Impressions from the open beta
Battlefield V has been kicking my ass, and based on what I’ve seen of this week’s open beta, I’m not alone. There’s going to be a not-insignificant learning curve for players who don’t prioritize team dynamics and really take their time. The game may seem like more of the same on the surface, but a bunch of seemingly small tweaks add up to create a distinct and at times jarring new experience.
Battlefield fans are torn, and they’re only going to become more divided as time goes on.
Much of what I covered in my alpha impressions still holds true: you never seem to have enough health or ammo as you’d like, sticking with your squad is just as crucial now if not more so, and building fortifications at a defensive position can give your team noticeably better odds. You also can’t rely on mashing the “spot” key to highlight enemies, a change that has far-reaching repercussions.
I won’t go into every single mechanical change since many of these things will be in flux leading up to the full release. But the end result? Battlefield V is unforgiving. Simply staying alive is no small feat.
If you sneak behind enemy lines for a heroic solo flank, you’ll likely run out of ammunition mid-fight. If you pop out of cover and hesitate for a split second, there’s a good chance you’ll be sniped. If you’re shot and enter a downed state, you probably won’t be revived — squadmates and Medics can pick you up, but it’s a slow and vulnerable process, so they won’t always risk it. Finally, there’s a respawn time on top of the bleed out. Not only does death come quick, but getting back onto the field is sluggish.
This might sound horribly unfun, and it sure can be, but when Battlefield V is working as intended — when squads keep each other topped up and play the objective methodically — it’s amazing. The lows are painfully low, but the highs are blissfully high. I have to stress that the shooting and movement mechanics feel wonderful. Headshots in this game are among the most satisfying I’ve ever pulled off.
I left the Battlefield V alpha feeling cautious but hopeful, and I’m leaving the beta feeling like the recent delay to November was a no-brainer. DICE has a lot to look at and refine, from general game balance to weapon upgrades to vehicles to the user interface. The list goes on. I think this will eventually get where it needs to be (but probably not in time for launch), and people will come to either love it or loathe it. I’d much rather have a divisive and imperfect sequel that tried something new than a rote one.