The Infinite Zenith

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Category Archives: Battlefield V

Battlefield V: Battlefest 2019, Al Sundan and Operation Underground

“Headlines, in a way, are what mislead you because bad news is a headline, and gradual improvement is not.” –Bill Gates

Tides of War’s fourth chapter will be consigned to history as having a strong conclusion to what was Battlefield V‘s roughest period yet – for a seven week period, DICE seemed quite unable to address any of the issues that had arisen in their latest Battlefield instalment and in fact, continued to introduce new issues. At the same time, the prizes for completing weekly assignments were jejune and frankly, not worth the effort it cost to earn them. Al Sundan, a long-anticipated large scale map, had also been delayed owing to unforeseen issues. However, as the summer wore on and transitioned into autumn, Battlefield V turned over a new leaf. Crippling bugs were fixed, and Al Sundan was released. A week later, Battlefest 2019 commenced, opening players to Operation Underground. Both maps offer gameplay occupying polar opposites of a spectrum. Al Sundan is a conversion of Under No Flag’s second act, being set on the North African coast by the Mediterranean Sea. Operation Underground is a reimagining of Battlefield 3‘s Operation Metro, a map legendary for its close-quarters chaos and seemingly endless matches set in the narrow confines of the Paris Metro. Battlefield V‘s portrayal of Operation Metro is set during the later stages of World War Two, when the Allied Forces were on the offensive and were pushing into Nazi Germany. Taking design cues from Battlefield 3, Operation Underground is seen as an improvement to the frustrations that were inherent to the linear, claustrophobic corridors and halls of Battlefield 3. The underground railway sections are shorter, and multiple side passages are present, allowing players a set of alternative routes to break stalemates. In conjunction with Battlefest 2019, the addition of two maps, a handful of new weapons and general improvements to quality of life in Battlefield V, the end of Defying the Odds and accompanying intermission is now seen as a recovery, leaving players optimistic for the upcoming Pacific Theatre content that will accompany Battlefield V‘s next major update.

The first question that must be answered is whether or not the wait for Al Sundan was worth it. This desert map consists of vegetation-lined cliffs and hillsides that drop off into a shallow estuary, with mountain roads and villages scattered across the area: from an aesthetics perspective, Al Sundan is beautiful. Set under a sunset, the heat of the desert is especially visible in the distance, where the horizon is covered with a thin haze. While aesthetics is only one part of a map, Al Sundan ultimately turns out to succeed in delivering the classic Battlefield experience of large-scale combat involving infantry and vehicles. Conquest is a bit of a slower experience, with infantry combat being confined to the centre of the map, where the villages are. Breakthrough, on the other hand, is packed with action at every turn. Regardless of the mode, fans of vehicle gameplay will absolutely be at home with Al Sundan: ground vehicles are especially valuable for traversing the large tracts of land, and also offer some cover from enemy snipers, who will take advantage of the sightlines for long-distance shooting. With no trace of the graphical issue that plagued earlier builds, Al Sundan was definitely worth the wait. At the other extreme is Operation Underground, the apparent antithesis of Battlefield. With narrow underground subways and city streets forcing players down a linear path, this infantry-only map embodies the chaos and excitement of Operation Metro from Battlefield 3. However, major changes to the map provide options for the strategically-minded. A dug-in enemy team can be dislodged by a determined squad making use of the side tunnels, and despite being marketed for close-quarters infantry battles, a patient marksman can experience success on this map to the same extent as a medic or assault player geared for short-range firefights, or even the support player who’s decided to wield the unholy bipod medium machine gun setup. Whether one has the quick trigger-finger to win draws at point-blank range or steady aim for landing distant shots under pressure, Operation Underground has something for everyone.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Team Deathmatch and Squad Conquest notwithstanding, this marks the first time I’ve traversed the cliffs of Al Sundan since Battlefield V‘s campaign brought me here. Right away, memories of the map come back to me, but with the goal now being to fight for capture points rather than destroy German material and search for a medical kit to help Mason’s injury. Despite the significant delays in its release, being able to come here in the multiplayer at last was well worth it.

  • Being a large map meant to facilitate classic Battlefield gameplay, Al Sundan is well-suited for vehicular gameplay: a skilled pilot can control the map from the skies, and armour makes traversing the vast distances between capture points much safer, as well as providing an option for engaging distant opponents.  Owing to the number of players who opt for aircraft on this map, there is no shortage of pilots to shoot at, making the anti-air ground vehicles a valuable asset.

  • While anti-air tanks are not the most valuable for team-play, they do have value on aircraft-heavy maps even when they remain stationary at one location with the goal of picking away aircraft. However, attesting to the unfriendly nature of the Battlefield V playerbase, I have seen attention-seekers on Reddit who have used their tank to push another player’s anti-air vehicle out of bounds when said other player was effectively keeping the skies clear of enemy aircraft. This results in the out-of-bounds penalty of death, denying the friendly team a vehicle and allowing enemy aircraft to fly with less interference.

  • I typically don’t run anti-air vehicles and instead, gravitate towards the medium tanks owing to their versatility. For instance, on a match of Breakthrough on Al Sundan, as the British attackers, a good tank can be used to shell the first capture point and create a gap that allows friendly forces to capture it. On my first round of Breakthrough, I went on a 23-streak just from shelling the first point with the Valentine Archer, attesting to the tank’s sheer power.

  • Just under a year since I bought Battlefield V, I’ve now reached rank twenty for all of my classes, including the recon: I’ve finally got the Karabiner 98k and therefore can run the Sora no Woto loadout. While the bolt-action rifles are immensely satisfying to use, they also take an incredible amount of patience, requiring a player remain some distance away from a capture point or active area in order to be useful. This play-style is admittedly quite dull, and so, when DICE introduced the pistol carbines into the recon class, I was very pleased, as it now allowed me to actively push to a capture point and deploy flares close to my teammates, without worrying about a bolt-action rifle impeding my ability for self defense.

  • Breakthrough is probably the more spirited of the two modes on Al Sundan, and while infantry can hold their own, a vehicle on the attacking team allows one to really help drive a push. I typically hang back a way but otherwise focus my fire on the capture points to assist my team, utilising the Valentine Archer to pick off targets at range. The defending German forces also get vehicles of their own, but I’ve found that the StuG IV, the counterpart to the Valentine Archer, is generally a weaker choice.

  • Players utilising the anti-air guns might contribute to their team’s success by removing aerial threats, but when one sits in an AA gun all match, their usefulness is reduced. Here, I picked off a player who was doing nothing more than use the AA gun all match: they are rather fun targets to pick off. In order to avoid becoming a free kill, my usual strategy is to use an AA gun long enough to prevent a plane from strafing its target, and then getting out of there as soon as possible.

  • While I’d previously stated that the MMGs are not conducive of the style of combat that Hanna Marseille and Gertude Barkhorn of Strike Witches, these weapons can be wielded in a more aggressive manner than their usual mode of operation suggests: at extreme close quarters, spraying the weapon from the hip is possible and may get one out of a jam with surprising reliability.

  • Despite having spent nearly a year in Battlefield V, my progression on the anti-air armour is still lacking. I’ve only used the AA-Panzer infrequently, and I don’t believe I’ve even touched the British counterpart at all. Anti-air options in Battlefield V are only moderately effective against air vehicles, who are in turn only effective against ground targets when they are spotted and visible from the air. For this reason, I don’t fly all that often.

  • Here, I use the Karabin 1938M, an unlock from the previous chapter that is meant to be a slightly more accurate version of the Gewehr 43. This weapon proved quite fun to use, although personally, I find it to be eclipsed by the Gewehr 43 and Ag m/42. Here, I splash a player with an interesting screen name: one’s Origin avatar and screen name now are the only customisations one can have in Battlefield V, compared to earlier titles where one could have a custom emblem.

  • I still am wishing that DICE would implement a proper emblem system so that I can paint the side of my vehicles with the Ooarai logo, but cosmetics aside, the tanks I’ve got are configured to fit my play-style: having grown immensely comfortable with the controls and weapon properties on these vehicles, including the projectile drop, I’ve managed to survive for extended periods using tanks and go on running riots (10-streak) or above. The individual above is on the receiving end yet again, taking brunt of the Panzer IV’s 75mm shell.

  • Conquest on Al Sundan is much slower to play thanks to the wide open spaces. In my first match, I ended up boarding a Panzer IV and helped shell capture points as my team led the way to victory, and in later games, I would predominantly stay between the map’s centre where possible, only heading to the airfield if it was being captured. The airfield is actually a fairly valuable point to have, since it affords the team having control of it with additional aircraft.

  • A good, medium to long range solution is probably the best choice on Al Sundan for proactive players who actively move between capture points: open spaces mean that a harder-hitting, more accurate weapon will be valuable for picking off foes, although one should balance their weapon choice out if they are going for a more objective-oriented play-style. By comparison, players looking to take on a more defensive role may find it useful to equip a closer-range weapon.

  • One of the trends in Battlefield V now is that the medic and recon players are gaining access to weapon classes that fundamentally impact their play style. The M28 carbine is an excellent example of how the typically close-quarters medic can become more useful at longer ranges with the carbines, and in particular, the M28’s grenade launcher gives players the option to deal with vehicles should the situation arise. The recon class benefits from increased weapon diversity even more so than the medic, and the addition of pistol carbines has made the recon class an invaluable asset to any given team.

  • Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Al Sundan, and while yes, DICE should’ve been more disciplined in how they approached its release, ultimately, their decision to ensure that the map worked was the better one. After its release, DICE also did a dedicated Al Sundan playlist that rotated between Conquest and Breakthrough on the map, which gave all players a chance to really enjoy the map. This should be DICE’s strategy in the future: when new maps come out, a dedicated rotation will allow all players to experience the maps. When Provence and Lofoten Islands first launched, the biggest frustration was finding a server with those maps.

  • Operation Underground was first announced back in June, and Battlefield influencers were flown in to LA to check out the mode, although each and every influencer who played Operation Underground was prohibited from capturing any footage. This map thus became the most anticipated one in Battlefield V‘s live service, and when the game files were added back in September, the community was disappointed that the map was not available for another week.

  • However, once Operation Underground did become available, Battlefield V suddenly began feeling like Battlefield again: the map has been presented as a re-imagining of Battlefield 3‘s Operation Metro, but has seen layout changes that fundamentally changes the way it plays, while simultaneously offering the close quarters chaos of the original Operation Metro. The sum of this implementation is a map that has very quickly become a Battlefield V classic.

  • I spent numerous hours in the original Operation Metro when I picked up Battlefield 3, levelling up the different weapons in matches that lasted for hours at a time. Battlefield V‘s Operation Underground brings back the classic experience, while at once improving the map to create an experience that has something for everyone, and here, I burn through two players using the MP-40. This iconic German submachine gun has become one of my favourites for being a solid all-around performer, having a little more range and accuracy than the Thompson M1928.

  • One of my favourite moments in Operation Underground happened when I managed to get a kill by throwing back an AT grenade at its originator. The ability to throw grenades away from oneself in Battlefield V makes the use of explosives a bit more strategic, since one must now be mindful of the risk that they could very well be killed by the same grenade they’d just thrown. In Battlefield V, the absence of gas grenades is highly significant, and I do not miss these rage-inducing weapons. Back in Battlefield 1, I refused to use gas grenades since there’s no honour in using them: unskilled players would run with gas grenades and the Automatico, counting on hipfire to spray down enemies whose weapons were less-suited for fighting back against them to score easy kills.

  • In my last talk, I mentioned that the S2-200 (alternatively known as the MG-30) medium machine gun was not something I made extensive use of. In the tunnels of Operation Underground, the weapon was actually quite fun to use, but also served to give me the suggestion of picking up the belt-fed MMGs as an option for locking down capture points. The choke points created by the linear tunnels of Operation Underground means that an MMG with a larger capacity would be quite powerful, and later down the line, I did in fact try using the MG-42.

  • Besides MMGs, the long sightlines in Operation Underground make the longer-range weapons for the recon class viable, too. Here, I help my team push forwards by picking off enemy players who’ve set up position around the final capture point of Breakthrough. Breakthrough is an excellent mode on Operation Underground, as the linear flow concentrates the fighting to the capture points. If the attacking team can break past the first set of points, their odds of securing victory increases dramatically.

  • Conquest, on the other hand, offers a bit more freedom of movement, and here, I manage to score a double kill while helping my team keep the capture point. One of the players I best using the Sturmgewehr has a name that reminds me of Okaa-san Online, although I’m certain this is me making associations where there are none. On anime, we’re actually nearing the the third episode for most of the series I’m following, and yesterday, I caught the third Azur Lane episode after stepping out to a local Chinese bistro, where I had their Sizzling Plate Combo (a delicious plate of chicken, Korean Beef Rib, Lemon Pork Chop, Sausage, egg-on-rice and fries, plus corn on the cob), which really wards off the increasingly cold weather that’s making its way in to my area.

  • With the MG-42, I ended up finding the weapon to be as effective as advertised: an extended belt that brings the ammunition count to 250 rounds means that one could suppress, squad and even eliminate entire squads with ease. The MG-42 is so powerful that, in spite of the deliberate reductions to the MMGs’ performance last patch, it doesn’t feel like the weapon became any less effective. Playing defense on Breakthrough makes the MG-42 the premiere choice for defending a point, and to keep the active, mobile playstyle I prefer, I move around frequently and make myself scarce to avoid being picked off by snipers. However, on a good choke-point, the MG-42 is a beast for getting multi-kills: I’ve seen triple kills and even killtaculars from using this weapon.

  • The first week’s Battlefest unlock was the Madsen MG, which makes a return from Battlefield 1. In its base form, the Madsen is inferior to the Bren: sharing similar performance with respect to its damage model and recoil, and is further hampered by an obstructive magazine that forces one to bring the weapon across the screen in order to aim down sights. However, with the right specialisations, the Madsen becomes a superbly accurate option whose extended magazines make it able to deliver more fire downrange compared to the Bren.

  • Ultimately, I would prefer to run the Madsen at ranges that are perhaps slightly longer than those of the Bren, since its extended magazine would give me a few more rounds to work with while picking off foes in the distance. It’s definitely a fun weapon to run with, and I’ve had success with it even on Operation Underground by using it as a more defensive weapon for locking down corridors and streets.

  • Here, I shoot down a player named KatoMegumiSAIGO, clearly styling themselves after Saekano‘s Megumi Kato. Of late, the cheating problem in Battlefield V has only worsened: in this match here, the player in question was using a recoil reducing tool to shoot with more accuracy than normal. Their response to being called out was a hesitant-sounding acknowledgement and a passive-aggressive comment asking what I would do about it. My retort took the form of getting the drop on them and then do the old teabagging routine. While it is well-known that a majority of the cheaters in Battlefield V come from mainland China, I’m surprised that Japanese players are resorting to cheating, as well: there’s a Fate/Stay Night message-board where some players discuss their anxiety about being caught, how to hide their actions better and justifying amongst themselves as to how they need these cheats to fight fire with fire.

  • After unlocking the extended magazines, I found the Madsen MG to have an edge over the Bren for longer range firefights. While not fundamentally changing the support class, the Madsen MG is a fun weapon to use, and I did go on a 11-streak with it thanks to its consistent damage and accuracy. In general, I tend not to worry about my personal KDR, and note that even though the cheating problem might be more prevalent in Battlefield V, this actually hasn’t negatively impacted my performance as a whole: I’m holding a 61% win-to-loss ratio at the time of writing, and I feel like even with the issues in the game, my shooting has fared a lot better than in earlier titles.

  • While the Madsen MG was a moderately fun weapon, the C96 Trench Carbine that was the latest unlock is a game-changer for the recon class. This pistol carbine sports a 40-round magazine and performs similarly to the P08 at close quarters. At longer ranges, the Trench Carbine becomes less effective and requires eight rounds to down a player, compared to the P08’s six rounds. However, the Trench Carbine has one important feature that sets it apart from the P08: it can equip the selective fire specialisation that grants the weapon automatic fire, making it the first time the recon has had access to an automatic weapon in Battlefield V.

  • Being able to fire the Trench Carbine automatically is a game-changer: when one is able to get a good flank, the Trench Carbine’s damage model and ammunition capacity allows one to decimate an entire squad on their own. In conjunction with the sniper combat role, the Trench Carbine becomes the ultimate spotting machine, allowing one to 3D spot any enemy by hitting them. Because the visibility remains poor in Battlefield V, this makes the weapon an indispensable asset for the aggressive recon players, a play-style characterised by pushing the recon into close quarters and actively contributing to a team’s efforts in ways that were previously not possible.

  • Overall, Battlefest is proceeding at a smart pace, and am looking forwards to unlocking the Fliegerfaust during the final week’s challenge and then attempt the Sanya V. Litvyak loadout as we we push on into the Pacific Theatre. I will be returning to write more about Battlefield V once the Pacific content is live, and in the meantime, I am going to be looking at whether or not it will be Azur Lane or Kandagawa Jet Girls that will be getting an extended review in this anime season. With October two-thirds of the way through, I also note that November will be an exciting month for anime movies: Hibike! Euphonium‘s movie, (Our Promise: A Brand New Day) will have a home release for November 5, and Aobuta: Shoujo no Yume wo Minai will see a release on November 26.

Operation Underground and Battlefest 2019 also offers additional weapons and gadgets for players: at the time of writing, Battlefield 1‘s Madsen MG and a StuG IV skin have been added. The StuG IV skin is unremarkable, but the Madsen MG offers an alternative to the Bren. The base gun has similar firing rates, and damage to the Bren, a reliable but slow-firing weapon suitable for long range engagements. However, the Madsen MG appears to have more recoil than the Bren, even when the recoil-reducing specialisations are equipped. In exchange, the Madsen MG can be equipped with a forty-round magazine that gives it ten additional rounds to work with. When fully specialised, the Madsen MG can give the Bren a run for its money – at longer ranges, the obstructive magazine becomes less of a challenge, and the weapon’s low recoil makes it a suitable choice for suppressing and neutralising enemies. Battlefest 2019 also brought back the C96 Trench Carbine, which was also seen in Battlefield 1 as a weapon for the assault class. This time, as a pistol carbine for the recon class, it adds a second close-quarters option for objective-oriented recon players. With its select fire specialisation, the Trench Carbine fundamentally changes the way aggressive recon works, providing a powerful option that allows the normally long-range oriented recon to compete and win at ranges that the other classes operate at. In addition, the weapon’s large capacity and use of the sniper combat role allows one to become a highly efficient spotter while damaging enemies. The final unlockable item will be the Fliegerfaust, an anti-air rocket launcher that fires two salvos of rockets. It will take a community effort of scoring one hundred million kills and assists collectively to unlock this for everyone. With the updates rekindling interest in Battlefield V, and Battlefest keeping Battlefield V interesting during the interim between chapters four and five, the effort DICE has put into Battlefield V has been apparent. Ten months into the game’s life-cycle, players finally get something to enjoy and have something exciting to look forwards to. I will be following Battlefield V‘s developments closely, and note that community sentiments, that the Pacific theatre will make or break Battlefield V, are very much parallels with how I feel about Battlefield V. Success in the Pacific will turn things around and help keep the player-base engaged, while failure will send even the most die-hard of fans in search of new experiences.

Battlefield V: The Fourth Tides of War Chapter and a Reflection One Year After The Open Beta

“Recovery begins from the darkest moment.” –John Major

The fourth Tides of War Chapter, Defying the Odds, will likely be consigned to history as one of the more questionable moments during Battlefield V‘s life cycle, being characterised by the introduction of new performance bugs, communications failure regarding the inclusion of new content and the inability to deliver the content that was originally highlighted. When Defying the Odds was announced, the trailer was met with excitement: this trailer possessed all of the characteristics of a proper Battlefield trailer, showing off new maps and new potential weapons, including the Welrod pistol, a suppressed M1911 and the M1 Bazooka. As the fourth chapter wore on, however, performance issues and lag became a problem for players. Only one map was released on time, with the others being delayed as a result of critical bugs or incomplete testing. There was a seven-week gap where no new weapons were released as weekly rewards for completing assignments. Battlefield V looked to be in a very rough spot, and with so   many broken promises littering this chapter, community reception to DICE’s efforts were at an all-time low. However, in the last few weeks of chapter four, DICE managed to push out an update that turned things around. Performance improvements were made, while VP and general manager, Oskar Gabrielson, publicly made an apology regarding the state of the game. With the latest patch, Battlefield V handles smoothly again, and ping is no longer an issue. The final two Tides of War unlocks are weapons that add some variety to the game, and of the maps added to the game, they provide beautiful new environments to play in. In particular, Marita is the star of Defying the Odds, being an infantry-only map set under a swift sunrise in a Greek village along the Kalamas River on the Greek-Albanian border. Battlefield V thus leaves the fourth Tides of War chapter on a slightly more steady footing than it did entering, and at present, expectations are on DICE to make the fifth chapter, on the Pacific Theatre, a success.

While DICE and Battlefield V have languished in the past chapter, constant efforts towards improving the game have left some minor but noticeable changes that bolster the experience. Most important of these improvements are the performance issues: lessening the stutter that resulted from completing assignments and streamlining the ping of servers results in more consistent gameplay. When ping is high, shooting becomes inconsistent, and one feels as though they’ve died to a single shot from other players where they might struggle to get a kill even at close range after dumping a magazine into a stationary target. Despite remaining somewhat of an issue, DICE has done much to address this, and it’s only on high-latency servers where such experiences remain. On a good server, the gameplay and weapons handing is smooth, allowing me to pull off some genuinely impressive feats such as clearing an entire room out of enemies despite not getting the drop on them or even top the scoreboards in some matches. When Battlefield V is working as it should, the new content and updates are very enjoyable. From the details of the new maps, to subtle animations (such as the crates opening and closing to indicate whether or not players could interact with them, an improved vaulting system that only plays the vaulting animation if a player is close to an object or the varied reloads from different weapons), Battlefield V still remains a solid game that has come quite a long ways from its open beta a year previously. Other improvements include minor changes to strengthen submachine guns, making the medics more effective than before, increasing damage to bolt-action rifles and increasing the recoil patterns on medium machine guns to discourage bipod camping, a problematic play-style that stands contrary to what Battlefield V is about. In general, things are more consistent now, and I expect DICE to continue to smooth out the gameplay mechanics of the game as they add new content to the game.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Marita is the next full-fledged map to join Battlefield V. Set in a cliff-side village by an autumn’s morning, the map is brightly lit and colourful, being made to represent the Battle of Greece in 1941 when Axis forces invaded Greece and captured Athens after eight months. While resulting in an Axis victory, the diversion of German soldiers into Greece proved costly in their conquest of Africa.

  • From a visuals perspective, Marita is a beautiful map and also well-suited for infantry-only conquest. There’s a drivable tractor on the map, and use of fortifications allow for one to make use of creative flanking routes to get to the different capture points: in the village on the western edge of the map, wooden planks connecting the houses can be built, and in one of the canyons, a small footbridge can be constructed to shorten the distance it takes to travel from point delta to bravo.

  • During one match of breakthrough, I was defending and made use of the MG 42 while concealed from shrubbery to score a Killfrenzy (five kills, each within four seconds of one another in Halo 2 terms). Owing to the bipod mechanics of Battlefield V, the MG 42 and other medium machine guns are intended primarily for locking down choke-points, and so, I’ve not had much of an opportunity to use the MG 42 as Gertrude Barkhorn or any of the other Witches. With this being said, the kill-streaks and multi-kill feats I’ve accomplished in Battlefield V are rather more numerous than they were when the In The Name of The Tsar DLC came out primarily because Battlefield V‘s weapon mechanics are more consistent.

  • The usage of MMGs is highly contentious in Battlefield V, as it takes no skill to find a spot and then use these weapons to hose down enemy players en masse; the Killfrenzy I got is evidence of this, and while I typically employ a highly mobile play-style precisely because there’s no point in camping if one means to be useful to their team, there are some players who value their KDR over teamplay and have no qualms about equipping an MMG and camp somewhere to pad their personal stats. This is why the first of the chapter four unlocks, the S2-200 (a German machine gun) was not particularly appealing to me.

  • Having reached rank twenty for the assault class long ago, I’d unlocked the Gewehr 1-5 but never really bothered with it until recently: as it turns out, the Gewehr 1-5 is a solid weapon for medium range engagements thanks to its thirty round magazine, and after trying the weapon out, it became clear as to why this is the ultimate unlock for the assault class. With a high accuracy and large magazine size, no other semi-automatic rifle comes close in medium ranges, making this a choice weapon for maps with more open spaces and longer sight lines.

  • The latest update to Battlefield V brought improvements to the submachine guns. These weapons have seen improved accuracy of late, and are now even more effective than they were previously. Medics are predominantly close-quarters players, and therefore, it makes sense to give them weapons that excel at ranges under thirty metres: when the alpha for Battlefield V first ran, medics were equipped with the semi-automatic rifles that now are found in the assault class, and while this made them lethal at medium ranges, it meant that like Battlefield 1, they would be less effective close up, where they would be most likely seen resupplying and reviving teammates.

  • While ping usually accounts for frustrating moments in Battlefield V, there are some players whose inexplicable ability to consistently take more damage than other players or fire their weapons without recoil suggest that they are employing unethical means to play. Cheating remains a major problem in Battlefield V, and I encounter subtle cheaters in at least one in ten games that I join. These are the players who use tools to give them minor assists, such as eliminating recoil on their weapons, have more health than usual or spot enemies in their area, without appearing as a blatant cheater on the scoreboards.

  • Ever since building a new desk and revitalising my home office setup, I’ve been running a dual-monitor setup and finally have proper space for a mouse-pad. I actually run with a generic Velocity mouse that was intended for common computing rather than gaming, but with a mouse-pad, I’ve been able to lower the sensitivity settings down by nearly a factor of half. The end result is that I have much more confidence in aiming at the mid-ranges. This corresponds with an increase in performance and all-around enjoyment of the game.

  • Having lower sensitivity means I’ve been willing to return to weapons that did not work so well for me earlier, and I’ve been playing around with weapons like the StG-44, using them to a much greater effect than earlier. While still sporting more recoil than its alpha or open beta incarnation, the StG-44 of Battlefield V is a powerful and effective weapon once the right specialisations are applied to it. It is the weapon of choice for Waltrude Krupinski from the 502nd Joint Fighter Wing, although Battlefield V lacks a proper weapons attachment system and therefore, it is not possible to equip the Sturmpistol under-barrel launcher for firing smaller rounds.

  • Looking through Battlefield V‘s history, the game has seen a total of three full-fledged maps after launch (Panzerstorm, Mercury and Marita), plus three more small-scale maps for squad conquest and team death-match. Here, I get a kill on Lofoten Islands in team death-match: the areas on Lofoten Islands differ between this mode and conquest, offering a small degree of variety. The latest maps to Battlefield V, Lofoten Islands and Provence, only feature these small scale game modes, although one hopes that they will be expanded out to accommodate for conquest.

  • It’s really a shame that Lofoten Islands and Provence are constrained to the smaller game modes; the scenery around the map is quite beautiful, and is the only place in Battlefield V where one can fight among the temperate mountains and pristine waters of Norway. I get a lucky grenade kill on one of the piers overlooking one of the islands, and can imagine that the map would be an interesting place to have naval combat.

  • I’ve yet to get any Killtaculars with primary weapons owing to their limited ammunition capacity and the general time to kill, but my proficiency with the weapons, coupled with improved map knowledge and the benefits of having a mouse-pad means that double kills are more common now, with the occasional lucky triple kill thrown in. Multi-kills in Battlefield V are comparatively rarer because it’s unlike to be running into large numbers of players outside of capture points or vehicles, and this is something I feel Battlefield V did improve over Battlefield 1: in the latter, I was able to get Killionaires from abusing the Ilya Muromets’ strategic bomber package.

  • Al-Sudan is a desert map modelled after one of the regions from the Under No Flag campaign map and was originally slated to come out in June, but technical difficulties resulting in artefact problems, meant that the full conquest mode is not yet available on the map. The map is supposed to be ready later this month, which is a shame: the evening lighting and design of the map is actually rather inviting, and I would love to see combat extend to the watery areas seen here in the distance.

  • Squad conquest on Lofoten Islands is actually surprisingly fun: the map is best suited for close quarters engagements, but there are some watch towers and open sight-lines that make it possible to be successful in sniping. By this point in Battlefield V, I’ve reached rank twenty for each and every class. I’ve found that the default archetypes each class start with are more than enough for my usual play-style, and was hoping that DICE would introduce new archetypes for each class to specialise their roles further. With this in mind, until DICE figures out the performance issues in full and then have a proper vision for their content release, new archetypes aren’t too high on my wishlist of things I’d like to see in Battlefield V.

  • The penultimate chapter reward is the Panzerbüchse 39, an anti-materiel rifle that serves a similar function to the Boys Anti-tank Rifle. Unlike the Boys AT Rifle, the Panzerbüchse 39 has a slightly lower firing rate, a faster muzzle velocity and reduced screen obstruction thanks to a slightly smaller compartment for carrying additional rounds. Beyond this, it requires a bipod to be at its most effective and is not the weapon of choice for highly mobile, objective-oriented players, but where the environment allows for it, the Panzerbüchse 39 is an entertaining weapon to use, allowing one to one-shot most infantry. The AT rifles are also moderately effective against light vehicles and while next to useless against tanks, can nonetheless be used to interrupt a repair cycle.

  • More so than any other iteration of Battlefield, the community of Battlefield V is easily the most unfriendly and hostile I’ve encountered. Aside from the inordinate number of cheaters, there are plenty of players who are more interested in padding their KDR and refuse to play the objective, resorting to camping for kills. When other players put anything into the text chat providing updates on enemy movements, or asking for revives or ammo, they are met with a face-full of toxic, hate-filled memes. The most gratuitous examples are found when one calls out an obvious cheater: for some reason, even players on the receiving end will stop to defend the cheaters.

  • The behaviours in the community are baffling, and for this reason, I run with the text chat completely off. DICE has implemented a text filter that censors all expletives and insults, to the point where something as simple as “sucks” is blanked out. This behaviour is something I was worried about creeping into games: I’ve heard that the team working on Battlefield V is not the same team that worked in previous titles. Shifts in role and management is allegedly why the game has been so shaky of late, and while I hope this is the case (over time, a team could improve as they grow into the role with the right leadership and individual mindset), there’s always the lingering doubt that certain trends may be making their way into large triple-A titles. These trends became most pronounced five years previously with the occurrence of a certain culture war that was ostensibly about “ethics in video games journalism”, misrepresented as a massive intimidation campaign against certain indie developers and their supporters.

  • I’ve long stayed neutral in this particular debate, having long felt that what’s most important in games was gameplay and immersion. That the individual at the center of the culture war came back at the five year anniversary to make new baseless accusations, coupled with the increasing trends towards political correctness in video games in general is not a good sign for the industry’s future, to say nothing about their persistence. For now, I’ll resolve to simply enjoy the titles that are available, and here, I land another instant-kill on an unfortunate player with the Panzerbüchse 39 and iron sights: lucky kills with the weapon led me to being branded as being devoid of skill, but it actually does take skill to use this weapon effectively in a mobile play-style: finding a spot, taking a few shots and then moving on.

  • Provence was originally advertised as a map with lavender fields of the sort that explored in Kelowna with a small village adjacent, but the iteration that made it into Battlefield V is focused around the village itself. None of the famed lavender fields of Provence make it into the playable area, and instead, the narrow streets become the main fighting areas. With this being said, Provence itself is a decent enough map for squad conquest, with some sight-lines for sniping and plenty of tighter spaces for frenzied combat.

  • There are enough flanking options in Provence such that capture points must be defended with diligence if one is to keep them from falling into enemy hands. I’ve gotten the Thompson up to rank ten now: it’s easily my favourite of the submachine guns for close quarters engagement, and the weapon is surprisingly reliable for picking off enemies that are slightly further out. It is now my go-to weapon for the medic class, and with the recent patches reducing recoil for the submachine guns, this set of weapons have only improved in efficacy.

  • On the southern edge of Provence, the distant landscapes bring to mind the sort of area that Perrine might visit while restoring Gallia of Strike Witches. This open space has plenty of possibility for larger game modes like conquest or break-through, and since there’s no water component, it means that extending the map should be, at least in theory, more straightforward than extending Lofoten Islands, where boats would have to be introduced. This would add a whole new dynamic to Battlefield V and make naval combat a possibility.

  • If such a thing were possible with the next chapter, then being able to operate the Fubuki-class and Fletcher-class would bring back the destroyer-on-destroyer combat of Battlefield 1, but this time, on the open waters of the Pacific. Squad reinforcements might then entail being able to operate the Iowa and Yamato, which would bring Kantai Collection properly into Battlefield V, the way it was meant to be played. Of course, such an undertaking would be massive, and given DICE’s recent performance, I think that the Pacific content would be quite successful if DICE would introduce the new weapons, maps and vehicles without breaking anything.

  • The final unlock for the fourth chapter is the Breda M1935 PG, the first burst-fire weapon in Battlefield V and the world’s first burst-fire weapon. The weapon was designed in Italy in 1931 and is gas-operated. The Italian version of the rifle is chambered for the 6.5×52mm Mannlicher–Carcano round, has a twenty-round box magazine and fires in four-round bursts. It is immensely powerful in the right hands in burst mode, and in single-fire mode, allows the weapon to act as a higher-capacity semi-automatic rifle that allows it to be more accurate at range.

  • Getting used to the recoil pattern on the Breda PG takes a while: it tends towards the upper right, and so, if one can manage the recoil well, the weapon can become a death machine. By pushing down on the mouse and aiming at the chest, one can fire three rounds into an opponent and then finish off with a headshot using the recoil. The Breda PG thus becomes a monster of a weapon in the right hands, being able to mow through two or three people with ease. However, the recoil pattern is also large and takes time to get used to: one cannot simply pick up this weapon and use it to wipe entire squads with it.

  • While Provence ends up being perhaps not quite as inspiring to play on, overall, the map’s layout isn’t terrible, as there are enough flanking routes to keep Squad Conquest interesting: defenders must always be mindful of other routes their opponents may take, while attackers can surprise their enemies  by using an undefended path to reach a capture point. Some parts of the map also bring to mind the atmosphere seen in Sora no Woto‘s Seize. Despite Seize being modelled off the Spanish architecture of Cuenca, the overall colour palette and setting would not look too out of place as being somewhere that Kanata and the 1121st could hang out.

  • Overall, I’d say that the Breda PG is probably the best addition to Battlefield V‘s latest Tides of War chapter, offering a new play-style for the assault class. In the streets of Provence, the weapon proved to be superbly enjoyable, and I’ve actually gotten it up to rank four already, making it possible for me to specialise the weapon. I’ve gone for the right tree, since it would extend my efficacy at range: while the Breda PG is less suited for close-quarters combat, it can hold its own under some cases, and making it more effective for its intended role seems the way to go.

  • While I leave the fourth chapter with mixed feelings (I enjoyed the new maps and weapons, but less so the performance issues and persistent instances of cheating), Battlefield V‘s ultimate fate will lie with how well DICE can deliver the Pacific Theatre content. I’ve heard rumours that amphibious warfare could be coming alongside boats: in conjunction with the maps and weapons announced, the Pacific Theatre is a very exciting time for DICE, who could salvage Battlefield V yet. This is, of course, dependent on a timely delivery of content, no introduction of performance-degrading bugs and a proper, clear communication of what players can expect.

  • If DICE can pull this off, it will be reason enough to stay and experience Strike Witches in the Frostbite Engine: we’re nearly a year into the game’s life, and insofar, I’ve only been able to run with a handful of the loadouts seen in Strike Witches and Girls und Panzer. There is further incentive for DICE to ensure a smooth delivery of new content: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is releasing in October, and with a return to the modern era, the footage of the game I’ve seen so far looks very promising. I’ve never been big on the Call of Duty multiplayer experience before, having stuck exclusively to their campaigns, but the game is catching my eye so far, and Battlefield V will have to work pretty hard to persuade me that it remains the superior experience.

  • It suddenly strikes me that I don’t have more screenshots of Al Sudan, so I’ll feature a pair of kills from the Breda PG, with the one here being on a player who focused more on KDR than team play. A glance at the calendar shows we’re a bit more than halfway through September now, which means that it’s also been a year since I accepted the assignment to fix issues that a Denver-based company had with their mobile application. This project was originally slated to span a maximum of six weeks but, thanks to the irresponsibility and incompetence of the Winnipeg team, ran for a total of twelve weeks and saw me fly out to Winnipeg to personally drive the backend development necessary for the mobile app to work.

  • The outcomes of this was far reaching and while I’m immensely glad to have finished that project to precisely what was agreed to, I admit that the experience, however instructive it was for me, also was most unpleasant. A year since then, the learnings from that project continue to guide how I design mobile apps, and a year later, Battlefield V has proven to be quite enduring despite its numerous limitations. I’m definitely looking forwards to the Pacific Theatre and will be writing about that one in great detail. In the meantime, Operation Underground is supposed to launch somewhere next month, and I will naturally be writing about this update and the new stuff it brings. Until then, we’re also nearing the end of the summer for anime, and that means I’ll need to do a pair of talks on Sounan Desu Ka? and Dumbbell wa nan Kilo Moteru? now that their finales have ended.

With DICE managing to salvage the fourth Tides of War chapter and bringing back some enjoyment into the game amidst the disappointment, the biggest thing on Battlefield V‘s horizon in the future is the Pacific Theatre. Folks have found information in the game files to indicate that Iwo Jima and Wake Island will definitely be featured with this next chapter, alongside the legendary M1 Garand and Browning Automatic Rifle. The M1919, M3 Submachine Gun and Type 99 Arisaka are also supposed to be included, as well. Being able to fight on the shores of an iconic location will be exciting, and Battlefield veterans will also enjoy returning to a classic Battlefield map in Wake Island. Two other maps have been found, but their locations have not been confirmed yet. This is a strong start to what I’ve been looking forwards to the most in Battlefield V, and it is possible that I’ll be able to run the Charlotte Yeager and Francesca Luccini loadouts in Battlefield V. The content is likely to come out in November, and in the meantime, Operation Underground is set to release in October, alongside with several new assignments to keep players busy. Said to be a re-imagining of the Operation Metro map from Battlefield 3, Operation Underground will portray Operation Varsity, which happened towards the end of World War II. I’m quite familiar with Operation Metro, having spent hundreds of hours in Battlefield 3 either here in the tunnels or in Noshahr Canals, so I’m rather looking forwards to seeing how the new map will be designed to simultaneously accommodate the close-quarter mayhem of the original while at the same time, removing the frustrations of explosives spam and choke-points that would almost certainly be impassible thanks to the way medium machine guns handle in Battlefield V.

Battlefield V: The Lynette Bishop Loadout, Operation Mercury, Killtastrophe, Rampage and a new Headshot Record

“Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys it.” —Eliza Tabor

The third Tides of War chapter to Battlefield V introduced a host of new weapons, and the first new map in over half a year: the map Mercury was added at the end of May, and portrays the Battle of Crete, during which the Germans mounted an airborne assault on the Greek island, which was under British occupation. The map itself is beautiful, with blue skies, turquoise waters, Greek-style houses and cliffs that encourage vertical gameplay. Besides a new map, six new weapons were also added. The medic class gains access to the bolt-action carbine weapons, which allows them to hang back and engage enemies at a medium range more effectively. In particular, the M28 con Tromboncino provides medics with a brand-new playstyle, where they can use the integral grenade launcher to damage vehicles. Similarly, the scout class also received two new weapon classes: the P08 Pistol Carbine is the first close-quarters weapon for the scout, bringing back the aggressive recon style gameplay that I was very fond of in earlier Battlefield titles, while the Boys AT Rifle is an immensely powerful weapon that, in addition to being able to decimate infantry, also gives the Scouts the ability to damage vehicles. The third chapter thus provides players with different options for their classes, and this in turn has helped with keeping things fresh, even though the development and release of new content has been at a snail’s pace: by this point in Battlefield 1‘s lifespan, the They Shall Not Pass DLC had released, introducing five new maps, a new tank and six new weapons. However, while things have been progressing very slowly, Battlefield V‘s roadmap for the months upcoming have revealed that the fourth Tides of War chapter will bring at six new maps to the table, including a re-imagining of Battlefield 3’s Operation Metro. Chapter five subsequently introduces the American Pacific and Imperial Japan factions, bringing players to the long-awaited Pacific Theatre. Iwo Jima and the M1 Garand rifle will be introduced, and this is particularly exciting.

Over the past six months, since I last wrote about Battlefield V‘s multiplayer, I’ve now reached the point where it costed me less than a dollar per hour to play Battlefield V, and I’m hovering around a KDR of 0.9, a considerable improvement relative to my performance in Battlefield 1. While Battlefield V‘s consistently failed to deliver on new maps, Tides of War and its weekly rewards have been sufficient incentive to return and complete assignments, encouraging replay. While I’m not particularly fond of the constant introduction of new game modes, and feel that playing the same maps have become very repetitive (DICE would be better served building new maps rather than adding game modes which have had insufficient testing and lack the same scale as conquest), the silver lining is that I’ve become very familiar with the maps, to the point where my performance has been of a consistently high standard. Map and weapon knowledge has allowed me to help my team out, top the scoreboards and generally have a good time while attempting each of the weekly assignments. With the improvement in familiarity comes a few new personal bests. The close-quarters chaos of Outpost allowed me to score a killtastrophe (a multi-kill of eight, equivalent to killing 8 opponents within 4 seconds of each previous kill in Halo 3). The Valentine Archer tank, introduced during the second Tides of War chapter, has been my go-to vehicle. Despite its lack of a rotating turret, the Archer’s loadout is incredibly effective against infantry and vehicles alike. I’ve gone on multiple 15-streaks with the Archer, and my current best is a 23-streak (equivalent to Halo 2’s Rampage). Knowing the weapons better have allowed me to best my headshot record by one metre using the Lee-Endfield No. 4 Mk. I — my headshot record is now 258 metres, up from 257. While the maps have not been something to write home about, new weapons also have kept things satisfactorily enjoyable: the P08 and Boys AT Rifle are especially fun, adding a new dimension to the scout class.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • I open this post up with a killtactular I got while operating a Tiger I against a loaded transport. During my time with the Tides of War, I found my skills tested not against other players, but with the assignment requirements themselves. Most challenging was the assignment to unlock the StuG IV, which entailed using a passenger gun to kill enemies while attacking an objective – I ended up finishing this assignment and grabbing my StuG IV (an upgrade the the StuG III that the history team of Girls und Panzer operate) before DICE modified the assignment and accidentally locked people out of it.

  • The De Lisle Carbine is one of the few suppressed weapons in Battlefield V, and while it marks the first time that the medics got access to something new, the weapon is also remarkably difficult to use, being ineffectual at close quarters, and demanding superb aim to land medium range shots. However, in offering something new to the medic class, Battlefield V shows that with the right content, the game has the potential to last quite a while.

  • While the StuG IV was an interesting vehicle, the Valentine Archer is perhaps the most overpowered vehicle in the game, even following the patch. Before, with the right specialisations, the Archer could hold a total of 50 rounds: 40 standard shells for its QF 17PDR and an additional ten APDS rounds. Combined with a high mobility, the Archer becomes the perfect tank for delivering an incredible volume of fire downrange – while limited by the fact that it has no rotating turret, the vehicle has extreme endurance, and I had no difficulty in going on long the equivalent of a Running Riot even with the base Archer. So effective is the Archer that I’ve been accused of cheating while using it: when used as a long-range solution, the Archer is untouchable.

  • The longest killstreak I’ve gone on is with the Archer: during a match, I ended up going 23-0 with it, which is equivalent to Halo‘s “Rampage” killstreak. The Archer was subsequently nerfed to carry less ammunition, but even then, it remains terrifyingly powerful. Despite the updated Archer carrying a maximum of 32 shells for the QF 17PDR for a total of 42 rounds, down from its original 50, the Archer still has exceptional endurance in combat. For my part, I play the Archer as a sniper: if one is assured some security from the rear and flanks, no other tank comes close to it in performance.

  • After putting in over eighty hours into Battlefield V, it’s become apparent that cheating is a much greater issue here than it has been with previous titles: low level players with scores and KD-ratios that far exceed what is feasible in-game very are encountered frequently. Low levels translate to less time spent learning weapon patterns and reduced map knowledge, so doing unrealistically well is an indicator I am dealing with someone who is employing some sort of client-side modifications. While I ordinarily quit out of games with such players, the Tides of War assignments often require that I stay to completion, which makes for a frustrating experience. Conversely, in game where there are no cheaters, I perform modestly well.

  • The Boys AT Rifle was the most welcome addition to Battlefield V thus far: I’ve long desired to run with the Lynette Bishop loadout in Battlefield, and after unlocking this gun, immediately set about putting it to the test. With a fire rate of 10 RMP, the Boys AT Rifle fired a 13.9 mm round at 747 m/s in real life, and could punch through up to 23.2 mm of armour at 91.44 meters. The weapon was initially effective against lighter tanks, but improvements in German armour meant the Boys AT Rifle was no longer as useful, and eventually became replaced by the PIAT. In Battlefield V, the Boys AT Rifle fires at 22 RPM and has a muzzle velocity of 400 m/s, but can be upgraded to fire at 26 RPM and rounds that travel at 460 m/s.

  • In Battlefield V, the Boys AT Rifle is useless against tanks, can deal reasonable damage to light vehicles (a few shots will destroy them) and is obscenely powerful against infantry under 100 metres, being able to one shot anyone with a body shot. To run the most authentic Lynette loadout possible, I opted to equip the machined bolt to improve the Boys AT Rifle’s firing rate: Lynette typically uses magic to increase her Boys AT Rifle’s fire rate, as well as to stablise her shots and aim at longer distances. Since magic isn’t a feature in Battlefield V, I decided that a good set of optics would need to replace Lynette’s ability to resolve targets at great distances.

  • One of my favourite moments with the Boys AT Rifle is getting a double kill with one shot on enemies in a narrow street in Rotterdam. Getting kills with the weapon is incredibly satisfying. While capable of downing infantry in one shot under 100 metres, the Boys AT Rifle is balanced by the fact that it has a very slow muzzle velocity, low firing rate and demands a bipod to operate accurately. Setting the weapon up is a challenge and leaves one exposed: in exchange for its great power, there are concessions that must be made. As such, I find that the Boys AT Rifle is well-balanced, and not overpowered. In the right situation, it is devastating, but not sufficiently so as to change the outcome of a game. I believe that an issue where the Boys AT Rifle had inappropriately good hip-fire accuracy has since been addressed.

  • Set on Crete, Mercury is the first new map to grace Battlefield V since Panzerstorm came out back in December. Filled with cliffs and set alongside the coasts of Crete on the Mediterranean, Mercury is a beautiful map that offers a brand-new atmosphere to Battlefield V. My first kill on the map was with the Panzer IV Ausf. H, Miho’s preferred tank as Girls und Panzer progressed: the Ausf. D configuration was originally intended for an anti-infantry role. On the topic of Girls und Panzer, it appears that overseas viewers have begun flying over to Japan for Das Finale‘s second part, and if what I’m hearing is to be believed, at least one individual intends to do this for the remaining four parts. I’ve mentioned this numerous times that I don’t get this behaviour, since the payoffs of seeing a film ahead of everyone else are not worth the price it takes for such an endeavour.

  • I’ve always been practically-minded about these things: assuming a cost of around 2500 CAD (including flights, ground transportation, accommodations, food and the movie ticket itself), seeing all six parts of Girls und Panzer: Das Finale would cost 15000 CAD. I get that there are people who are dedicated to Girls und Panzer, but spending this much money just to see a military-moé series ahead of everyone else cannot be considered wise, especially since watching the movie in theatres does not allow one the option of taking high-resolution screenshots and generating interesting discussions as one might see here. Instead of attempting to match the folly that some might have, I’ll take a more practical route and for the present, focus on enjoying Battlefield V and the other things in the now. Here, I run with the Bren: Perrine H. Clostermann’s weapon of choice, the slow-firing and hard-hitting Bren has quickly become my favourite LMG of Battlefield V for its reliability at medium ranges.

  • The turquoise waters off the coast of Crete are stunning, and give way to the verdant cliffs players fight on. The map greatly resembles Battlefield 1‘s Achi Baba, which was located on Turkey’s Gallipoli Peninsula. However, whereas Achi Baba is located inland and features narrow canyons, rocky hills and ruins, Mercury has villages and a spectacular view of the water. Battlefield V is definitely more colourful than its predecessor, but has had very little opportunity to show off what the Frostbite Engine is capable of primarily because of its limited map selection.

  • Besides a lack of maps, every patch of Battlefield V also introduced a series of unusual bugs that negatively impacted performance and user experience. This aspect of Battlefield V makes no sense: DICE has already proven that the Frostbite Engine is capable of excellent net code, managing 64 players seamlessly and ensuring hit detection is accurately reported. As such, when things like TTD are still a problem in Battlefield V, I cannot help but wonder if core aspects of the game will be improved; while my experiences have been reasonably smooth, that DICE continues to encounter these problems is not encouraging.

  • Having reached rank twenty for the medic, I finally unlocked the M1928A1 Thompson Submachine Gun. Better known as the Tommy Gun, this weapon was an iconic part of American history, known for its use by bootleggers during the Prohibition era. The basic Thompson has a 20-round stick magazine and handles similar to the Suomi, but once upgraded with its 50-round drum magazine, the weapon becomes a powerhouse weapon for the medic.

  • Its effectiveness has quickly made the Thompson my favourite of the medic weapons, and rendered the journey to reach rank twenty worth it. Up until now, I predominantly ran the MP-40 and ZK-383: the former is reliable and consistent, while the latter packs a punch and is suited for slightly longer ranges thanks to its bipod. While the medic class had started Battlefield V as an ineffectual one, updates to submachine gun performance and access to weapon specialisations have come together to make the class much more viable.

  • Addition of the M28 con Tromboncino (an upgraded version of Battlefield 1‘s M91 Carcano Carbine) to the medic class finally provides one with the option of medium-range combat. The bolt-action carbines for the medic class exchange raw damage, range and accuracy of the bolt-action rifles for a higher firing rate; they have a straight-pull bolt, and so, one can continue firing without zooming out, making it possible to land follow-up shots more effectively.

  • Lacking the same limitations as the De Lisle Carbine, the M28 con Tromboncino is the first proper medium-range weapon for the medic, and it is a great choice for maps that have wide open spaces. While medics can typically get around by making use of smoke and relying on their teammates to provide return fire at range, there are situations where being able to reliably hit back is valuable.

  • The M28 con Tromboncino also has one additional feature that makes it an attractive weapon: it possesses an integral grenade launcher that was originally intended to extend the firepower infantry could carry without relying on mortar support. In Battlefield V, the integral grenade launcher handles similarly to the support class’ AT grenade pistol, and gives medics the option of engaging light vehicles, as well as discouraging tanks. Here, I managed to destroy a tank that was low on health using the M28 con Tromboncino’s grenades.

  • Outpost is the latest game mode to join Battlefield V, and while it is focused on smaller-scale combat, I feel that the radio tower construction/destruction mechanic adds a bit more engagement to capturing points: one must actively build or destroy a radio tower to control a point. The mode was surprisingly fun, forcing a different play style compared to standard conquest, and the aggregation of players on a capture point also makes reinforcements highly useful. My original wish for more reinforcements was realised: smoke barrage and artillery strike were added to the game during the second chapter, and it appears that spotting aircraft and flamethrowers could make their way into the main game in the future.

  • All that’s left would be a 4-player strategic bomber like the B-29 that can deal massive damage and provide several gun turrets similar to Call of Duty WWII‘s B-17 Ball turret kill-streak. The tradeoff would be that the B-29 flies extremely slowly and would be vulnerable to AA guns, as well as enemy aircraft. here, I score a headshot with the Gewehr M.95, a weapon with a fast muzzle velocity. The headshot I refer to in this post’s title was actually scored on Arras with the Lee-Endfield No. 4 Mk. I, where I landed a particularly lucky shot from the church tower close to the B-point on a player standing at the C-point. Considering the difficulty of sniping in Battlefield V compared to its predecessors, I’d say that this isn’t too shabby a feat.

  • My most impressive moment in Battlefield V actually comes a few days ago, after the third Tides of War chapter ended. I was messing around on Arras and had gone on a short kill-streak with the Valentine Archer, but was unceremoniously killed by a player who got lucky with the sticky dynamite. Spawning back in close to where I’d died, I noticed that the enemy team had begun swarming the A point and immediately called in a JB-2 rocket. When it struck, I got eight kills simultaneously, which is counted as a Killtastrophe in Halo 3.  The skill-based aspects of Battlefield V means that I’ve actually improved much more quickly than I did with Battlefield 1, and with this in mind, while Battlefield V had been off to a weak start, the recent announcements about chapter four in Tides of War, and confirmation of the Pacific Theatre has me very excited. Despite my disappointments, I remain optimistic that DICE will turn Battlefield V into a superbly enjoyable title, much as they had for Battlefield 3Battlefield 4 and Battlefield 1 before it.

For the past while, I’ve thus been running the Lynette Bishop loadout: the addition of the Boys AT Rifle into the game has finally made it possible for me to run around as my favourite Witch of the 501st, and it has been quite exhilarating to make the Boys AT Rifle work. Blessed with the ability to one-hit-kill anyone from under 100 metres owing to its .55 Boys ammunition, the Boys AT Rifle is constrained by low muzzle velocity, fire rate and the fact that its bipod must be deployed for it to be effective. For the most part, since I don’t happen to have magic that allows me to use the Boys AT Rifle the same way Lynette does, I need to place myself strategically to make the weapon work. However, when positioning is good, the Boys AT Rifle is a beast: to match Lynette’s abilities, I run the Boys AT Rifle with Slings and Swivels (faster weapon draw), flashless propellant (reduces muzzle flash), the machined bolt (increases firing rate) and high velocity bullets. While its damage makes it a terrifying weapon to square off against, the Boys AT Rifle’s limitations means that it takes a bit of skill and patience to properly wield the weapon: missing a shot is unforgiving, and having the bipod deployed makes one vulnerable to counter-snipers. On the whole, however, the Boys AT Rifle has been a fun weapon to use, and Lynette’s loadout is, when played correctly, a viable one in Battlefield V. The upcoming Tides of War chapters look to bring even more iconic weapons and vehicles into Battlefield V, and so, while it is disappointing to see that Battlefield V has remained buggy and lacking in content, the future for the title remains quite encouraging: Battlefield V could still very well become an incredible World War Two shooter, and the Pacific Theatre definitely looks to be helping the game along. If a new elite soldier wielding a katana is introduced in the Pacific Theatre chapter, I would be tempted to drop additional coin for this, as it would allow me to run the Mio Sakamoto loadout.

Battlefield V: An Incursion into Firestorm and remarks on Battle Royale

I fell into a burning ring of fire
I went down, down, down
And the flames went higher
And it burns, burns, burns
The ring of fire, the ring of fire

– Johnny Cash, Ring of Fire

Introduced with the third Tides of War chapter, Firestorm is Battlefield V‘s answer to the wildly popular battle royale genre. Set on Halvoy, a vast map of snowy forests, lakeside cabins and mountain roads in the Nordic landscape, Firestorm features the biggest map to ever figure in a Battlefield game. The principles are the same: eliminate enemies, stay alive and move to a safe area whenever the ring of fire shrinks the playable area. The mode can be played independently, as well as in squads of two or four people, and for Firestorm, Battlefield V offers a modestly intuitive and efficient inventory management system, allowing players to swap out their gear, use additional support items like armour plates, health kits and gadgets and determine what ammunition they ought to carry. Weapons and gear items come in different rarities, with higher-end items being more suited for their intended roles. However, even low end items can still be useful, and immediately after touchdown, it is important to immediately kit up before seeking out better gear, and making one’s way to the next play area. This is about the gist of Firestorm, and prior to its introduction, I had no inclination to play it whatsoever. Battlefield V‘s Tides of War, however, required that I at least acquainted myself with the mode in order to complete several of the challenges. During my time with Firestorm, I found a mode that was unexpectedly refreshing from the usual tenour of Battlefield V‘s core offerings.

Battlefield has traditionally been about large maps and large scale, setting it apart from the close-quarters frenzies of titles like Call of Duty, and the more tactical, slower experiences that Rainbow Six Siege and Counter Strike offers. Not quite as hectic as an arena shooter, but also faster-paced than tactical shooters, I’ve long enjoyed Battlefield for modes like conquest and domination, which offer large-scale battles. Battle royale modes like Firestorm modify this dynamic entirely, pitting individual players and their map knowledge against other players. The pacing is even slower than that of a tactical shooter, since players aren’t ever really too sure of what lurks around the corner or over the next hill: this sense of foreboding and anticipation creates a suspense that elevates the immersion. With the stunning visuals and performance afforded by the Frostbite Engine, Firestorm offers a unique battle royale experience that has impressed. There are certainly merits to a mode like this in Battlefield V, although the dubious decision to only make this available to existing Battlefield V players means that the mode might not have as much staying power in the long term. For me, the pacing is not something I particularly look for in a game despite being enjoyable and a different experience than Battlefield V‘s traditional modes: I’m more inclined to enjoy modes where I am able to respawn back into intense warfare involving infantry and vehicles.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • During my first match of Firestorm, I dropped into a snowy area, found a common rifle and then proceeded to get melted by another player with an epic weapon. The different tiers are differentiated by the specialisations and optics on the weapon, with rare tier weapons having better characteristics. Epic weapons have two specialisations and an optic that improves its performance, although damage is unmodified, and so, players can go toe-to-toe with other players even if their weapon is of a lower tier.

  • My favourite part of the Halvoy maps are set in the areas with less snow, more grass and some of the Nordic-style cabins. The water effects here are amazing, and the houses around tend to old common or rare items. I tend to discard ammunition I find for shotguns, only holding onto ammunition for a weapon that I currently have active.

  • My first kill in Firestorm was using the Sten: this submachine gun has good hipfire performance, and I noticed that another player was hanging around the house I was chilling in. I eventually baited this player into the house, and with the Sten, proceeded to get the kill on them. It’s a bit of a dirty play, since I normally avoiding using camping techniques in normal play – Firestorm encourages the camping approach.

  • Besides healing pouches and armour plates, I usually make it a point to carry anti-personnel explosives if I can find them. I’ve not encountered any players in vehicles, mainly because the solo game mode means players going on foot rather than use vehicles and attract attention to themselves. This means that anti-armour weapons are usually of lesser use, although they can be useful in blasting open houses enemies are camping.

  • While battle royale intrinsically is more suspenseful than any other gamemode in Battlefield V, the scenery is exceptionally good, and Halvoy is beautiful. The diversity of landscapes and terrain on Halvoy allow everything from snowy fields to lakeside cabins to be portrayed in beautiful detail, and there’s an unusual tranquility on the map found nowhere else in Battlefield V. It would be worth going into Halvoy and avoiding enemy players just to explore the different points of interest.

  • My typical strategy for Firestorm is to drop where players are not, and then continue moving through cover to avoid being shot at. Since the objective of the solo game mode is to avoid death for as long as possible, keeping away from unnecessary combat and letting other players whittle one another down. Of course, if I do get the drop on another player, I will opt to eliminate them if it is safe to do so.

  • In a straight-up confrontation, I usually end up winning owing to a combination of superior reflexes and weapon understanding. Where I unexpectedly come under fire, I usually end up losing the firefight if my opponent is more hidden away. While Firestorm uses a completely different health and armour system, the time to kill is still relatively quick.

  • Every battle royale game involves a shrinking game area. In Firestorm, a literal ring of fire surrounds the map and burns areas inland as time wears on. Players are eliminated instantly from this inferno, so it is imperative to always continue moving inward as time wears on. This naturally increases the risk of running into other players, and having good weapons becomes more important as a match progresses.

  • During my best match, I found an epic FG-42 with 3x optics, and it was a superbly effective weapon that allowed me to score three kills in total. I had secured the requirements for the Tides of War achievement, but was also desperately low on ammunition for the FG-42. I ended up dying in an ambush. While I’ve not put enough time into Firestorm to win a match, it is fun to see how far I can progress.

  • Supply drops become available in Firestorm that act as mini-objectives – offering superior equipment, they also give incentive for players to converge on a point and engage one another for better equipment, as well as to score a few kills before moving on. I’ve never been close enough to these supply drops to do anything meaningful with them, such as taking potshots at enemies or securing better gear.

  • Firestorm did allow me to utilise the M1928A1 Thompson, which I’ve still yet to unlock in the multiplayer proper. This iconic submachine gun is one of the best weapons available to the medic class, and its base version is fairly powerful, having a high fire rate and good accuracy. While stymied by a low ammunition capacity, the weapon can be upgraded to have a fifty round capacity. At the time of writing, I’m level nineteen with the medic and will be unlocking the Thompson shortly.

  • On the whole, I’d say that the simplified experience that Firestorm offers, in conjunction with being powered by the Frostbite Engine, makes it the superior battle royale game compared to the likes of Fortnite or Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, which have comparatively more sophisticated mechanics and therefore, has a slightly larger learning curve.

  • The Bren Gun excels at medium ranges: while it has a slower rate of fire, it is accurate and hits fairly hard, making it a solid choice for maps with wider open spaces. Its main limitation is its top-mounted box magazine, which severely obstructs visibility. Perrine’s weapon of choice in Strike Witches, the Bren has served her well in missions against the Neuroi, although like most movies, Perrine is shown operating it for much longer than its box magazine allows.

  • I’m almost certain that carrying a Liberator pistol around is meant to be a joke: the weapon does pitiful damage and cannot kill with a single headshot. Hampered by an uncommonly long reload time, the Liberator lacks the Kolibri’s headshot damage multiplier and firing rate (a skillful player can kill up to two opponents with eight back-to-back headshots): Hikari used the Liberator to great effect in Brave Witches in finishing off the Gregori Neuroi Hive, but the incredibly poor characteristics, in conjunction with a lack of behemoths, means that accomplishing what Hikari did in Battlefield V is outright impossible.

  • If the rumours are to be believed, updates to Battlefield V will introduce the American and Japanese factions, plus the Pacific Theatre, in addition to the Boys Anti-Tank rifle. This will allow me to run the Lynette Bishop loadout, where I attempt to run around with the Boys Anti-Tank rifle as a primary weapon as Lynette does, and attempt to snipe enemy players. The inclusion of the American M4 Sherman will also let me run the Kay loadout: if one of the upgrade paths includes a 17-pounder, that would be phenomenal.

  • On the Japanese side of things, being able to utilise the Type 99 Mk. 2 Model Kai would allow me to run an authentic Yoshika Miyafuji loadout. While the weapon is technically an autocannon, firing 20mm rounds, its firing rate is closer to that of a heavy machine gun. The weapon was used in an anti-air role capacity, and this may reduce the odds of it being an infantry-portable weapon. While the Japanese did have their own LMGs and MMGs, they’re quite unremarkable as weapons (the Type 96, for instance, outwardly resembles the Bren).

  • While Battlefield V has continued to suffer from an unclear content release schedule and limited content, I note that Star Wars: Battlefront II has done exceptionally well of late. With sustained new content and a revision of the in-game currency system, Battlefront II has reached its launch player counts and is said to be a solid game that handles well. Continued support for the game after a rough launch has turned it into a respectable title, and given DICE’s track record, I expect that Battlefield V will very likely become a highly enjoyable and solid instalment to Battlefield, as well.

  • The promise of Pacific Theatre content is definitely encouraging, and in the meantime, I’ll periodically play Battlefield V to completely the weekly Tides of War assignments. I am going to have to miss this week’s assignment, which yields the Tromboncino M28 on completion. This weapon is a variation of the Carcano Carbine and has the distinction of being able to act as a bolt action rifle with anti-vehicle capabilities: it fires grenades, as well. Here, I eliminate an enemy in Firestorm using the M1A1 Carbine.

  • We’re now two days into May, and the reason why I’m going to miss this week’s assignment is because I’ve been in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley for Facebook’s F8 conference. I applied back in March and was pleasantly surprised to learn that I was invited. The F8 conference represented a fabulous opportunity to speak with Facebook’s engineers, network and also watch their keynotes in person. Aside from the technical presentations and sessions, the conference was a solid opportunity to also converse with other developers, try out the new Oculus Quest and partake in the evening events.

  • With F8 now over, I’ll be offering a few thoughts on my experiences in upcoming posts. I am pushing forwards with Yama no Susume‘s second season and will have my thoughts on the first half in due course. In addition, I am moving through Valkyria Chronicles 4 – the eighth chapter appears to be the equivalent of the Batomys engagement at the Barious Desert, and I’m still figuring out an optimal moveset for finishing this fight. Finally, entering May, I am pleased to announce that I am hosting June’s Jon’s Creator Showcase, an initiative to share and discuss noteworthy blog posts. Come June, I will be gathering posts from the month of May of all sorts. More information on this will become available towards the end of the month, and I will be applying my own unique brand of discussion towards this programme, which is geared towards increasing exposure to different blogs out there.

For me, my lack of patience in gaming means that the slower, methodical gameplay of battle royale games means that I have not particularly found the fad to be one I could get behind. Having only played the solo mode of Firestorm, it is clear that battle royale’s merits come with playing in a squad, where one is able to coordinate with other players to create some genuinely exciting moments of strategy and cunning. As I am very much a lone-wolf player when it comes to gaming, battle royale is a mode I’ve not gotten too much out of. With this being said, Battlefield V‘s implementation shows that the Frostbite Engine is indeed capable of accommodating a technically solid battle royale mode, and with the right adjustments to Battlefield mechanics, battle royale can be quite engaging in its own right. There’s a market for this game type, and while I personally might not be it, rolling out a standalone Firestorm launcher and allowing interested players to play freely would definitely allow Firestorm to reach more players. In the meantime, it’s a mode that remains little more than a curiosity as I push further into the Tides of War programme – the hunt to unlock new weapons has provided incentive enough to continue with Battlefield V even though there’s been no new maps.

The Last Tiger: Reflections on the Battlefield V Campaign

“Well, commanders don’t have the luxury of saying old shit that comes into their heads like drivers do!” –Peter Müller

Peter Müller is the commander of a Tiger I tank who fought in North Africa, but as Allied forces advance across Europe, German forces are forced into retreat. Müller is assigned with defending Cologne, and as they fight to repel Allied forces, come across soldiers branded as traitors and deserters. when artillery bombards Müller’s position, he is tasked with launching a counterattack. Despite successfully destroying the artillery pieces, Allied aircraft bombard the city. Müller sends Hartmann to scout ahead for a route, but Hartmann disappears in the smoke. When aircraft renew their bombardment and damages their Tiger, Müller himself leaves the tank to fend off the aircraft while his crew repair the tank. Rejoining his crew, Müller then makes his way to another position held by American forces and recovers documents pertinent to the war. As night falls, Müller is given a final assignment: to defend a cathedral from the relentlessly advancing American units. Despite Allied orders to surrender, the crew opt to fight. Over the radio, German command issues a retreat, but while Müller is crossing a bridge, German forces sabotage the bridge and destroy it. With their Tiger I out of commission, Müller decides to surrender and removes his Iron Cross. Schröder, who shot another crew member earlier, turns his MP40 on Müller. Despite the Führer’s order to defend Germany to the death resulting in countless German casualties, both civilian and military alike, the Allies capture Cologne in March 1945. Berlin itself would fall two months later, putting an end to the war. It is rare that a World War Two game would be presented from the Axis perspective, and players have long wondered what such stories would be like: in a single war story, Battlefield V gives rare insight into the thoughts of a German tank commander who once fought with the goal of bringing glory to Germany. But as the war wore on and casualties mounted along with increasing Allied resolve to crush Hitler’s tyranny, Müller begins to wonder if the war is still worth fighting when hope for victory becomes increasingly distant with each passing day.

History is written by the victor: when I was much younger, I always wondered why the “good guys” always won wars. It turned out that the vanquished don’t have much say in things, and intrigue in alternate outcomes of wars have been the source of many stories in the realm of fiction. The Allied forces fought in Europe to keep a maniacal dictator from spreading his influence over Europe and indiscriminately exterminating all those deemed undesirable. This much, the history books explain, but there are also untold stories of soldiers and officers with the Axis forces who were not fanatically devoted to Hitler’s visions. As the Nazi leadership became more untenable, many would begin wondering what they were fighting for, and whether or not what they were fighting for held any value. This is the story players see through Müller, who beholds the destruction and death that Hitler’s decisions had brought on the German people: increasing doubt and concern when leadership fails, and lingering questions as to whether or not alternatives, such as surrendering, are viable. A successful leader is one who can sway the minds of the moderate, who are likely the majority, and when one has a majority, they can realise their vision. When this majority begins faltering, and the leader loses the confidence of their people, they can no longer realise their vision regardless of how fanatical their most loyal supporters remain. By bringing this perspective of World War Two, Battlefield V gives a very brief sample of what a World War Two game written from the Axis perspective would be like: lacking a sense of heroism and accomplishment, players who finish a game about the Axis powers would come away with doubts about the value of conflict. Such a game could be a very sobering and instructive experience, representing a very novel and unique experience compared to other World War Two shooters available.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Ordinarily, I drive a tank with the camera directly behind me, or else from within. The Last Tiger does things very differently than the multiplayer, rather similar to how Battlefield 1‘s Storm of Steel modified the Mark V’s mechanics so that players could take the campaign in a more relaxed manner than in the multiplayer. After a few minutes, the novelty wore off, and I progressed with the mission, which is set in the ruined streets of Cologne: at this point in the war, Nazi forces had been pushed back into Germany by the Allied forces, who were nearing victory.

  • The Tiger I is one of the most iconic German tanks from World War Two, being famous for its legendary firepower and ability to shrug off damage from almost all Allied tanks. Despite its fearsome reputation, however, the Tiger I was also a fickle tank, being quick to break down, and was very expensive to manufacture. While superior to the American M4 Sherman and Soviet T-34 in terms of durability and firepower, Tiger Is were produced in sufficiently small numbers to have had a minimal outcome on the war.

  • By the later days of the war, British engineers had designed new kinetic penetrators that could deal damage to Tiger tanks at range, while American tacticians focused on using anti-tank guns rather than other tanks to deal with Tigers. The Soviets, in their typical manner, deployed the SU-52, whose 152 mm main gun was more than sufficient to turn Tiger tanks into scrap metal. While technology advanced, the once-mighty Tiger would come to represent a German war machine no longer able to keep up with the Allies’ superior resources and resourcefulness.

  • The Tiger II was an upgrade to the Tiger I, featuring sloped armour that gave it additional protection and a 8.8 cm KwK 43 gun: an upgrade over the Tiger I’s Kwk 36, the Kwk 43 had a longer projectile whose increased length and propellant resulted in a higher muzzle velocity that gave it improved penetration at range. The Tiger II, Panther and Jagdpanther are noticeably absent from Battlefield V, as is the Jagdtiger.

  • Driving through the ruined streets of Cologne gives a very desolate feeling, one that I have not felt from a video game since the days when I played Sniper Elite V2. My original interest in Sniper Elite V2 came from the game giving players a chance to fight through the Flaktowers of Berlin, and my journey to land headshots took me through Berlin towards the latter day of the war.

  • Players will face the M4 Sherman during The Last Tiger: this medium tank was the most widely-produced American tank of World War Two and when introduced, it was able to deal with the weaker German tanks without much issue during North African campaigns. American military leadership never felt the need to produce a heavier tank, feeling that the logistics of supplying and maintaining heavier tanks, plus their limitations in traversing over terrain, would make heavy tanks unviable. While Shermans would be upgraded with a 76mm gun (from its original 75 mm gun) or the Ordnance QF 17-pounder, American forces opted to engage the Tiger tanks by means of numerical superiority and logistical support rather than introducing heavier tanks.

  • In The Last Tiger, M4 Shermans can be destroyed in as little as two shots, and players have access to unlimited ammunition, as well as unlimited repairs: I long imagined the lessening repair effectiveness in Battlefield V‘s multiplayer to be a bug, but it turns out that this is by design. Players operating tanks are forced to rely on resupply stations to for ammunition, and while they can self-repair tanks, friendly support players and resupply stations are much more effective. Their vulnerabilities mean that tanks are actually quite ineffective in open maps of conquest, where long lines of sight allow enemies to quickly spot armour and bring them down.

  • By comparison, more linear game modes like rush and frontlines allows tanks to be devastatingly effective. Back in the campaign, despite the sense of desolation, players still feel powerful as they single-handedly engage M4 tanks without much resistance. The Last Tiger is an excellent opportunity to experience how fearsome the Tiger I was – in the multiplayer, Tiger Is can be torn to shreds by a few coordinated assault players and feel distinctly underpowered, but here in the campaign, very little stands in Müller’s way as he pushes forward with his objective.

  • This is probably the feeling one might expect from the Tiger I: the Tiger I brings to mind Maho Nishizumi of Girls und Panzer, who operates a Tiger I numbered 212 in reference to Michael Wittmann, a well-known German tank commander during World War Two. Despite her cold mannerisms, Maho is shown to be compassionate and kind-hearted; Shiho is similarly caring for her daughters despite any outward appearances, and this side of her personality is shown in Girls und Panzer: Motto Love Love Sakusen Desu!, which showcases various characters in everyday situations outside of Panzerfahren. In particular, Shiho has attempted to make amends with Miho in Motto Love Love Sakusen Desu! with a party, but ended up frightening Miho away with how ostentatious things were.

  • Shiho’s beliefs were not quite as well established when Girls und Panzer first aired, and so, were the subject of no small discussion some seven years previously. I watched this one from the sidelines: at this time of year, I was pushing through my undergraduate thesis and did not have time to spare for much else. In retrospect, I am very glad to have done this: when Girls und Panzer‘s final two episodes aired, I enjoyed both, wrote about them and then went on my merry way, leaving the flame war’s participants to their devices. Going through Girls und Panzer and hearing that the second instalment of Das Finale will come out in June has me wondering if DICE will make good on their live service model to add more content into Battlefield V‘s multiplayer in the way of new maps and factions.

  • At this point in time, I’ve almost got eighty hours in Battlefield V, meaning that I’m very close to breaking even (I believe that when I get a dollar per hour out of a game, I’ve gotten my money’s worth). The Tides of War have certainly kept me entertained –  I’ve played more Battlefield V than I did Battlefield 1 during the same period because there’s been a deep progression system and things to do each week, but admittedly, playing on the same maps gets dull fast. At this point in time, I have learned the maps well enough to anticipate where players are, and even campers blending in with the environment prove to be a lesser concern than the lingering question on my mind.

  • Battlefield V is supposed to be introducing the Firestorm Battle Royale game mode very soon, and admittedly, I have no interest in this mode whatsoever. I understand DICE’s wish to capitalise on the market demand for Battle Royale, but the game type never really appealed to me, and it’ll likely just remain unplayed. I would personally like to have more maps, more iconic battles and more factions. Back in the campaign, having pushed through the level and having melted all opposition in my path, the skies begin darkening as nightfall sets in. The mission, while largely set in a tank, has some segments where players will get to play as Müller while on foot.

  • The MP-40 makes a return here, and while on foot, it’s a solid all-around weapon for engaging American soldiers at close quarters. For the first time in a shooter, I was able to understand what the enemy was saying without the need for subtitles: having played Wolfenstein, I became accustomed to hearing enemies converse in German, and here, it was a little jarring. I ultimately did not manage to complete the stealth requirements for the challenges here, and ended up shooting my way through the entire segment of this war story.

  • This past weekend was quite busy: after an intense work week, I spent a Saturday afternoon at a shopping centre updating my wardrobe for spring, which has finally begin to arrive. After enjoying the best burgers, Russet fries and root beers this side of town, I picked up a beautiful new wristwatch in addition to shirts for the warming weather. I’ve had the old watch since I wrote the finale review for Gundam Unicorn – this watch had been with me to France, Cancún, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan; it’s a little worn and the gears aren’t in the best shape, but I was a little sad to decommission it. This new watch is a bit of a fashion statement, deliberately chosen it for its bronze highlights, distinct frame and the fact that it was on sale for five-eighths off, and I hope it’ll have a good run.

  • Yesterday was the spring lunch for my dōjō: I reached ni-dan a year ago, and while my new belt has not arrived yet, I certainly do feel a bit more with teaching and concepts than I did even a year ago. I spent most of the class helping set up the tables and transporting the food, and while the turnout this year was not quite as large as it was in years previously, it was still a good event with dragon dances and old karate films, as well as plenty of food (meat skewers, pot stickers, sweet-and-sour pork, spicy ginger beef, spring rolls, fries, fried noodles, fried rice, fried chicken, you get the picture). After the lunch ended and I had helped clean up, I took off to watch Captain Marvel with a friend who was in town. I found the movie a solid one, and while perhaps not as inspired or hilarious as Thor: RagnarokBlack PantherAvengers: Infinity War or Guardians of the Galaxy, it was a good movie in its own right that sets the stage for the upcoming Avengers: Endgame.

  • With no inclination for stealth, I ended up blasting my way through the American soldiers in the area to reach the documents. There was a similar mission in Sniper Elite V2 that saw me sneak through an empty but guarded building to locate documents relevant to the V2 programme. In Sniper Elite V2, shooting the fuel cap on a Tiger I was enough to destroy the entire tank; while unrealistic by all counts, it was a fun feature that allowed players to go toe-to-toe with armour with naught more than steady aim. I believe I got the title for five dollars, beat it once and then that was it.

  • I realise I’ve spent a great deal of this post going off-topic – the reality is that The Last Tiger is very straightforwards in its gameplay, and there aren’t very many unpleasant surprises in this mission. The Tiger I is capable of blasting all opposition into hunks of metal, and players only need to aim, fire and then take cover to repair as required; beyond this, The Last Tiger is a cinematic experience highlighting desperation in a losing war.

  • The final act of The Last Tiger is set in the burning ruins of Cologne, as Müller and his crew must fend off waves of Allied tanks. Players must contend with the T34 Calliope, which are modified Sherman M4s with a dedicated rocket launcher system so named for its unusual appearance. They can deal some damage to the player at range, so taking them out is a priority whenever they appear. The flaming cityscape screams desolation, and it is quite easy to see how this Tiger I crew, having held out for this long with a steadfast determination, begin losing resolve as their whole world appears to go up in flames.

  • This battle is intense, and despite Müller’s best efforts to stem the Allied advance on his own, the cathedral is overrun. German command orders him to retreat over the bridge, but before he can cross, the bridge is destroyed. This bridge is modelled after Cologne’s Hohenzollern Bridge, which crosses the Rhine River. With this post done, the last of my war stories posts is completed, and the next time I write about Battlefield V will be about the multiplayer, should there be new maps to explore. Insofar, Battlefield V‘s superior weapon mechanics and progression system have been held back by a lack of information: while I’m having fun with the game, it’s a bit problematic to not know what’s coming up next for the title.

  • While Battlefield V has proven to be a fun game, it appears that the franchise is struggling to decide what its next steps will be. The end result is that Battlefield V has not been as smooth as it could have been, although in hindsight, I don’t regret picking up Battlefield V. Having unlocked almost everything of note, it means that should I choose to direct my time elsewhere (say, The Master Chief Collection), I still have gotten reasonable value from Battlefield V. It would be a shame if iconic World War Two weapons, locations and battles never make it into the title (I would’ve liked to run more Strike Witches and Girls und Panzer loadouts), but I probably won’t be losing too much sleep over what could have been, as I reacquaint myself with the likes of Blood Gulch (Halo: Combat Evolved), Lockout (Halo 2) and Reflection (Halo: Reach).

With this post, I’ve finally finished writing about the war stories of Battlefield V: The Last Tiger brings a different style of gameplay with respect to tank operation, and as I came in with some experience from the multiplayer, things were a little unusual. Unlimited ammunition and self-repair capabilities makes Müller’s Tiger I much more survivable than any tank I’ve operated in the multiplayer, and players cannot actively switch between a third-person and first person view. Instead, the game locks players to an over-the-shoulder camera with options for optics. These decisions were made to purely accommodate the story (I can imagine that limited ammo and repairs against large numbers would be considered unfair), and while making it easier to take in the story, also means that the war story cannot be really considered to be a tutorial for the multiplayer. The Last Tiger is also unique among the war stories for being the only story to offer a vehicle skin on full completion, and for being added to Battlefield V separately after launch. It is a shame that despite their modular design, no more war stories will be added; the voice acting and set-piece creation is an intensive process that would divert resources from improving multiplayer and adding new content, and so, I can understand the decision to not add new war stories. With this being said, The Last Tiger was a welcome addition to the game and definitely does keep in line with Battlefield V‘s war stories, that deal with perspectives that are less explored. However, since players are focused on the multiplayer, that’s where DICE’s resources should be going, and moving ahead, I am hoping that DICE makes a massive push with respect to their content; the basic gameplay is now stable, and the Tides of War have steadily added weapons and vehicles. What Battlefield V is missing is new maps, and new factions. Bringing these into the game would transform a minimally-viable game with solid mechanics into a memorable and long-lasting shooter that could (and should) break Battlefield from the mold that bi-yearly releases have wedged the game into. Supporting a single title for longer would create a game with extensive replay value, and especially with the news of Halo: The Master Chief Collection coming to PC, DICE will need to put in an effort to convince me that Battlefield is a comparable shooter to the likes of Halo.