After a rather irritating launch schedule that saw Battlefield 5 release in multiple stages depending on what edition you ordered or which service you subscribe to, EA’s premiere first-person shooter franchise is finally available for all to enjoy.
And fortunately for the folks who didn’t get to play the game 11 days early, Battlefield V is mostly worth the wait.
It’s not radically different from its WW1 predecessor, but it does take some of Battlefield 1’s better ideas and either expands or improves on them.
So if you like chaotic battles that take place on huge maps, then Battlefield 5 definitely doesn’t disappoint.
Indeed, the size and scale of Battlefield 5 can be overwhelming when you first drop into battle. But once you learn the ropes and buddy up with a few players, the game’s scope is very much part of the appeal.
There are only eight maps available at launch, but they’re big enough and diverse enough to keep players busy for a long time – and at least until the next one comes out in December.
With a giant bridge as its centrepiece, abandoned farm buildings in the surrounding areas and lush fields on the fringes, the Twisted Steel map is an early favourite.
The collapsed-out bridge is the perfect battleground, whether you’re defending control points, mounting an attack, or desperately running from sniper fire in the fields down below.
It’s a good map to highlight the new Fortification feature, which lets players boost defences by throwing down sandbags and other obstacles.
It doesn’t always feel like the most useful feature, but fortifying bases is simple to perform and can make just the right amount of difference on certain maps.
Not all of the maps work quite as well as Twisted Steel, of course, but you’d be hard pressed to find one that doesn’t have any redeeming qualities whatsoever.
The Rotterdam map feels a little disjointed, for instance, but there are memorable battles to be had among burnt out buildings and beneath bridges.
Rotterdam is also among the better looking maps in a game that isn’t short of impressive environmnents. With the studio’s flair for sound and some of the most jaw-dropping visuals to date, Battlefield 5 is one of the most immersive experiences you can have on consoles.
Or at least it is until you encounter one of the game’s many bugs and animation glitches. It’s not as laughably buggy as Fallout 76, but it does have its moments. It’s a shame, actually, because when things do run smoothly, animations are noticeably improved on Battlefield 1.
Battlefield 5 really comes together in the Grand Operations mode, which features colossal battles that take place over multiple days and with a loose story connecting the action. Think Battlefield 1’s Operations, only bigger.
Suitably epic, these lengthy multiplayer campaigns highlight what Battlefield 5 is all about. Players will only succeed by working with squadmates to complete objectives, all the while dishing out ammo and reviving teammates (something everyone can do).
The new Attrition system – where your health and ammo is limited when you spawn – does a fine job of promoting squad play, and you don’t necessarily need to be connected over voice chat to make the most out of it.
Just spawn on teammates, stick together and pick your moments to revive, and you’ll stand a much better chance of scoring the victory. For a game so vast and full of chaos, Battlefield 5’s different gameplay systems are tightly tied together.
If you’d rather not run with a pack, Battlefield 5 has an ace up its sleeve in War Stories.
The bite-sized single-player missions showcase some of the lesser known skirmishes of WW2, while also serving as a training ground for multiplayer.
The War Stories single-player campaign isn’t as impactful as it was in Battlefield 1 – and the ridiculous action doesn’t always tally up with the sombre tone – but it’s an entertaining enough distraction while it lasts.
With a steady stream of game updates and lots of new content still to come – and provided EA doesn’t ruin it with aggressive monetisation and pay-to-win mechanics – the next couple of years of Battlefield 5 could be something special.