The Infinite Zenith

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Battlefield V: Tides of War Overture, Panzerstorm, Killtrocity and a Headshot Record

“I guess the operation can be, let’s see, Operation Sneaky Sneaks, because I want to sneakily see what the enemy is up to, then sneakily attack them.” —Miho “Miporin” Nishizumi, Girls und panzer

Overture was the first instalment to Battlefield V‘s Tides of War programme, and introduced a new map, Panzerstorm. During the past month, DICE also experienced the impact of a particularly controversial decision to increased the TTK, reasoning that new players were being discouraged by frequent quick deaths and not returning to the game. With the community feedback overwhelmingly requesting that TTK be restored, DICE graciously complied: the issue in Battlefield V lay not in the TTK, but TTD (the perceived time it takes to die). Faulty netcode gives the impression that players are dying in fewer frames than is actually the case, and at the time of writing, remains an issue; when TTK was increased, the game became disjointed. It was taking more time to take out an enemy player, further compounding the sense that an enemy should not have been able to down one so quickly. When DICE reverted this, Battlefield V immediately became considerably more fun. However, Tides of War, the continuous service programme, has also exposed limitations in Battlefield V; the assignments were not functioning and so, players could not unlock the new weapons on numerous occasions. I played through upwards of six hours of Grand Operations to get the first step of the final week in Overture to work, and others have reported being unable to unlock the new weapons, which are limited-time. The prizes for finishing each interval adds aesthetically unique, but otherwise unremarkable weapons to the game, as well as leave the medics yearning for more weapons. Between this, and bugs in the sound system allowing players to sneak around, Battlefield V looks off to a rough start; DICE does appear to have forgotten about their past successes and what made previous Battlefield titles fun. However, looking beyond Battlefield V‘s frustrations also finds a plethora of things to enjoy. Things work more often than they do not, and when one lines up a finely-aimed headshot or pulls off a successful flank, there is a sense of reward quite unlike that of any earlier Battlefield titles: Battlefield V is much harder than its predecessors.

After making my way through Overture, and steadily becoming more familiar with Battlefield V, the quality of my experience has improved since starting out. Knowing where player paths are means I can anticipate how others move around the map, and correspondingly adjust my path to surprise them, or else flush out campers from spots that are popular among those who would otherwise sit still and rack up kills without contributing to their team. Increased vehicle play has allowed me to fully upgrade my Panzer IV and Tiger I, and the return of the Ribeyrolles 1918 has provided the Assault Class with an unparalleled automatic rifle that is lethal at medium ranges, but can hold its own in closer quarters even despite its lower rate of fire. While I’ve not agreed with all of the Tides of War assignments (least of all those that forced me to play Grand Operations), the assignments that were the most enjoyable were those that encouraged team play. Reviving, healing, resupplying and repairing friendly players and assets lead to a much more cohesive experience, and it is great to be revived by players standing beside me. The vehicle assignments were also enjoyable: while vehicles remain death traps owing to how potent the Panzerfaust is, having incentive to use the vehicles and rank them up meant that my German tanks are now specialised. The promise of cosmetics and assignments provide plenty of reason to play; assignments tend to put my focus on doing something specific, and this has enticed me to return to Battlefield V in spite of all of its frustrations and bugs. It is clear that DICE hasn’t struck out on Battlefield V — weekly and daily assignments made Battlefield 1 significantly more fun, and seeing these carry over to Battlefield V show that lessons from Battlefield 1 stuck. The journey to unlocking everything and reaching level 20 in Tides of War was generally a fun one, and now that I’ve spent more time in Battlefield V, it becomes apparent that Battlefield V is much more of a skill game than Battlefield 1 was.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • My initial goal was to get the Panzer IV upgraded as far as I could: in its default Ausf. D configuration, the tank is largely suited for anti-infantry engagements, as well as taking out soft targets like transports. However, the Ausf. D configuration is quite vulnerable to Panzerfausts, and is ill-suited for taking on other tanks, so my main use for it was to provide fire support onto capture points.

  • The Sturmtiger is a unique reinforcement vehicle that is intended for hammering enemy positions, and here, I use it to get a double kill in an attempt to single-handedly clear out a position on my own. Panzerstorm is an interesting map, featuring plenty of open fields that is evidently suited for vehicle warfare, so infantry players won’t have such a good time on this map. While it was advertised as being for large scale armoured combat, Panzerstorm did not deliver: each team has upwards of seven tanks, leaving 25 players to go on foot. In order to create proper armoured warfare, I feel that doubling the tank count per team would make things a lot more exciting.

  • The ultimate reinforcement remains the missile strikes: here, I scored my first-ever Killfrenzy (a multi-kill of six) on Arras using the JB-2 rocket. This match, I was doing particularly poorly on, but as time wore on, both the team and I managed to mount a comeback. While focusing on capturing points, I got lucky with kills made while defending points and eventually managed to earn enough points for the rocket strike. Seeing a number of enemies amassed at the town centre, I called in the JB-2 and the rest is history: I went KD positive, and the team won.

  • Bombers are nowhere nearly as overpowered as the Ilya Muromets now, but a skilled player can still do serious damage with one. Perhaps a carry-over from my Battlefield 1 days, the bombers are my favourite planes to fly in Battlefield V: I have no trouble getting them to go where I wish them to go, and hitting targets on the ground is straightforwards with bombs. Bombs deal massive damage to whatever they hit, enough to annihilate vehicles, but are more precise than the cluster shells, so the days of being able to empty out entire capture points with one bombing run are thankfully over.

  • We’re very nearly a week into 2019 now: the year opened with a ham dinner with mayonnaise à la Futurama‘s Judge Whitey. We used a special Dijon-honey-mayonnaise sauce that was heaven on earth, and then earlier this weekend, I made a homemade dip for yam fries that was very tasty despite lacking Chipotle that gives the dip a distinctly smokey flavour. The festivities of Christmas are past, and we enter the long dark of winter now.

  • In a particularly memorable match on Rotterdam, I went on a kill-streak with the Valentine MK VIII medium tank. After being blown apart by Panzerfausts, I spawned back in as a sniper, single-handedly defended the train station point until my squad arrived, and then sent off a JB-2 Rocket that scored a Killfrenzy. Battlefield games where things go well usually have things go really well, and thanks to the revised Conquest system, comebacks are now possible. I’ve won some games where I was certain we would lose.

  • Ever since I unlocked the MP-40 for the medic, I’ve found a versatile weapon that handles well enough for the ranges that I play at. This submachine gun is especially useful on Devastation: having spent more time here, I’ve found that my performance has seen an improvement now that I know where all of the routes are, and the close-quarters makes the medics much more useful. The capture point in the cathedral is the most hotly contested spot on the map, so a combination of smoke grenades and revivals allow one to very quickly bring their teammates back to life.

  • While advertised as a major piece of Battlefield V, I’ve actually yet to see more players tow stationary weapons to new positions to defend capture points. Here, I use the Pak 40 to hammer distant foes. When the assignment to destroy a tank came up, I considered using this as a means of scoring kills against tanks, since for my part, I use tanks in an anti-infantry role, but stationary weapons leave players very exposed to sniper fire. One of the assignments involved using stationary guns to score two kills, and I found that this was best done on Narvik, where one can build Vickers guns flanked by sandbags.

  • Specialising the Panzer IV with additional armour and the Kwk 40 turns it into the Ausf. H version that Miho commands in Girls und Panzer. Despite the upgrades in firepower and defense, I still would not use the Panzer IV in a direct contest against other tanks, instead, using the Panzer IV’s superior mobility to flank around and hit enemy armour from the sides or rear, as well as to suppress and control infantry.

  • The Lewis Gun saw a major upgrade in Battlefield V: it is now remarkably effective as a run-and-gun weapon, but also has enough firepower to be moderately useful as a defensive weapon. When properly specialised, its recoil is reduced greatly, extending its range, and with a higher rate of fire, the gun is very competitive. I never did get into using the Lewis Gun of Battlefield 1, as its low rate of fire greatly restricted its use.

  • After upgrading the Panzer IV fully, I turned my attention to the Tiger I. This tank is Maho’s choice from Girls und Panzer, and is the choicest tank for anti-armour combat. Inherently more durable and capable than the Panzer IV, the Tiger I is much slower to operate, making it ill-suited for anti-infantry combat at closer ranges. Fully specialised, the Tiger I becomes even more effective in an anti-vehicle role at long ranges: Battlefield V is more punishing than World of Tanks, and anyone who attempts to pull the Nishizumi-ryu here by blindly charging onto a capture point will have their faces melted by Panzerfausts before one could say panzer vor.

  • One significant downgrade from earlier Battlefield titles is that custom emblems have not been implemented as of yet, and so, I cannot authentically run with Girls und Panzer themed emblems on my tanks. I’m not sure what the rationale for cutting them from Battlefield V is: granted, I’ve seen some questionable emblems before, but for the most part, people run with harmless emblems, so it makes no sense to restrict people from using them.

  • I got another Killtrocity on Arras using the V-1 rocket during the week where squad assignments were active. This proved to be sufficient for both unlocking the “called in a reinforcement” and “as a squad, kill 2 enemies with rocket strikes” assignments. I’ve heard of people who were unlucky in that they called in the rocket and hit one person with it, but did not get credit for it; whether it was a stroke of luck or from the Killtrocity, I ended up clearing the assignment. This allowed me to unlock an epic mask, although I prefer running stock soldiers and weapons with standard skins. For my part, I’m saving all of my company coin for specialising weapons and vehicles.

  • The Gewehr M95/30 is the next bolt-action rifle for the scout class. With a smaller capacity and more damage than the Lee-Enfield No. 4 Mk I, it is the hardest hitting of the bolt-action rifles. However, to balance it out, it lacks the straight-pull bolt of its Battlefield 1 incarnation. Sniping in Battlefield V has been much more challenging (and rewarding for it) than Battlefield 1, but curiously enough, my scout class is the same rank as my medic class at the time of writing.

  • Here, I run the Churchill Mk VII, a British heavy tank that Darjeeling fields. Compared to the Tiger I, it is slower and hits harder, but has lower muzzle velocity. I’ve had some successes with the Churchill Mk VII and the Valentine Mk VIII, but found the Churchill Gun Carrier to be completely ineffectual: without a turret, the tank is easily flanked by infantry. So far, Battlefield V has been very limited with its selection of vehicles, and I’m hoping that Tides of War will rectify this: there’s so much stuff in World War Two that could be introduced into the game.

  • The Turner SMLE is conversion of the SMLE Mk. III that I was so fond of from Battlefield 1 that gives it semi-automatic fire. Not quite as hard-hitting as the Gewehr 43, the Turner SMLE fires slightly faster and therefore, is more useful at closer ranges. Having spent many frustrating matches on Panzerstorm, and then several okay matches, and some good ones, I can say that the map does require more vehicles to allow for players to really make use of its size. From an aesthetic perspective, Panzerstorm looks amazing and brings to mind the landscapes of Interior BC.

  • The StG 44 has been degraded from its beta and alpha performance: lacking the stability for long distance shooting compared to the Turner SMLE and M1A1 Carbine, but also sporting a lower full-automatic fire rate that result in its being outclassed by the Gewehr 1-5 and M1907, the StG 44 occupies an unusual middle ground where it excels at neither. The key to using this gun well is at those short-to-medium ranges and tap-fire the weapon, aiming for the head where possible, but on the whole, the StG 44 is simply eclipsed by other weapons.

  • By comparison, the Ribeyrolles is now the ultimate assault weapon bar none: its low rate of fire and high accuracy allows it to fulfil the role between that of the assault rifles and semi-automatic rifles. Being able to put more damage downrange than the semi-automatic rifles, while having a longer reach than the assault rifles, the Ribeyrolles is reliable, versatile and leaves me confident knowing that I am equipped to deal with enemies at most ranges the assault class is designed for.

  • The return of skill-based sniping in Battlefield V means that long-range headshots are much harder to score than in Battlefield 1; with the Gewehr 98 in Battlefield 1 and its high muzzle velocity, I scored a 383 metre headshot on Sinai desert towards the end of my time in the game. In Battlefield V, muzzle velocities are closer to their Battlefield 4 values, and so, bullet drop is more pronounced than before. Coupled with reduced cenre mass damage, all of the scratches and smudging on the long-range optics, and harder to see enemies, sniping is a challenge, so landing those shots becomes even more rewarding. Here, I scored a headshot of 257 meters on Hamada – it’s my personal best in Battlefield V so far.

  • The Ribeyrolles is so accurate that if two opponents are lined up, one can get consecutive headshots, back-to-back. Battlefield V‘s incarnations of weapons seen in Battlefield 1 have been varied: of the ones I’ve unlocked, the Lewis gun, M1907 and Ribeyrolles absolutely outclass their Battlefield 1 iterations, while the shotguns have felt more ineffective in general.

  • I had all but given up on trying to destroy a tank, but during a match of conquest on Twisted Steel, I hopped into a Tiger I with the intent of ranking it up, and managed to blast an enemy Churchill to finish the Mechanised Brawl assignment done. Because of their vulnerability, tanks of Battlefield V take an additional level of skill and patience to use: one cannot simply brawl with the Tiger I, as the tank is best suited for ranged engagements against enemy vehicles. I have reached rank for with the tank now, and intend to spec it out fully for anti-tank engagements.

  • The Selbstlader 1906 was a weapon I never touched in Battlefield 1 – as a medic self-loading rifle with only five rounds available, the weapon was very difficult to use and was quite unsuited for closer ranges that medics played at. By comparison, Battlefield V places it with the scout class, and while unremarkable from a statistics perspective, its performance in practise is reasonable.

  • The M30 Drilling is a double-barrelled shotgun, similar to the Model 1900 of Battlefield 1 (which I loved), but has one additional twist: there’s a third barrel that fires a rifle cartridge, allowing the weapon to be used in situations where buckshot is insufficient to deal with. This rifle round allows the M30 to handle like the Martini-Henry, and because it only has one shot, it is the ultimate skill weapon. I’ve used the cartridge to surprise enemies, and the buckshot is remarkably effective in the ruins of Devastation as well.

  • My experience with the Tides of War was smooth for the most part – leaving a server and then finding a new one was often enough to force an assignment to track. The exception was the Grand Operations assignments, which refused to track regardless of how many times I restarted Battlefield V. After three days, it finally began tracking, and it was a short journey towards finishing enough of the branches to unlock the prize; the A/g m42 is a semi-automatic rifle for the assault class that handles most similarly to the M1A1 Carbine, albeit with slightly more damage but a limited magazine.

  • Here, I score a triple kill while flying over the village of Arras: having spent a nontrivial amount of time in Battlefield V and having reached rank 40, I’m burning through the progression system, and it feels that Battlefield V was deliberate in having a shorter progression system, allowing players to unlock everything quickly so that they could focus on Tides of War activities once those became available. While I feel that Battlefield V‘s progression system is shorter, it is still more advanced than that of Battlefield 1‘s, and  looks extensible enough so that adding more levels and rewards should be a straightforward endeavour.

  • Cheating in Battlefield has always been a point of contention: contrary to perjurers who would have players believe cheaters are non-existent, the reality is that they exist, and in a game like Battlefield V, where there is reduced spotting and game mechanics control scoring, it becomes very apparent to spot cheaters. Here, I blasted a fellow by the name of “ironmaiden0911”, who was topping the scoreboard with over 100 kills and 2 deaths within the first three minutes of Airborne. Frustration was very much a reality: at the time, I was trying to finish a grand operation and could not simply leave. In the end, my team lost, but I did managed to kill them at least once. A glance at their stats show they’ve been banned now, having not opened the game since I played them last.

  • At the opposite end of the spectrum are the simply spectacular, emergent moments that arise in Battlefield: here on a match of Grand Operations, another bomber got into my tail and began damaging me, but I somehow managed to bank, flew over them, and in a moment of inspiration, I unloaded my bombs on them. They connected and destroyed his vehicle; I thus bombed a bomber.

  • Besides more vehicles and content, one thing I would love to see in Battlefield V would be swappable reinforcements that one could pick and choose from. At different levels, reinforcements become unlocked, and then one could choose which ones to equip. For instance, I never call in the supply drop or vehicle-killers, so having different reinforcements would be amazing. While Call of Duty: WW2 is inferior to Battlefield V in just about every department, the number of options for killstreaks was well done. Battlefield V could take things one step further, doing things that can’t be done in Call of Duty  by adding new reinforcements that one could pick from. Some of my ideas include picking up a proper flamethrower, calling in an aircraft that spots all enemies in an area for 10 seconds, artillery strikes on two locations of one’s choosing (weaker than the rocket attacks, but allows one to hit one more location), and a player-controlled strategic bomber like the B-17 or B-29 that acts as an aerial equivalent of the Sturmtiger or Churchill Crocodile.

  • Another thing I would like to see is more class archetypes: the default ones are satisfactory and render the unlockable ones quite unnecessary, but I would like to see archetypes for increased movement speed, more stealth, ability to carry more ammo or more efficient spotting. Again, there’s so much that can be done that I would not be surprised if Tides of War added new archetypes later. Here, I get a double kill with the MG 34; the bug with bipod deployment aside, the medium machine guns are actually fun to use. In particular, when one is using the MG 34 with the bipod, it becomes a death machine that performs exceedingly well in a defensive role. I’ve come to enjoy the MG 34, and have specialised it to have increased accuracy and firing rate, as well as the double-drum magazine, which also allows for a faster reload. When the situation demands a run-and-gun style, I will return to the KE-7 and Lewis gun.

  • The next Tides of War chapter opens in a few days, being pushed back: I hope that this means DICE is pushing out patches to address issues previously encountered. Beyond this, I am looking forwards to seeing what is available in the next Tides of War, and ideally, we’d also gain an idea as to whether or not iconic content is being added in the future. Battlefield V remains shaped by what it could potentially become, and if the base game is mechanically solid, then the sky is the limit as to what DICE could potentially do with Battlefield V; I would be okay with DICE deciding to support Battlefield V for an extended period beyond two years, improving the game and building a long-term community to make a smooth, polished and content-rich game akin to how Rainbow Six Siege and Counter Strike: Global Offensive have done things.

While Battlefield V still has its share of bugs, being much more rocky and unpredictable than Battlefield 1, there are new patches coming out this month that will hopefully address some of the frustrations players have seen. Developers have been working on a fix for vaulting and bipod deployment, for instance, and I’m hoping that TTD is addressed so that I am sustaining damage at the same rate that I can deal damage. If anything, the TTK experiment showed that simply changing weapon damage won’t be a solution; the short TTK increases the value of tactical, smart play, and improving TTD would similarly allow players to anticipate how much time they have to get out of a bad situation. Beyond this, I’ve become somewhat acclimatised to the minimal spotting system, and while I still prefer the approaches Battlefield 3 and 4 took, I feel that should DICE properly address the sound of gunfire and footsteps, Battlefield V could keep its current spotting system and remain enjoyable. I admit that it took a bit of time to actually complete the Overture chapter of Tides of War, but the journey was a largely entertaining one. Battlefield V has shown plenty of promise, and given DICE’s track record, I am optimistic that the game will become more polished and correspondingly, more fun to play as time wears on. As far as content goes, the game is still very much missing American and Russian soldiers, maps and weapons; the iconic M4 Sherman and M1 Garand, or the Russian PPSh-41 and T-34 tanks, absolutely must be rendered in the Frostbite Engine, along with Stalingrad and Normandy. Contrary to any perception that these are stale, I would very much like to see World War Two’s most iconic battles in what is one of the most sophisticated game engines available. I think that the next chapter in Tides of War take us to the coasts of Greece, but if we are to get monthly content, I would hope that the more recognisable aspects of World War Two are added to Battlefield V: from a technical perspective, Battlefield V far outclasses Call of Duty: WWII, and I would love to see the DICE take on things that Call of Duty: WWII did not adequately capture.

Battlefield V: Twelve Hours of Multiplayer and First Impressions

“Real luxury is customisation.” –Lapo Elkann

DICE’s latest addition to the Battlefield franchise brings with it many new changes; despite a rocky marketting campaign and launch, Battlefield V handles much more smoothly than its predecessor, bringing with it a host of modifications that were intended to emphasise skill and team play even more so than previous Battlefield games, alongside major visual improvements. Now that Battlefield V is launched, and following my purchase of the title, I have a more solid understanding for what works and what requires reconsideration in Battlefield V. Like Battlefield 1, which took me some time to get used to, Battlefield V offers enough of a change to mechanics so that getting used to weapon handling, map layouts and other nuances so that it will take a bit of commitment to get used to the way things work here. The current state of Battlefield V is such that this is both a positive and a negative; on one hand, with eight maps at launch and a comparatively small selection of weapons, jumping in and getting familiar with everything won’t be a challenge, but on the other hand, this does not leave for much variety once one begins unlocking everything. The limited content is a consequence of the Tides of War system that replaces the Battlefield Premium system, providing continuous support and updates for the game during its lifespan, free of charge, to all players. Over time, Battlefield V will have more maps, more weapons and more options for players, along with bug fixes, that will almost certainly see the game improve, and given how DICE continuously improved previous Battlefield titles, it is no surprise that Battlefield V will see the same treatment. Some mechanics are fairly quick to acclimatise with, such as the attrition system, which has been balanced now to encourage team members to help one another out, without restricting players to one firefight, or weapon characteristics, which are much more consistent. Others are indicative of poor design choices: my biggest gripe about Battlefield V is enemy visibility, which has encouraged the practise of camping. Being killed by enemies concealed in foliage or masquerading as a downed player is immeasurably frustrating, detracting from the skill aspect (anyone can stay in one spot and rack up kills at the expense of helping their team out), although as with Battlefield 1, I expect that with time, acclimatisation and possible updates could mitigate this.

Battlefield V has its frustrating moments because enemies are near-impossible to see, but when things connect, there are also plenty of Only in Battlefield™ moments, as well. Successfully completing a flank and blasting unaware opponents, spawning onto a beacon on a contested capture point to surprise enemies or landing headshots from a distance are immensely satisfying, offering a hint of what can be accomplished with improving skill and knowledge. The weapons feel heftier than they did in Battlefield 1, and watching shots connect is rewarding. More rewarding is when one joins and contributes to a good squad: reviving and being revived by squad-mates is immensely fun, as is constantly throwing around ammunition and receiving ammunition from squad-mates. The scout class also gains access to a spotting scope that can pick out concealed enemies and make them stick out. Sniping is also incredibly satisfying, even more so than in Battlefield 1, since the bolt-action rifles have been made more difficult to wield. For the most part, my best games involve me playing the objectives in a much more defensive approach with teammates, steering clear of open areas and waiting for the team to make a push before advancing. Battlefield V also marks the return of a meaningful progression system, providing incentive to use every class, weapon and vehicle available. Levelling up confers different benefits, including new equipment and weapons, specialisations that impact the weapon’s performance, and access to cosmetics. More unlocks will be provided with the Tides of War updates over time, so the relative lack of content now will be rectified as the game matures. While the mechanics are largely solid, especially surrounding the gunplay and progression, Battlefield V still has quite a ways to go yet before it is as smooth and polished as Battlefield 1 – Battlefield V is still very early in its life and therefore, the game is likely to receive many changes over the course of the next two years.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • After picking up Battlefield V, I skipped over the campaign and immediately dropped into a match of conquest. Fjell 652 was the first map I got, and is said to be Battlefield V‘s Argonne Forest. While an uninspired map, its focus on infantry gameplay and the occasional aircraft gives the map a cleaner feel than Argonne Forest. I scored my first kill with the Sturmgewehr 1-5 (Volkssturmgewehr) here: the base weapons available to each class are useful and effective, and we would go on to win this match.

  • I’ve never been much of a pilot, and so, it is unlikely that I will have the chance to unlock more of the specialisations for aircraft, but in the few moments where I have hopped behind the driver’s seat of an aircraft, I’ve found that planes in Battlefield V handle very well. With beginner’s luck in my corner, I flew behind a bomber and destroyed it for my first double kill of Battlefield V proper. Flying can be fun, although because of my preference for other modes of combat, I’m generally not too effective when in the air.

  • The V-1 Rocket (and its Allied counterpart, the American JB-2) are the most powerful reinforcements available to players in Battlefield V: they are accessed by carrying out squad activities and provide support to a squad. The airstrike option is most reminiscent of the kill-streaks of Call of Duty, but in Battlefield V, must be earned through team play. Reinforcements come in several forms, and for the most part, squad leaders tend to save their points up for airstrikes. A successful airstrike is immensely satisfying, and have the effect of clearing out capture points for a squad to then take.

  • Having played Sinai Desert to death during Battlefield 1‘s beta, I was never particularly fond of the other desert maps in Battlefield 1: Fao Fortress and Suez were dreary, dull-looking maps. By comparison, Battlefield V‘s Hamada is beautiful, offering ruins and foliage, gullies and ravines to fight in. Set during the day, the map is very bright, and its open spaces make longer range weapons useful. It’d be a great map save for using the conquest assault mode: other game types on this map are generally enjoyable. Back in the alpha and beta, the Gewehr 43 was one of my favourite weapons for its precision: it’s since been balanced to have more spread if fired repeatedly, but at range, it remains effective.

  • Because random bullet deviation (alternatively known as “Kantai Collection-style random chance and luck”) is gone from Battlefield V, the assault rifles can be made to reach out quite far and still remain accurate if one tap fires. One of my challenges now is to dispense with the Battlefield 1 mindset of emptying magazines at enemies, and return to making short, controlled bursts to hit enemies from a distance, a technique that was superbly effective in Battlefield 4.

  • From an aesthetic standpoint, Devastation is extremely well done, capturing the feel of a completely ruined urban environment. With burning buildings, charred brick walls and the twisted skeleton of steel structures, Devastation’s layout is similar to that of Tsaritsyn. The dark environments and clutter convey a sense of ruin, but also makes it incredibly difficult to see enemies clearly. On the plus side, there are not unskilled players spamming gas grenades every other moment; excessive use of explosives have been dramatically lessened compared to Battlefield 1.

  • The medic class in Battlefield V has seen some improvement, but a bit of a downgrade from its Battlefield 1 equivalent: medics are now more valuable because they can provide allied players with a single use health kit for restoring their health fully. Players can no longer fully regenerate their health after sustaining damage and must use health kits to do so, forcing them to either find a medical crate or ask friendlies to toss them health kits. This is the medic’s real utility, besides being able to revive allied players quickly. With their medical syringe being equipped separately, medics can also equip different gadgets, but these have been underwhelming so far.

  • In Battlefield 1, the AT Rocket Gun was a well-balanced anti-tank weapon: dealing good damage to armour while forcing players to use their bipods and compensate for a slow projectile speed, it took skill and teamwork to use these in concert to destroy armour. The Panzerfaust, on the other hand, can destroy vehicles with too much ease. Two players can quickly ruin even the Tiger I, and the Panzer IV can be destroyed by a single player: if Girls und Panzer worked the same way as Battlefield V presently, a squad of three players (two assault and one support) could solo the whole of Black Forest.

  • When the opportunity arises, I’ve largely used the Panzer IV in an anti-infantry role: having come to enjoy how machine guns for tanks operated in Battlefield 1 worked, I took a similar approach to Battlefield V and found a moderate degree of success: compared to their performance in the beta, the machine guns no longer spray out tracers and have a slower firing sound, allowing one to lead shots better without wasting excessive ammunition. The main cannons on tanks, on the other hand, are not so effective: I’ve gotten into protracted exchanges with other armoured vehicles where neither of us were able to destroy the other without at least five direct hits.

  • Besides the bolt-action rifles, scouts have access to self-loading rifles now. Once a part of the medic class in Battlefield 1, self-loading rifles hit harder than the semi-automatic rifles of the assault kit and are a solid choice for medium range combat. I typically run with the 3x magnification on these rifles, since I expect to encounter enemies closer up than I would if I were playing with a bolt-action rifle, which are most effective with the high-powered scope.

  • For my first few hours, I was unsuccessful in finding a server running the Arras map. Easily one of the most scenic maps in Battlefield V, it’s got wide open fields of canola and a town at the map’s centre. Soldiers often hide in the canola and camp the capture points, coming from unexpected angles to surprise those trying to push onto a point. The point in the town itself is the most heavily contested, and changes the most hands in a match. Here, I call in a V-1 and watched as it impacted one of the capture points to score a double kill before the match ended: the explosion itself is spectacular.

  • Twisted Steel is another map with solid visuals: the foliage and swampy terrain is superb. Fighting is most intense on the damaged bridge that crosses the map, and thanks to the numerous trees, teams that control the bridge cannot simply snipe players down below. Again, a good medium range weapon on this map is useful, since there are open spaces between the capture point. One aspect of Battlefield V that indicates good design is the fact that weapons all have various optics immediately available for use, allowing one to not be restricted to the iron sights. Battlefield 4 required players get kills with a weapon before the sights could unlock, and since Battlefield has never done an adequate job with making iron sights usable, I tend to avoid them.

  • Being heavy tanks, Battlefield V‘s Tiger I and Churchill Mk VII are incredibly slow to manoeuvre, making them easy targets for Panzerfaust-wielding assault players. While heavy tanks traditionally had heavier armour and more powerful main cannons for anti-armour combat, the damage model present now means that even heavy tanks are not too effective against enemy armour, and their slow turret traversal makes them ill-suited for dealing with infantry. This is why I’ve chose to run the Panzer IV, whose setup makes it much better for supporting allied forces.

  • Aerodrome is set in a large, dark desert area reminiscent of Fao Fortress, but with one critical exception: there’s a large aircraft hangar at the center of the map, and fighting converges here. This is an excellent map for long-distance shooting, and Battlefield V has absolutely nailed the sniping mechanics. With no sweet spot and slower bullet velocities, the skill comes back into sniping as it had for Battlefield 4, so landing headshots becomes even more rewarding than it was previously. At present, my longest headshot is 198 metres.

  • The inside of Aerodrome’s main hangar is superbly designed and looks amazing. The planes in here can be destroyed over the course of the battle, and I love the lighting. However, I typically avoid fighting here, either on foot or in a vehicle, since the chaos makes it very easy to die to stray bullets. However, there are occasions where, with enough infantry support, I’ll push onto the point to help capture it, and a tank can be useful on such a push.

  • One of the most unusual features of Battlefield V isn’t a gameplay mechanic: the text chat will automatically censor out profanity and words deemed offensive, and the biggest problem with this is that it captures non-offensive words, such as “assault”. Ironically, the player characters themselves spout profanity when they are downed. I’m not sure why game developers feel compelled to bend to the will of virtue signallers, or how a few social media posts from virtue signallers can have such an impact on entertainment in general: for now, I’m glad that at the very least, virtue signallers have not negatively impacted the core gameplay of titles like Battlefield V.

  • The AT rocket gun was a fun weapon to use in the event one needed a longer-range weapon for picking off distant foes: because players needed to use a bipod, the weapon demanded situational awareness and map familiarity. By comparison, the Panzerfaust can be fired with reasonable accuracy from the shoulder and takes next to no skill to use: players of all experiences use it to score kills to an excessive degree, and I hope that this weapon’s destructive power is reduced to be more in line with the AT rocket gun, forcing assault players to stick with their squad if they wish to destroy vehicles.

  • The customisation I miss the most from Battlefield 1 is the emblems, which allowed me to run with the Ooarai logo or anime faces. I’ve heard that this feature will return with a later update, which will allow me to really run Girls und Panzer: Dream Tank Match in the Frostbite Engine. There is a certain satisfaction to listening to complaints about them in the text chat, and here, I blast another player with the Panzer IV in the wheat fields of Arras. Thanks to my completing the Road to Battlefield challenge some weeks ago, I have a variety of Arras skins and two special customisation sets.

  • The starting bolt action rifle, the Lee Enfield No. 4 Mk I has a good magazine size and fire rate, but slow bullet velocity and damage. These characteristics make it a solid weapon for beginners who are learning the ropes: the magazine size and fire rate allows for follow-up shots to be made, while the low muzzle velocity really forces one to account for bullet drop. I’ve had success in lining up and landing consecutive kills with this weapon, an all-around excellent teacher for the scout mechanics.

  • The ribbons of Battlefield V are a mystery to me: their appearance may or may not correspond with a scoring bonus, and there’s no display in the menu system to indicate what ribbons there are and the number that one has unlocked. One noticeable bug with ribbons is that they appear when certain criteria are not satisfied yet, and overall, it’s a little strange as to what purpose the ribbons serve. By comparison, medals have a clear unlock pattern and per community request, are always active. The only downside is that they presently can only be unlocked once, so I’m hoping they will be unlockable as many time as one earns their criteria (save the campaign medals).

  • The light tank Axis players access is the Panzer 38(t): while effectual against other light tanks, the 38(t) was inadequate against medium and heavy tanks. Production stopped in 1942, but the chassis would be used as the basis for the Hetzer. Battlefield V‘s light tanks are best suited for anti-infantry roles: having the fastest top speed and quickest turret traversal, they can be used to engage infantry effectively, especially if the right specialisations are selected, but their mobility comes at a cost; their light armour and 37 mm cannon makes them unable to take damage and deal damage to armour.

  • While the various Witches of Strike Witches and Brave Witches tend to run with iron sights, I prefer having a good set of optics on my weapons. Depending on the availability, I run with the Nydar sights, a simple but effective equivalent to the Coyote Sight of Battlefield 4, or the holographic sight. Here, I run the MG 34, a medium machine gun (MMG) that must have its bipod deployed in order for one to aim down sights. The idea of MMGs is a fun one that extends the support class’ usefulness, allowing one to hunker down and lay down serious suppressive fire to help a team hold a position.

  • Replicating the Hanna-Justina Wallia Rosalind Sieglinde Marseille loadout with the corresponding play-style (aggressive rushes) won’t be possible in Battlefield V, since the MMGs have terrible hip-fire accuracy. WIthout Hanna’s magic, players simply won’t be able to adopt a run-and-gun the same way Witches do: the MG 42 similarly cannot be used this way, so one will not be able to play the same way Gertrude and Erica roll.

  • The Panzer IV and its Allied counterpart, the Valentine Mk VIII, are excellent all-around tanks that I’ve performed consistently well with. I’d love to operate the M4 Sherman and T-34 at some point, as well. Having tried some of the Panzerstorm gameplay for myself, the scale of the tank battles on this map are inadequate, and I hope DICE introduces a new game mode for armoured warfare involving only tanks.

  • Here, I operate a Sd. Kfz 251 Pakwagen and used it to shell enemies from afar while waiting for a losing match to end, having entered one after a squad mate abandoned it. The Allied counterpart is theT48 57 mm Gun Motor Carriage, and these are among the less expensive of the reinforcements, providing squads with impressive firepower and unlimited ammunition at the expense of durability. For the most part, these are not brought into the game often: squad leaders end up saving up their requisition points to call in the rocket strikes.

  • There was a bug I encountered where the game would drop me from a server at random. This was my biggest gripe with the game, and the latest patches appear to deal with this. Here on Devastation, I run the M1907 SL, the fastest-firing assault rifle available in Battlefield V. Unlike its Battlefield 1 counterpart, the M1907 SL is a close quarters weapon with a high damage output at the expense of accuracy at range. It’s much more fun to use than the Battlefield 1 version, and the same can be said of the Lewis Gun, which is a beast.

  • Returning to Rotterdam, I’ve found my performance here to be solid, thanks in no small part to the fact that I know where everything is and can anticipate where enemies are coming from. It’s been two months and some since I last stood in Rotterdam, and things in real life have changed considerably. With all of the documentation and formalities wrapped up, I’ve taken the past few days off to rest, before taking up a new post. On my down time, I decided to visit the new Central Library that opened last month. It’s a clean, elegant building with plenty of open spaces and abundant lighting. The ship-shaped building reminds me of those modern European structures I saw in books from the library, and I’ve long been fond of modern architecture in this style.

  • The trick to Battlefield V really ends up being patience: instead of camping, one should move around in a strategic manner, from cover to cover, and ideally, with squad mates. After a rough start, it’s time to slow things down and then see about getting my KD ratio back up. My win-loss ratio has levelled out now. I still think that suppressed weapons should play a role in the game: presently, players are automatically spotted on the mini-map after a kill to alert enemy players to their presence. This is counted a bug, but I would think it is acceptable to keep this as a feature, and then add suppressors as a weapon specialisation that exchanges firepower for stealth. Players running suppressors would not show up on the map, but then, this could come with the tradeoff that the weapon is slower to draw and raise up for ADS.

  • Battlefield V‘s medal system is fabulous; I earned my first medal within twelve hours of play for capturing a hundred objectives, standing in contrast with Battlefield 1, whose medal system was difficult to work with. Despite the initial setbacks and difficulties, I think I’m slowly getting the hang of Battlefield V now. Pushing through the ranks, I am looking forwards to seeing what there is to do in Battlefield V outside of the conventional progression system: Tides of War is live now, and there’s so much to unlock and focus on. With my limited play time in the future, I’ll have to balance my time between watching anime and living the Girls und Panzer and Strike Witches in Frostbite Engine experience.

With new content to be consistently delivered over time, along with new activities and objectives, Battlefield V could stand to provide very solid entertainment. The current maps and content introduce players to more obscure aspects of World War Two; noticeably absent are iconic set-pieces and weapons. There is no Normandy Landing, Stalingrad, Iwo Jima or liberation of Hong Kong yet, nor the M1 Garand. While I appreciate the coverage of lesser-known battles and weapons, a World War Two title would not be complete without these elements. The Tides of War has the potential of including these events and weapons, and in particular, I am hoping that DICE includes the Pacific Campaign as a part of their Tides of War update. For the time being, however, my aim is to go through the progression system and unlock as much content as I can that will allow me to replicate the various Girls und Panzer and Strike Witches loadouts. Out of the gates, iconic weapons such as the Bren Machine Gun and MG 34 are quickly unlocked, allowing players to run as Perrine and Hanna (in a manner of speaking). Erica’s MP 40 is also available for use. Battlefield V‘s setup will not accommodate faithful replications of loadouts: the PIAT is a part of the assault class, so one cannot run the PIAT with the Bren, and with melee weapons being a little less diverse, no sabres are available at present. On the side of armour, I’ve taken to focusing on levelling up my Panzer IV: beginning with the Ausf. D version that Miho operates early on, one can push the Panzer IV to its Ausf. H configuration (as seen in Girls und Panzer Das Film) with the 75mm KwK 40 L/43 anti-tank cannon and Schürzen skirts. Should DICE release the appropriate customisations, I could decorate my armour in Ooarai colours: at present, a dark brown vehicle skin and custom emblems are unavailable. Battlefield V certainly did take a risk with its audience – whether or not it succeeds now will depend on how well post-launch content and updates are handled; there is definitely the possibility that Battlefield V could include enough content to make it memorable in terms of both gameplay and customisation, and this is an encouraging thought as I push through the game.

Destiny 2: A Review and Reflection on a Complimentary Bungie Experience

“I am a Ghost; more importantly, I’m your Ghost. And you are one of the Traveler’s chosen. You are a Guardian. This is your destiny.” —Ghost

Earlier in November, Activision and Bungie made their RPG-shooter, Destiny 2, free of charge for all players with a Battle.net account. Bungie’s project following Halo, Destiny and Destiny 2 is set in a future where humans began colonising the solar system and underwent nearly seven centuries of technological advancement brought on by the arrival of a mysterious entity known as the Traveller. This period became known as the Golden Age, although it was brought to a halt by the Collapse, which annihilated human colonies. Players take on the role of a Guardian, whose powers come from the Traveller’s Light duty is to save the Traveller and answer the threat of other aliens. In the original Destiny, players deal with the Vex, semi-organic androids. By the events of Destiny 2, the Cabal forces of the Red Legion, lead by Dominus Ghaul, assault the Last City and drain the Traveller of its Light. Players retrieve a shard of the Traveller to restore their Light, then travel to Titan to repel the Hive and rescue Commander Zavala, who reveals that the Cabal have a superweapon, The Almighty, that can incinerate suns. The Red Legion was sent to the Milky Way two years earleir, and Ghaul had overthrown the Cabal Emperor, planning to take control and use the Light to consolidate his rule. The player then makes their way to Nessus to find Cayde-6, who will be instrumental in taking back the Last City. Ikora Rey is on Io, and after all of the key individuals are present, the player is sent to destroy the Almighty. Returning to the Last City, players confront Ghaul and defeat him in battle. Ghaul attempts to manifest as an ethereal being, but the Traveller reawakens and kills Ghaul. This is where my time in Destiny 2 ends; after the campaign, Cabal vessels appear under exiled Emperor Calus’ command, and Destiny 2‘s endgame begins. Like The Division, Destiny 2 is ultimately about collecting awesome gear and constantly levelling up one’s power level, similarly to how one can bring their Gear Score in The Division up to its cap.

The core enjoyment I’ve gotten from playing through Destiny 2 was being able to experience a very Halo-like game on the PC: ever since Bungie decided to shift their focus, the iterations of Halo past Halo 2 never made it to PC. Thus, when it was announced that Destiny 2 wuold be complimentary on PC, my interest was piqued. The game is a hefty 80 GB to download, and I encountered some installation problems, but once Destiny 2 was set up, I was blown away by the environments. Destiny 2 is visually spectacular: during the first mission where I needed to fight off waves of Red Legion in the Last City, the scenery was stunning, and remained very expansive throughout the game’s outdoors segments. From the forests of Earth to the exotic looking environment in Nessus, Bungie has nailed the environments. There are also many dungeon-like sections, as well, during which players must fight in narrow corridors and chambers deep underground, or in the bowels of a Cabal vessel. Destiny 2 itself is very similar to Halo, with the lore, gunplay and story to match: in particular, the Cabal themselves are familiar, resembling the Brutes of Halo. While there is no Master Chief or Halo Array, there is a Guardian with uncommon powers and a sun-destroying superweapon. The scales of the environments and stakes are similarly high, in typical Bungie fashion. Destiny 2 is, in short, a spiritual successor to Halo on the PC platform, albeit one that encourages replay value through collecting powerful gear rather than attempting to unlock various medals in the multiplayer mode, and overall, it’s a rather enjoyable experience.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • The download for Destiny 2 was a massive 80 GB and took over two hours to download. I was very surprised to learn that Destiny 2 was, from November 2 to 18, complimentary: Bungie was intended to promote their Forsaken expansion and as incentive for players to get into Foresaken, made the base game free for a period. Despite how busy things were, I decided that with a Triple-A title available, it would be worthwhile to at least pick the game up and give it a spin.

  • My gaming desktop is five and a half years old now, and its age is showing somewhat. However, thanks to maintenance, and the fact that I upgraded the GPU a few years ago, it’s managing to hold its own, running Destiny 2 at a very smooth 60 FPS, and I encountered no difficulty in getting through the game. The first mission was breathtaking, seeing the player fight the hordes of Red Legion Cabal in the city with massive capital ships overhead.

  • Unlike the Elites of Halo, who are honourable and build elegant, smooth structures, the Cabal are concerned with conquest and power. These massive aliens resemble the Brutes of Halo and are the main antagonists of Destiny 2, and their constructs are similarly utilitarian in nature, standing in contrast with the interiors of Covenant ships. The first mission ends with the player being stripped of their powers and near-death after Ghaul takes from the Traveller its Light. Staggering through the burning city, the player finds themselves out in the wilderness, with Ghost warning them that without the Light, death is permanent.

  • The run through the wilderness with an SMG is set to Journey, an incredible song that captures the desperation and hopelessness of the situation now that the Light has gone from the player. It is rare that a song can evoke such a strong positive feeling in players, and universally, the soundtrack is counted as being one of the best in a video game: Michael Salvatori returns from Halo as one of the composers, and the music so incredibly enhances the atmospherics of Destiny 2 that it is difficult to imagine what the game would be like without it.

  • While I was doing my hike at Grassi Lakes a week after picking up Destiny 2, the soundtrack came to my mind as I climbed up ice-covered trails along a frozen waterfall up to the lakes, and then again as I scrambled along a rocky hillside. The scope of the topics covered in this blog may imply its owner is quite inactive, but I spend a fair bit of my time with lifting, martial arts and walking around – hikes are reserved as special events primarily because of the fuel prices it takes to get out to the mountains. I believe in balance, and I exercise with the same frequency that I game.

  • There are a great many underground, dungeon-like missions in Destiny 2: the opening and closing missions of the game are Destiny 2 at its finest, and the middle missions are very repetitive. By comparison, The Division‘s missions have enough diversity in their environments so that they are a bit more varied: overall, The Division‘s campaign is more fun, but Destiny 2 has more epic environments and music when the game does come through during its beginning and ending.

  • Throughout most of Destiny 2, I ran primarily with a burst-fire rifle for my kinetic weapon: because of the way damage is dealt in Division 2, having an automatic rifle meant burning through ammunition very quickly. Ammunition drops very frequently, but I prefer the precise damage that burst-fire rifles deal against enemies: one or two bursts will drop any enemy provided one’s aim is true, and the weapon’s power level is sufficient.

  • After a day of hiking, I returned home to prepare some vegetables ahead of a raclette party, then while waiting for the party to start, pushed further in Destiny 2. The occasional public event adds a bit of spice to the game, and it’s fun to join random other players in blasting the open world bosses that show up. Because I had not the time to do a campaign mission, I ended up doing some public events and a side mission prior to raclette.

  • Despite a smaller turn out this time around, it was an excellent evening that saw the enjoyment of fondue, sausage, shrimps, raclette-style cheese-mushrooms-peppers-and-potatoes, all the while listening to hilariously bad music while waiting for the food to cook. Once we finished off most of the food, the party shifted downstairs to a card game. It’s been a while since I’ve been to a raclette, and these events are always fun. For the duration of the party, my worries evaporated, and I ate, drank and relaxed as I’d not done so for quite some time.

  • Here, I am on an arcology on Titan: the largest of Saturn’s moons, Titan is presented as an ocean world with large platforms in Destiny 2, a far cry from the methane-filled moon seen in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. However, most of the missions happen indoors, and amidst the platforms and machinery of Titan, the arcology proved an impressive space to move through.

  • The Hive are the enemy encountered on Titan: these insect-like beings are similar to the Flood, especially in how they alter their environment to have a very organic composition. In Destiny 2, there are no specific weapons that work more effectively against the different alien species, and the Hive, while numerous, do not fight the same way the Flood do. One of the more interesting aspects of Halo was that fighting the Flood required a very specific loadout, and so, when one encountered both Covenant and Flood, it was a matter of constantly switching weapons to remain effective.

  • In reality, Nessus is a centaur (a small rocky body with an unstable orbit between the outer planets) only some fifty-seven kilometres across. Destiny 2‘s portrayal of Nessus is a vibrant world with large, geometric constructs attributed to terraforming. It is here that players must rescue Cayde-6, and from a character perspective, the Nessus missions were among the most fun because of Failsafe, a Golden Age AI that sustained damage and as a result, has split personalities.

  • Cycling between a shamelessly cheerful and apathetic personality, Failsafe’s dialogues were very entertaining, bringing to mind GLaDOS of Portal 2. Fighting the Vex here was straightforward for the most part, although I am rather less fond of the missions that involve jumping onto electrified platforms high in the air, where any mistake will involve falling to the surface and necessitate a long ascent back up.

  • Upon returning to Earth, players must return into the dark forest and recover a second shard, which returns the Gunslinger ability. Up until now, I’d been running the Arcstrider, which gave access to an electric staff that dealt massive melee damage. As a Gunslinger, I have access to a flaming revolver that dealt up to ten times more damage per shot than any of my other weapons.

  • Io is the next destination in the campaign after one retrieves the Gunslinger ability: it is a barren world set under a majestic sky dominated by Jupiter. The real Io is a volcanic moon whose geological activity is a result of tidal forces between Jupiter and its other moons. As a result, the moon has many active volcanoes that can spew sulfur plumes 500 kilometres high. Post terraforming in Destiny 2, Io is more hospitable and is home to several mines.

  • Here, I run with an exotic pulse rifle with void properties. This burst-fire weapon proved surprisingly fun to use against the Taken, and on critical kills, could create explosions that damaged or destroyed nearby Taken, as well. Unlike The Division, exotic items in Destiny 2 can be acquired prior to hitting the level cap: I picked up exotic body armour as well as a reward for one of the campaign missions. The approach Destiny 2 takes with exotic items means that as one levels up and acquire more powerful items, the exotics picked up earlier become less viable.

  • The European Dead Zone in Destiny 2 has some of the most beautiful landscapes out of anywhere in the game, and originally, I planned to uninstall Destiny 2 once I’d finished the campaign so that I could recoup the 80 GB of disk space that Destiny 2 requires. However, landscapes such as these offer a compelling case to at least go back and finish off some of the adventures that I’d skipped out on – I only completed adventures in order to get new gear and raise my level up to the point where I could continue with the campaign missions, but it would be nice to revisit some of Destiny 2‘s more picturesque locations again.

  • Upon returning to the EDZ at level fifteen, Destiny 2‘s campaign really kicks into high gear, and it is this part of the game that truly shines. The mission opens with players being granted a Drake tank that handles similarly to Halo‘s Scorpion MBT, differing in that the Drake has an ordinance launcher as opposed to a coaxial machine gun. It was superbly satisfying to blast enemy infantry and tanks alike in this mission, and the mission distinctly feels like the opening stages of Halo 2‘s Metropolis mission.

  • After moving through the tunnels of Earth, players return back into the open, where a Cabal ship is docked. Using the Drake’s main cannons, I blast the shields and couplings, keeping the vessel grounded to end the mission. The next phase is to board the ship and fight one’s way to the bridge to eliminate the ship’s commander, before taking a smaller vessel and make for the Almighty.

  • Compared to The DivisionDestiny 2‘s menu UI was not quite as intuitive for me, especially when it came to skill and inventory management. Despite this, I managed to get by okay, scrapping old weapons and equipping items that worked with my playstyle. Here, in the bowels of the Cabal ship, I use a marksman rifle to engage distant enemies. The marksman rifles and burst-fire rifles are my preferred weapons of choice, providing enough firepower to deal with enemies at most ranges. There are weapons that use special ammunition, as well, but ammunition scarcity means that equipping these weapons would limit players to one primary weapon should they run out.

  • For my part, even if the shotguns and sniper rifles are powerful, I did not tend to equip them. One of the challenges I had in Destiny 2 early on was simply knowing where to go. I recall that in my first mission into the salt mines, I entered the wrong building and tunnels. By this point in the campaign, however, navigation was not of a particular concern: using the Ghost and the waypoints provided was sufficient to get through most places without becoming lost.

  • The heavy weapons of Destiny 2 use a special kind of ammunition and can deal massive damage against bosses. While comparatively rarer to come by, special ammunition still is fairly common, and I make extensive use of belt-fed grenade launchers to make short work of groups of Phalanxes (when there are too many of them to focus on shooting the centre of their shields). At one point, I wielded a sword that could defeat any non-boss opponent in one shot. Like the energy sword of Halo, the swords are constrained by ammunition, but they still act as standard melee weapons when depleted.

  • The fight on the Almighty was a stunner of a mission: set in the punishing atmosphere around the sun, it’s a gripping mission that sees the player fight their way across the weapon to destabilise it and set it up for destruction, in a mission mirroring Halo‘s The Maw. The vastness of the level is apparent, and when Destiny 2 is at its best, its missions are more memorable than those of The Division‘s.

  • While revolvers, known in-game as hand cannons, are incredibly powerful and can one-shot common enemies with a well-placed round to the head (or weak spot), I often find myself fighting hordes of enemies. Curiosity, however, leads me to continue wielding them, and they are quite effective, although for longer range combat, the scout rifles tend to be more effective.

  • The last time I played a game involving stopping a superweapon capable of incredible destruction would have been Halo CE: Bungie is fond of their superweapons, and the Almighty is a Cabal weapon that uses magnetic fields to destablises the forces holding a star together, causing gravity to exceed the thermal pressure of a star. The resultant explosion is powerful enough to level an entire star system, and the Cabal are said to have destroyed numerous systems in this way.

  • Notably, the Almighty is a weapon the Cabal have constructed with their own technology, standing in contrast with the Covenant, who only aim to use the Halo array. Once players destroy the cooling system on the Almighty, the weapon destablises and destroys itself. The threat of total solar annihilation is gone, and now, players turn their attention to Ghaul, the remaining loose end in Destiny 2.

  • Returning to Earth, players fight through the Last City in a bid to stop Ghaul. Once Destiny 2 picks up, its campaign does not hold back in terms of entertainment value, and more so than any other part of the game, save the opening, I was totally engrossed in this final mission, to the point of finishing it in a very short time span. The final mission uses the same song that was heard during the escape from the war beasts in Destiny 2‘s earlier sections, likely meant to signify the beginning of the end and the notion of cycles.

  • For folks looking to pick up Destiny 2, I’m not sure whether or not it will be free again; the opportunity to pick up the game on Battle.net ended on November 18. Players looking to get Destiny 2 now will also need to buy the Forsaken expansion, which raises the level cap and brings new items to the table for players to unlock. On the whole, since I got the game for free, I’ve got no complaints about it; it was quite entertaining, although at present, I’m not sure whether or not I’ll have the time to continue playing for new gear the same way I did for The Division, and so, I’ve got no plans to buy the Forsaken expansion.

  • The final fight with Ghual is titanic and fun: it’s no different than squaring off against the Zerstörers in Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, in that sure aim and liberal application of the Guardian’s powers will make short work of Ghaul who, for all of his bluster and showboating, is still mortal. With Destiny 2 in the books, the question of what I’m doing now is likely to be raised. First and foremost, I will be writing about The World in Colours now that the ninth episode is out, and then turn my focus to Battlefield V, which I decided to buy.

It has been quite some time since I’ve played a Bungie game on PC, with Halo 2 PC being the last Bungie title I’ve completely experienced the campaign of. Like The Division, having proper gear makes a significant difference in one’s performance, and players will find themselves swapping out gear constantly as they level up. Because Destiny 2 is a shooter at its core, having good weapons make all of the difference: players have access to one kinetic weapon, one energy weapon and one power weapon. This is reminiscent of Halo, where kinetic weapons dealt more damage against unshielded opponents and energy weapons were effective for stripping away shields. Power weapons are excellent for boss fights and dealing with large groups of enemies. For the most part, weapons have manageable recoil, and my go-to weapons were the burst-fire weapons, which handle in a manner not unlike that of the Battle Rifle. Short bursts of fire were more than sufficient for dealing with enemies, and interspersed with the appropriate use of one’s super ability and power weapons, Destiny 2‘s campaign was rather fun. For many players, the real fun begins here: advancing one’s power level by completing end-game activities and acquiring increasingly awesome gear. However, as much as I’ve enjoyed Destiny 2‘s campaign, I believe that my journey ends here for the present; the prospect of spending hours acquiring items is admittedly a daunting one. Having said this, I am very glad that Activision and Bungie did make Destiny 2 free: I never expected to have a chance to go through Bungie’s newest shooter, which is likely the closest I’ll come to playing a contemporary Halo-like game in the PC for the foreseeable future.