The Infinite Zenith

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Battlefield V: Reflections After One Year of Service

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

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

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

Screenshots and Commentary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Screenshots and Commentary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Battlefield V: Battlefest 2019, Al Sundan and Operation Underground

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

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

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

Screenshots and Commentary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Star Wars Battlefront II: A Reflection on the Campaign

“We’ve been fighting for our whole lives. It’s taken us too long to realise that we were fighting for the wrong side. This war is far from over. We would like to help you, if you’ll let us.” –Iden Versio

After she allows herself to be captured by the Rebel Alliance, Iden Versio escapes from captivity and erases a coded transmission the Rebels had acquired concerning the Emperor’s plan for Endor. While on an assignment to neutralise the Rebel forces that landed at Endor, the second Death Star is destroyed. Iden and Inferno Squad (Del and Gideon) comply with orders to retreat and secures TIE fighters, rejoining the Imperial Forces and meets with her father, Admiral Versio. With the Emperor’s death confirmed, the Empire begins to enact Operation Cinder, a contingency plan that would have seen the destruction of Imperial worlds. After Del encounters Luke Skywalker on Pillio during a mission to destroy the Emperor’s storehouse, Meeko and Iden are sent to Vardos to extract Protectorate Gleb. Witnessing the Empire’s disregard for its own people, Meeko and Iden defect to the Rebel Alliance. They meet Lando Calrissian, who gives Iden and Del a chance to prove themselves as being trustworthy by having them participate in the liberation of Naboo alongside Princess Leia. Iden and Del are then sent to Takodana to find Han Solo, who was locating an Imperial defector holding the key to freeing Kashyyyk. Iden learns that Gideon is on Bespin and commences an operation to capture him alongside Admiral Versio, but the two manage to escape. Lando, meanwhile, heads to Sullust to secure an Imperial weapons cache, but ends up destroying the munitions factory there. The Empire is pushed into a corner, and the Rebel Alliance launches one final attack on the weakened Imperial fleet at Jakku. Iden boards Admiral Versio’s Star Destroyer and attempts to rescue him, but he resolves to die with the Empire, asking Iden to live a full life. In the aftermath of the Battle of Jakku, Iden and Del share a kiss. Decades later, Del is captured and interrogated by Kylo Ren, who is searching for a map that will lead to Luke Skywalker. Kylo Ren turns Del over to Gideon, who executes him after expressing his disgust at the choices Del had made. This is Star Wars Battlefront II‘s campaign, a short but vivid experience that marks the first time I’ve played a Star Wars campaign since the days of Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader.

Battlefront II‘s campaign ultimately acts as a highly cinematic tutorial for players looking to get into the multiplayer, providing nonstop fanservice in allowing players to experience the story from the perspective of heroes like Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo and Lando Calrissian. Iden’s own story is a compelling, if generic one, exploring how the Empire’s atrocities and determination to hold onto power in accordance to Palpatine’s wishes was something that even some of the Imperials did not agree with. The campaign thus shows that Palpatine’s preferred approach in ruling by fear meant that in his absence, the Empire was only loosely held together and disintegrated within a year of his death, which stands in contrast with the extended universe, which saw the Empire continuing to wage war against the New Republic. The divergence of the story between what is official and what is now part of the legends means that some of the latter’s greatest stories will never be brought to life, and while the story of Battlefront II might have been familiar in its presentation and themes (compared to the more complex themes the extended universe deals with), DICE’s implementation of the campaign means that in addition to being a good entry point into Battlefront II, it also provides an authentic and rather enjoyable Star Wars experience: famous planets and weapons are reproduced faithfully, as are the characters and starfighters. Overall, while perhaps nothing remarkable from a thematic or narrative perspective, the technical excellence of Battlefront II‘s campaign, in the visuals and sound engineering, shows that the technology and resources definitely exist to make a Star Wars game of the same enjoyment as something like 2001’s Rogue Leader.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Battlefront II starts with Iden on board a Rebel Mon Calamari cruiser. After she uses her droid to hack her way out, Iden retrieves the intel surrounding Palpatine’s plans at Endor and then escapes. The last time I played Battlefront II was two years ago during the open beta, and the game today is said to be nearly unrecognisable from its state back then, showing what can happen when market forces compel developers and publishers to re-evaluate core mechanics to a game’s progression system.

  • Because Battlefront II now features a conventional progression system rather than the luck-based micro-transactions systems the title first launched with, I will periodically be playing the multiplayer aspects. My primary interest in Battlefront II actually lay in the campaign, arcade and instant action modes, which allow me to experience blowing stuff up Star Wars-style and relive combat within the universe. With this being said, I would very much like to give Galactic Conquest a go, since these would allow me to fight in iconic locations throughout the Star Wars universe.

  • As Iden, a member of the Empire’s elite Inferno Squad, players will initially fight for the Empire. Seeing the second Death Star destroyed from another perspective was a sobering experience that also served to show that at Endor, there were winners and losers. The films and stories predominantly tell of the Rebel Alliances success here, although some also have depicted the chaos and confusion on the Imperial side after the Death Star was destroyed. On Endor, this does not stop Iden and Inferno Squad, who fight their way through the victorious Rebel soldiers and secure TIE fighters.

  • The Empire’s TIE fighters have long been described as being inexpensive, expendable fighters that possessed superior speed and manoeuvrability because of their light weight. Lacking any sort of life support system, shielding and hyper-drive, the TIE fighters were essentially engines bolted onto a cockpit and a pair of fast-firing laser cannons. However, for gameplay reasons, Battlefront II‘s TIE fighters are more durable and act as a good all-around vehicle for space combat.

  • The flight controls in Battlefront II are actually somewhat cumbersome and cannot be fully customised, forcing players to acclimatise to the strange combination of mouse and keyboarding flying. When I reached the first space mission, I actually stopped playing and spent several rounds in the arcade mode to get a better feel for the controls. Once I got used to them, I was able to keep up in at least the single-player mission and accomplish my tasks with efficiency. Muscle memory led me to try and fly like I did in Ace Combat 7, with disastrous (and hilarious) results.

  • Iden is next sent to secure an Imperial dockyard from Rebel forces so that delivery of a secret weapon system can be completed. However, when ion cannons from a Mon Calamari cruiser threaten the operation, Iden is sent to board the cruiser and disable the guns. Battlefront II does not have its 2005 incarnation’s seamless transition between flight and infantry combat, instead relying on transitions in the campaign to achieve the same thing, but its implementation is likely in part owing to the increased complexity of the assets.

  • The first hero players will control is Luke Skywalker, who’s visiting Pillio in search of Jedi artefacts. As Luke, players have access to a Force push, heavy attack and sabre rush that lets Luke close the distance with enemies very quickly. Heroes in Battlefront II seem more vulnerable than their Battlefront counterparts: against the Stormtroopers on Pillio, I had to be cautious and engage them smartly, since Luke’s health can be quickly decimated by enemy fire.

  • After Luke meets Del, he helps Del fend off attack from the native wildlife. Heroes in Battlefront II have stamina for their attacks, and this is drained on a lightsaber strike, or when a block is used. Thus, one cannot swing wildly for risk of running out of stamina mid-battle, which renders Force-users less effective. Once the onslaught ends and Del unlocks the door to the storehouse, he and Luke part ways after Luke finds something noteworthy in the chamber, with Luke hoping to meet again under different circumstances.

  • Iden’s abilities vary and depend on the mission. For the most part, I utilise them to give myself a boost in a given situation, and here, I fight through Vardos after Iden and Del decide to defect from the Empire. Most people considered this to be a highly predictable, sanctimonious turn of events that reinforces the idea that the Empire is irredeemably evil, rather than the multi-faceted enemy that the extended universe (especially Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy) explored, and ever since Disney took the rights to Star Wars, I admit that the storytelling has been less nuanced than it was previously.

  • From a gameplay perspective, Iden’s defection means that one now has the chance to fight Imperial Stormtroopers and implements of the Imperial forces again: I ended up destroying an AT-ST walker en route to my objective using nothing more than a blaster during this mission. While enemy vehicles are powerful forces to contend with in the campaign, even the absence of dedicated anti-armour doesn’t really mean much, since one could stay out of its attack range and chip away at its health.

  • Of course, having anti-armour weapons like a grenade launcher or rocket launcher will help expedite things considerably. The mission on Vardos also gives players a chance to take the gunner’s seat in an AT-AT and use the famous walker’s arsenal to destroy everything standing between Iden and the Corvus. Despite its power, the AT-AT actually feels a little weak, taking at least two hits to down infantry with its main weapon. This was probably done to balance the reinforcement’s power.

  • After escaping Vardos and surrendering to the Rebel Alliance, Iden and Del decide to help them when Lando presents them with a choice. Flying an X-Wing for the first time, Iden thus disables the Cinder satellites before helping the Rebels take down a Star Destroyer in a mission that would not seem out of place in Rogue Leader. The X-Wing is the Rebel Alliance’s trademark fighter, being a powerful and versatile starfighter that balances manoeuvrability with durability. The interceptors are lighter weight, faster and more manoeuvrable in exchange for reduced durability and firepower, while bombers possess more firepower at the expense of mobility.

  • Once Iden clears the Operation Cinder satellites, gameplay switches over to Leia on the ground. She’s armed with a blaster pistol, can summon a defensive shield, use a flash grenade to disorient enemies and can pull out a confiscated Imperial blaster rifle for increased firepower. It felt great to return to Naboo two years after my first visit in Battlefront II during the open beta.

  • Playing as Leia meant switching out my usual E-11 blaster, the Imperial standard-issue rifle that is versatile and reliable, for a Defender Sporting rifle. I believe Leia used such a weapon at the very beginning of A New Hope, and this weapon is capable of downing a Stormtrooper in one shot during the campaign. It also has the unique ability to be charged for a more powerful shot, making it effective over longer ranges.

  • Leia’s mission is to provide covering fire for Del and Rebel soldiers looking to reactivate an ion pulse to disable all Imperial weapons. The mission takes players through the same parts of Theed that the open beta’s mission covered, right up to the palace doors. From here, the pulse is activated and that’s it for the mission: it looks like to explore the hangar where Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon squared off against Darth Maul, plus the interior of the palace, I’ll need to get into a multiplayer match.

  • The campaign takes players to Takodana (not to be mistaken with SSSS.Gridman‘s Rikka Takorada), a planet seen in The Force Awakens. Players assume the role of Han Solo, who’s there speaking to an Imperial informant who intends to provide intel on the Wookies and Kashyyyk. As Han, players have access to his legendary DL-44 heavy blaster pistol, a highly reliable weapon that can one-shot Stormtroopers.

  • Beyond a reliable blaster, Han also has access to a remote-detonated grenade similar to the sticky grenades of The Division and can charge into a crowd of enemies to knock the first enemy over. On top of this, the DL-44 can have its rate of fire increased. All around, he’s a fun character to play, and there was immense satisfaction in using the DL-44 to blow Stormtroopers away: in most games, pistols are considered to be secondary weapons to be counted in during a pinch, but the blaster pistols of Star Wars are equally as effective at range, handling similarly to the M6C Magnum of Halo.

  • After digging through crates the Imperial informant points out to find the intel, Han fights his way through squads of Stormtroopers to reach Chewbacca. Fighting what felt like an entire legion of Stormtroopers here proved tricky, and while the DL-44 is great for dealing with smaller groups, it’s decided less suited for situations where enemies are coming from all sides. It took use of each of Han’s abilities to get through this stage.

  • Once Chewbacca finishes repairing the Millennium Falcon, it’s time to take to the skies and drive off the Imperial forces that appear. Being a Hero ship, the Millennium Falcon’s large size belies its solid performance. Armed with an afterburner, concussion missiles and an automatic quad turret, the Millennium Falcon is considered to be the best Hero ship in Battlefront II, with Boba Fett’s Slave I being the best vessel for the Villains. Maz will berate Han for bringing the Imperial forces in, but with the Millennium Falcon, they are easily dealt with.

  • Iden and Del find themselves on Bespin once they learn that Admiral Versio and Gideon are here. They disguise themselves as Stormtroopers and infiltrate the Imperial facility, but fail to find either Admiral Versio or Gideon. The flight into the facility has players passing by Beldon, voluminous creatures that produced Tibanna gas (utilised as a hyperdrive coolant and for bolstering turbolaser firepower) as a part of their metabolic processes.

  • After the mission goes awry, Iden and Del just barely get away. The amount of firepower brought to bear on the two is incredible, and I ended up fighting an AT-ST walker as well as legions of Stormtroopers. A mounted turret made it much easier to deal with enemies: while stationary weapons generally turn a player into an easy target for snipers in multiplayer settings, in campaigns, most of the AI aren’t capable of sharpshooting and therefore, with their unlimited ammunition and ability to lay down sustained fire, stationary turrets are excellent.

  • Unlike Rogue Leader, which had players participate in a raid on Bespin to secure Cloud City and the Tibanna gas facilities, Battlefront II has Iden and Del turn their attention towards destroying the docking station for three Imperial Star Destroyers. Iden takes control of a Cloud Car, which were originally intended as private transports but, with the inclusion of blasters, becomes a makeshift light fighter. They are not powerful or durable, but their blasters are sufficient in igniting the Tibanna gas platforms the Star Destroyers are docked to.

  • Iden’s raid on Bespin turns out to be much shorter than the one seen in Rogue Leader: once she’s done destroying the platforms, they will explode and destroy the remaining Star Destroyers. Seeing the different visuals and settings in Battlefront II makes me long for a full remake of Rouge Squardon III: Rebel Strike, which was a sequel to Rogue Leader that added on-foot missions. With the assets of Battlefront II already in place, a remake of Rebel Strike with flight missions from Rogue Leader would truly bring iconic missions to life in the latest and greatest game engine.

  • Such a campaign-based Star Wars game would be very unlikely: the games of old were developed and published back in a time when games had a larger single-player focus, when micro-transactions and DLC were not part of a publisher’s business model and when one would get their full money’s worth for a title. These days, games have a larger multiplayer piece, so it is already something that Battlefront II has a campaign.

  • While I entered Lando’s mission to Sullest with some apprehension, it turned out that Lando’s abilities to deploy smoke, track enemies and automatically lock onto enemies with his blaster were superbly useful: Lando was most fun to play, enhanced by his banter with Shriv. Towards the end of the mission, players get to take control of an AT-ST and use its loadout to melt the Imperial soldiers below. While Lando winds up destroying the facility, to Iden’s disappointment that the Rebels won’t get any additional weapons, the strike at Sullest also sets in motion the final mission of Battlefront II.

  • Players actually have a chance to see the Battle of Jakku now: this is Rey’s homeworld, and by the events of The Force Awakens, the desert planet is best known for the wreckage of old Imperial Star Destroyers embedded in the sand dunes. Being able to participate in the mop-up operation that sees the end of Palpatine’s Empire was a thrilling experience, and it was fun to fly in what is the largest battle in Battlefront II‘s campaign.

  • That the Battle of Jakku is set during a sunset is meant to be symbolic: sunsets mark the end of something, and contrary to the officers’ belief otherwise, the Imperials are fighting a losing battle here. After clearing the skies somewhat, Iden descends to a fallen Star Destroyer and plants explosive devices on TIE bombers to take them out of the equation. She then flies towards the battlefront where the Empire has deployed AT-ATs that have begun firing on a Rebel position.

  • While the AT-AT walkers were originally portrayed as terrifying enemies in The Empire Strikes Back, decades of watching the rebels use Attack Pattern Delta on them, followed by the fact that they actually numerous weaknesses, meant that by the time Iden is asked to tag the AT-ATs for bombardment, I thought nothing of them. I long have wondered why X-Wings were never brought to bear against AT-ATs at Hoth, and the answer for this is simple enough. Except for Luke’s X-Wing, all available X-Wings were scrambled to escort the transport craft, and the second is that while an X-Wing could trivially destroy AT-ATs with strafing runs. This would, however, lessen their impact on the Hoth evacuation.

  • The penultimate segment to the Battle of Jakku sees Iden engage Gideon in single combat in an intense dogfight. While a tough opponent, Gideon is no Mihaly A. Shilage, and I ended up defeating him. With Gideon gone for the present, Iden then lands on the Star Destroyer that Admiral Versio is commanding, clears off the deck of opponents and heads off to rescue her father. He declines to go with her, but admits that the Empire was flawed. Wishing her to make the most of her life, he dies as his Star Destroyer crashes onto Jakku’s surface. Iden escapes and passionately kisses Del in the aftermath, bringing the main campaign to an end.

  • There’s actually an epilogue where players get to step into the shoes of Kylo Ren as he is interrogating an older Del for information on Luke Skywalker, as well. With this post finished, I have one more coming out for today, where I write about GochiUsa: ~Sing For You~. Like that Saturday when GochiUsa‘s second season aired four years ago, it’s a beautiful, sunny morning, and I’ll be sitting down to write about this long-awaited addition to GochiUsa later in the day.

With the first campaign now in the books, I still have yet to go through Battlefront II‘s Resurrection campaign, which is set between the events of the first campaign and The Force Awakens. There is a surprising amount of depth to Battlefront II, and having given the multiplayer a short test drive, I am genuinely impressed with how far the game has come since its initial launch in 2017, where its microtransaction and progression system create a controversy so large, it impacted policy change surrounding how microtransactions could be implemented in a game. Since then, DICE tirelessly worked to improve Battlefront II, and players going into the game today will not see any of the elements that caused said controversy two years previously. Progression is simply accomplished by using a class, reinforcement or hero. Battlefront II has seen three seasons’ worth of updates that added new maps, game modes and heroes free of charge: the game now has Clone Wars content and more options for solo play. Seeing all of the development effort and care that went into Battlefront II is, in conjunction with a well-timed sale, why I picked the game up: good Star War games are rare these days simply because there aren’t very many of them, and Battlefront II comes the closest to being a modern incarnation of Rogue Leader, which remains my favourite classic Star Wars game of all time for giving players a chance to re-enact classic Star Wars experiences. Battlefront II may not allow players to fly down the trench of the first Death Star or fight the Battle of Endor the same way that Rogue Leader did, but by expanding on the universe and placing players at key moments after the second Death Star was destroyed, the game does succeed in bringing back the mechanics and atmosphere that makes Star Wars so enjoyable.

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

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

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

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

Screenshots and Commentary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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