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Battlefield 2042: A Reflection on the Open Beta

“This strength test is all about what Battlefield 2042 does to your computer, and not what your computer does to Battlefield 2042.” –J. Neilson, Forged in Fire

Entering the Battlefield 2042 open beta, the biggest question on my mind was whether or not my aging rig would even be able to run DICE’s latest Battlefield title at passable frame-rates. The minimum requirements had called for an Intel i5-6600k, which overall, has about a five percent edge in terms of performance over the nine year old i5-3570k I’m currently running. The open beta represented the best way to, without charge, test whether this CPU stood any chance of opening Battlefield 2042, and after I finished my preload in Tuesday night, I went about the remainder of my week as usual. When I was granted access to the open beta on Friday, I promptly opened my client after the day’s work hours ended, and immediately found myself faced with sluggish, choppy performance: after joining a match and parachuting over to the rocket hangar at capture point bravo, I came under fire from some enemy players. I ducked away into cover, then got the jump on one of my pursuers as they turned away, and after aiming down the M5A3’s iron sights, I dumped the magazine into my foe to earn my first kill of the beta. All of this happened at around 24 FPS, and it became clear to me that my eight-year-old machine had hit its limits. I subsequently headed over to a remote corner of the map, away from the combat, set all of the visual effects down to medium, and was met with a surprising result: Battlefield 2042 began running at a still-choppy, but playable 40-50 FPS (dropping to about 30 FPS on a small handful of moments). I thus finished my first match and went on to unlock a range of weapons to experiment with. During my play-testing, I found that my GTX 1060 was at around 60 percent usage, but my CPU was struggling the entire time in-game: the k-line of i5 processors have a feature called “Turbo Boost”, which kicks in whenever the CPU requires additional horsepower. The hardware automatically overclocks the CPU, raising the clock speed to give this extra performance while at the same time, keeping the assembly within safe temperatures. However, running Turbo Boost for prolonged periods still places a bit of a strain on a CPU that is eight years old, and it is clear that either this build of Battlefield 2042 still needs to be optimised before launch, or the time might be approaching where I will need to build a new rig. While my machine did encounter difficulties with the Battlefield 2042 beta (I suffered two blue screens in total), I was otherwise very impressed that the beta ran at all, with the frame rates that it did. Overall, my rig survived: this is equivalent to a blade taking on a few rolls during the infamous strength test on Forged in Fire, but otherwise, remained intact. My machine passes the strength test, although whether or not it will KEAL is a different matter entirely (albeit one that I’ll have to wait until after launch to find out about).

Because of periodic performance drops, my own experiences with Battlefield 2042‘s open beta are not complete or wholly representative of my performance in the game. Lag led me to miss shots, fail to respond quickly enough in a firefight, or even waste ammunition on what I thought was a player (but was actually a player model that hadn’t been updated properly). In spite of this, the beta was still immensely enjoyable. The first thing I noticed was that the scale of battle is larger than ever. It makes sense as to why Battlefield 2042 would require more CPU power to fully experience: the chaos of 128-player maps is a massive step up from the 64-player maps of previous games, corresponding with an increase in the processing power needed to calculate and keep track of everything. Moreover, gun-play was satisfying, and weapons handled very consistently: after getting used to their recoil patterns and learning to position myself better in firefights, I began rediscovering my old enjoyment of tap-firing down a distant foe. Every kill is satisfying, and Battlefield 2042 appears to have altered things so the kill system is more similar to Battlefront II’s, where dealing appreciable damage to an enemy is rewarded the same amount of points as scoring the kill itself. Similarly, the movement system was relatively smooth: features from Battlefield 1 and V, like crouch-sliding and vaulting return, creating more options for moving around the map and escaping otherwise deadly situations. The core mechanics of Battlefield 2042 appear to work well for the game. However, it is clear that this is a three-month old build: the UI is unwieldy, and critical features did not work in the beta. I was unable to issue squad commands, thank players for reviving me or open the map at all. These issues are something the team indicates that the release build will address. The specialist system is a larger issue for Battlefield 2042: during my games, I noticed that teamwork was practically non-existent: the lack of dedicated medics and support players meant no one was topping off health or ammunition, and there was no incentive to do so. The lack of restrictions on weapons and gadgets allows a sniper to constantly top off their own ammunition, and assault players can easily heal themselves. One possible fix for this would simply be to restrict gadgets to certain specialisations, and similarly, every specialist should have access to one unique weapon class, and subsequently, there can be all-class weapons, much as how Battlefield 3 and 4 had done so. The specialist system is ingrained in the game, but if these minor adjustments aren’t too tricky to implement, their addition would define specialist roles more clearly and return team-play elements to the game. One element that currently is a deal-breaker is player visibility: this was an issue in Battlefield V and favoured campers. Battlefield 2042 has not addressed this issue, but this time, players can blend into their surroundings even when actively moving. Moreover, the lack of clear team indicators introduces new problems: I found myself shooting at teammates in some firefights because there hadn’t been anything to show they were teammates. While I’m very much in the minority who thinks this way, I find that the return of 3D spotting would be helpful. Players should always be able to spot for themselves, and then recon players can spot for their teams as a class perk. The inclusion of 3D spotting would reward players for thinking tactically ahead of a firefight, and force players to consider how they move around a map, as well. Overall, while Battlefield 2042 shows promise, it is still early to be determining if DICE has properly learned from the aftermath of Battlefield V.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • If there were a single screenshot to sum up my experiences with Battlefield 2042‘s open beta, this would be it: a stunning view of the Guiana Space Centre as a storm rolls in. Battlefield 2042‘s theme is climate change and its impact on conflict, but unlike its predecessors, which featured a single-player campaign, Battlefield 2042 will launch without a campaign, with its story being told by the maps’ design. The large-scale effects of climate change means that Battlefield 2042‘s maps can be set across the world and need not be tied to any one region, as with previous Battlefield maps.

  • The first kill I got in Battlefield 2042 came with the M5A3 assault rifle, a fictionalised version of the SIG MCX series that is chambered for the 6.8mm SIG cartridge. I ended up choosing a different screenshot for my first kill because that moment had been too dark, and because I am a little superstitious in games, I believe that I’ll have a better experience in a given open beta if I get my first kill before my first death. In practise, the M5A3 has a good firing rate and high accuracy, especially when equipped with the extended barrel, Cobra vertical grip and the Maul Hybrid 1.5-3x sights.

  • I didn’t have too many opportunities to play armoured vehicles in the open beta; pilots were being much too aggressive, and the lack of teamwork meant that shoulder-fired anti-air weapons weren’t too effective at taking them down. Land-air balance has always been an issue in Battlefield games: good pilots can single-handedly control entire matches, and some design choices in previous Battlefield games, like the Ilya-Muromets, were downright broken. Modern settings means a wider range of anti-air options, and Battlefield 2042 will need to give players more options against air vehicles in order to balance things out.

  • The infantry combat is generally my favourite aspect of a given Battlefield game, and here, I help the team to defend against capture, capitalising on the high-ground to mow down a player running along the catwalk below. Orbital is the map featured in the beta, and despite being a very large, open map, there’s enough variety in the map design so all weapons can be effective, depending on where one is. The M5A3 is probably the most versatile weapon available in the open beta, having enough accuracy to pick off enemies at range (especially if one tap fires and runs the right attachments) and enough firing rate to react quickly to someone at close quarters.

  • During matches, the rocket on the launchpad will sometimes launch, creating a particularly impressive visual spectacle for players, comparable to the rocket launch of both Five Centimeters per Second and Hathaway’s Flash. I’ve seen my favourite Battlefield YouTubers attempt to board the rocket, and they ended up phasing through the geometry before learning that the rocket tops out at an altitude of five kilometres. This resulted in many laughs. For me, I didn’t have anything quite so exhilarating: I witnessed two rocket launches during my run of the Battlefield 2042 open beta, and after dying to a sniper during my first launch, I decided to take cover so I could view the second launch in peace.

  • Battlefield 2042‘s hitmarker system is quite unlike anything I’d previously seen: they appear to be much more subtle and difficult to spot. However, every kill was satisfying to earn, especially those longer-range shots. One nifty feature about Battlefield 2042 is that the Maul Hybrid optic has an integral red dot sight attached to the main optic, making it easy to switch between 1.5x magnification and 3x magnification with the push of a button. The dynamic attachment system reminds me a great deal of how Crysis handles things, and I imagine in the completed game, players will unlock multiple attachments, and then pick four they want to carry into battle at any given time.

  • Since we’re now back in the modern era, a wide selection of effective LMGs are finally available again. The only LMG available in the open beta was the LCMG, a fictionalised version of the Knight’s Armament Company LAMG; in reality, this was meant to be a lightweight and modular LMG that could adapt to a variety of situations. Despite its promise, the LAMG never saw any military use, although I have seen this weapon before in The Division 2, where it is called the Stoner LAMG and was one of my favourite weapons in the endgame, at least until the Hunter’s Fury gear-set became available.

  • I’ve always had a fondness for LMGs in Battlefield: early in every Battlefield game I play, I am not so familiar with the recoil patterns on assault rifles, and tend to waste my ammunition hitting air in firefights. However, with their larger ammunition capacity (offset by a longer reload time), LMGs are a bit more forgiving and allow me to lay down sustained fire. More rounds in the air means an increased probability something will hit my foe (i.e. “spray and pray”). The LCMG can be customised with AP rounds to increase its efficacy against light vehicles: one of the stranger design choices in Battlefield 2042 is the fact that weapons can have different ammo types. While cool in theory, I’ve actually never felt any need to switch out the standard ammunition.

  • Here, I score a kill with the Kriss Vector, known as the K30 in-game. The K30 resembles its counterparts from other games in that it has a high rate of fire and therefore, is particularly well-suited for CQC. The base K30 comes with a 20-round magazine, but DICE was nice enough to provide the extended magazine option, which allows for a total of 40 rounds per magazine. I ended up scoring a pair of kills in the rocket hangar with it while making my way to the top. The scale of the buildings in Battlefield 2042 are immense, and capture point bravo is a particularly fun one to fight over, since the rooftop is open to helicopters, and the team holding it must be cautious of players sneaking in from below, as well.

  • Ribbons finally make a return in Battlefield 2042: DICE had gotten rid of them in Battlefield V, but they had been present in earlier Battlefield games as an incentive for teamplay, as well as rewarding players for doing well. I’ve had a fondness for ribbons, since accumulating them gave insight into what kind of tendencies I had as a player. Medals were also fun to earn, although I also remember that the big frustration with them comes from being killed while attempting to take a screenshot after earning one: because of the way my key mappings are set up, I need to either take my hand off the mouse or keyboard in order to capture said screenshot.

  • While I’d never been effective with anti-armour weapons in Battlefield 3 and 4, after Battlefield 1 and V, I’ve become much more comfortable with equipment in this category: a little bit of teamwork can mean that, even on foot, vehicles are not unstoppable threats. Battlefield 2042‘s brings back the M2 Carl Gustav Recoilless Rifle from Bad Company 2 as the main anti-vehicle option. It has a very slow reload, but can devastate light vehicles and even take a third of a tank’s health away in a single shot. I imagine that more anti-vehicle weapons, like the RPG-7, SMAW and AT4 could be available in the full game.

  • Here, I score a kill on someone calling themselves “Shizuka_hiratsuk”, evidently named after Oregairu‘s Shizua Hirasuka, using the DM7 (the Daniel Defense DDM4 V7 in real life) marksman rifle. This semi-automatic rifle reaches out a little further than the M5A3 and is a solid precision weapon that fits my play-style. Although the ACOG sight and its chevron reticule was a bit tough to use, the weapon can nonetheless deal excellent damage at range, making it a solid option. Players with anime names have always stood out to me in multiplayer first person shooters, especially when they get the upper hand over me.

  • However, this never happened once in Battlefield 2042: normally, after dying to another player, their name is clearly displayed for me to check out, and Battlefield also indicates how many times we’ve gotten one another. However, the UI meant I never got around to seeing names in prominence, and moreover, I never found myself antagonised by a single player because of the fact that maps are so large. Rather than facing 32 players, I’m now facing 64, so it’s less likely to run into the same person twice. The larger player count has had one additional side-effect on my gaming, and I’m actually a lot more relaxed when I’m being beaten by different people.

  • I’m not anywhere as competitive as I was seven years ago, which was when I was really getting into Battlefield 3, but a part of me still enjoys getting back players who got me. In one entertaining moment during the beta, I was killed by a sniper at capture point alpha. Realising he was chilling on one of the geodesic domes, I promptly changed my kit out for the SWS-10 and managed to shoot him in the head. I’m rocking the recon specialist here, which comes with a spotting drone, C4 and my personal favourite, a passive radar that indicates whether or not there are any hostiles nearby.

  • The assault specialist is equipped with a grappling hook for getting around quickly: like the Q-Claw from Agent Under Fire, the grappling hook is a fantastic tool for ascending buildings and gaining a vantage point quickly. If memory serves, the assault specialist’ perk is being able to have more mobility compared to the others. This high-mobility play-style means that one might actually be better served running with a PDW or shotgun for close-quarters dominance. On the topic of Agent Under Fire, Thanksgiving Long Weekend has proven to be the perfect time to dust off the old GameCube and enjoy some old-fashioned humans vs AI bots on Town and Castle. Unlike yesterday’s blue skies and sunshine, today’s been grey and snowy, making it perfect for gaming, and since the global health crisis kicked off, I’ve been doing a lot more with the GameCube, so we actually ended up faring moderately well against the AI bots on maximum difficulty.

  • Had the open beta come out in October 2018, I probably would’ve been happier for it: by October, the Xamarin project had been deemed ready for release, pending a few bug fixes and tests. Conversely, back in September, the Xamarin project was in dire straits; there’d been a large disagreement about what constituted as HIPAA compliance, and it was put forth that HIPAA compliance demanded a 26-digit alphanumeric code that was given to users on sign in. In the end, the firm’s CEO stepped in, determined that the 6-digit code I was proposing was still compliant and allowed me to continue with my work. The resulting sign-in and onboarding became an order of magnitude simpler for my troubles, and I returned home just in time to spend a few days on the Rotterdam map in Battlefield V‘s open beta.

  • My experiences in Battlefield V‘s beta led me to pick the game up in November 2018, and by that time, I’d received an offer for a new iOS developer position, allowing me to leave behind my first start-up’s woes and its connection to the computational oncology firm in the US. That time period was characterised by relief to be setting aside work that was beginning to tax me more than it excited me. Out of vain curiosity, I decided to take a look to see what became of the app I finished, but as it turns out, the app has been stricken from both the App Store and Play Store.

  • While the computational oncology firm has advertised that mobile app would be a major part of their ecosystem, it is a little disappointing to see no advancements on the mobile side of things in the past three years. Reminiscing about these moments makes me immensely thankful that with the Battlefield 2042 open beta, I am afforded time to enjoy the beta without worrying about whether or not the JSON responses coming from the backend would arbitrarily change without warning: this time around, my main concern was whether nor not my machine could even run the open beta, speaking to its age.

  • One of the most exhilarating and terrifying moments I had during the entire beta was when I saw my first tornado: I had spawned on a squad mate, but the tornado changed direction and immediately headed for us. The tornadoes that strike Battlefield 2042‘s maps appear to be EF0 (or EF1s at most): while they’re capable of lifting vehicles into the air and easily carry players, the tornadoes don’t do any appreciable damage to the map’s buildings, creating a bit of inconsistency (a tornado capable of throwing vehicles would also uproot trees and shred roofs from houses, which is EF3-level). However, as a gameplay mechanic, I’ll let this one slide and note that here, as I seemingly glide towards my death, a bolt of lightning also strikes very close to my position, creating a surreal moment.

  • Lightning strikes in Battlefield 2042 have EMP effects and will disable vehicles, as well as scramble the player’s HUD; this is a clever effect that speaks to the dangers of how relying on complex electronic systems can leave one in a tough spot should said systems go down. Fortunately for me, I ended up steering myself away from the tornado, which also changed course at the last second, and after landing on the ground, I immediately set about trying to help my team turn around a losing match even though it’d been too late.

  • In a different match, I’ve switched over to the support specialisation and are running with the PBX-45, a copy of the LWRC SMG 45 that actually proved to be unexpectedly effective and fun to use. The SMG 45 was first introduced in 2015 and entered production in 2019. Firing .45 ACP rounds, the SMG 45 is a newer weapon and accordingly, has not appeared in many games. Battlefield 2042‘s PBX-45 marks the first time the SMG 45 appears in Battlefield (previously, the SMG 45 was in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare as the Striker 45).

  • In the days of Battlefield 3 and 4, PDWs and SMGs were hipfire machines whose small size made them laser-accurate and perfectly suited for close-quarters combat. In fact, during my Battlefield 3 days, once I unlocked the MP5K, it became my default go-to weapon: with the laser sight and extended magazines. Battlefield 1 featured SMGs as the primary for the assault class, and by Battlefield V, SMGs were the default weapon for medics. Although their applications have changed, all Battlefield SMGs (and PDWs) retain excellent hipfire performance.

  • The PBX-45 is a remarkably entertaining weapon to use, and one more thing that I’m particularly fond of its the reload animation: if one isn’t reloading from empty, the operator will pull the old magazine out and swap it for a new one, but keep the old magazine in hand to stow it. However, if reloading from empty, the old magazine is discarded. Cool reload animations have been a part of Battlefield since Hardline, where DICE really began having fun with the reload animations, but in Battlefield 1 and V, DICE upped their game by providing unique reload animations based on a weapon’s ammunition state.

  • I managed to capture this beauty of a lightning bolt while a tornado was tearing up the far side of the map here. In reality, taking stunning lightning photos is a skill and requires familiarity with the techniques. Professional weather photographers like Warren Faidley have taken some of the most iconic pictures around, and as a child, I was always fond of checking out weather books from the library to admire these images. In games like Battlefield 2042, lightning lingers on the screen for a fraction of a second longer than it does in reality, and that means so long as I hit the screenshot button quickly enough, I’ll have myself nice photo.

  • The weather patterns in Battlefield 2042 aren’t anywhere nearly as disruptive as the snowstorms of Battlefield V, and while visibility lowers whenever a storm blows in, it’s not bad enough to interfere with gameplay: even though the screen does get covered in water droplets from the rain, visibility isn’t severely degraded. Having said this, the tornado can be quite disruptive, and once the novelty wears off, it’ll become something that can negatively impact a match for players: the tornado locks down a large section of the map, and under the right circumstances, might even disrupt things enough for the other team to mount a comeback, meaning that the outcome of a given match can come down to chance rather than skill.

  • Here, I quickly reload the G57 pistol after drawing it and scoring a kill to save myself from certain death. Modern shooters tend to provide players with a sidearm as their secondary, a weapon to switch over to it when their primary runs dry. I imagine that the G57 is modelled after the Heckler and Koch Glock G17 (evidenced by the grooves on the slide’s rear. Battlefield has historically treated the Glock line of pistols as a fast-firing, moderately hard-hitting and reliable pistol. Pistols can be customised on the fly, as well, although during the open beta, there was no option to attach a suppressor.

  • While I only had six hours in the open beta, I did put in enough time to unlock the M44 Revolver, which looks like the Model 44SS6 .44 Magnum. Unlike the G57, whose strength lies in its accuracy, ease-of-handling and rate of fire, the M44 kicks like a mule and hits like a truck, dealing massive damage when it lands a successful hit. During the height of my Battlefield days, I used to run with the MP-412: this revolver still dealt excellent damage, but had a slightly faster firing rate than the .44 Magnum, meaning it could be counted on in a pinch.

  • Altogether, I played twelve rounds of conquest during the open beta, and of these twelve rounds, I only won three of them. I’m not sure what the story is, but even though I was playing the objective each and every around, I was more likely to wind up on the losing team than the winning team. However, I will note that 12 games is too small a sample size to draw meaningful data from. During earlier Battlefield games, some days, I’ll go on the most ridiculous lucky streaks where I’d play three winning games in a row, and then after a break, come back to play two more victorious matches.

  • Then, on other days, I could go and play three losing matches in a row. The law of large numbers states that over time, my victories and losses will trend towards an average and approach 50 percent from either the left or the right. However, my tendency to play the objective meant that in general, I always won slightly more often than I lost. In Battlefield 2042, outside of determining if my machine could run the game at all, my other goal had been to try as much of the infantry firearms as I could. Because of the way the Battlefield 2042 beta worked, I was able to get a very good idea of what the different weapons handled like, and here, I’ve brought the LCMG back out.

  • Owing to the haste of my deployment, I dropped right into a firefight and didn’t have time to change out my optics or underbarrel options. In spite of this, I managed to score a few kills while pressing forwards with my team into the hangar. In modern military shooters, I’m fond of equipping optics right away, since having a red dot sight or ACOG can make target acquisition much easier. However, I found that in moments where I only had iron sights, I was having considerably less trouble with them than I had before. This is like a consequence of the fact that playing so much Battlefield 1 and V in the past five years has meant that I’ve become accustomed to using iron sights for tracking targets.

  • Back in Battlefield 1, most weapons were actually better off without the crude sights available in a WWI setting, and some weapons had highly clean posts that made finding targets straightforward. Similarly, some weapons in Battlefield V had decent iron sights that could be used without much trouble. Since iron sights no longer bother me, when I play through other games like Call of Duty, I can be comfortable trading off the sights for other attachments. Of course, where sights are available, I’ll still use them: here, I’m running the PBX-45 with the K8 holographic sight, which is clear and easy to use.

  • Just for kicks, I ended up switching over to my M5 Recoilless rifle and shot a player with a rocket, since they were out of my PBX-45’s effective range. Had I attempted to engage them at this range, they would’ve noticed me throwing rocks at them and ducked for cover. Conversely, by expending a M5 round on them, I was assured of the kill, which I’m sure would’ve been a shock. I used to do something similar in Battlefield 1: since the assault class’ SMGs didn’t have much reach, I would use the AT rocket gun to pick off foes that I couldn’t otherwise reach without alerting them to my intentions.

  • Here, I managed to headshot a player calling themselves Gryphin2004 (a Family Guy reference, perhaps?) using the PBX-45, at a range that I didn’t think the weapon would work at. This particular player had killed me several times in a row by camping in the building, and it was with great satisfaction I managed to get him back one before the match ended. There weren’t many frustrating moments during the beta, but if I had to name one, dying to this camper was one of them. I’ve long disliked players who camp, since it shows excessive concern for one’s KDR over the team results, and in fact, campers are only second to cheaters in my books, when it comes to players who shouldn’t be in the game.

  • Here, I managed to score a double kill with the M5 Recoilless Rifle on a tank below: by the end of the beta, I was right at home with the M5. Players also have access to an anti-air weapon similar to the FIM-92 Stinger, and while I never got much use out of these weapons, developers have indicated that to balance them, they might make them a one-hit kill against air vehicles. If this is true, this would be a boon for folks on the ground: air vehicles are an annoyance, and in every match I played, enemy pilots went unchallenged, while for the most part, pilots on my team were not anywhere nearly as effective. Knowing that anti-air weapons could swat them out of the skies in a single hit would force pilots to play more cautiously: aircraft are equipped with countermeasures, but they have a cooldown, so a part of the skill in flying would include knowing when to back out of a fight.

  • Out of curiosity’s sake, I also ended up giving the AK24 a shot. This weapon appears to be the AK-12, a modernised AK-47, and in Battlefield 2042, hits harder than the M5A3. On the flipside, it also has a much larger recoil: I found the weapon to be quite uncontrollable when the Maul Hybrid sights were equipped. On the other hand, the iron sights, K8 and Fusion Holo sights don’t accentuate the recoil too much, making them my preferred choices for combat. Overall, however, I did prefer the M5A3 over the AK24: the M5A3 is laser-beam accurate with the right attachments, and I’ve had success with this rifle at ranges I didn’t think possible: one of my most exciting moments was burst-firing down a foe at over a hundred metres with the M5A3.

  • My experiences in the beta suggests that weapons of Battlefield 2042 are going to handle in distinct ways, and then the attachments will further accentuate a weapon’s strengths (or mitigate its weaknesses). The ability to switch attachments out on the fly is actually a pretty clever mechanic, since players with foresight can add to their inventory the attachments that they feel will work for them, and then in between matches, they might be able to customise their inventory to fit a particular play-style. Unfortunately, because of where this beta was, no deeper customisations were shown.

  • Since DICE has advertised that Battlefield 2042 will have a deeper progression system than that of Battlefield 1 and V, I am hoping this translates to something that was more similar to that of Battlefield 3 or 4‘s: Battlefield 3 had the perfect amount of unlocks, while things in Battlefield 4 felt a bit overwhelming. Documentation from DICE indicates that players will have unlocked everything they need to be successful by level 100. At the time of writing, I have no idea how long this journey would take: with earlier games, it took me about a year to get everything unlocked, and this was assuming an average of two to three hours of play every week.

  • During one match, I spawned onto the hangar rooftop at capture point bravo and decided to equip the SWS-10 for some sharpshooting. This is the TRG M10 in real life, a bolt-action rifle manufactured by the Finish company SAKO. Chambered for the .308 Winchester round, the TRG M10 can also fire .300 Winchester Magnum and .338 Lapua Magnum rounds, as well: the M10 is an upgraded, modular design that was introduced in 2011, and one of its most noteworthy features is that the toolbox for changing out the rifle’s barrel, bolts and handguard is built into the weapon itself, allowing it to change between different calibres with ease.

  • In Battlefield 2042, veterans have reported that the sniping is a little off, but during moments where long-range shots connect, it is immensely satisfying: I managed to pick off foes on the ground below from up here, and it felt incredible to fire a shot, watch it sail over to the target and strike them in the brainpan. Unfortunately, Battlefield 2042 doesn’t display the distance a headshot was made from in its beta, but these shots were incredible to land. It took me a few shots to get a feel for how the SWS-10 handled, especially with respect to bullet velocity and drop, but one thing I did find strange was the fact that the weapon appears to already have a straight-pull bolt, removing the need to scope out and chamber a new round in after one round was fired.

  • In a later match, I ended up running into a player called “not_alexus_marie” and promptly pasted their pate several times into the ground: curiosity got the better of me after I collected these screenshots, and I’m now wondering if this is the small-time Twitch streamer from Illinois that I wasted so casually. Battlefield 2042‘s lack of scoreboard, and an unusual UI in the death screen meant that during this beta, I remember those whom I’ve felled more vividly than those who outfoxed me in combat. While some gaming journalists are suggesting that some players are already using cheats in the beta, I never once felt that my foes were using software to gain an unfair advantage over others. Any time I died was a consequence of my own lack of spatial awareness, poor positioning, or the fact that my reflexes are no longer what they used to be.

  • On occasions where players looked like they one-shotted me or shot me through walls, it became apparent that my aging hardware might’ve created that discrepancy. Indeed, when I began playing more cautiously, I found myself staring at the spawn screen with a much lower frequency, and here in the beta, I do not believe I’ve run into any cheaters during the course of my six hours. DICE has stated that Battlefield 2042 will use Easy Anti-Cheat, a well-known and robust system which, in conjunction with its in-game reporting system, and an implementation of both an IP and hardware ban, should be enough to deter cheaters, which have run rampant in games like Battlefield V and Call of Duty: Warzone.

  • Cheaters were responsible for my increasing disinterest in Battlefield V, more so than any other shortcomings of that title (whether it be the poor enemy visibility, inconsistent TTK/TTD decisions, decision not to visit iconic WWII Theatre in favour of obscure ones), and what was baffling was the fact that players on my own team would adamantly refuse to acknowledge that they were playing against a cheater, despite said cheater going 120-1 five minutes into the match. In this day and age, the desire to cheat in a multiplayer game is a consequence of a desire for notoriety, for a bit of extra internet fame.

  • By yesterday evening, I’d become quite familiar with all of the open beta’s weapons and had a passable idea of how the mechanics had worked, enough to be scoring consistently well. In the last full game I played, I ended up 19-19 despite having fallen into a 2-10 hole early in the game. The team I was with was still defeated, but my own personal performance suggests that, if the time allows for it, I could probably still have a good time with Battlefield 2042‘s main game modes. Towards the end, I began running with the engineer specialisation, which brings with it an automated turret for locking down certain areas by creating a distraction.

  • During the chaos of one firefight, I ended up accidentally switching off my M5A3 for a SWS-10, and since players were swarming the capture point, I was able to pick a few off with headshots. Observant readers and players who participated in the open beta alike will have noticed that Battlefield 2042 has sectors that must both be held before it can be considered to be under one team’s control. This approach would be a fantastic way to improve team play, although speaking truthfully, the lack of a working command system meant that in the end, I lone-wolfed things for the entire duration of the beta.

  • While my approach means that any squad will make short work of me, I was a little surprised to find individual players running around the map without any support, such as this individual here. I found them on their lonesome and proceeded to make short work of them before they even got a single shot off. In a squad with good communications, as soon as one member is fired upon, the squad can move in to defend one another, secure the area and revive anyone that was downed. I’ve only ever played Battlefield once with friends during an office team building event five years earlier, but I still remember how effective we were: we topped the scoreboard, was the best squad and ended up carrying our team to victory despite none of us being particularly exceptional FPS players.

  • One of the biggest challenges I faced in the beta was with the gunner seats in vehicles: they were extremely jittery, and it was nearly impossible to get a good shot off on a target. During one of my final matches, I spawned into an Apache attack helicopter’s gunner seat and manned the 30 mm cannon with gusto, helping to clear the ground for my team in a round my team had no hope in heck of winning. I’ve never been much of a pilot myself, but I do have a fondness for manning the gunner seats in vehicles. With a good pilot, I am able to really do damage in the gunner’s seat.

  • It suddenly strikes me that the more recent Battlefield releases have all coincided with a milestone in my life: Battlefield 4 launched after I graduated from the Bachelor of Health Sciences programme, and Battlefield 1 released after I finished graduate school and begun the transition over into industry. Battlefield V launched right as I got a new job, and Battlefield 2042‘s launch date is going to be very close to my possession date. At the time of writing, there’s a few more things I have to tend to ahead of this, but I am very excited about things.

  • Truth be told, I am surprised that things had happened as quickly as they did; even back in August, I’d only been house hunting and never thought that a property meeting all of my requirements would become available on the market this soon. A lot can happen over the course of a year, and while 2021 saw its share of challenges, the year also saw numerous positive changes. I’ve been incredibly lucky in many regards, and this is something I am immensely thankful for. If I were making decisions on the basis of emotion alone (as opposed to reason and logic), Battlefield 2042 would be an easy purchase simply for the fact that it coincides with a major life event, much as how Battlefield 41 and V did.

  • However, this isn’t how I roll: instead, whether or not I end up buying Battlefield 2042 will be determined by how well the game runs at launch and whether or not Battlefield Portal fulfils my requirements. Provided the game can run well, and Portal offers what I am looking for, then Battlefield 2042 will be worth the cost of admissions. The game has most certainly been fun during the open beta, and here, a solitary kill with the LCMG marks the last one I got before the servers shut down; I had just started a match, but it was getting late, so I decided to call it quits after getting one more kill.

Having put a total of six hours into the Battlefield 2042 beta, the main deciding factor now as to whether or not I’ll pick up the game after it launches, or if I will wait, is determined by a few things. The first is whether or not DICE does indeed optimise the game so it’s not pushing my CPU to 100 percent utilisation for extended periods. I’ve heard that people with more recent CPUs still experienced the same issues, so it is possible that building a new PC might not be the solution to this. Waiting to hear from early-adopters who buy the game will allow me to gain more information before making a decision. Similarly, the open beta has only shown one game mode (Conquest) on one map (Orbital). Battlefield 2042‘s biggest feature is Battlefield Portal, a full-scale sandbox mode that allows players to have full control in designing games for themselves. On first blush, this mode appears even more enticing and immersive than Battlefield 2042 proper. Depending on what is available and possible within Battlefield Portal, this alone could be worth the price of admissions (assuming my machine can run things smoothly). Finally, the open beta evidently is an incomplete build of the game that is not production-ready: numerous issues do need to be addressed, from UI layout, functionality and performance before DICE can have a smooth, satisfying launch. Historically, DICE’s records with launches are mixed: Battlefield 4 was a disaster, but Battlefield 1 was exemplary. Overall, my position now is simple: I will wait until around the holiday season to determine whether or not Battlefield 2042 joins my library. Building a new PC is straightforward enough, and my current machine still runs Battlefield 2042 in a satisfactory manner, so the main deciding factor now is going to be primarily seeing how well Portal works in practise. The prospect of being able to play bots on a private session to experiment with outrageous scenarios (like how well a single M1A2 fares against 20 Tiger I tanks), or join servers with outlandish game modes designed for relaxation rather than competition, is most enticing. Similarly, I am getting up there in the years to be squaring off against youth with faster reflexes: the ol’ fingers and brain no longer move as quickly as they did when I was a university student. Gone are the days where I could survive a firefight against an entire squad, so on days where I don’t feel like fighting real players, having the choice to mess around in Battlefield 2042 maps and modes at a more relaxed pace would also be welcomed. As such, this Battlefield 2042 open beta has been very informative for me: I know my rig can (just barely) run Battlefield 2042, the setup is still fun enough for me, and once I have a little more information on things like features and Battlefield Portal following the game’s launch, I’ll be able to make a more informed decision on things.

Halo Infinite: A Reflection on the Open Beta

“This is my last fight; a true test of legends! Our story…will outlive us both. Set a fire in your heart, Spartan! Bare your fangs! Fight hard! Die well!” –War Chief Escharum

Originally set for launch in November 2020, 343 Industries ended up making the decision to delay Halo Infinite‘s release to December 2021 to ensure that their latest instalment of Halo was functioning as expected. While at launch, Forge and co-op will not be available, 343 Industries decisions demonstrates the level of commitment to quality that is expected of developers; in recent memory, games like Cyberpunk 2077 and No Man’s Sky had illustrated the price of launching games on schedule even in the knowledge the game was incomplete, with inevitable results. For me, since I’m in no particular rush, these delays are acceptable: in fact, as far as gamers go, I’m quite unconventional in my habits, and news of Halo Infinite‘s launch date, as well as the presence of a technical test, drew my attention primarily because I am running a machine that is now eight-and-a-half years old. As such, the concern for me was a matter of whether or not Halo Infinite would even run on this machine: the game requires an Intel i5-4400 and GTX 1050 Ti at minimum, along with 8 GB of RAM. On paper, my machine’s GTX 1060 and 16 GB of RAM should be sufficient. Moreover, the i5-3570k is supposed to be around eight to fifteen percent faster than the i5-4400k under real-world conditions despite being older. However, it isn’t until one actually attempts to run a game that performance can be tangibly ascertained: this was my primary goal with Halo Infinite‘s technical test, and after around four hours of gameplay spent in the open beta, playing against both AI bots and other players have given me a much clearer picture of what the way forwards looks like. On my aging setup, Halo Infinite is generally very playable at 1080p, maintaining a consistent 60 FPS with the visual settings set to the “high” preset. There were frame drops on occasion, although I did not find that they occurred as a result of activity on the screen (e.g. entering a crowded area with many players, or the result of visual effects resulting from weapon fire and explosives usage). The client testers were provided with was generally stable, although I did experience a two separate instances where the build did freeze or crash to the desktop as a result of bad memory access. Outside of these issues, I have satisfied myself with the fact Halo Infinite appears to run with reasonable smoothness on my machine.

Looking beyond the fundamental matters of performance and stability, Halo Infinite‘s technical test gave me a chance to try out the gameplay mechanics for myself. Trailers had shown that Halo Infinite would feature the return of equipment that had previously been employed in entertaining ways during combat, including a grappling hook and shield wall. However, the most critical element in any Halo game (or shooter, for that matter) is the movement and weapon system. Halo Infinite delivers on both. Player movement has been refreshed to be in line with more modern games; besides the return of a sprint system, players have slightly faster movement than the Spartans did in the original Halo titles, and there is now a vaulting system that allows players to grab ledges, making navigation through maps easier than before. Altogether, modernising movement in Halo Infinite means maps can similarly be updated to utilise creative elements that weren’t previously possible. The gun-play in Halo Infinite is similarly excellent. Weapons feel powerful, and the time-to-kill is reasonable. Players being shot at have enough time to react and get out of a situation. Keeping cool under pressure will allow one to win a firefight even if one did not start shooting first, but players who start a combat engagement with a sure aim and utilisation of the right timing and equipment will come consistently out triumphant. The weapons themselves are fun to use: the basic assault rifle has come a very long way from the Halo: Combat Evolved incarnation and is now reliable, while the Halo 2 battle rifle returns as the BR-75. Players are given feedback in response to landing shots on an enemy, and scoring kills. While quality-of-life adjustments in Halo Infinite makes every successful kill more visceral than in earlier Halo titles, the core gameplay largely remains untouched: everything still feels like it did with Halo 2. Overall, the gameplay mechanics of Halo Infinite are satisfying and consistent, retaining all of the elements that made the original Halo games great, while simultaneously bringing some of the best features in contemporary shooters into Halo.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • While I’ve had two weekends to try the Halo Infinite beta out, these days, I’m don’t spend the whole of that time in game: the weather of late’s been gorgeous, and I’ve been greatly enjoying all that the autumn weather has to offer. I ended up spending the afternoon yesterday walking out to a grove of trees that turned golden-yellow, and then swung by an overlook at the park’s southern end. Shortly after spawning into my first-ever match on Live Fire, the original map that August’s Halo Infinite technical test featured, I immediately snapped up the S7 Sniper Rifle and got a double kill with it against the bots. My intention in this open beta was not to see how much gameplay I could experience, but rather, to see if my machine could even run Halo Infinite, and so, having the option of playing against AI bots was most refreshing.

  • One of the drawbacks about open betas are that some players deliberately use their vacation time to experience the beta, and consequently, have put in upwards of eight hours before I even finished downloading the client. Playing against these individuals means being annihilated in the blink of an eye, which would’ve degraded my ability to run the game for longer periods of time. Conversely, with AI bots, I was able to stay alive for extended periods and properly stress-test my machine, as well as see what happened whenever many grenades were thrown and equipment deployed.

  • On the whole, Halo Infinite runs very well, and there were no player actions that seemed to cause any performance issues. However, during one match, my client began stuttering and then outright froze, forcing me to quit (and incur the early quit penalty). After I finished and quit another session, my machine suffered from a blue screen of death, with the error code indicating my GPU had been overtaxed. DOOM Eternal has done this to my machine on occasion, where the computer would display a blue screen and force a restart after I’d quit the game.

  • These sorts of things happen infrequently, but I imagine that it is a driver problem more than anything; even people running more recent GPUs, like the RTX 2080 Ti, have reported this issue on some occasion. However, as noted previously, these events are infrequent enough so that they’re not super-disruptive. Here, I’ve switched on over to the Recharge map, which is located inside a hydroelectric plant. I’m armed with the basic MA40 Assault Rifle, a capable all-around weapon for close to medium range combat, and the MK50 Sidekick as my sidearm.

  • The MK50 is more similar to the M6C line of pistols, being a compact and lightweight weapon compared to the hard-hitting magnum pistols of earlier Halo games. In most matches, I discard this weapon straight away for a different secondary weapon: here, I’ve got the VK78 Commando, an automatic tactical rifle with a twenty-round box magazine. Accurate and reliable at range, the VK78 replaces the DMR, reaching further out than the battle rifle, but firing more rapidly than the sniper rifle. This weapon very quickly became a favourite for me; while I used to be a big CQC person in Halo, my experiences in Battlefield has meant that medium range engagements are something I’m more comfortable with.

  • This strange-looking weapon is the Ravager, a Banished weapon that fires arcing plasma rounds that can deal damage to vehicles and infantry alike. The weapon is not reloadable and utilises a battery, but built-up heat is not automatically dissipated, so players must use the reload button to vent the weapon. During the open beta, I found that the UNSC and classic Covenant weapons proved to be the most reliable and consistent in firefights; the new Covenant Pulse Carbine, for instance, is a burst-fire plasma rifle with the Carbine’s form factor, although its behaviour was a little difficult to get used to, so I ended up ditching it. Conversely, the Plasma Pistol and Needler still work just as I remember, making them excellent secondary weapons.

  • Bazaar is a map set in Old Mombasa and therefore, is reminiscent of Halo 2‘s “Outskirts” mission in terms of aesthetic. This arena-like map is laid out in a manner most similar to Counterstrike‘s classic Dust and Dust II maps, featuring a central open area and two “bases” that make the map suited for two-team battles, like CTF. These sorts of maps bring back the memories I have of playing Halo 2 on Windows Vista: back then, I had considerably more time than I did today, and I remember (with a twinge of regret) that I spent the most of my summer, prior to starting university, playing custom games in Halo 2‘s multiplayer.

  • In retrospect, I would’ve been better served spending that time with a summer job, specifically, at one of the local bookstores: while the work experience here wouldn’t be relevant to the undergraduate research experience I did end up picking up, and the pay isn’t anything to write home about, it would’ve been nice to get out and do something constructive with my time. Once I did enter university, I spent my summers doing research instead: this was both relevant and engaging. On the flipside, I also remember that most days, I also went for long bike rides on the best of days.

  • The new CQS48 Bulldog is a combat shotgun fed from a rotary magazine. Compared to the old pump action shotguns, the Bulldog has a much faster reload and can fire faster, but does considerably less damage than its predecessors. Here, I used it to decimate an AI bot at close quarters, earning myself a Running Riot spree in the process. The bots in Halo Infinite‘s training mode can have their difficulties adjusted, but during the online matches where I teamed up with other players against the AI bots, said bots appeared to have had their difficulties set to the easiest level: every match I played was a blowout (or, in Halo terms, “Steaktacular”).

  • Here,  I stick a bot with the plasma grenades. The keen-eyed reader will have spotted that the evergreen trees in the background look a little blocky and low-resolution; I originally wondered if this had to do with the fact that I was running Halo Infinite on the default low settings, but even after turning the settings up, the trees remained of a low quality. It is probably the case that not all assets or visual effects have been finished at this point in time: 343 Industries sent out a stable build to test their server capacities and see how things handle under load for this test flight.

  • After switching over to higher visual quality, I did not notice any appreciable improvement in the visuals. Fortunately, there was also no degradation in performance: 343 Industries intended this test more for their servers rather than for us players, and I imagine that the build we were given, while ready for play-testing, is not optimised yet. Assuming this to be the case, it could mean that I’ll have no trouble running the launch version with reasonable settings.

  • While some elements of Halo Infinite are still works-in-progress, others are remarkably polished and look production ready. Here, after scoring a double kill on some AI bots, I made to reload my weapon and happened to capture a screenshot of the reload, which highlights the level of details that went into the weapon models. Reloads have come a very long way since the GoldenEye 64 days, where the animation simply involved ducking the weapon off screen and raising them once the reload finished.

  • The HUD in Halo Infinite has been modernised so that its layout is identical to that used in contemporary shooters. Previous Halo games put the ammunition display counter on the upper right of the screen, and the grenade inventory on the upper left. However, more popular shooters like Half-Life and Counterstrike had their ammunition counters on the lower right. Call of Duty and Battlefield follow the same layout, as do other well-known shooters, so it made sense to migrate the ammunition counters over to the lower right.

  • The shield indicator firmly remains at the top of the screen, and players will have noticed a small health bar underneath that also recharges. This bar was originally hidden in Halo 2 through Halo 4, only returning in Halo 5 to provide a visual indicator of how much health a player has once their shields are drained. Health can be depleted very quickly if the shields are dropped, and players traditionally can fall to a single headshot if their shields are down, so as soon as the upper screen flashes red in response to shields being low, one’s first move is to get to cover as soon as possible (or finish off a foe and then get away when safe to do so).

  • During the beta, I had a plethora of double kills, but owing to the map and team sizes, I never got around to getting any triple kills despite coming close on a few occasions (teammates would finish off the enemies before I could). It has struck me that 4 on 4 matches mean that the coveted Killtacular would be exceptionally rare. Back when I was a secondary school students, some of my friends were absolutely determined to get a killtacular and so, hosted LAN parties every other week. Since graduating from university, everyone’s gone their separate ways, although right up until the global health crisis started, we were still able to gather on some occasions for LAN parties.

  • A big part of the fun about LAN parties was that, since we didn’t do them often, they always took forever to setup, as we fumbled with wiring all of the Xboxes together using Ethernet cables. This was one constant that remained with us no matter how many times we did the LAN parties, but we never minded; while waiting for setup, conversations would turn towards all manner of topics. Of course, during LAN parties, the folks with Xboxes back home would tend to do the best, and the remainder of us would be lucky to get a few kills here and there. This never mattered, though, since LAN parties were always fun.

  • Here, I’ve finally come upon the BR-75 Battle Rifle: a burst-fire weapon that was introduced in Halo 2 and subsequently became the most recognised MLG weapon in the games. With its three-round burst, the battle rifle was a reliable four shot kill at medium ranges (three bursts to strip the shield, and then a headshot), making it a highly consistent and dependable. On consoles, I’ve never been able to make use of the weapon properly, but with the mouse and keyboard, the battle rifle has very much become my favourite starting weapon in Halo.

  • I’d like nothing more than to have fun and relive the glory days of the old LAN parties in a comfortable chair at home. However, when I returned to The Master Chief Collection‘s multiplayer last year, I found that the design paradigm behind Halo‘s multiplayer today is completely incompatible with what I am looking for. I expect to be able to drop in and out of matches without penalty and play in a relaxed fashion, but 343 Industries have a quit penalty, and players in the so-called “social” tier are still aggressively competitive.

  • In conjunction with the fact that players will universally plug in a controller to capitalise on the fact that controller have full aim assist and increased bullet magnetism, playing with the mouse and keyboard set up leaves me at an immense disadvantage, so I ended up calling it quits by the time Halo 3 joined The Master Chief Collection. Here, I managed to swipe the SPNKR rocket launcher and blew up an enemy. Playing Battlefield and Call of Duty has changed my usage of explosive weapons somewhat: in modern military shooters, anti-armour weapons don’t have enough splash damage to be effective in an anti-infantry role, but in Halo, the rocket launcher is meant to be a power weapon, possessing limitations but otherwise, remains highly effective against personnel and vehicles alike.

  • For Team Slayer matches, the AI bots are more than fine, but it turns out that the bots are also present in smaller games of CTF and Territory Control: the very fact that the bots do work suggests to me that it would be possible to include a mode with bots only so players can get used to the maps and weapons without affecting their stats. For players like myself, bot-only matches would also represent a nice way to simply go mess around for ten minutes and play at my own pace: the days where I could dedicate a few hours towards ranking up my character and items are long past, and I prefer games where I can pop in and drop off whenever I wish.

  • Towards the end of the open beta, my old skills began returning to me, and I managed to get a double kill off the bots with the battle rifle. The bots, while far easier than human players, still have the same shields and health as players do, making them a great way to get a feel for the TTK against human players. I elected against playing real players for as often as I could for the open beta, since the aim of this exercise had been to test the game. I won’t have this luxury during the Battlefield 2042 beta; DICE had announced their beta to start on October 8 and will run through the ninth.

  • However, players who preordered or have EA Access will be able to start their test on October 6. Preloading begins on the fifth, and here, I will note that while I am a Battlefield fan, I’m not so dedicated as to preorder the game yet. Instead, I will sit down for a few sessions on Friday night and throughout Saturday where I am able. Similarly to Halo Infinite, my goal will be simply to see how well my machine can handle Battlefield 2042. Unlike Halo Infinite, however, Battlefield 2042 won’t have a campaign, and what determines whether or not I end up buying it will be how extensive Battlefield Portal‘s AI bots are.

  • Back in Halo Infinite, I start a match on Behemoth, a larger map more suited for Big Team Battles rather than infantry-only matches. Vehicles are available, and this makes the match particularly suited for the larger matches of CTF or territories. I’m actually not too fond of these larger maps, since the vehicles disappear almost the moment the match starts, leaving me to hoof it across the map. Conversely, the smaller, arena-like maps are my favourite, since their focus is on infantry combat. In Battlefield, maps are designed so players can spawn onto points allies have already captured, on squad-mates who are out of combat, or on special beacons, so larger maps aren’t a problem.

  • The Volt Piercer (informally, the Shock Rifle) is one of the most exotic weapons I’ve seen in a Halo game and would not look out of place in something like Planetside 2 or Tribes Ascend. Firing an electrolaser bolt with a range of up to 300 metres, the weapon functions similarly like a sniper rifle and can kill with one headshot. However, it can also arc off nearby enemies, and two shots can temporarily disable a vehicle. I’ve not had the chance to try the plasma pistol’s overcharge against a vehicle, but in Halo 4, the overcharge could disable a vehicle and render it vulnerable to boarding.

  • Overall, the modes against AI bots were fairly compelling, and I had a great deal of fun here: the weapons of Halo Infinite definitely retain the handling and feel of the classic weapons. Of course, the most fun for me will be seeing where all of these weapons come into play during Halo Infinite‘s campaign. Towards the end of my time in the open beta, I hopped on over to Fragmentation for a Big Team Battle match up, marking the first time I’d fought human players during this open beta. I admit that I was a little reluctant to join such a match: back when 343 Industries was flighting Halo 3, I ended up with a miserable experience owing to the fact that the game openly favoured controller players.

  • However, when I joined my Big Team Battle match, I was fortunate in that the size of the map meant that players were spread out enough so that I did end up with a chance to explore the map and get a few kills here and there, as well as work out where all of the weapons were. I’m not sure if Halo Infinite will bring back the old loadouts from Halo 4, which allowed players to spawn with a primary and secondary (non-power) weapon of their choice. If given the choice, I’d almost always pick the battle rifle and magnum in Halo 4. However, since the battle rifle and Commando tactical rifle are found on the weapon racks as pickups, I imagine that Halo Infinite could be going back to the basics.

  • For some reason, Halo Infinite describes the Commando as a light machine gun: while the Commando is automatic, its smaller ammunition capacity and description as a precision weapon means it doesn’t satisfy the definition of what makes a light machine gun: LMGs don’t necessarily fire full-sized cartridges, but their function is to fulfil an infantry support role (e.g. providing covering fire). The small magazine on the Commando is too small for the weapon to be used in this role, so I am wondering if 343 Industries are going to continue referring to the Commando as an LMG once the game launches.

  • I managed to pick up another Shock Rifle and began firing on distant enemies, but because the weapon’s handling is unlike the UNSC weapons, I wasn’t able to place the best shots on my opponents, who were trying to steal our flag. However, I did land two hits on two different foes, and my teammates astutely picked them off. This match ended up being a game of attrition: players were very much focused on defense and felt reluctant to go on offense, which makes sense, since everyone is still new to the map: I did make one attempt to take the enemy flag, but died instantly, since half their team was hanging back.

  • As the match drew to an end, I ended up picking up the Heatwave, a Forerunner hard light weapon designed for close-quarters combat. The weapon is most similar to a shotgun, and in its default mode, fires a horizontal pattern of projectiles. However, it can be altered to fire in a vertical pattern. The former sounds good for crowd control, and the latter has proven to be excellent against individual targets. The weapon resembles the UNSC Rail Gun (Halo 4), and indeed, when I picked it up, I was expecting the weapon to handle like the Rail Gun.

  • During this final map on Fragmentation, I ended up going 13-16 and helped my team to win the game with a score of 1-0, and to cap things off, I’ll show that it is possible to get kills with the Sidekick even though it is a sidearm meant for use if one’s starting primary weapon is out. All things considered, this wasn’t a bad first time playing against real players, and I did have fun just running around on the map and engaging lone players before ducking away. With this, Halo Infinite‘s open beta comes to a close, and I imagine that the next time I play Halo Infinite will be once the campaign launches.

Having now had the chance to experience Halo Infinite for myself, it is clear that my aging machine will run Halo Infinite in a passable manner, and the gameplay itself retains everything that made the original Halo games so enjoyable. As such, my final verdict on whether or not I will pick this game up is simple enough: I have seen enough to know that I will have a good time with the game once it launches in December. The multiplayer aspect to Halo Infinite is actually free-to-play, and revenue is to be generated by a seasonal battle pass: 343 Industries will have seasons, and players can purchase the passes for seasons they wish to unlock cosmetics for. Unlike other developers, who have time restrictions, Halo Infinite‘s battle pass system will be such that one could buy the first season pass a year later and still be guaranteed a fair chance at completing everything. While my main interest in Halo has always been with the campaigns, a free-to-play multiplayer gives another more opportunity to see how my desktop handles Halo Infinite before I step into the campaign should the need arise (otherwise, if the footage of gameplay looks promising, and the benchmarks look good, picking up Halo Infinite will be an easy decision). The sum of my experiences here in Halo Infinite‘s technical test have been positive. If the final product can iron out the more serious of the issues I experienced, as well as optimise the game to further improve performance, 343 Industries will have made a very compelling case for me to pick up the single player campaign at launch price. With this being said, the multiplayer alone is not something I see myself playing extensively; in this day and age, I no longer have the time to play through multiplayer games with a lengthy progression system. The appeal of having a single player campaign is precisely that I can experience something at my own pace. However, if Halo Infinite were to include the ability to play AI bots in all of the same game modes and maps that are available to in PvP modes (complete with match score and time limits), I would be ecstatic; the AI bots seen Halo Infinite are actually pretty convincing when set to the higher difficulties, and while they understandably should not contribute to one’s completion of progression items, being able to go into a private server and mess around with the AI bots would be immensely enjoyable, perfect for folks who are interested in having a more laid-back opportunity to have fun in their own manner of choosing.

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

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

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

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

Screenshots and Commentary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Screenshots and Commentary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” –George S. Patton

As the Pacific War chapter continued in the aftermath of a disastrous update that rendered most of Battlefield V‘s weapons ineffectual, DICE also introduced the Wake Island map; the original is remembered as being the first Battlefield map most of the world had experienced, being featured in the Battlefield 1942 demo. With its distinct horseshoe shape, the map created a very narrow battlefield that, on the conquest assault game mode, resulted in concerted rushes to dislodge defenders, or creative use of positioning to flank around enemies. Since the Battlefield 1942 incarnation, Wake Island would return in Battlefield: Vietnam, Battlefield 2, Battlefield 2142 and Battlefield 3, becoming something of an icon. By Battlefield V, the island has been re-imagined as being much flatter, with foliage and structures providing cover for players in place of geological features like hills, and the map is set under a swift sunrise. Battlefield V takes creative liberties with history; whereas the Battle of Wake Island saw Japanese forces successfully invade and hold the islands from their invasion in December 1941 out until September 1945, Battlefield V chooses to present the Americans as the invaders, American forces did not attempt another amphibious invasion, and instead, American forces would periodically strike the islands. In practise, the Wake Island map presents opportunity for amphibious tanks to flank around enemy defenses, creating a very dynamic sense of gameplay in both the conquest and breakthrough game modes. Battlefield V‘s Wake Island is much larger than its previous incarnations, and matches on the islands are quite interesting. The other map Battlefield V has added is Solomon Islands: with its dense jungle environment, the Solomon Islands map is modelled after the Solomon Islands campaign, which ran from January 1942 to August 1945, and resulted in an Allied victory. Set in an unspecified part of the Solomon Islands, the fourth Pacific map features heavy jungles that give Battlefield V a distinct Battlefield: Vietnam feeling, creating a compelling environment for close quarters combat that, while simultaneously creating the sort of chaos that maps like Argonne Forest were known for, also provides mindful players alternate routes to break a stalemate. From a maps and content perspective, Battlefield V remains in a tenable position, providing enough to keep folks entertained even as the DICE team struggles to determine what Battlefield V‘s future entails.

Battlefield V‘s unexpected shifts notwithstanding, I found myself adapting unexpectedly quickly to the new changes. Weapons had certainly been weakened to the point where some loadouts were untenable, even suicidal to use, and skill-based combat had devolved: with weapons hitting less hard and recoiling less than they previously, firefights felt quite different. However, this feeling dissipated, and I found myself making use of the newly-unlocked weapons with decent efficacy. I was still able to help my team win matches of conquest on Wake Island and scored a killtacular with the M2 Flamethrower during one game of team death match. Towards the end of the fifth chapter, I earned the M3 Grease Gun and somehow managed to explode a Jeep with it to earn what I felt to be one of the most unusual, if epic, triple kills I’d gotten. The M2 Carbine and Type 11 LMG have been excellent additions to the game, offering new variety. On the heavily-forested jungles of Solomon Islands, I broke a personal best with a 34-streak behind the wheel of the Type 2 Ka-Mi as a defender during breakthrough: this amphibious tank had not been one I drove frequently, but nonetheless, I went on the longest kill-streak I’d ever gotten in Battlefield V, and in the process, also wound up going 61-12 that match. It was the most kills I’d gotten in a game, and despite my team losing in the end, it was also the most fun I’d had in Battlefield V in a while. Battlefield V remains able to command excitement despite stumbling in critical areas, and following the introduction of the sixth Tides of War chapter and the Solomon Islands, Battlefield V feels fun. With new weapons and gadgets that increase variety in the gameplay, Battlefield V somehow continues to hold my own interest. With news of the 6.2 patch on the horizon and a likely return to the more skill-driven mechanics, Battlefield V appears to be on an upwards trajectory again. The latest Tides of War Chapter means that I’ve been having the most fun I’ve had since Iwo Jima and Pacific Storm from November, and that, in the end, is what matters most.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • I’ve been waiting quite a while to showcase images of Wake Island, and admittedly, had been hoping to write about Battlefield V again back in January, but without any new maps, that wasn’t really going to lend itself to a post worth sharing. Because my journey into the Battlefield franchise began with Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Wake Island is not so iconic for me, and it was Battlefield 3‘s Operation Metro and Noshahr Canals that became the most memorable maps for me.

  • For the first few weeks after the new weapons balancing patch was applied, most of the weapons felt weak and ineffectual. The StG-44, on the other hand, became a powerhouse, and I ran most of my early matches with it, finding great success in using the weapon as my main: the StG-44 was solid at both close and medium ranges, and while defending one of the capture points at the hangar, I ended up landing a triple kill with the weapon on three players who had rushed in.

  • Tanks remained immensely effective after the patch, and more so than any previous Battlefield game, I feel competent with tanks enough to make a difference in the game for my team. The tank gameplay in Battlefield V is excellent, striking a balance between providing players with powerful vehicles that can terrorise the enemy team in the right hands, while also balancing them so that tank players must support the infantry in their role and also be mindful of their ammunition supply. Earlier Battlefield titles had tanks be quite vulnerable to infantry, who would have an incredible array of anti-armour weapons to work with, and in Battlefield 1, tanks were nigh-unstoppable owing to a lack of good anti-infantry weapons.

  • The BAR M1918A2 ended up being a modestly entertaining addition to Battlefield V, allowing me to run the Charlotte E. Yeager loadout alongside the M1911 pistol. The main curiosity about the BAR is that it has two firing modes: a high RPM mode for close-quarters engagements that comes at the expense of damage at range, and a low RPM mode for longer-range firefights where every bullet hits slightly harder. Switching between the modes for different ranges can be quite fun, although I’ve treated the weapon primarily as a close-quarters weapon by leaving it in the higher RPM mode.

  • Of course, I am curious to try the weapon again once it’s been balanced in the 6.2 patch, and on paper, the BAR seems to be a versatile weapon that demonstrates the Charlotte E. Yeager loadout to be effective. Owing to the unusual way melee weapons are handled in Battlefield V, and the reduced number of sidearms, running authentic Strike Witches loadouts becomes much trickier in Battlefield V than they did in Battlefield 1, although rumours have reached my ears that there are unreleased weapons from the now-scrapped competitive mode, and that these weapons are being modified so they fit into the standard multiplayer modes better.

  • I am curious to see how the new weapon balance will impact the BAR, and if its ranged effectiveness goes up, I definitely do see myself using it more frequently. In general, the support class is one that I prefer playing at medium ranges; weapons like the Bren and Madsen give me the confidence to pick away foes at medium range, while I’ve come to fall back on the KE-7 as a reliable LMG for closer ranges. For the most part, I don’t roll with MMGs unless I’m playing defense on breakthrough, since those weapons are too limiting to be versatile for the highly mobile style that I prefer.

  • Here, I glide over the open water and marvel at the water effects: Battlefield V nailed water, and ripples will properly propagate as soldiers and tanks pass through water. Compared to the M4 Sherman, I played with the LVT to a much lesser extent shortly after the initial release of the Pacific Theatre content. However, while more powerful in a combat role, the M4 will sink and be rendered useless in deep waters. LVTs, on the other hand, have improved acceleration and handling, on top of being able to traverse deep water like a boat. In maps like Wake Island, they become immensely valuable for flanking enemy positions, and with the right specialisations, can be very effective in their intended role. Both the LVT and Ka-Mi can be outfitted with heavy machine-guns that turn them into mobile AA solutions, although these specialisations have one further application: the LVT and Ka-Mi become highly effective anti-infantry weapons, even more so than the dedicated AA tanks from the British and German factions.

  • While the M1 Garand was fun to use shortly after its introduction, the fact that they were deliberately weakened and now take a minimum of four shots to kill mean that I’ve not been running the semi-automatic rifles for the assault class anywhere nearly as much as I had prior to the 5.2 patch. While specifics behind the upcoming patch are limited so far, I do hope that the semi-automatic rifles are restored to their former glory at closer ranges and become three shots to kill again like before.

  • While this moment is not on either Wake Island or Solomon Islands, I chose to include it because it was a lucky kill with the JB-2 Rocket that landed me another killfrenzy. At this point in the game, it is not lost on me that I’ve actually become more versed with Battlefield than I am with Halo now: I’ve dabbled in Halo Reach‘s multiplayer, and I’m nowhere nearly as capable now as I was back a decade ago with Halo 2. Back in Battlefield V, with new reinforcements added, I am hoping that my wish of seeing a B-17 as one possible reinforcement vehicle will also be realised, once the theatre of war returns to the Battle of Berlin.

  • The Type 97 was one of the later additions to the fifth chapter, and as a weapon, while representative of the Japanese LMGs, the Type 97 is statistically similar to the Bren and Madsen, being a slower-firing, more accurate and harder-hitting LMG that is useful at range, although it is hampered by a slower reload. It’s unremarkable from a performance standpoint, but it was fun to run with the weapon, and here, I’ve got a 3x optic mounted on it to help with ranged engagements.

  • While Battlefield V‘s Tides of War incentivises weekly play, time is something that I continue to find myself short on, and so, one of the approaches I’ve taken towards completing the objectives for each week’s assignment is to take advantage of squad conquest or even team death match depending on that week’s goals. Especially where capturing objectives, squad functions or even just winning matches are concerned, the shorter time-frame and smaller map sizes makes it easier to quickly go through the objectives on short order.

  • This is the killtacular (or overkill, for Halo: Reach players) that I was referring to: Battlefield V still allows for its moments of sheer hilarity, and I found myself scorching four players to death during one match of team death match after I’d picked up a flamethrower. I’m not even sure how I managed to pull it off, but it was very enjoyable as a moment: the battle pickups of Battlefield V are balanced because they are very situational, and for most situations, put users at the disadvantage. When one’s position is right and the situation allows it, battle pickups can indeed become monsters.

  • In the aftermath of the 5.2 patch, I was most relieved to learn that the Jungle Carbine had not changed in any way, and so, as a long-range solution for the medic, I found a powerful weapon that remained efficacious: it takes two to three body shots to kill an enemy, or one headshot from closer ranges. I’ve decided to spec out my Jungle Carbine for the left tree, favouring rate of fire and bullet velocity over general accuracy.

  • During one match of team death match, I ran into a player who went by the handle “MutsuMutsuHeyHey” and according to various statistics, this is a Battlefield V player even more dedicated than the likes of MrProWestie, JackFrags and LevelCap, which is saying something. When I first encountered them, I wondered if they’d named themselves after either Sounan Desu Ka?‘s Mutsu Amatani or Mutsu from Kantai Collection. It is rare to run into such dedicated players, and even more rare to get that lucky kill on them, as I’ve done here with the KE-7.

  • For the remainder of the fifth Tides of War Chapter, I ended up using nothing by the Type 2A, simply because it was so powerful. The Type 2A is Battlefield V‘s equivalent of the AEK-971 or the Automatico M1918, both of which are what I colloquially refer to as “scrub guns” for the fact that they take no skill to use in close quarters situations. With a blisteringly fast rate of fire (1028 RPM in its base configuration and upgradable to 1200 RPM with the machined bolt specialisation), the weapon can be specialised to roll with an extended magazine that turns it into a weapon even more potent than the Thompson at close range: since the Type 2A was introduced, I’ve not picked up the Thompson.

  • The first game I played on Solomon Islands, I joined a team that was losing: I got exactly one kill with the M2 Carbine, and the match promptly ended. On the subsequent match, I was able to get a better measure of the M2 Carbine: it is essentially the select-fire version of the M1A1 semi-automatic carbine. While the weapon requires six bullets to kill, the M2 also has an 830 RPM, so in practise, the weapon feels powerful at closer ranges. At longer ranges, the weapon is less effective, but it can still be counted upon to land shots reliably, and here, I melt through a player named after Kantai Collection‘s Shigure.

  • While initial promotional materials suggested that the Solomon Islands map was all about Jungle Warfare, the actual map itself features a harbour, cliffs, and some open areas surrounding an estuary, providing a variety of environments to explore during the course of a match. It makes for a very exciting and varied experience: while there is definitely a jungle piece to the map that gives the area an Argonne Forest-like feel, open spaces and flanking routes also break the choke point feeling in the denser jungle parts of the map.

  • The M3 Grease Gun is an iconic American submachine gun, and in reality, was a .45-calibre weapon meant to replace the Thompson as a more inexpensive, lighter weapon. Production issues meant it saw limited use in World War Two, but the M3A1 version would be used in the Korean War. In Battlefield V, the Grease Gun is the opposite of the Type 2A, being a slow-firing, hard-hitting weapon with high recoil, and my first use of it saw a very unusual, but welcomed, result: I somehow destroyed a vehicle with it and earned a triple kill in the deep jungles of the Solomon Islands.

  • For some reason, I’ve begun gravitating towards the iron sights of some weapons as of late: I’ve never been particularly successful with iron sights owing to how obtrusive they are, but more recently, using the iron sights successfully have given me an improved sense of enjoyment. Here, I use the Type 97 LMG to help defend during one particularly lopsided match of breakthrough. Having looked around, it looks like running the Yoshika Miyafuji loadout in Battlefield V won’t be possible: Yoshika’s Type 99 is a cannon modified to fire 12.7 x 99 mm round, and would be classified as a HMG. There are also no visual equivalents, so the only way to play the Yoshika Miyafuji loadout would be to run a pacifist loadout, with naught but the field medic specialisation, healing pouches and smoke grenades.

  • I’ve gotten a decent number of killtaculars in Battlefield V, but one of my favourite ones was while defending on breakthrough: I’d managed to destroy a tank with the Panzerfaust to earn a triple kill, and then swapped over to the M2 carbine to finish another player who had appeared from behind the tank. We would go on to win this match: the enemy team never seemed to bother pushing their tanks seriously onto the first capture point, and by the time their more mindful players had taken the tanks, they lacked the tickets.

  • While winning in Battlefield V is fun, I personally prefer more dynamic, tense matches where the game is decided by a handful of tickets; one-sided matches are fun for farming, but close matches give one a better idea of how effective they are. It was on one such game on the Solomon Islands that I had the most fun I’ve had in Battlefield V in a very long while. I was on the defending team and was lucky enough to get behind the wheel of a tank. We had reached the middle of the map, and I was hammering at the defenders with the Type 97 Chi-Ha, even splattering a daring player who attempted to use the lunge mine on me.

  • Eventually, their team had the presence of mind to focus all of their fire on me: even though I managed to take out one more tank in the process, sustained fire saw me returned to the spawn screen, and the middle capture points fell. I then switched over to the M3 Grease Gun for a bit to support teammates with healing and revives: ranking up the M3 allows for the suppressor to be attached, and while it does not have any noticeable impact on the firing sound, the suppressor has one important function: enemies hit with a suppressed weapon do not get a directional indicator for where the enemy fire is coming from. This could be an especially valuable trait on more chaotic maps.

  • As the enemy teams pushed into the final sector, I managed to get my hands on the Ka-Mi, and decided it would be fun to try and level it up to get the remainder of the specialisations. What happened next was ludicrous: I went on a 34-streak with the tank (“Invincible” in Halo, one kill short of “Inconceivable”, which is earned for 35 kills in a row without dying) and scored a multitude of multi-kills, including this well-timed triple. I ended that match 61-12, marking the first time I’d gotten the most kills in a match, best KDR on the server and the most kills I’d gotten in a single match. This screenshot had me landing a lucky triple-kill and then back-pedalling to escape enemies: an M4 equipped with a flametrower and a lunge-mine equipped player were at my flanks here, creating a very Battlefield: Vietnam-like moment.

  • In the end, having fun is the most central part of any game: this is the only metric I go off of for deciding whether I continue or not. While Battlefield V‘s detractors are vocal, their opinions hold very little weight to me. Since Battlefield V is fun, I’ll keep on returning until it is no longer fun to do so, and then that will be it: there is no need for needless Reddit and Twitter drama at all. Here, I managed to blast a player off a boat with the Boys AT Rifle: during some matches where the outcome is of little interest to me, I will often go off and mess around for amusement. The Lunge Mine is such a tool for messing around, and I did manage to have some fun with it, even collecting the 50-damage-to-vehicles assignment in the process, but in the long run, the Lunge Mine is not an effective implement for serious combat.

  • One of the Tides of War assignments had been to get ten kills with either the M2 Flamethrower or the Katana, and initially, I thought this one would be a bit of a challenge owing to how situational the weapons were. The assignment, however, started on the right foot: here, I toast a low-level player who was being a blight on the server. I’m not sure what the story is, but even now, players rank twenty and under tend to be the ones to pull off stunts that should be impossible, like one-shotting players with the Lewis Gun from 250 metres away and having the ability to know where one is at all times: being able to dampen the cheaters’ spirits by killing (and then tea-bagging) them is one of the smaller joys of Battlefield V.

  • The Solomon Islands update also brings the Model 37 to the plate. In earlier Battlefield titles, I rather enjoyed the shotgun gameplay mechanics, but shotguns of Battlefield V are very situational, so I’ve never really used them outside of the team death match and occasional squad conquest modes. The only exception seems to be the M30 Drilling, which can reliably down opponents at close range, and whose alternate fire offers players an extra bit of versatility at range. Now is a good time as any to mention that players who complain about the game, at least to me, are exposing their own shortcomings and are not worth listening to: that’s what inspired the page quote.

  • I ended up completing the Tides of War assignment by camping like a scrub at where the bravo flag of Squad Conquest is and cut up anyone who got too close, managing the final kill seconds before the match ended. Here, I sliced up one “ala721”, a player whose statistics suggest someone who’s a bit of a try-hard who cares more about their personal KDR than they do about team-play: while my KDR is slightly negative, I have considerably more heals, revives, resupplies, and a higher win-rate: while the immature parts of the community vociferously argue otherwise, win-rate is a much better indicator of skill than KDR: the player who actively contributes to their team’s victory is superior to one who would rather hang back and get kills at the expense of supporting their team.

  • I’ve admittedly been writing a lot less this month: folks wondering about my anime posting schedule are owed a short explanation on what’s been happening. Firstly, Koisuru Asteroid saw a delay in production, and so, I will be writing about the series after the three-quarters mark has passed in early March once the ninth episode has aired, rather than later this month. I’ve also been busy keeping up with Jon’s Creator Showcase, and this time, there’s been a relatively large number of submissions, as well. Finally, I’ve been incredibly busy with work, so posting has taken a bit of a backseat.

  • This past long weekend was Family Day, although for me, it did not feel like a weekend on account of how busy I was. The only highlight of the weekend was a delicious homemade English Muffin with sausage, egg and cheese with a side of hash browns and fries: when things get busy, a good meal is typically how I unwind, helping me to destress. In between my work, I also got in a few matches of Battlefield V and also worked on Jon’s Creator Showcase. I believe we are very nearly at the goal line at the time of writing, and I will be very happy once this project wraps up successfully: I’ve been working on it since August of last year, and it will be rewarding to see things come together.

  • The Type 11 LMG is very similar to the Type 97 in performance: the Type 97 deals slightly more damage, and the Type 11 has a slightly large ammunition capacity. However, the Type 11 has a very unique and interesting reload sequence: the original Type 11 had a distinct hopper-fed system that was intended to improve its reload speeds, and in Battlefield V, the weapon can either be reloaded traditionally by swapping out the entire hopper, or else if one has k mod 5 = 0 rounds remaining, they can feed individual clips to top off the weapon for a faster reload. It’s a cool weapon that is fun to use at medium ranges, and I enjoyed a degree of success in running it. With this post at an end, I will note that the only other post I have lined up for February, besides Jon’s Creator Showcase, is another Masterpiece Anime Showcase, set to coincide with a certain series’ second movie’s home release.

With the 6.2 patch expected to smooth out gun-play while introducing balances to properly ensure that all weapons have their utility in different situations, attention turns towards what else Battlefield V needs in order to continue being enjoyable as it continues into its life cycle. From a gameplay standpoint, the biggest two features that must be implemented are a robust anti-cheat solution, and a combination of the ability to switch teams. In the latter, too often have I joined a team with ten more players than our opponents, resulting in a target-poor environment that is completely unexciting to play in. The presence of the ability to change teams on the fly means that I could join the team with fewer players and take on the challenge of fighting more players. One proposed way to prevent abuse is that a player-triggered team change is permitted either once per match in an evenly matched game, or if the disparity between team sizes is too large, then players can freely switch to the smaller team from the larger team until numbers are more even. The former, a functional anti-cheat measure, is critical: players with whatever personal issues that plague their world continue to run client-side modifications that give them an unfair advantage, which degrades the experience of those on both teams, and DICE’s seeming-refusal to even acknowledge the presence of cheaters does not speak well to their commitment to a fair and fun environment, which is why (well-adjusted) people find entertainment in games to begin with. While it is fun to humiliate a cheater by tea-bagging them after ending their tool-assisted killstreak, watching some low-level player auto-spot everyone in a plane and going 200-2 in a match, or landing headshots from across the map with the Lewis Gun, is not my definition of fun, and I’d much rather focus my attention on playing for my team and getting those Only in Battlefield™ moments that come with the environment that Battlefield V shown itself conducive to thanks to the latest updates.