The Infinite Zenith

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Category Archives: Battlefield V

Battlefield V: A Swansong, The James Bond Loadout, Fields of Lavender and A Desert Encampment

“The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it.” –George Orwell

The final content patch that Battlefield V received adds one new map, Al Marj Encampment, expands upon the existing Provence for full-on conquest, along with five new primary weapons and two new sidearms, four new gadgets, three new grenades, two new armoured vehicles and new aircraft. This content update stands as one of the biggest updates that Battlefield V received in its lifetime, and while perhaps not as large as any of the DLC packages in earlier Battlefield titles, this update is one of the best boosts Battlefield V has had. Both of the maps in this final update bear the hallmarks of what I’ve come to count as being a good map, featuring a design that allows any class to be successful. Al Marj Encampment is set in Libya and is infantry-only: from narrow canyons of the western end and a desert village at its centre, to the airfield on the east, Al Marj Encampment features narrow streets and tight quarters on the northern end that favours high RPM weapons, but a large road running east-west provides open space that allows snipers to keep an eye on enemy movement. Fast paced, chaotic and unpredictable, Al Marj Encampment plays similarly to Operation Underground in its layout, while possessing the aesthetic of Battlefield 1‘s Zeebrugge and Achi Baba maps. Provence was completely reworked, as well: for all intents and purposes, it is a new map now set under a swift sunset providing the last light for lavender fields and a small riverside town. With both confined streets of town and wide open lavender fields separating two villages in the map’s western end, Provence is a map accommodating vehicular play as well as frenzied infantry combat in town. Being set during a sunset means Provence’s colour palette has also changed considerably: with the golden sunbeams washing the map in the melancholy last light of day, Provence feels like a visceral visual of Battlefield V‘s sunset. The map itself is a triumph that mirrors the end of Battlefield V, with its sunset signifying the end of Battlefield V as players have come to know it.

As the last content update, all players gain immediate access to the new weapons, gadgets and grenades. The assault class receives M1941 Johnson, a semi-automatic rifle that lost out to the M1 Garand. With a slight recoil and lower firing rate, the M1941 is a reliable and accurate weapon for the assault players that offers a hard-hitting weapon. Medics gain the Welgun, a replacement for the Sten gun that fires slowly but has solid hip-fire accuracy and reach further than the other submachine guns. Support players get two new weapons: the Chauchat and Sjögren Inertial shotgun both make a return from Battlefield 1. The Chauchat light machine gun is perhaps the most hard-hitting weapon available in its category (at close range, it can down enemy players with three shots), and this comes at the cost of a high recoil. However, because it can be configured to fire in semi-automatic, the weapon can be made to perform like a semi-automatic rifle, making it a longer-range weapon that can compete with some of the longer-range weapons in the game. Finally, the recon class is given the M3 Infrared semi-automatic rifle and the K31/43. The former is a bulky, cumbersome weapon with an unusual set of optics: the infrared optics occupy the entire right-hand side of the screen and can reduce visibility, but the weapon itself is remarkably effective at shorter to medium ranges. The K31/43 is a similarly entertaining weapon, allowing players to freely switch between the side-mounted optics and iron sights. This helps players to remain stealthy by removing scope glint, and overall, the K31/43 is fairly consistent and effective. Finally, the game also adds the Walther PPK, a German semi-automatic pistol that was popularised by Ian Flemming’s James Bond, and the Welrod, a suppressed pistol that is immensely effective at close range. On top of new vehicles, Battlefield V‘s final update feels like a send-off for what was probable the most troubled Battlefield title in memory, although with the new content and retaining the game’s solid gameplay, this is a bit of a bittersweet conclusion to what could’ve been a journey with a much greater scope and immersion.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • This is probably going to be the last Battlefield V post I write in a while, so I figured that I’d make it a bigger post: I will be showcasing forty of my favourite moments from the summer update. Per tradition, I open with my first kill on the map – after spawning at capture point echo in the M4 Sherman, I made my way over to the town and managed to get a kill. For the first few matches after the update was live, I lost consecutive matches. With my current record, however, this did little to affect my stats, and I took the time to get used to the map.

  • The addition of the Walther PPK to Battlefield V allows me to run an authentic James Bond loadout: Ian Fleming chose the PPK as Bond’s sidearm on advice from one of his readers, Geoffrey Boothroyd, made the suggestion that the PPK was well-suited for Bond given that it used the 7.65 mm cartridge, which both was relatively common and hit harder than the .25 ACP Beretta that Bond had previously carried.  A firearms expert, Boothroyd’s letters to Fleming would shape Bond forever: Fleming had greatly appreciated this and ended up naming Bond’s armourer after him. In Battlefield V, the PPK deals less damage than most pistols, but has a very high firing rate and short reload time.

  • The M3 Infrared is probably the most unusual gun in Battlefield V: the real-world incarnation was developed ahead of the invasion of Okinawa, and 105 units were built. Essentially an M2 carbine with modified optics, the M3 is one of the earliest weapon with a functional set of infrared optics, and despite its extremely limited range as a result of the sight’s shortcomings, it found applicability in picking off night patrols. The early technology meant that soldiers worked in groups of two or three in order to be effective, and the concept would be improved, extending the night vision scope’s effective range by the time of the Korean War.

  • The BAS Welgun is a submachine gun chambered for the 9 x 19mm Parabellum round and intended to replace the Sten. Originally designed for the Special Operations Executive, the weapon was incredibly compact and accurate, but other submachine guns were selected, with only a handful ever being made. The precise reason behind why the Welgun never was selected was lost to time, and while it’s a weapon with a cool bit of history, I honestly would’ve preferred to have the Sterling Submachine Gun, which was developed in 1944 as another Sten replacement. The Sterling was exceptionally successful, and after it was formally introduced in 1953, would become a mainstay in the British Army until 1994, after which the L86A1 was introduced. The Sterling would influence the design of the E-11 Blaster that Imperial Stormtroopers would use in Star Wars.

  • Admittedly, I miss the bright blue skies of the original Provence map. The original lighting on the map was that of either a late morning or early afternoon, and it gave the map a Sora no Woto-like feeling, bringing to mind the streets of Seize as Kanata browsed through the open market while on break one day. However, by setting Provence during the evening (evidenced by the fact that the sun is in the west rather than east), the golden light creates a much more varied palette for the map, as well as symbolising the end of Battlefield V.

  • There are a couple of drivable tractors on Provence, and while these are fun to operate (I ended up using them to travel quickly between a few capture points in my time), they are also incredibly fragile: a single rocket will destroy them. Here, I managed to get a kill on a player using a tractor with the Bazooka, and felt a twinge of remorse – players typically drive the tractor for fun, but they also represent a target that could potentially reach a capture point. My remorse quickly evaporated, since my team had been losing that match.

  • The assault class’ M1941 Johnson rifle is a short-recoil operated semi-automatic rifle that was a contender along with the M1 Garand as the main service rifle for the United States Army: its internal capacity was greater than that of the M1 Garand’s, and it could be topped off with 5-round stripper clips or individual rounds, whereas the M1 needed en bloc clips that required the entire clip be ejected before a new one could be replaced. However, the M1941 Johnson rifle’s recoil operated mechanism made it more susceptible to failure, and the weapon’s construction meant that it was shipped with small parts that were easily lost. The weapon was less reliable than the M1 Garand, but its designer, Melvin Johnson, would continue refining the weapon, and the M1941 Johnson’s bolt design would eventually be used in the AR-15.

  • The bridge at capture point charlie is typically the most contested area on Provence during conquest: players on foot will typically swarm around the bottom of the bridge by the river in the hopes of remaining unseen by enemy vehicles, while the top of the bridge usually sees vehicular traffic. The team that can control this point and hold it will gain the advantage during the match, as each team has two capture points that are relatively easy to take ahold of (one in the fields in the south, and one in the town in the north side of the map).

  • During one match, I ended up managing to grab a Sturmtiger that my squad leader had called in. Admittedly, I’ve not operated one since January of last year – for most situations, the 380 mm rocket the Sturmtiger fires is impractical, having a very low muzzle velocity and a 7.5 second reload time that limits its usage to close ranges. Moreover, the driver doesn’t have access to any coaxial weapons for mopping up infantry, being completely dependent on gunners to ensure no one can sneak up on the tank. However, the Sturmtiger is indeed a monster with its armour and primary weapon under some circumstances, such as in the narrow streets of Provence.

  • I thus find myself eating my words that the Sturmtiger is better suited for an anti-infantry role; I managed to go on a small rampage with the 380 mm rockets as the match drew to a close, demolishing several tanks with a single shot. As the match ended, I got a triple kill on another tank that had been attempting to take back capture point bravo. Overall, the Sturmtiger’s greatest strength appears to be its durability, which exceeds that of even the Tiger I: the American T34 Calliope has a much more versatile loadout and can similarly destroy vehicles with its rockets, but otherwise has the same durability as a standard M4.

  • Besides new weapons, the update to Battlefield V also adds a pair of new armoured vehicles for the German and American factions. The Germans get the Sd.Kfz. 234 Puma, a wheeled vehicle fulfilling the role of a light tank. Capable of moving swiftly across the map and capturing points, the Puma is lightly armoured, and in its base configuration, is equipped with a 20 mm autocannon that is better suited for dealing with infantry and light vehicles. I promptly swapped it out for the 50 mm cannon as soon as that became available, allowing me a fighting chance against more heavily armoured vehicles.

  • Of the two maps, I prefer Provence because of its setting: the sunset portrayed in the level is downright beautiful, and DICe did a fantastic job of extending the play area out into the lavender fields outside of town. It is not lost on me that under different circumstances, DICE could’ve likely done the same for the Lofoten Islands map: besides connecting all of the play areas together and adding boats, the Schwimmpanzer II and DD Valentine could’ve been included as amphibious vehicles. As it stands, Lofoten Islands will become a forgotten map that is only accessible through Team Death Match and Squad Conquest game modes, lacking support for the 64-player matches.

  • One loadout I experimented with was the Sniper Elite V2 endgame setup – towards the end of the game, OSS sniper Karl Fairburne acquires the Gewehr 43, which has the fastest firing rate and magazine capacity of any sniper rifle in the campaign. This comes at the expense of a lower muzzle velocity. For most missions, Fairburne is also equipped with the Welrod, which is suited for stealthily removing a lone guard from the equation. The Battlefield V Welrod is an exceptionally powerful pistol at close quarters, being able to take out opponents with a single headshot at ranges of 25 metres or less. This demands patience and a steady aim: missing with the Welrod is a death sentence if one is dealing with a player alerted to one’s presence.

  • Of the new gadgets, the most fun is probably the pistol flamethrower, which offers players with a pocket flamethrower. Most effective against infantry, the weapon is useless against vehicles, and for the most part, I prefer running dynamite to maximise my ability to deal with vehicles; here, I manage to get another triple kill with dynamite after blasting an unlucky jeep that had passed by me while trying to reach the capture point. Triple kills in Halo 2 are a big deal, but by this point in Battlefield V, I’ve seen my share of them more often: Battlefield V, with its superb weapons handling and large player counts, is naturally more conducive towards multi-kills compared to Halo, where 4v4 matches means that it would take a bit of luck in addition to skill to score an overkill (formerly killtacular).

  • While I’ve elected to run with the M1 Bazooka for its range, the proper Karl Fairburne loadout in Battlefield V is the Gewehr 43, Welrod pistol, Panzerfaust and Dynamite, plus an offensive grenade of some sort. If memory serves, my interest in Sniper Elite V2 was because it took players into the streets of Berlin during the latter days of World War Two and the fall of Germany, including the massive flak towers that Hitler had ordered built to defend the capital from Allied strategic bombing. Eight were built in Germany, with three in Berlin: these reinforced concrete structures had walls up to 3.5 metres in thickness and possessed a large number of FlaK 30 20mm cannons, as well as the 128 mm FlaK 40.

  • One of the potential maps set in the fall of Berlin, then, could have been at the Tiergarten Flak Tower, featuring the Soviets attacking against the defending Germans. In a potential breakthrough map, the Soviets would attempt to capture the flak tower. This could have come alongside a map to capture the Reichstag building. Of course, in present circumstances, such an experience is relegated to the realm of the imagination along with D-Day and Stalingrad, unless DICE decides to revisit World War Two properly in the future.

  • While I had been hit with a streak of losses early on whenever I made to play matches on Provence, my fortunes would eventually turn around, and during one particularly thrilling match, I ended up securing enough squad requisition points to call in a V-1 rocket that scored a triple kill. Players have gotten wise to the use of the squad reinforcements, and no longer crowd around on a capture point towards the end of a match – towards the end of a game, players tend to steer clear of capture points since most squad leaders will attempt to drop a V-1 or JB-2 in a bid to clear it out. Consequently, the massive multi-kills I got early in Battlefield V‘s lifecycle are no longer as frequent.

  • The American equivalent of the Puma is the M8 Greyhound, which replaces the LVT as the light vehicle. Compare to the basic Puma, it is slightly more compact, has inferior handling and stability, but slightly better firepower thanks to the 37 mm cannon. This can be further improved by adding armour-piercing shells, although in general, the Greyhound remains best suited for engaging light armour, transports and infantry while swiftly capturing points. Here, the lavender fields are just visible; the flowers are beautiful, and lavender itself is an immensely useful herb. Oil extracted from the plant is used in traditional medicine, being useful in maintaining skin health and stress reduction, amongst other benefits.

  • In the week after the update, finding matches on Al Marj Encampment was quite difficult, since there were only a few servers running the map at a time. I was lucky to find one, and promptly went about testing out the new Sjögren Inertial shotgun, which first made its appearance in Battlefield V. Like the other shotguns of Battlefield V, the Sjögren Inertial is a powerful close quarters weapon that can one-shot infantry but becomes increasingly inconsistent at longer ranges. The shotguns of Battlefield V see very limited utility for most engagements, but are sufficiently powerful so that I continue to see the occasional complaint about their usage as low-skill weapons in the text chat.

  • Al Marj Encampment is set under sunny skies and terrain reminiscent of the deserts surrounding Binoten in Broken Blade, as well as Sora no Woto‘s Seize. With a similar aesthetic as Achi Baba of Battlefield 1, and a layout reminiscent of a scaled down version of Sinai Desert, Al Marj was originally a map designed for the now-cancelled competitive 5 v 5 mode and was reworked to support 64 player game types. Historically, the battle here was fought earlier in World War 2, being a battle between the Australian and Italian armies on February 5, 1941. Battlefield V completely dispensed with historical accuracy, and while this is acceptable for gameplay, World War Two games typically carry the expectation that battles be depicted with some degree of realism. This is why there’s been a desire to see Battlefield return to the modern era, which would allow for more creative freedom.

  • On this match of breakthrough, my team had been doing a phenomenal job of pushing to capturing objectives, and shortly after I spawned in, I scored a kill with the suppressed PPK, James Bond style, before exiting the church. As my team pressed into the final sector, I was shocked when my power had gone out: lightning in the province over had knocked out transmission lines, leading to blackouts in my area. I gave up the win on this match, picked up a book and began reading, before taking a quick kip. The power outage lasted for a shade over an hour, after which power was restored and I continued on with my Battlefield V adventures.

  • One of my goals in Battlefield V will be to get all of my ground vehicles to a point where I’ve unlocked everything for them. The Puma and Greyhound are both strong vehicles for rapidly moving around a map, making them great for seizing the initiative in capturing points: this is my plan for levelling them up quickly, since there is a sizeable reward for neutralising and capturing in conquest. While the vehicles can hold their own against infantry, even a basic M4 or Panzer IV will turn the light vehicles into scrap metal.

  • For the past three weekends, thunderstorms have torn through the area, bringing with it a copious amount of rain and lightning – we’re about a week away from summer and have already seen at least four thunderstorms in the spring alone. The storms seen this year have all been direct hits, whereas most years, storms would pass by north of the city. With their potential for hail damage, thunderstorms are no joke, but they also bring about cool, refreshing air once they pass through the area.

  • One conspiracy theory I’ve seen making the rounds about in Battlefield V is that low level players are given a very minor damage and health buff to ensure that they are not blown away by veteran players who are much more familiar with game mechanics. Player speculate that this is the case, given that lower level players seem to absorb more damage and can score kills faster than what is normally possible compared to players of a higher level. Having seen what lower level players do for myself, I wouldn’t consider this implausible – players under level thirty always give me more trouble than experienced players.

  • Of course, this could just be that I remember being killed by a low level player better than the higher level players because of the innate assumption that a higher level player spent more time in Battlefield V and therefore is more familiar with the mechanics. Here, I play in probably the most one-sided match I’d ever played in Battlefield V: the opposing team was simultaneously disorganised and we ultimately smashed them. I ended up 10-0, since the match ended rather quickly, marking the first time I’d completed a game without dying once.

  • The Chauchat originally made an appearance in Battlefield V‘s Tirailleur campaign mission as the starting weapon for Deme Cisse. Similar to its Battlefield 1 incarnation, the Chauchat is a slow-firing, hard-hitting light machine gun best suited for medium range combat. The recoil on the weapon is very noticeable when firing on automatic, even more so when the 3x optics are equipped, but with the Nylar sights, the weapon jumps around less when fired in automatic.

  • Conversely, switching the Chauchat over to semi-automatic fire turns it into a makeshift marksman rifle for the support class. In this mode, players can reliably hit more distant targets without wasting ammunition. The Chauchat does fit in with recurring trend in the latest update, which brings numerous slow RPM weapons to the table that favour steady aim at moderate ranges. While the Chauchat is a fun LMG to use, the KE-7 and Bren remain my preferred weapons. I refuse to use the Lewis Gun on principle: with its large ammunition capacity and no overheat, the Lewis Gun is the weapon of choice for cheaters.

  • The last time I fired a suppressed PPK in a video game, it would’ve been 2003’s 007 Nightfire, which I count to be the best James Bond game in recent memory. Players eventually upgrade to the Walther P99 in Nightfire, which has a larger magazine capacity and better damage. From a gameplay perspective, I prefer the P99, but from an aesthetics perspective, the PPK is the better weapon for Bond, since it is much more compact. GoldenEye 64 popularised the PPK’s suppressed variant, and while Battlefield V has a more realistic firing sound for the suppressed variant, a part of me was hoping that the weapon would feel like its GoldenEye 64 counterpart.

  • Here, I score a kill with the suppressed PPK on “zlMAXIMOllz”, a rather vocal player who was insulting everyone on my team even as they were winning and topping their scoreboard. A quick look suggests that zlMAXIMOllz is someone who pads their stats the same way Eris pads her chest. I disagree with the suggestion that lower level players who perform well in Battlefield V are simply just “good” at the game – every Battlefield game has slightly different mechanics that take some getting used to, and Battlefield games differ greatly from those of something like Rainbow Six: Siege or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. To suggest one could be an instant expert within a half hour of picking up the game is ludicrous, since there are nuances one must pick up over time.

  • Originally, only Provence had a dedicated playlist, and I spent most of last week on Provence. This week, Al Marj Encampment got a dedicated playlist, so I’ve been able to play on servers running this map exclusively to get a feel for it. Being an infantry-only map, Al Marj Encampment possesses transports that, while fodder for any assault player with AT weapons, can nonetheless make quick work of infantry. Transports are especially valuable in the breakthrough mode, which offers as intense and chaotic an experience on this map as breakthrough on Operation Underground.

  • With its massive infrared flashlight and a dedicated 3x telescopic sight that picks up the thermal signatures of enemies, the M3 is a bit of an impractical weapon to use in practise. The optics and housing block out most of the screen, and the optics themselves barely pick out thermal signatures of enemies, who can defeat the weapon with smoke grenades. However, with a high rate of fire and a suppressor, the M3 Infrared can be used to tag enemies at medium range more effectively than the pistol carbines, and it can hold its own at close-medium range combat: in the right situations, the weapon is certainly very entertaining to wield.

  • While the K31/43 might not be the most impressive of the bolt-action rifles in Battlefield V, it certainly is one of the most entertaining weapons to use owing to its ability to switch between the side-mounted optics and iron sights. Resembling the rifles of Battlefield 1, the biggest advantage about the K31/43 is that while using iron sights, scope glint disappears, allowing one to be much stealthier. Switching between the two enables players to identify targets and pick them off with accuracy.

  • On this particular match of breakthrough, I was landing headshots with the K31/43 and keeping hidden, ending the match on a very strong note as my team successfully prevented the enemy advance. The specialisation tree for the K31/43 is an intriguing one: options for the weapon include a 6x scope to replace the default 3x optic, a bipod to eliminate weapon sway and a box magazine for faster reloads. While not the most damaging rifle in the game, the K31/43 does have some interesting options available to it that make it a unique weapon to use.

  • The Battlefield V incarnation of the Welgun puts it as a slower-firing, but hard-hitting weapon similar to the M3 Grease Gun. Performing best when hip-fired, the Welgun has better accuracy and range compared to most submachine guns, but for some reason, I initially had considerable difficulty in making the most of the weapon: its low rate of fire corresponds to a low DPS, and players equipped with faster firing weapons would melt me before I could get the killing shot off because I had engaged them at extreme close quarters rather than a more suitable distance.

  • Once I acclimatised to the Welgun’s handling and characteristics, I began to have more success with it; the weapon is great for combat out to around 40 metres, the range that the faster-firing submachine guns like the Type 2A and Thompson begin to lose their efficacy. Like the other submachine guns, the Welgun excels when it is specialised for hip-fire performance: as I rank the weapon up, I’ll look to put in points to maximise its hip-fire accuracy, which should help offset the lower rate of fire.

  • Sneaking around the southern edge of the map to get a flank for capture point C, I managed to get the jump on two players here and finished them off. With Al Marj Encampment’s terrain reminding me of Broken Blade, and following an enjoyable conversation with a buddy on the anime, I note here that I will have plans to write about Broken Blade in the very near future – the desert terrain and weather of Broken Blade remind me of Sora no Woto, and when I first watched both series, I was set to take my basic operator’s license.

  • I’ll save that story for the Broken Blade post proper, and return to Battlefield V: while my team ended up losing this game of conquest, and I found myself being smoked by a rather uncouth player calling himself “beserker1000”, who considered camping to be “skill”. Their foul attitude was only matched by their pusillanimity, and as I roamed the map, looking to help my team out as best as I could while rocking the Welgun, I didn’t encounter that particular player again. I ended up bringing my own KDR back to positive anyways and got a better measure of the Welgun from that experience.

  • Capture point echo, located close to the American deployment, is a spice market. Even during the frenzied combat, small details, such as the different boxes of spices, are present. Because the focus is on capturing points, dealing with enemies and helping teammates out, on most matches, I’m less attuned towards the attention paid towards making maps authentic. I can see myself returning to empty servers to go exploring at some point in the future to really appreciate the amount of work that goes into each map. Further to this, I believe that there is a dinosaur Easter Egg on this map, as well, that is closer to capture point Charlie.

  • I’ll close this post off with me scoring another kill with the M3 Infrared while overlooking the desert beyond town. Al Marj Encampment ended up being a fun map that feels like an infantry-focused variant of Sinai Desert. It is a bit sad to see the last of Battlefield V – in the future, I may return periodically to complete weekly assignments for the Battlefield Currency, which would allow me to unlock premium cosmetics, as well as finish ranking up the ground vehicles, but otherwise, I won’t be playing Battlefield V with too much frequency. Having said this, the game does end on a reasonable note, and one cannot help but wonder if, under different circumstances, DICE might’ve pulled off a comeback for Battlefield V the same way they had previously done for Battlefield 4.

Battlefield V ends on the best possible note with its final update, and overall, I’ve had an immensely enjoyable experience with the latest maps and weapons. On the whole, Battlefield V has tended towards being more enjoyable than frustrating for me: despite my encounters with cheaters and the lack of iconic maps, I’ve had fun going through Battlefield in the past year-and-a-half. With this being said, the biggest challenge I face in Battlefield games is the progression system: it takes a bit of time to unlock everything, and this is time that I may not always have available to me. In conjunction with a community that is becoming increasingly malignant and flippant, it becomes difficult to contemplate a return to Battlefield: when timed weekly challenges necessitate I continue returning to unlock things in servers filled with players who have no intention of playing objectives and spewing insults to those calling them out for not playing properly, a core part of the Battlefield experience becomes lost. My experiences with Battlefield V have shown that my time as a player of the Battlefield multiplayer is likely at an end: while I can still hold out against the meme-oriented players in terms of raw skill, I do not believe I will be able to commit so much time towards games with intricate progression systems in the future. With this in mind, I reiterate that I did have fun with Battlefield V, and I have no regrets whatsoever: while the game did not deliver an iconic World War Two experience, the gunplay is amongst the most satisfying I’ve ever experienced, and there was a joy to unlocking and using period weapons to mimic various loadouts I’ve seen in anime, from Girls und Panzer and Strike Witches to Sora no Woto and even Girls’ Last Tour. I play games to relax and do wild things, which Battlefield does offer, but I prefer to unlock things at my own pace: as it stands, I will not be picking up the next Battlefield game for this reason. Instead, the time has come for me to return to the realm of Halo, as well as get a start on the other titles in my library that I’ve accumulated over the years, but have not yet gotten around to looking at.

Battlefield V: Misaki e no Michi and Tides of War’s End

“One stage of your journey is over, another begins.” –Gandalf The White, The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers

In the last week of the last Tides of War chapter, DICE announced that the upcoming June patch will be the last update that Battlefield V would receive. After some seventeen months after launch, the decision seems to reflect the prevailing thought that Battlefield V is not salvageable, and when the final patch releases in June, Battlefield V will have had support for just about nineteen months. In this time, Battlefield V found itself riddled with bugs, marred by glaring performance issues and the absence of a good anti-cheat solution, and generally, a lack of a clear direction. Battlefield V‘s initial marketing campaign was a prelude to the woes that would befall on a giant that had a past record of turning bad launches around: Battlefield 4 and Star Wars: Battlefront II had launched in a similarly shaky manner, but made remarkable comebacks to become considered as solid experiences. Battlefield V had appeared to be on the road to recovery, as well: the Pacific Theatre had turned Battlefield V around from disappointment, but the game ultimately was unable to escape from woes that seeped into every aspect of its development; the game did not have the resilience to survive the global health crisis, and with so much of its resources diverted, DICE decided it was time to reconsider and direct effort towards their next title. For the community, this is a bittersweet outcome; on one hand, the stoppage in updates for Battlefield V means that the Eastern Front and Fall of Berlin will never be visited, but on the flip-side, DICE now has all of the resources to dedicate towards ensuring that the new Battlefield title will be successful. The lack of a clear direction and good anti-cheat ultimately were the two major factors that make Battlefield V a diminished experience: while DICE had intended to explore themes of diversity and personal stories through lesser-known battles, World War Two inevitably brings with it expectations of iconic campaigns to liberate Europe from the Axis powers. Focusing on a relatively unknown campaign in Norway or Halfaya Pass simply does not have the same impact as would the Normandy Landings or Stalingrad, resulting in a game that continued to feel empty even after the inclusion of the excellent Pacific Theatre maps. Battlefield V was also cursed with the lack of a good cheat detection, which allowed some players to run amok in the game and diminish the experience for countless others. A great deal of negativity surrounds Battlefield V, and grievances invariably vary between individuals, but for me, cheating and the absence of famous battles are by far the biggest strikes against Battlefield V.

If Battlefield V has been a weak title, then one must wonder, why would I spend a few hours each week playing the game? The fact that I didn’t uninstall the game outright and request a refund indicates that there was something about Battlefield V that made it worthwhile. For myself and most players, Battlefield V‘s superior weapons handling and performance is the biggest draw. Battlefield V‘s gun-play and shooting mechanics aren’t just excellent, they far surpass anything in previous Battlefield titles. Weapons feel powerful and handle in a reliable manner; recoil patterns can be learnt, and over time, players begin to understand how their favourite weapons work. When players understand how their weapons work, firefights become very consistent, and this cultivates a sense of accomplishment in having learnt something well to now contribute to the team play in a meaningful manner. In revisiting Battlefield 4, the shooting is nowhere near as visceral, and Battlefield 1, while being much more tactile, had random bullet deviation that nullified some of the skill factor. Battlefield V‘s shooting mechanics, on the other hand, are satisfying and fulfilling. As the core of any first person shooter, good gun-play is essential, and here, Battlefield V truly shines: when cheaters are absent from a given server, matches are genuinely enjoyable. Besides exceptional gun-play, Battlefield V also has the most sophisticated movement system of any Battlefield title, giving players new ways to move around and forcing one to be tactile in how they move. Finally, the new dynamic of fortifications and destruction introduces yet another level of nuance into the game. Altogether, matches can remain quite engaging and immersive under the right conditions, and overall, there was incentive to enjoy what DICE did get right with Battlefield V: it’s easy to be disappointed that Normandy and Stalingrad will never be available, but where DICE got things right with Battlefield V, I found the incentive to work towards unlocking and running various loadouts from Sora no Woto, Strike Witches and Girls und Panzer: through the final Tides of War chapter, and the circumstances surrounding it, I managed to unlock the elite cosmetic, Misaki Yamashiro, which will allow me to essentially run a Strike Witches loadout on any map of my choosing, in the most immersive manner possible.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • This Battlefield V post is going to be more similar to my swan song post for Battlefield 1 in that I’m not introducing any new maps or weapons: my original plan had been to wait until the seventh Tides of War chapter released, presumably with a beautiful new map, and then consider what the Eastern Front would look like, but DICE’s latest announcement promptly shot those plans down. Instead, this post will focus on my thoughts on the Battlefield V journey now that the end is in sight, and I’ll kick off with a triple kill I got using the T34 Calliope.

  • At the time of writing, I’m still a fair ways from reaching level 100 in Battlefield V, which is a feat I managed to achieve during my Battlefield 1 days from a combination of squad XP boost and double XP events. While I’ve had a great deal of fun in Battlefield V, however, I don’t think there’s any appreciable benefit to reaching this milestone again, and of late, I’ve been back in Battlefield 1 so that I may reach rank ten for my tanker class and unlock the sawed-off shotgun, the only item I’ve not purchased in Battlefield 1 using their war bonds currency.

  • While in retrospect, Battlefield 1 was an excellent game, the one thing that becomes immediately apparent is the inconsistency of firefights, especially with the medic and support classes. Having grown accustomed to the excellent weapon mechanics of Battlefield V, my aim in Battlefield 1 is lacking in comparison, and I find myself missing shots there that I would otherwise be confident to land in Battlefield V.

  • One thing that I never got in any Battlefield game, or in the online community in general, is why some players would run with a seemingly-random string of numbers as their user name. From a cursory glance, such an account would have its advantages in anonymity, being harder for other players to remember. While it may seem counter-intuitive for the player to remember their username, the reality is that for the player wielding the username is actually able to remember their number sequence very easily, and folks can retain these numbers for a very long time. I still recall my old student ID numbers, so it’s not inconceivable for these players to easily recall their usernames.

  • While the M95/30 has been my go-to rifle for the scout class, I’ve recently taken a liking to the Krag-Jørgensen. This Norwegian rifle deals the least damage of any bolt-action rifle in Battlefield V on a per-shot basis, but also has no damage drop-off whatsoever, meaning that a consistent player can deal more damage at range than with other rifles. Since the latest patch, the weapon is a strong weapon for longer range combat, and I’ve found it to be quite fun to operate.

  • Operation Underground remains a solid map that is very entertaining to play through, and in one match of breakthrough, I managed a triple-kill while trying to gain some breathing room and revive enough teammates around me to capture the final set of points, although the final capture points remain a bit of a meatgrinder now even with a team that’s fully aware of what’s expected. I rather enjoyed this map, although since the Pacific Theatre launched, there are fewer servers with Operation Underground on their rotation.

  • The Sora no Woto loadout in Battlefield V consists of the Karabiner 98k (Kureha’s rifle) and the M1911 (Aisha’s sidearm): this was the original set of weapons available during the days of the closed alpha, and in practise, the Karabiner 98k possesses a high muzzle velocity and damage per shot, making it a good long-range weapon. In exchange, it has a low firing rate and long reload time: missing shots with this weapon is unforgiving, but thanks to how weapons handle in Battlefield V, weapons have patterns that can be mastered over time.

  • The time-to-kill and weapon consistency in Battlefield V means that multi-kills with infantry weapons are far easier to get than they were in Battlefield 1, and in general, I’ve really enjoyed going into a firefight with naught more than a steady aim and good reflexes. Against legitimate players, firefights are an excellent test, and allowing one to gain a measure of how well they know the weapons, as well as the maps.

  • Besides gunplay with infantry weapons, one thing Battlefield V also excelled at was its implementation of armoured combat. Tanks in Battlefield 1 were a little too powerful: a good tanker could do some damage, retreat to let their weapons resupply and do repairs, and then return to combat in top condition. However, Battlefield V‘s tanks have limited self-repair capabilities and finite ammo. Coupled with projectile drop that renders tanks ineffectual at extreme long range, and with a slower turret traversal that makes tanks sluggish at close quarters, tanks fulfil a very dedicated role, supporting infantry at medium ranges instead: a good Battlefield V tanker is immensely effective, but not unstoppable, whereas in Battlefield 1, a good tanker could be unstoppable even if their entire function was decimating infantry and not impacting objectives.

  • Battlefield V is at its best when all players focus on the objective: my main goal in Battlefield V is to contribute to my team in such a way that helps us to win a given match, and one of the things that I disagree with are players who believe their stats are more important than the team effort: I am okay with a lesser KDR if it means being on a capture point long enough to help teammates out. However, there are players who play in bizarre, confounding ways that defy logic, and during one game of Squad Conquest, I encountered one “HDWaffles” who did nothing but camp all match.

  • A quick glance at this player shows that they have a high KDR at the expense of a low score-per-minute and poor win-to-loss ratio. These numbers typically indicate someone who cares more for their personal stats than about contributing to something bigger than themselves. I’ve noticed that when calling out players who do these sorts of things, I’m usually met with a flippant, defiant attitude: such players are only second to the cheaters in terms of annoyance.

  • Indeed, cheaters were probably the biggest issue I had with Battlefield V, and I’ve heard that this problem is only really prevalent on the PC environment, so hopefully, those who prefer playing Battlefield V through a console will not have the same experience as I do, where I run into cheaters every five matches. When cheaters are absent, however, I have wonderful time, being able to work with my team, and will generally have fun regardless of whether I win or lose.

  • In this match of Breakthrough, I ended up spawning into a Calliope in an attempt to clear the final control point for the win, but as memory serves, there was a cheater on the other team that made it near impossible to do this. Unlike unskilled players who resort to dirty tactics but otherwise play legitimately, cheaters usually do not even speak while on a server, and will ignore all attempts to communicate with them. The text chat filter system makes this even more infuriating, as it is not even possible to call them names. For a while, I found creative ways to insult the cheaters, but subsequent patches continue to restrict what can be said, to the point where it is no longer possible to even call someone “pond scum” without the filter kicking in.

  • The recent update gave me access to tank body customisation at last: this feature had been marked “coming soon” since December 2018, and it was nice to finally have it functional. With this being said, the fact that support is now ending for Battlefield V means that there won’t be the addition of new cosmetics for the tanks, and that translates to the inability to run Girls und Panzer loadouts. I was particularly hoping for a wider range of tank skins and the like, so that I could do wild things as seen in Girls und Panzer‘s early episodes, when Ooarai’s students had gone overboard with customising their tanks’ appearances.

  • Tap-firing in Battlefield V allows one to extend their weapon’s efficacy out to longer ranges: by firing only a small number of bullets and then stopping, one prevents the spread and recoil of their weapon from increasing from sustained fire. The end result are immensely satisfying kills: I managed to hit a camper on the silo in the middle of the screenshot here with the Type 11 LMG. I ended up specialising the Type 11 so it could use its unique reload mechanism: this weapon handles similarly to the Type 97, so I opted to mix things up with a different reload.

  • At this point in time, I’ve finally fully upgraded my Churchill MK. VII so as to run the Darjeeling loadout, but where Battlefield V stopped, my hopes of rocking the Katyusha or Nonna loadout will no longer be realised. The lack of an Eastern Front means that the Soviet T-34 will not be available. One can surmise that players would have initially gotten a T-34/76 which would’ve been upgradable to a T-34/85. The T-34 would have likely been a medium tank, equivalent to the Valentine Mk. VIII and the Panzer IV. Then, a possible light tank would’ve been the T-70, and the IS-2 is a candidate for the heavy tank category, with the ISU-152 being a tank destroyer. As a reinforcement vehicle, the Soviets would then field the KV-2.

  • Had each of the British, German, American and Soviet tanks been represented, Battlefield V would’ve been able to allow one a proper, Frostbite-powered Girls und Panzer experience, what Dream Tank Match should have been. However, with DICE pulling out there, Dream Tank Match will remain the superior choice for those looking to relive Girls und Panzer: this is a shame, since Battlefield V actually presents the most enjoyable tank-to-tank combat in any Battlefield game to date: armour engagements are fought entirely on skill alone, and destroying enemy tanks is incredibly satisfying with the sound of punctured metal one can hear.

  • When I’m on foot, I have equal confidence in squaring off against tanks: the addition of the M1 Bazooka is a welcome one. Despite dealing the least direct damage per hit, the M1 Bazooka has the highest maximum projectile velocity and as a result, experiences the least drop of any launcher in Battlefield V, making it an excellent long-range option. Coupled with the highest carrying capacity, the M1 Bazooka is a strong weapon for engaging armour at range. While having a small splash damage, it can still one-hit infantry if one lands a direct hit, and here, I get a kill off someone who ran in front of my line-of-sight while I was attempting to engage a distant tank.

  • My longest headshot in Battlefield V is nowhere near as long as it was in Battlefield 1, despite the latter having a more fickle random bullet deviation system: this comes from the fact that muzzle velocities are a bit lower in Battlefield V, and the fact that maps don’t seem to have as much open space as the did in Battlefield 1. In spite of landing extremely long-range headshots being rarer as a result of map and weapon design, the scout class is still immensely enjoyable to run for; I usually use the pistol carbines if I’m intending to play the objective, and will use the bolt-action rifles only when I there’s a need to counter-sniper, or have the itch to do some long-range sniping at the expense of helping my team out.

  • I think this moment here, where I land a well-placed shot on the dome of a player standing underneath the large bridge of Twisted Steel, is most representative map in Battlefield V of the locales seen in World War Two’s European theatre: besides the beaches of Normandy, wide open plains broken up by bocage and the occasional village, are perhaps the most common portrayal of the European western theatre. These are noticeably absent in Battlefield V, and of the launch maps, I feel that Twisted Steel probably has the most authentic atmosphere in the game.

  • I recall that, three years ago, I had been waiting for a flight to Narita on this day: I had spent the previous day finishing off with the packing, and then boarded the plane to what was one of my most memorable journeys of all time. This vacation in Japan brought me close to the locales of Yuru Camp△, and also experience a side of Japan that most visitors pass over if they just stay in Akihabara. Travelling through the Japanese countryside to enjoy wagyu beef, soaking in onsen and walking through the streets of older towns nestled in scenic mountains conferred the most authentic possible experience.

  • Among the locations I visited include Lake Yamanaka, Shirakabako, Magome-juku and the Kinkakuji: every day consisted of travels to various attractions that were more out-of-the-way, creating a very peaceful experience. After the Japan leg of the vacation ended, I went to Hong Kong and remained there for another week before returning home. I’ll probably reminisce about this a little more in a future post, and back in Battlefield V, towards the end of the game’s life cycle, I became very familiar with armoured combat, enough to know when to engage and disengage smartly to last almost entire matches in a single tank.

  • During one match, I ended up with a 24-streak (one kill short of Halo‘s “Untouchable”) and ended up with a victory. Normally, most players get wise to my panzerfahren antics and coordinate to end my streak, but during that particular match, the players on the other team were too wrapped up in political discussion in the text chat to be focused on playing. I thus went most of that match untouched, and it was only towards the end that one player finally had the presence of mind to go after my tank with a few minutes remaining left to the match.

  • I generally don’t run into the same players often, but one “agustd594” stands out: this dedicated but highly unskilled player was defending HDWaffles’ camping as skill in an earlier match. I eventually ran out of patience that match and left, but not before killing both HDWaffles and agustd594 at least once. As it turns out, agustd594 is almost rank 200 in the game and has double the time I spent in Battlefield V, but in spite of this, still performs terribly in a given game: I ended up encountering agustd594 again and defeated him in every encounter, but this did little to diminish his ego. This is combined with an arrogant, sarcastic attitude, and unfortunately, players like agustd594 are common in the Battlefield V community, which probably has the worst user-base of any Battlefield game that I’ve played.

  • Here, I take my revenge on a player who was using cheats: calling themselves “PINb0t—Y”, this player was a plague on the server and it was with satisfaction that the one moment his cheats proved inadequate will be permanently remembered. Between cheaters, and players who insist on the Fortnite-inspired belief that memes equates to skill, I feel that if this is the direction that Battlefield‘s community is headed in, there’s going to be less incentive to return to the franchise as a whole in the future. In the old days, players prided themselves on becoming skilful with their weapons and were honourable in tactics, but since the release of games like Fortnite, more players seem to believe that it is acceptable to use underhanded methods to win for the singular purpose of humiliating others, akin to Fortnite‘s dance animations, which players used to ensure others would remember them.

  • Flying in Battlefield V was, on paper, supposed to be more enjoyable than that of Battlefield 1‘s, but owing to the way progression for aircraft worked, and how limited spotting was, piloting was something one needed to spend a great deal of time to improve in. Upgraded planes are far superior to their base versions, and once upgraded, can destroy basic planes with no effort. Of the planes in Battlefield V, the twin-engine bombers were the only ones I had success operating, and it was only towards the end of Battlefield V that I got the JU-88 A to level four.

  • Being able to land headshots with naught but iron sights is an immensely satisfying feeling, and it’s one way to introduce a bit more of an authentic feeling into Battlefield V alongside increasing the skill ceiling: iron sights are trickier to use in general. Owing to the way the final Tides of War chapter played out, my road to unlocking Misaki (hence the post title, 美咲えの道, or, “The Path to Misaki”) was an unexpected surprise. I had entered the sixth chapter feeling that the prize for unlocking all the tiers might even be worth dropping some Battlefield currency towards, but week after week of tier skips helped me to reach the end to unlock Misaki. Once Misaki was unlocked, I promptly finished her assignment for the Okinawan machete. In retrospect, knowing where Battlefield V ended up, I am happy at having done so without dropping coin for these unlocks.

  • There’s absolutely no tangible benefit to having an elite from a gameplay perspective, but having Misaki means being able to hear Japanese dialogue from anywhere in Battlefield V for the true Strike Witches experience. With Battlefield V‘s support very nearly done, one journey is over. For almost every week since Battlefield V‘s first Tides of War chapter began, I’ve spent an average of three hours a week in the game. The Tides of War weekly rewards and unlocks were a key factor in why I returned with a consistent frequency to the game. For the past seventeen months, my Thursday and Friday evenings were largely spent in Battlefield V. While fun, I prefer to experience a game at my own pacing – returning weekly did become something of a chore at times, and so, with the end of the Tides of War, my spare time during some evenings are returned to me.

  • While unlocking Misaki was great, unlocking the sai was the main reason why I was interested in getting as far as possible in the Tides of War tier for Chapter Six. These Okinawan weapons were once farming implements for poking holes in the ground for agriculture and became a karate weapon: they’re typically used in pairs, and in Gojūryū, most of the techniques use the blunt end of the sai as a defense weapon for blocking blades. I’ve been training with sai for a decade, so being able to unlock the sai would mean being able to run with a weapon I’ve got some experience with in real-life.

  • While their use in Battlefield V is offense-oriented, being able to stab through opponents as easily as a knife (whereas real sai are blunt), it was a great addition to see sai in the game, and I’m glad I was able to unlock them. With this Battlefield V post in the books, I think this is likely going to be the penultimate post on the game in the foreseeable future: I will be returning to Battlefield V one more time to write about the June update is available, if there is enough to write about, but in the meantime, it’s all eyes in Halo 2. As far as blogging for the upcoming portion of May goes, I am almost ready with the KonoSuba: Legend of Crimson movie talk, and there will be a post for Bofuri as well.

In spite of the disappointment, Battlefield V didn’t fail in all ways, and since I was able to explore various anime loadouts in Frostbite to a satisfactory extent, I don’t mind admitting that I did have fun despite the title’s numerous flaws. There is one more update slated for June, but for now, looking back, the game is the textbook definition of a mixed-bag, being diminished by poor decisions, performance issues, and a general lack of content, but was offset by highly refined core gameplay elements. Since the sixth chapter began, my experiences in Battlefield V vary greatly. At one end of the spectrum, the game is unplayable when cheaters roam servers, instantly scoring headshots with a pistol, or else manage to destroy tanks with a knife. On the other end, when the whole of a server’s players are honest and genuine, some of the best experiences can be had: I’ve seen teams mount comebacks comparable to those of older Battlefield games, escaping defeat by a margin of a few tickets because, and I’ve been on numerous impressive kill-streaks on my quest to support the team during a match. The remaining update for Battlefield V will be a swan-song of sorts, and I’ll be returning to see what this final update will be: it appears players will be getting a small map similar to Provence and Lofoten Islands, plus an unknown number of new weapons. The timing couldn’t be better: 343 Industries have remarked that Halo 2 is set for release on Tuesday, and with Halo 2 being the game that defined my entire shooter experience until the servers were shut down six years later, I admit that I am very excited to go back into a simpler realm of MLG Team Slayer on Lockout, where it is possible to drop in, play a few matches and then head off. With Halo 2 on the horizon, the time is appropriate for me to consider where I’m going to be headed in the future with respect to Battlefield, as well as the multiplayer shooter in general.

Battlefield V: Wake Island, Solomon Islands, Invincible! and…

“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.

Battlefield V: Reflections After One Year of Service

“The basic objectives and principles of war do not change.” –Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz

Coming out of the shadows of a botched launch marketing campaign, and then cursed by the most unfortunate combination of bad gameplay, poor mechanical decisions and a lack of launch content, the Battlefield V of a year ago handled dramatically differently. I picked Battlefield V up a short ways after its original launch, undeterred by the marketing campaign; having been thoroughly impressed with the gunplay seen during the alpha and beta testing, I entered the game with an open mind. After putting in twelve hours over the space of two weeks, I gained a satisfactory measure of the game: the gunplay had indeed felt excellent, consistent and satisfying. However, good shooting alone does not make a game, and right from the start, I was plagued with visibility issues where cowardly players would exploit the visual aspects of the game to blend in to rubble and foliage to score easy kills. The apparent time-to-death was far too short. There were only eight maps, and not all of these were always enjoyable to play on. The progression system was limiting and limited, offering very little for players to unlock and forcing players to go out of their way to complete, which came at the expense of team play. DICE did not instil confidence in the months that followed: the TTK was modified to the detriment of gameplay, making a responsive and rewarding shooting system feel weak, and only a single map was released. DICE would subsequently release content at a snail’s pace, and bugs negatively impacting performance soon cropped up, making the game quite unplayable for some. Battlefield V was in dire straits, and desperately needed a miracle to rectify. A year later, and with the introduction of the Pacific Theatre, DICE appears to have pulled off the impossible, having put out consistently good patches to improve the game. However, it’s not been all smooth sailing: DICE has also clearly not listened to community feedback, and their latest patch renders weapons ineffectual to the point of changing the fundamental core of gameplay.

During the course of this past year, the Tides of War challenges were ultimately what compelled me to return weekly and complete each assignment despite the difficulties Battlefield V have presented. That I’ve returned in spite of bad TTK, poor visibility and a relatively weak set of maps attests to what compels me to play Battlefield; with Battlefield 1, the Road to Battlefield community missions encouraged me to experience the game more often, and having constant, weekly assignments was something that I returned to DICE as feedback. This is something that I greatly enjoy about Battlefield V; I’ve put in around 185 hours into Battlefield V over the past year, which is an incredible amount of time that reflects my enjoyment of the game despite its issues. In this time span, I’ve done far better than I have in any previous Battlefield title after a year. Hours spent on the maps means that in spite of visibility issues, I know where my opponents will be coming from or hiding, and weapon changes are things I can adjust to readily. This knowledge of the game mechanics, while perhaps not as profound and deep as that of those who have more time to direct towards Battlefield V, is nonetheless sufficient for me to not only hold my own against those who are dishonourably capitalising on the lack of a good anti-cheat, but even gain enough of an upper hand on them for me to overcome them. I’ve had matches where understanding of the game and its features have allowed me to continue finding ways to have fun even when cheaters are present, and some of my favourite moments come from smiting my foes from pure skill alone. Regarding the latest TTK updates, I have found them very unwieldy: weaker weapons decrease my confidence in a firefight, and while I might adapt over time, this change does go against the principles of Battlefield V. I expect that DICE will likely revert these changes, but until then, this puts a major dampener on what was otherwise a steady stream of improvements to a game that needed them.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • A year since my journey into Battlefield V started, the game’s undergone many changes, some of which improved the game, while others came as the consequence of inadequate testing and negatively impacted performance. For the most part, the Battlefield V of the present is a stable and functional game. The title has definitely seen its share of shakier moments that challenged the core player-base to stick around over the past year, though, and the game is by no means perfect in spite of the improvements made, even taking a few steps back after the latest update. I realise its been eight days since my last post, and I figured I’d kick off December with another Battlefield V post; after finishing a full morning of volunteering for my karate club’s kata tournament to clear my head and gather my thoughts on where Battlefield V is after a year, it’s time to get this party started.

  • The biggest gripe I have about Battlefield V is the poorly implemented assignment system, which is both unintuitive and cumbersome. Assignments must be manually selected in a dedicated menu, only track if they are selected, and more often than not, have requirements that may force players to adopt play-styles that are counterproductive towards good team play. DICE had the perfect implementation in Battlefield 3 and 4, where assignments would always be tracking once unlocked, and involved tasks that could be completed over the course of normal play.

  • The other aspect I miss from earlier Battlefield titles is the ribbon system, which were awarded for completing milestones in matches (such as scoring a certain number of kills with rifles, reviving a number of teammates, etc). In Battlefield 1, they were noticeably absent from earlier builds but were added back in later on. In Battlefield V, ribbons were ostensibly present in the game, but were bugged and never displayed properly. They’ve since become absent entirely, and my guess is that DICE removed the feature entirely. Conversely, the medal system is quite robust and handles as the medals used to, but the number of medals one can collect is limited.

  • Another problem in Battlefield V is that visibility remains a problem even after DICE made an effort to improve it in patches: while somewhat effective, a prone player with the right uniform colours can still blend in seamlessly in rubble or foliage and wait for unsuspecting players to pass by. I’m probably one of the few players longing for a return to the old 3D spotting of earlier titles, where the knowledge that one could be spotted would force one to adopt a much more mobile strategy to stay alive.

  • Finally, the cheater problem in Battlefield V is out of control: with seemingly no cheat detection measures and the options to kick suspected cheaters, players employing cheats ranging from subtle one like automatic 3D spotting and recoil elimination to outright aimbots and wallhacks have run rampant in matches, diminishing the experience in some cases. While I’m not a stellar player by any stretch, I’ve seen enough to know when a player bested me by skill alone, and when they used cheats: in matches where cheaters are absent, I tend to do modestly well.

  • Assignments, ribbons, visibility and cheats aside, Battlefield V has definitely come a long way in capturing the Only in Battlefield moments of older titles with its latest updates, and by this point in time, the Pacific has contributed to this sense of return, alongside the Operation Underground map. Here, I’ve unlocked all the specialisations for my Type 97 tank: by replacing the primary 57 mm gun with the Type 3 75 mm gun, I’ve been able to run Anteater Team’s Type 3 Chi-nu from Girls und Panzer. Together with AP rounds and extended capacity, the Type 97 becomes a highly effective and capable tank.

  • The LVT was originally designed as an amphibious vehicle for cargo deliveries, but found usage during the Pacific campaign as a troop transport. The Battlefield V variant starts its journey with a 37 mm main cannon and a coaxial M1919 .30-Calibre machine gun, but can be upgraded to use a heavier M6 75mm gun for improved performance against vehicles. Conversely, the LVT can also be outfitted with a pair of M2 Brownings for anti-air combat.

  • Having now gotten the M1919 A6 to maximum rank and reset the weapon to optimise its performance at long ranges, this medium machine gun became a beast to use, firing bullets with a faster muzzle velocity than any other gun in the game with pinpoint accuracy. While unable to mount a set of high-magnification optics for balance reasons, the M1919 A6 can still be used to great effect at range, handily suppressing and tearing through opponents downrange prior to the new patch.

  • MMG bipod campers are a breed of player that is most reviled in Battlefield V, and for good reason: staying in one spot with a high-accuracy, high-volume-of-fire weapon takes no skill, and while such players can be picked off by snipers, they still deal a massive amount of damage (and attendant frustration) to the enemy team. The proper, team-oriented use of an MMG is to lock down a choke point, then accompany teammates to the next target and help with defense.

  • A fully-upgraded M4 Sherman in Battlefield V becomes the A3E8 variant, sporting the M1A1 76 mm tank gun that makes it more lethal against vehicles. The choice of gun means that the M4 cannot be configured as a Sherman Firefly, which was Naomi’s tank of choice in Girls und Panzer; while the choice to fit a British 17-pounder to the tank was intended to give it more firepower against German armour, in practise, the cartridge of the Firefly filled the crew compartment with smoke when it fired and while effective, did not offer any substantial performance over the M1A1 76 mm gun.

  • For one of the Tides of War weekly assignments, one of the tasks was to earn score using aircraft. As previously noted, I’m not terribly effective with planes, and it was therefore a bit fo a surprise when I managed to shoot down another plane during a dogfight, which earned me enough points to finish the assignment. The upgraded planes have some interesting specialisations to equip, but for me, the difficult flight controls mean that I’m never too effective with planes.

  • Instead, I’d much rather be on the ground dealing with planes: the addition of the Fliegerfaust to Battlefield V during October completely changed the dynamic between ground and air, finally giving infantry an effective anti-air weapon. Firing three salvos of three rockets for a total of nine unguided rounds, the Fliegerfaust can destroy any plane in a single hit if aimed correctly, and while infantry players are generally happy with the addition, pilots are quite displeased that they can now be removed from the air by a single infantry. The latest patch fixes the Fliegerfaust by having it fire two salvos of three rockets, and damage properties are modified so one needs to be a lot more accurate with their shots to be effective.

  • Now that I’ve gotten my hands on it a bit more often, I can say that the M2 flamethrower is a proper battle pickup: while immensely powerful at close range, the weapon leaves players vulnerable at range. Battlefield 1‘s flametrooper class was far more effective, and even sported a Wex carrying unlimited ammunition. By comparison, the M2 carries 450 units of fuel, and fires 150 before the ignition cylinder needs to be replaced. The weapon will also overheat if fired continuously for 75 units. Becoming a situational weapon, the M2 has been balanced well, and while fun to use, is generally not too practical.

  • Besides levelling up the LVT to unlock the Twin M2 Brownings, I’ve been attempting to get more familiar with the Ka-Mi, the Japanese equivalent of the LVT. Here, I managed to destroy a vehicle and earn another medal during a match of squad conquest. This smaller conquest mode replaces domination and is fun in its own right, offering a close quarters experience that can be quite hectic. On squad conquest, I find that I’m usually near-invincible if given a vehicle unless the enemy team coordinates to take me out.

  • During one match of squad conquest, I did end up losing my tank, having chosen the Ka-Mi to try and level it up so I could unlock the twin 13mm Type 93 machine guns, which function similarly to the 50-cal guns on the LVT. I ended up returning to the capture point with the aim of getting back the guy who ruined my tank run, ended up picking up a katana and then went on a 5-streak with it. I’ve heard that the katana is capable of performing a lunge; while not as pronounced as the sword lunges of Halo, it does allow one to close the distance more quickly.

  • Thanks in part to my general pwnage on squad conquest, my team did very well this match, and here, I scored a kill with the iron sights M1 Garand: in my previous post, I had the 3x optics equipped, but the truth is that the iron sights are very usable. I typically run with the heavy load specialisation on the M1 Garand, but in iron sight range, it suddenly feels that there could be merit in running the rifle grenades, as well. I’ve heard rumours that the M1 Garand could be getting a bayonet, as well.

  • If and when I’m asked as to just how good I am at Battlefield V, my reply is that I’m good enough to have fun with the game. I’m certainly not the Halo 2 legend that I was back in the day, where I could go for entire matches without dying once and accomplished the Killimanjaro medal twice, which is the highest multi-kill Halo 2 had. Halo has now returned to PC in a big way with Halo: The Master Chief Collection, and with Halo Reach out now, I am going to be returning to the world of Halo very soon.

  • In Strike Witches, Sanya Litvyak wields a modified Fliegerfaust known as the Fliegerhammer, which has been given extensive upgrades to make it more effective against the Neuroi. For obvious balance reasons, running her loadout in Battlefield V means to dedicate one to an anti-air role: the rockets deal no damage to armour and pitiful damage to infantry. Thanks to pilots’ reception to the Fliegerfaust, DICE had reduced the performance of the Fliegerfaust slightly, so prior to the changes made to the gadget, I made extensive use of the Fliegerfaust to express my distaste for pilots.

  • The guy I blasted here definitely lived up to his name, spending all match running around with a shotgun. Shotguns are a bit of a mixed bag for me: while they’re fun to use in close quarters situations, they’re ineffectual at the ranges that most Battlefield V firefights occur at. Telemetry indicates that most firefights happen at around 22 metres, up from the 15 or so of earlier titles, and so, from a statistics perspective, it means that fewer engagements happen at ranges where shotguns are at their best. This is probably why I’ve not found the same fun from using shotguns as I did in earlier titles.

  • I’ve heard that the incendiary bombs for the Corsair F4U-1A and Zero A6M2 are devastatingly effective against infantry: this is what I primarily use aircraft for in the minutes that I spend piloting them, as I’ve never been too skillful with dogfights in Battlefield. Of course, being a poor pilot overall means that reaching rank four with aircraft is a bit beyond my ability and patience for the present: I’ve not figured out how to improve my banking angles and tighten my turn radius to be effective as a pilot.

  • There have been precious few opportunities to get behind the wheel of a T34 Calliope, so I’ve not had too much opportunity to see what the tank is capable of. The vehicle’s high profile makes it a visible target that enemy players immediately go after, and I’ve never particularly lasted too long while operating a Calliope, which has similar durability to an M4 Sherman specialised with upgraded armour parts. With this being said, when things do connect, the Calliope is a powerful force on the battlefield; its rockets can shred enemy vehicles quickly, and here, I land a triple kill while attempting to take back an island capture point towards the end of a match.

  • Conversely, the HaChi is a tank I’ve managed to get behind the wheel of and stay in for long periods because of its more unobtrusive design. In one thrilling match of Breakthrough on Iwo Jima, I went on a Running Riot (15-streak) with the HaChi, melting anyone who’d stepped too close to the capture point. Unlike the Calliope, which has a pool of sixty rockets to work with, the Hachi must reload its rockets once six are fired. In spite of this limitation, the rockets remain effective, with three salvos being sufficient to destroy any tank. For anti-infantry roles, the machine gun works wonders, and the HaChi is more than capable of being a regular tank, with a 75mm main cannon that can hold its own at range.

  • At the top of Mount Suribachi, where the enemy had no vehicles, the rockets and machine gun were more than enough for me to hold the attackers off while my team regrouped. I had been doing very poorly this match, but getting into the Hachi completely changed all this: I exited the match KD positive, and here, got a triple-kill on one of the players who had been maligning throughout the match. Of course, my Running Riot inevitably came to an end when half their team trained their Panzerfausts on me, but I managed to exit my doomed Hachi and stayed alive long enough to get a double kill with the Sten, extending my streak to seventeen.

  • The latest TTK update renders many weapons left feeling like a peashooter, which is contrary to the solid, consistent damage that all weapons had the potential to deal in earlier iterations of Battlefield V. DICE has argued that this was to enforce the idea that certain weapons would be effective only in certain ranges, and claimed that damage drop-off models would be the only thing that changed, but in practise, this completely changes the way most weapons handle, requiring one to reacquaint themselves with how things work.

  • I admit that I don’t wield the PIAT often: the PIAT deals less impact damage and has a greater drop than the Panzerfaust, and while it deals greater explosive damage, it’s not a weapon of choice for me. I’ve heard it can act as a pocket mortar of sorts, which is pretty cool, and in a pinch, the weapon can be effective. Here, I scored a completely lucky double kill with one on a tank that should not have died in two shots with a PIAT: the folks at the receiving end wondered about this in the chat and I replied that I was not expecting such an outcome, either.

  • Overall, the new TTK patch seems to hit medics and their submachine guns the hardest, with my go-to guns like the MP-40 and Sten being quite undesirable now. The Jungle Carbine seems quite unaffected, and I nailed consecutive headshots with it after getting on a particularly good flank. The Thompson feels about as effective as it did in close quarters, and the M1 Garand is thankfully still usable for the most part. In short, most of the weapons I stick to don’t feel as reliable as they once did, rendering most weapons quite strange in performance.

  • My favourite part about the new update is that it brings improved spotting into Battlefield V – I’m probably in the minority who feels spotting is the way to counter bad visibility, but the reality is that Battlefield V is a highly mobile experience. Camping in one spot does one’s team no favours, and so, alerting players to when they are spotted, as well as improved minimap mechanics and automatic 3D spotting now deters one from camping: while players are rewarded for a good flanking route, they will not be punished to the same extent as someone who has set up shop in a dark corner of a room, and knowing when one is spotted encourages one to play smarter.

  • There’s also been a subtle, but noticeable addition to Battlefield V: kills now register the same sound as they did in Battlefield 1, making each kill feel satisfying. Overall, this patch has made nontrivial changes to Battlefield V: with the TTK changes dramatically decreasing my confidence in a weapon, I can’t say I’m terribly pleased with the changes. I’ll probably adjust over time, and in the past few matches I’ve played, I have been KD positive, but if community reception causes it to be reverted or improved, this will be the preferred outcome, since it would restore my confidence in having a good time in firefights.

  • Overall, the latest patch does introduce some interesting and valuable additions to Battlefield V, although it is clear that the new patch needs much more work: conceptually, a slightly higher TTK means rewarding skilled players for maintaining accurate fire over longer durations and giving skilled players a chance to extricate themselves from a bad situation: if the weapons can remain balanced and more versatile than they are post-patch, then this is about all one could ask for. I also realise that Wake Island is coming out in a mere four days, but I wanted to time this post to match my initial impressions post a year ago.

  • Battlefield V is going to have some serious competition in the near future: between a bad TTK update and the fact that Halo: The Master Chief Collection released for PC a few days ago, I’m waiting for the Steam Winter Sale to buy it and capitalise on whatever the perks for buying stuff during a Winter Sale are, which will almost certainly take time away from Battlefield V. Halo Reach is finally on PC after nearly a decade, and I am looking forwards to finally experiencing the entire classic Halo experience from Reach onwards. I know I’ve been a bit quiet on the blogging front since last month’s Jon’s Creator Showcase cost: I’ve wanted a bit of a break from things, but as we move further into December, I am going to be writing about Kandagawa Jet Girls as we move into the show’s third and final quarter, as well as Seishun Buta Yarou‘s movie.

While Battlefield V of a year ago had yet to undergo the changes that would challenge the community’s faith in DICE and their enjoyment of the game, the biggest limitation it faced had been a lack of content. Fast forward a year, and the game’s in a completely different state: Battlefield V may still lack the sheer number of maps that its predecessors had a year into their lifecycles, but the implementation and delivery of both Operation Underground and the Pacific have revived the game. The introduction of the latest content into Battlefield V makes one point abundantly clear, that Battlefield is at its best when it creates iconic experiences for players to enjoy. Operation Underground was a return to classic Battlefield 3 gameplay with improvements, and Iwo Jima shows what Battlefield can look like at its finest, with large-scale battles between infantry and vehicles. It is no joke when I say that I’ve gotten more out of Battlefield V since Operation Underground released than I had between December of last year to when Operation Underground released. Battlefield V has passed through a long and difficult year, and although the title’s had its share of troubles, the game is in a passable state overall as we enter the winter season. There are two more maps for the Pacific theatre (Wake Island and Solomon Islands), and once the Pacific wraps up, having seen what DICE can do in large updates that introduce new factions, I remain very optimistic that the Eastern Front, Normandy Invasion and Fall of Berlin could become a part of Battlefield V, which would make the title the best World War Two shooter in recent memory and also allow me to run with the loadouts of both Girls und Panzer and Strike Witches. Of course, if DICE were to revert the TTK changes, then we’d have a very solid game, but present evidence suggests this would be being optimistic to the point of foolishness.

Battlefield V: First Impressions of a Triumphant Return to the Pacific Theatre

“Among the men who fought on Iwo Jima, uncommon valour was a common virtue.” –Admiral Chester W. Nimitz

The fifth Tides of War chapter sends players to Iwo Jima and tropical islands of the Pacific Theatre: this latest addition to Battlefield V rectifies some performance issues that had impacted Battlefield V and introduces a more sophisticated sound system, but all eyes are on the newest content that accompanies chapter five. The Pacific Theatre sees the addition of two new maps, the American and Japanese factions, new vehicles and four new weapons immediately available for all players to use, with more weapons upcoming as weekly assignment rewards. This is the single largest update to Battlefield V, and in conjunction with a solid marketing campaign leading up to its launch, the Pacific Theatre marks the strongest that Battlefield V‘s been in the year since it launched. Players finally get access to the iconic M1 Garand rifle, which General Patton described to be the “the greatest battle implement ever devised” for its performance, and by all counts, Battlefield V has done this weapon justice: in its base form, it is a three-shot kill at close ranges, trailing out to four shots at longer ranges, but with the magnum ammunition, the three-shot kill range is extended. Expending an entire magazine results in a distinctive “ping” sound, and the DICE team has even gone through the lengths to animate the odd case where the soldier catching their thumb in the bolt while reloading. The incredible detail and strong performance of the M1 Garand has come to represent a turning point for Battlefield V: new content and consistent improvements to Battlefield V means that the game is considerably more stable and engaging than it was at launch, and the most core of the new additions to Battlefield V, Iwo Jima and Pacific Storm, are so well-crafted that they alone are worth the price of admissions, providing a definitive Battlefield experience where players can partake in large-scale battles involving infantry, aircraft, and tanks in stunningly faithful and detailed environments.

Wake Island is set to release in December, but even though chapter five to Tides of War only comes with two maps, my experiences on Iwo Jima and Pacific Storm have been so immersive that two maps has been plenty to keep me busy. Iwo Jima was probably the most anticipated map, and for good reason: the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War Two was fought between February and March 1945, where American Marines landed on the shores of the island to seize it from the Imperial Japanese army. After a three-day naval bombardment, the Americans hit the beaches and found themselves under heavy fire from a fierce Japanese force. The five-week long battle saw the Americans succeeding in capturing the island, which was ostensibly to be used as an airbase for B-29 crews, and despite how deeply Japanese forces were dug in, they would secure the Iwo Jima. The heavy losses at Iwo Jima resulted in questions raised about the strategic worth of the operation, and while the island did in fact act as a landing strip for B-29s, the outcomes here also served to remind American planners of what an invasion against the Japanese home islands might entail. In Battlefield V, Iwo Jima is best experienced in the Breakthrough game mode, which offers a scaled-down experience for what it would have been like for the American attackers and Japanese defenders. Americans begin on the shores of Iwo Jima’s beaches with black sand, and successfully capturing each sector allows them to push further up the island. The Japanese forces retreat into the caves and tunnels of Mount Suribachi as the match continues, and a successful American effort will see them capture the summit of this volcano. Like the very best maps of Battlefield, Iwo Jima allows all classes to be effective, and with the amount of care put into creating a highly authentic experience: Battlefield V‘s Iwo Jima is roughly seventy percent the size of the real island, and details are meticulously crafted, bringing this gripping and terrifying battle to life, showcasing what Battlefield V is capable of offering to players at its finest.

Pacific Storm is the other map available to players, being a redesign of Battlefield 4‘s Paracel Storm. While it is not explicitly modelled after any real battles, the Solomon Islands Campaign in 1944 or Guadalcanal Campaign in 1943 could be close candidates. Set in a vivid tropical archipelago, Pacific Storm is the opposite of Iwo Jima, with dense vegetation, stunningly blue waters and numerous routes following trails to villages and fortifications. The archipelago of islands making up Pacific Storm are connected by bridges and in shallower spots, can be easily traversed, providing numerous flanking routes for teams to both capitalise upon and be wearisome of. Pacific Storm is at its best in the Conquest game mode, as the tropical jungle provides plenty of sandbox moments that, similarly to Iwo Jima, accommodate for a variety of play-styles. The setting actually brings to mind the island base of KanColle: The Movie, where Fubuki and the others begin hearing strange echoes in the nearby Ironbottom Sound and, upon setting out to investigate, discover the truth behind the Abyssals. The setting in KanColle: The Movie struck a fine balance between the tropical paradise the Kan-musume are stationed in, with beautiful beaches, aqua water and idyllic huts, as well as the sense of unease emanating from Ironbottom Sound. In Battlefield V, Pacific Storm is able to create a similar experience, providing a beautiful venue that conceals hidden dangers in the form of other players. While perhaps not as cinematic as Iwo Jima, Pacific Storm is nonetheless a strong map that offers something for almost all play styles. Overall, DICE has done a fantastic job with the new maps, weapons, vehicles and factions in its updates, and while the maps and weapons have been great, DICE deserves special mention for how the Japanese faction was handled.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • It seems appropriate to begin this talk with a kill from the M1 Garand, which I’ve outfitted with the 3x scope and went with specialisations that improved performance at range, culminating with me picking “heavy load” to give the weapon increased damage at the expense to the rate of fire. While the iron sights on the M1 Garand are very usable, at longer ranges, it is easier to lose sight of targets if they are hidden behind the iron sight assembly and amongst the dense foliage of the new maps. I’ve found the M1 Garand to be a highly versatile and reliable weapon, although since I tend to reload after every engagement, I don’t hear the distinct ping too often. This audio cue is actually a fantastic way to tell me when to duck away for a reload.

  • The scout class gets access to the Arisaka Type 99 bolt-action rifle, which shares similar performance with the Gewehr M.95. Firing a 7.7 mm round compared to the Type 38’s 6.5 mm round, the Type 99 was intended to replace the Type 38 – the newer Type 99s were both lighter and shorter than the Type 38 but had more range and stopping power. This made the Type 99’s recoil more noticeable, and while regarded as a solid rifle in terms of manufacturing quality, the construction process began declining towards the end of the war.

  • While I typically avoid piloting aircraft owing to their fickle controls and my own ineptitude with flying, the release of new maps always prompts me to spawn in an aircraft so I can explore a little, and here, I manage a lucky headshot using the F4U Corsair’s bomber variant, which is equipped with 20 mm cannons. The F4U is regarded as one of the finest carrier-launched aircraft to fight in World War Two despite initial difficulties, and Japanese pilots came to fear seeing the aircraft. Looking through my stats, it appears that I’ve broken my old headshot record: my longest headshot is now a respectable 365 metres, and since I don’t ever recall using a bolt action rifle to secure that kill, I must’ve done so using a vehicle.

  • Readers wondering why I’ve not opened November with any posts now have their answer: I’ve been busy experiencing the Pacific Theatre content of Battlefield V, to the point of preferring to play Battlefield V over blogging. It also happens to be the case that we’re at a bit of an intermediary period with the fall anime season, where we’re not quite at the halfway point of Kandagawa Jet Girls; the airing of a recap episode this past week means we’re now a week later than expected here. I’ll be writing about the series at the halfway point once the sixth episode airs, and in the meantime, I’m making reasonable headway into Hensuki, which I picked up out of vain curiosity.

  • The introduction of the Japanese faction means being able to rock the Kinuyo Nishi loadout: Type 97 Chi-ha medium tank is the Japanese counterpart to the M4 Sherman, and in practise, it excels at hit-and-fade, being more manoeuvrable than the M4. Its main armament is a 57 mm cannon with thirty rounds available: while carrying more rounds and firing faster than the M4 Sherman, the base Chi-ha deals less damage against armour, making it better suited to anti-infantry engagements. With the armour on the Chi-ha being relatively weak, I would actually not adopt Kinuyo’s love for 突撃 (Hepburn totsugeki, or “charge!”), and instead, move as far forwards with infantry as I can to provide cover for them.

  • The Japanese and American vehicles have a much more extensive specialisation tree compared to the German and British vehicles, so one must reach level six before they can fully customise their vehicles. By comparison, the new infantry weapons still have four levels, and I’ve fully unlocked the specialisations for the M1 Garand, as well as the new M1919A6. The M1 Garand can alternatively be equipped with rifle grenades, adding more explosive power to the assault’s arsenal, and shortly before Halloween, when the Pacific maps released, I spent several evenings levelling up the M1 Garand in team death match.

  • At the closer ranges, the iron sights on the M1 Garand are highly easy to use, to the point where I’d found myself immensely impressed with the base weapon’s performance. Without any updates, the M1 Garand is a three-shot kill at close ranges and trails out to four shots, whereas with the magnum rounds, it becomes three shots at all ranges. Here, I hang back on one of the landing craft to pick off targets from a distance: the black sands and grey skies of Iwo Jima bring to mind Flags of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima: I recall watching both movies early in 2018 in anticipation for Battlefield V, and now, it’s been such a rush to finally be able to experience this in the game.

  • The Kay loadout consists of the base M4 Sherman, a solid all-around medium tank with no particular weaknesses or strengths that plays to her preference for a fair fight. Slightly more cumbersome and durable compared to the Chi-ha, the M4 Sherman was one of the most widely-produced tanks of World War Two, known for its reliability and relatively low cost. While it was originally intended to fight toe-to-toe with the Panzer IV, advances in German armour meant the M4 would require several upgrades to remain effective. In its base form, the M4 of Battlefield V excels at medium ranges against both infantry and armour. Upgrading the tank allows it to sacrifice longer range anti-infantry performance for a devastating flamethrower, or dedicate the main gun into an anti-tank weapon.

  • Pacific Storm has the opposite weather of Iwo Jima for the most part, featuring beautiful blue skies that bring to mind the oceans of Kantai Collection. While there is no naval combat per seBattlefield V does offer amphibious tanks for both the Japanese and American forces. Whereas ordinary tanks would sink in deeper waters, the amphibious tanks can traverse deeper water and allow for allied soldiers to be carried towards the beaches for landings. In the Breakthrough game mode, the American forces are always the attackers, and Japanese forces are always defending.

  • My favourite aspect about playing as the Japanese faction is being able to listen to authentic Japanese dialogue and understanding precisely what is said without subtitles. I’ve studied both Japanese and German as a student, although constant exposure to Japanese means that my Japanese is actually now on par with my Mandarin proficiency, leaving my German in the dust. I have no trouble discerning what the Japanese soldiers are saying, and this really led me to appreciate the amount of work that went into creating the Japanese faction, from voice acting to ensuring all of the visual assets, like uniforms, were authentic.

  • On the whole, playing nothing but Conquest and Breakthrough led me to realise that at the core of the modern Battlefield experience are really these two game modes – Breakthrough is more of a cinematic experience that allows one to feel what it was like on both sides of a battle, while Conquest is more of a sandbox that provides more opportunity to mess around. While my earliest Battlefield experiences were with team death match, Conquest quickly became a staple for me, and it is only now that I’ve truly begun to appreciate the Breakthrough game mode.

  • Having looked at footage from Battlefield 1942, I find myself throughly impressed that this game was complex as it was. Older games always have an additional wow factor considering hardware and technical constraints of their period: seeing mechanics in older games work as well as they did attests to the incredible amount of effort that went into the development of these games, and while they may handle and look crude, they nonetheless remain enjoyable; players returning to Battlefield 1942 comment that a major part of the enjoyment in these old titles is that they actually let the imagination roam more freely, whereas in something like Battlefield V, the visual fidelity is so high that one needn’t really exercise their imaginations.

  • The Pacific Theatre reintroduces into Battlefield V the concept of Battle Pickups, which were first seen in Battlefield 4 and implemented as the Elite Kits in Battlefield 1 – these are powerful weapons that offer the wielder a tactical advantage. In Battlefield 4, Battle Pickups include anti-materiel rifles that were one-shot kills at any range, powerful anti-vehicle options surpassing the Engineer’s kit and even an experimental railgun, but despite their power, prevented players from using their loadout. Battlefield 1‘s Elite Kits bolstered the players’ resistant to gunfire and damage output, turning them into juggernauts. By Battlefield V, Battle Pickups have been improved for balance without compromising their power: they now occupy the player’s second gadget slot when picked up.

  • The Type 94 Shin Guntō katana is one of the Battle Pickups. This melee weapon is deadly effective in close quarters, with a quick stroke, longer effective range than standard melee weapons, and the ability to one-shot any infantry. While carrying the katana, players essentially become Strike Witches‘ Mio Sakamoto and her reppuzan, taking on the power to kill any infantry in one hit. It’s a fantastic addition to Battlefield V and brings back memories of Halo 2, where the Covenant’s Energy Sword was a similarly coveted weapon for being able to down players with one lunge.

  • On the black sands of Battlefield V‘s Iwo Jima, vehicles have no trouble pushing up the beaches, whereas in the real Iwo Jima, soldiers were reported as getting stuck in the sands and leaving them vulnerable to Japanese fire. Three days of shelling had done very little damage to the entrenched Japanese forces, and when the Americans began their landings, the Japanese soldiers would lie in wait until the Americans were close enough to be fired upon. With the sand impeding progress, the Marines were forced to disembark from their vehicles, opening them up to enemy fire, and it wasn’t until the Navel Construction Battalions bulldozed roads that more serious progress was made.

  • The Type 100 submachine gun is added as a new weapon for the medic class: with a higher rate of fire and lower damage than other machine guns, the Type 100 remains reasonably accurate at close quarters and is a fun weapon to wield. I’m still in the middle of levelling it up, but given the weapon’s strengths, I think that I’ll typically run it with the specialisations that bolster its hipfire: for the most part, submachine guns can be run with iron sights because one spends most of their time hipfiring, but in the odd case where I am forced to engage a more distant foe, I typically go with the Nydar sight for improved target acquisition.

  • Capture point delta in Pacific Storm is probably the most hotly contested location on the map in conquest, and the unique layout means that the team holding it needs to be weary of attack from any directions: those looking to seize control of the point can come from the shores or from land, so during the course of a match, this point will change hands more frequently than any other. Rolling a tank here can allow one to deal massive damage to enemy forces.

  • At the time of writing, I’ve used the Chi-ha more frequently than I have the M4, with the inevitable result that I’ve been able to unlock more of its specialisations. In this post, I’ve been running the base Chi-ha, which is modestly effective against enemy M4 tanks and amphibious tanks alike despite its weaker cannon: with Girls und Panzer: Das Finale‘s second act focused on Miho squaring off against Kinuyo, the Battlefield V presentation of the latter’s tank suggests a technically imposing enemy to fight. We’ve seen Kinuyo fight alongside Miho previously, and Chi-ha Tan’s weakness appears to be a fondness for charging, but their tanks aren’t exactly slouches in the performance department, either.

  • There is, of course, one caveat: Girls und Panzer: Das Finale‘s second part won’t release until February 27, 2020. This is an unreasonably long wait, and I can think of no reasons that this should be the case. At the current rate of progression, estimating a one-year gap between home releases, it means that it’ll be 2024 before all six chapters to Das Finale are done. Consider that by then, Battlefield 7 will be out, and to put things in perspective, 2024 is sufficiently far away such that the gap between now and then is equivalent to the gap between the present and when I started work on The Giant Walkthrough Brain in 2014.

  • While we’ve seen that Kinuyo’s preferred approach in battle is to recklessly charge forwards with her tanks, the Chi-ha possessed a maximum of 25 mm of armour and a 57 mm gun that was intended for anti-infantry combat. The gun could punch through 25 mm of armour at 1000 metres, and while it may have been satisfactory against the disorganised Chinese forces in the Second Sino-Japanese war, the Type 97 proved less effective against the M4 Sherman and even American Bazookas.

  • With up to 177.8 mm of armour at maximum and carrying the 75 mm tank gun, the M4 Sherman could penetrate 75 mm of armour on average at a range of 1000 metres. In the Pacific Theatre, M4 Shermans found that their armour-piercing rounds would actually punch right through the thinly-armoured Japanese tanks and keep going; operators would switch over to HE rounds instead. Battlefield V‘s update, in bringing both Saunders Academy and Chi-ha Tan’s armour into the game, means that armoured warfare in Battlefield V becomes much more nuanced and fun, being simultaneously engaging in forcing players to play smart without being anywhere nearly as unforgiving as World of Tanks is for non-premium players.

  • Here, I call in a Sherman T34E1 Calliope, armed with a distinctive multiple rocket launcher that fired a maximum of 64 4.5 inch M8 rockets out to a maximum range of five kilometres. The Calliope in Battlefield V has a smaller range, and as a reinforcement vehicle, can deliver a considerable amount of firepower onto an area rivalling the devastation an artillery barrage offers. Unlike the existing Sturmtiger and Churchill Crocodile, both the Calliope and its Japanese counterpart are fully-fledged tanks that have the rocket artillery added, making them considerably more useful all around. I rarely had the incentive to use the Sturmtiger since it was really only an anti-infantry platform, and the Crocodile was a slow tank prone to being destroyed.

  • By comparison, the Calliope has 64 rockets on top of its main cannon and coaxial machine gun, making it useful for conventional anti-armour engagements and dealing with infantry using direct fire on top of longer-range bombardments with its rockets. The Calliope had first appeared in the campaign mission “The Last Tiger” as enemies the player must defeat, and a shade under a year, it’s now finally possible to get behind the wheel of these vehicles and try it out.

  • While for the most part, the Battlefield V community is interested in playing the game and ranking their gear up, there are the occasional players who exist to shout obscenities and memes into the text chat. It is especially satisfying to get these players back, such as one “NeObliviscaris12” here: while more immature players are fixated on maintaining a high KDR, I care more about the team as a whole, and consistently doing things to help my team win is much more important that camping from afar for kills.

  • The Japanese equivalent of the Calliope is the GS, a modified Type 97 tank with rocket pods attached to it. Referred to in-game as the Hachi, the Type 97 GS carries Bangalore rocket launchers on its body. Battlefield V chooses to depict the GS as carrying the launchers on its turret so they can be aimed. Overall, this is a fun reinforcement to call in, and I feel that like the Type 97, the GS is a much more covert tank that isn’t as visually distinct as the Calliope, meaning that enemies are less likely to identify it as a greater priority to destroy.

  • The amount of vehicles and their variants in Battlefield V means that DICE should have no shortage of vehicles to work with when it comes to designing counterparts of vehicles found on one side, and the GS is an excellent example of this, being as effective with its rockets as the Calliope. I used it to score a double kill towards the end of one one-sided conquest match on Pacific Storm.

  • While the first week’s focus was on the Breakthrough game mode, I found myself gravitating back to Conquest in order to level up my weapons and vehicles: Breakthrough is very much about playing the objective and directly contributing to the team effort, but because both teams are so focused on smaller areas, it can be difficult to survive when rolling tanks to a capture point. By comparison, the more open environment of Conquest means that I can park a tank on an unoccupied capture point and then accumulate score without several Panzerfausts trained on me.

  • Here, I score a pair of kills in succession using Mio Sakamoto’s reppumaru while attempting to capture the point. Adding the Japanese faction to Battlefield V has essentially meant I’m now experiencing Battlefield: The Anime, and it is not lost on me that my Japanese is of a sufficient level so I can resolve phrases like 猛虎を守る (Hepburn mokō o mamoru, “Protect the objective!”) 軍曹、命令はどう? (Hepburn gunsō, meirei ha dō, “Your orders, Sergeant?”), もう大丈夫 (Hepburn mō daijōbu, “It’s alright now”) and 衛生兵, 助けて! (Hepburn eisei hei, tasukete, “Help, medic!) without too much trouble.

  • Overall, I’m definitely having a great time with the Pacific content, and this sentiment is widely shared within the community, with many regarding this as a true turning point for the game. Besides improving basic performance and functionality, the Pacific Theatre update also shows that DICE is still committed to the game, and that there is definitely potential for iconic battles to be brought back into the game after the title launched with obscure, relatively unknown battles. The experiences I’d love to see most in Battlefield V in future chapters will be the Eastern Front (Stalingrad for urban warfare, Kursk for vehicles), the Allied Invasion of Europe (Normandy, Battle of the Bulge, Liberation of Paris), the Sicily campaign, and the fall of Nazi Germany (especially the Battle of Berlin).

  • These are probably going to be the biggest updates, since it would involve implementing the Italian and French factions, plus the Soviets and possibly the Finns. Of course, in between the major game-changers like the Pacific update, I would not mind slower updates dealing with more obscure battles of World War Two. While there is a lot of turf to be covered, DICE recently announced that Battlefield 6 will be coming in fiscal year 2022, meaning that the earliest we could see Battlefield 6 would be Fall 2021. This leaves plenty of time to improve Battlefield V and make it a true WWII shooter with all of the most iconic experiences.

  • The last weapon that was added with the Pacific Theatre update is the M1919A6, a portable version of the M1919 Browning Machine Gun, which fired 30-calibre rounds. The A6 is presented as a medium machine gun in Battlefield V, requiring a bipod to be deployed in order for the weapon to be effective, and while attacking one of the capture points here, I manage a kill on “LabbieGurl”, who appears to be somewhat of a prolific Battlefield V player who’s also got a presence in Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds. I can’t help but shake the feeling I’ve seen this player before, and while they were going to town on my team, I managed to stop them here with a lucky shot from the M1919A6, which has proven to be quite the asset for defending.

  • During on match of conquest on Iwo Jima, I was able to call in the Ki-147 rocket on capture point foxtrot on the map’s eastern end, and got a triple kill for my troubles. The Ki-147 I-Go Type 1 radio-guided air-to-surface missile with a maximum range of 11 kilometres and carried an 800 kilogram warhead. Despite carrying a smaller warhead than the JB-2 and having a considerably shorter range, the Ki-147 is functionally identical in-game, being highly useful for clearing out entire capture points. I generally avoid contested capture points towards the end of a match for this reason: as squad leaders acquire more requisition points, the number of rocket strikes increases. Friendly strikes still knock players onto their back, which can be enough of a distraction to be killed by the other team’s players.

  • Here, I score another kill on a player calling themselves “KickinSticks” that had been maligning me from an earlier match. I’m not sure what the story is with players who think they’re “gud”, but it is immensely satisfying to get the drop on them and best them in a purely skill-based manner more times than they can get me. At the time, I was purely focused on levelling up my M1919A6: while it is a fairly standard MMG, its specialisations allow it to act as probably the most lethal long-range weapon in the game. At level four, the M1919A6 gets access to high velocity bullets that bump the muzzle velocity to 900 m/s, beating out many of the bolt-action rifles.

  • If one were to go down the right specialisation tree, they would have a machine gun of unparalleled accuracy for long range engagements, making this a weapon suited for maps with open areas and pushing the likes of the MG-42 to maps with narrower passageways. While experimenting with the M1919A6, however, I locked the weapon down a tree that made it less effective at extreme ranges; I’ve heard that getting the weapon up to level five will allow me to reset it, as there’s a bug preventing it from being reset at level four, and while I’m not too far out, I hope DICE will address this particular issue soon.

  • While each of the classes immediately gains a new weapon, the Chapter Rewards also provides players with the Jungle Carbine. This weapon is the Lee-Enfield Rifle No. 5 Mk I,  a cut-down version of the No. 4 rifle that was shorter and lighter. In Battlefield V, the Jungle Carbine is given to the medics, and this is probably the best carbine medics can use at the time of writing. While it has a slower rate of fire than the other carbines, the Jungle Carbine’s damage model allows it to reliably two-shot almost all enemies within 100 metres. Its large capacity and extended damage drop-off means that it is a powerful weapon for more open areas.

  • Getting headshots with the Jungle Carbine is immensely satisfying, and the weapon can be upgraded for either improved ranged combat or general accuracy. In Battlefield V, I’ve found that weapons like the medic’s carbines and the scout’s pistol carbines fundamentally change the range that the classes are effective at, in turn providing them with usefulness across different maps and different sections on a map – with a selection of carbines, the medic can reasonably be useful in wide open spaces, and then one can switch back over to submachine guns in close quarters. Similarly, scouts now have access to viable close-quarters options beyond the bolt-action and self-loading rifles, making it possible for them to stick close to a squad and play the objectives.

  • The beautiful weather in Pacific Storm stands in stark contrast with the weather in my area: whereas azure skies, beautiful beaches and clear waters are the terrain of Pacific Storm, snow and cold is inevitably creeping into this side of the world. After a harrowing few days of November where I lacked proper winter shoes, I’ve finally picked up a new pair to replace an aging pair I had tossed the previous winter. The timing couldn’t be better, and after a cold and foggy day spent at the local mall to browse for a suitable pair of shoes, the snow began falling. Fortunately, a warm and delicious rice vermicelli with prawns, Satay beef, grilled chicken and spring rolls was the perfect countermeasure against the return of winter.

  • I know that I had originally planned on writing about Hibike! Euphonium: Chikai no Finale, but the turbulent and unpredictable nature of Japanese releases means the original date for the BD release, November 5, has now been pushed back to February 26, just one day before Girls und Panzer: Das Finale‘s second act gets its home release. This means one fewer series for me to imminently review. I’ve heard rather outrageous claims that the unfortunate arson at one of Kyoto Animation’s offices is the cause, but this is a disingenuous claim that involves massive subjective leaps in reasoning. I won’t speculate on what’s happening here and instead, only note that I will be writing about this movie once it becomes available.

  • For the time being, Aobuta‘s movie still appears to be on target, so for the present, I’ll focus on completing the Battlefield V‘s weekly challenges. So far, it’s been cosmetics, and the lunge mine is set to be the prize early in December, followed with Charlotte Yeager’s BAR M1918A2. In January, the Namby Type 2A, Type 97 MG and M3 Grease Gun will be released. With this, every loadout that can be run in Strike Witches will be possible save Yoshika Miyafuji’s: Yoshika rolls with a customised Type 99 cannon chambered for the 12.7 mm round. The original Type 99 fired 20 mm rounds, but even with the modifications, Yoshika’s weapon is equivalent to a mounted machine gun firing 50-calibre rounds, which is far too cumbersome to be carried even in the realm of Battlefield V.

  • In keeping with the spirit of trying everything out, I wield the M2 Flamethrower here – flamethrowers were used to great (and horrific) effects in the Pacific Theatre, burning through vegetation and sucking the oxygen out of the air, leading victims to suffocate. As a Battle Pickup, the M2 is highly effective at close quarters, and unlike Battlefield 1, picking up the flamethrower offers no damage resistance, balancing the weapon out more effectively than Battlefield 1‘s Elite Kits. It should now be apparent as to why I’ve not posted at all this month so far, and I’m going to capitalise on the time remaining in this long weekend to wrap up a talk on Hensuki, as well as make some headway into the posts I’m supposed to be reviewing for Jon’s Creator Showcase.

The introduction of the Japanese faction in Battlefield V is perhaps one of the most well-handed aspects I’ve seen to date in a Battlefield game: upon the announcement, some Japanese fans of Battlefield expressed concern as to whether or not certain aspects of the Imperial Japanese Army would be present in the game, and a few noted that it would be quite insulting if the Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka, a rocket-propelled manned aircraft intended for suicide attacks, were to be utilised for the Japanese equivalent of the JB-2 Rocket. DICE’s developers swiftly stepped in to say the Ohka would not be used, and instead, the Ki-147 Rocket was used in the final game. The portrayal of Japanese soldiers in Battlefield V ultimately is respectful and authentic: they are, after all, simply a playable faction in the game, and while the historical IJA carried out some of the worst atrocities of World War Two, Battlefield V has allowed none of the politics and past controversies to make it into the finished product. Japanese soldiers have been given solid voice acting to match the other factions in the game, and their base cosmetics are appropriately chosen. The end result is that the Japanese faction is fun to play without driving discussion towards more debated topics surrounding the Second World War, and players can therefore focus on maximising their enjoyment of the gameplay in Battlefield V. The quality of both the American and Japanese factions mean that any factions introduced in the future will likely be of a similar standard, which will be exciting should the Soviets be introduced. Overall, Battlefield V‘s Pacific Theatre update has brought back much of what makes Battlefield a superb experience, and the fact that Iwo Jima handles so well means that if DICE should choose to implement iconic World War Two battles, those will likely be immensely enjoyable, as well.