it is not lost on me that I’ve actually become more versed with Battlefield than I am with Halo now: I’ve dabbled in Halo Reach‘s multiplayer, and I’m nowhere nearly as capable now as I was back a decade ago with Halo 2. Back in Battlefield V, with new reinforcements added, I am hoping that my wish of seeing a B-17 as one possible reinforcement vehicle will also be realised, once the theatre of war returns to the Battle of Berlin.
- The Type 97 was one of the later additions to the fifth chapter, and as a weapon, while representative of the Japanese LMGs, the Type 97 is statistically similar to the Bren and Madsen, being a slower-firing, more accurate and harder-hitting LMG that is useful at range, although it is hampered by a slower reload. It’s unremarkable from a performance standpoint, but it was fun to run with the weapon, and here, I’ve got a 3x optic mounted on it to help with ranged engagements.
- While Battlefield V‘s Tides of War incentivises weekly play, time is something that I continue to find myself short on, and so, one of the approaches I’ve taken towards completing the objectives for each week’s assignment is to take advantage of squad conquest or even team death match depending on that week’s goals. Especially where capturing objectives, squad functions or even just winning matches are concerned, the shorter time-frame and smaller map sizes makes it easier to quickly go through the objectives on short order.
- This is the killtacular (or overkill, for Halo: Reach players) that I was referring to: Battlefield V still allows for its moments of sheer hilarity, and I found myself scorching four players to death during one match of team death match after I’d picked up a flamethrower. I’m not even sure how I managed to pull it off, but it was very enjoyable as a moment: the battle pickups of Battlefield V are balanced because they are very situational, and for most situations, put users at the disadvantage. When one’s position is right and the situation allows it, battle pickups can indeed become monsters.
- In the aftermath of the 5.2 patch, I was most relieved to learn that the Jungle Carbine had not changed in any way, and so, as a long-range solution for the medic, I found a powerful weapon that remained efficacious: it takes two to three body shots to kill an enemy, or one headshot from closer ranges. I’ve decided to spec out my Jungle Carbine for the left tree, favouring rate of fire and bullet velocity over general accuracy.
- During one match of team death match, I ran into a player who went by the handle “MutsuMutsuHeyHey” and according to various statistics, this is a Battlefield V player even more dedicated than the likes of MrProWestie, JackFrags and LevelCap, which is saying something. When I first encountered them, I wondered if they’d named themselves after either Sounan Desu Ka?‘s Mutsu Amatani or Mutsu from Kantai Collection. It is rare to run into such dedicated players, and even more rare to get that lucky kill on them, as I’ve done here with the KE-7.
- For the remainder of the fifth Tides of War Chapter, I ended up using nothing by the Type 2A, simply because it was so powerful. The Type 2A is Battlefield V‘s equivalent of the AEK-971 or the Automatico M1918, both of which are what I colloquially refer to as “scrub guns” for the fact that they take no skill to use in close quarters situations. With a blisteringly fast rate of fire (1028 RPM in its base configuration and upgradable to 1200 RPM with the machined bolt specialisation), the weapon can be specialised to roll with an extended magazine that turns it into a weapon even more potent than the Thompson at close range: since the Type 2A was introduced, I’ve not picked up the Thompson.
- The first game I played on Solomon Islands, I joined a team that was losing: I got exactly one kill with the M2 Carbine, and the match promptly ended. On the subsequent match, I was able to get a better measure of the M2 Carbine: it is essentially the select-fire version of the M1A1 semi-automatic carbine. While the weapon requires six bullets to kill, the M2 also has an 830 RPM, so in practise, the weapon feels powerful at closer ranges. At longer ranges, the weapon is less effective, but it can still be counted upon to land shots reliably, and here, I melt through a player named after Kantai Collection‘s Shigure.
- While initial promotional materials suggested that the Solomon Islands map was all about Jungle Warfare, the actual map itself features a harbour, cliffs, and some open areas surrounding an estuary, providing a variety of environments to explore during the course of a match. It makes for a very exciting and varied experience: while there is definitely a jungle piece to the map that gives the area an Argonne Forest-like feel, open spaces and flanking routes also break the choke point feeling in the denser jungle parts of the map.
- The M3 Grease Gun is an iconic American submachine gun, and in reality, was a .45-calibre weapon meant to replace the Thompson as a more inexpensive, lighter weapon. Production issues meant it saw limited use in World War Two, but the M3A1 version would be used in the Korean War. In Battlefield V, the Grease Gun is the opposite of the Type 2A, being a slow-firing, hard-hitting weapon with high recoil, and my first use of it saw a very unusual, but welcomed, result: I somehow destroyed a vehicle with it and earned a triple kill in the deep jungles of the Solomon Islands.
- For some reason, I’ve begun gravitating towards the iron sights of some weapons as of late: I’ve never been particularly successful with iron sights owing to how obtrusive they are, but more recently, using the iron sights successfully have given me an improved sense of enjoyment. Here, I use the Type 97 LMG to help defend during one particularly lopsided match of breakthrough. Having looked around, it looks like running the Yoshika Miyafuji loadout in Battlefield V won’t be possible: Yoshika’s Type 99 is a cannon modified to fire 12.7 x 99 mm round, and would be classified as a HMG. There are also no visual equivalents, so the only way to play the Yoshika Miyafuji loadout would be to run a pacifist loadout, with naught but the field medic specialisation, healing pouches and smoke grenades.
- I’ve gotten a decent number of killtaculars in Battlefield V, but one of my favourite ones was while defending on breakthrough: I’d managed to destroy a tank with the Panzerfaust to earn a triple kill, and then swapped over to the M2 carbine to finish another player who had appeared from behind the tank. We would go on to win this match: the enemy team never seemed to bother pushing their tanks seriously onto the first capture point, and by the time their more mindful players had taken the tanks, they lacked the tickets.
- While winning in Battlefield V is fun, I personally prefer more dynamic, tense matches where the game is decided by a handful of tickets; one-sided matches are fun for farming, but close matches give one a better idea of how effective they are. It was on one such game on the Solomon Islands that I had the most fun I’ve had in Battlefield V in a very long while. I was on the defending team and was lucky enough to get behind the wheel of a tank. We had reached the middle of the map, and I was hammering at the defenders with the Type 97 Chi-Ha, even splattering a daring player who attempted to use the lunge mine on me.
- Eventually, their team had the presence of mind to focus all of their fire on me: even though I managed to take out one more tank in the process, sustained fire saw me returned to the spawn screen, and the middle capture points fell. I then switched over to the M3 Grease Gun for a bit to support teammates with healing and revives: ranking up the M3 allows for the suppressor to be attached, and while it does not have any noticeable impact on the firing sound, the suppressor has one important function: enemies hit with a suppressed weapon do not get a directional indicator for where the enemy fire is coming from. This could be an especially valuable trait on more chaotic maps.
- As the enemy teams pushed into the final sector, I managed to get my hands on the Ka-Mi, and decided it would be fun to try and level it up to get the remainder of the specialisations. What happened next was ludicrous: I went on a 34-streak with the tank (“Invincible” in Halo, one kill short of “Inconceivable”, which is earned for 35 kills in a row without dying) and scored a multitude of multi-kills, including this well-timed triple. I ended that match 61-12, marking the first time I’d gotten the most kills in a match, best KDR on the server and the most kills I’d gotten in a single match. This screenshot had me landing a lucky triple-kill and then back-pedalling to escape enemies: an M4 equipped with a flametrower and a lunge-mine equipped player were at my flanks here, creating a very Battlefield: Vietnam-like moment.
- In the end, having fun is the most central part of any game: this is the only metric I go off of for deciding whether I continue or not. While Battlefield V‘s detractors are vocal, their opinions hold very little weight to me. Since Battlefield V is fun, I’ll keep on returning until it is no longer fun to do so, and then that will be it: there is no need for needless Reddit and Twitter drama at all. Here, I managed to blast a player off a boat with the Boys AT Rifle: during some matches where the outcome is of little interest to me, I will often go off and mess around for amusement. The Lunge Mine is such a tool for messing around, and I did manage to have some fun with it, even collecting the 50-damage-to-vehicles assignment in the process, but in the long run, the Lunge Mine is not an effective implement for serious combat.
- One of the Tides of War assignments had been to get ten kills with either the M2 Flamethrower or the Katana, and initially, I thought this one would be a bit of a challenge owing to how situational the weapons were. The assignment, however, started on the right foot: here, I toast a low-level player who was being a blight on the server. I’m not sure what the story is, but even now, players rank twenty and under tend to be the ones to pull off stunts that should be impossible, like one-shotting players with the Lewis Gun from 250 metres away and having the ability to know where one is at all times: being able to dampen the cheaters’ spirits by killing (and then tea-bagging) them is one of the smaller joys of Battlefield V.
- The Solomon Islands update also brings the Model 37 to the plate. In earlier Battlefield titles, I rather enjoyed the shotgun gameplay mechanics, but shotguns of Battlefield V are very situational, so I’ve never really used them outside of the team death match and occasional squad conquest modes. The only exception seems to be the M30 Drilling, which can reliably down opponents at close range, and whose alternate fire offers players an extra bit of versatility at range. Now is a good time as any to mention that players who complain about the game, at least to me, are exposing their own shortcomings and are not worth listening to: that’s what inspired the page quote.
- I ended up completing the Tides of War assignment by camping like a scrub at where the bravo flag of Squad Conquest is and cut up anyone who got too close, managing the final kill seconds before the match ended. Here, I sliced up one “ala721”, a player whose statistics suggest someone who’s a bit of a try-hard who cares more about their personal KDR than they do about team-play: while my KDR is slightly negative, I have considerably more heals, revives, resupplies, and a higher win-rate: while the immature parts of the community vociferously argue otherwise, win-rate is a much better indicator of skill than KDR: the player who actively contributes to their team’s victory is superior to one who would rather hang back and get kills at the expense of supporting their team.
- I’ve admittedly been writing a lot less this month: folks wondering about my anime posting schedule are owed a short explanation on what’s been happening. Firstly, Koisuru Asteroid saw a delay in production, and so, I will be writing about the series after the three-quarters mark has passed in early March once the ninth episode has aired, rather than later this month. I’ve also been busy keeping up with Jon’s Creator Showcase, and this time, there’s been a relatively large number of submissions, as well. Finally, I’ve been incredibly busy with work, so posting has taken a bit of a backseat.
- This past long weekend was Family Day, although for me, it did not feel like a weekend on account of how busy I was. The only highlight of the weekend was a delicious homemade English Muffin with sausage, egg and cheese with a side of hash browns and fries: when things get busy, a good meal is typically how I unwind, helping me to destress. In between my work, I also got in a few matches of Battlefield V and also worked on Jon’s Creator Showcase. I believe we are very nearly at the goal line at the time of writing, and I will be very happy once this project wraps up successfully: I’ve been working on it since August of last year, and it will be rewarding to see things come together.
- The Type 11 LMG is very similar to the Type 97 in performance: the Type 97 deals slightly more damage, and the Type 11 has a slightly large ammunition capacity. However, the Type 11 has a very unique and interesting reload sequence: the original Type 11 had a distinct hopper-fed system that was intended to improve its reload speeds, and in Battlefield V, the weapon can either be reloaded traditionally by swapping out the entire hopper, or else if one has k mod 5 = 0 rounds remaining, they can feed individual clips to top off the weapon for a faster reload. It’s a cool weapon that is fun to use at medium ranges, and I enjoyed a degree of success in running it. With this post at an end, I will note that the only other post I have lined up for February, besides Jon’s Creator Showcase, is another Masterpiece Anime Showcase, set to coincide with a certain series’ second movie’s home release.
With the 6.2 patch expected to smooth out gun-play while introducing balances to properly ensure that all weapons have their utility in different situations, attention turns towards what else Battlefield V needs in order to continue being enjoyable as it continues into its life cycle. From a gameplay standpoint, the biggest two features that must be implemented are a robust anti-cheat solution, and a combination of the ability to switch teams. In the latter, too often have I joined a team with ten more players than our opponents, resulting in a target-poor environment that is completely unexciting to play in. The presence of the ability to change teams on the fly means that I could join the team with fewer players and take on the challenge of fighting more players. One proposed way to prevent abuse is that a player-triggered team change is permitted either once per match in an evenly matched game, or if the disparity between team sizes is too large, then players can freely switch to the smaller team from the larger team until numbers are more even. The former, a functional anti-cheat measure, is critical: players with whatever personal issues that plague their world continue to run client-side modifications that give them an unfair advantage, which degrades the experience of those on both teams, and DICE’s seeming-refusal to even acknowledge the presence of cheaters does not speak well to their commitment to a fair and fun environment, which is why (well-adjusted) people find entertainment in games to begin with. While it is fun to humiliate a cheater by tea-bagging them after ending their tool-assisted killstreak, watching some low-level player auto-spot everyone in a plane and going 200-2 in a match, or landing headshots from across the map with the Lewis Gun, is not my definition of fun, and I’d much rather focus my attention on playing for my team and getting those Only in Battlefield™ moments that come with the environment that Battlefield V shown itself conducive to thanks to the latest updates.