Sunday, 10 June 2018

Battlefield 5 (or BFV if you like), thoughts.

I've laid off making any comment about the new (forthcoming) Battlefield V as the announcement 'trailer' was little more than a mishmash of scripted scenes to wet our appetite and there was little that really too us how the game would actually play.

Well, that's changing as we are starting to see some brief examples of actual (presumably test) game play. Here's a glimpse from the game blogger 'Jackfrags'...

My Thoughts...
OK, I admit I had some reservations about certain aspects of the game when I saw EA's original announcement trailer, but let's not start with the criticisms, let's start wth the positives...

This game looks amazing (note 'looks')! Building on Battlefield 1 and Battlefront EA have really developed a beautiful looking game world in which to play. The BFV featured in the above video ('Narvik') looks spectacular and highly detailed and immensely immersive. Likewise, the audio sounds terrific and will certainly give the appropriate accompanying cacophony of war.

The V-1 'call-in' feature is quite spectacular, and loud! Source: Jackfrags
Spectacular action in Norway. A British Bren gunner advances while over-
head a RAF Blenheim bomber drops a load on German positions. Wow!
Source: Jackfrags.
Lovely touch here, a dusk view in Norway showing the Northern Lights!
Source: Jackfrags
The character movement and weapons like very polished (but should be) AND I love the new game mode of the 'Grand Campaign', gaming clans will appreciate having something as in-depth as this new mode - taking place over several 'days' - as it would make a really cooly league-table event.

A snap of the view entering 'Narvik' in day-time. Source: Jackfrags

Very cinematic views and events! Here a Blenheim bomber crashes in very
spectacular fashion. Source: Jackfrags

But...(There is always a 'but')...
Unfortunately, this preview of gameplay reinforced some of my initial worries about the nature of 'historical accuracy' in the game.

British 'paratroopers' ready to jump into action! Into Narvik? Wearing Brodie
helmets? ...WTF is going on? Source: Jackfrags

For me, alarm bells started ringing when I saw the wild mix of weapons and vehicles that were included in the trailer video. Items ranged from the entirety of the six years of WW2, from early war British Valentine tanks to 1943 era the German Tiger tank. 'Technically' EA is skating on thin ice, as while these particular tanks could have appeared together in a battlefield, it seems more like EA have 'cherry-picked' weapons from the whole of WW2 to suit their ideas for weapon classes.

A British soldier takes out a Tiger tank with a Panzerfaust in Norway. If that
doesn't blow your mind... Source: Jackfrags
...And from the same map, a British Valantine (Mk. 9). Technically, this
shouldn't appear along side a Tiger 1 (online *very* rare circumstances
would this have actually happened, but NOT in Norway). Source: Jackfrags

This 'casual' approach to historical accuracy was further illustrated in the gameplay preview video, with the odd juxtaposition of the map of a famous 1940 battle (Narvik) featuring weapons - like the famous German StG 44 assault rifle - from the later half of the war. Again, EA seems to be acknowledging and maintaining it's strategy of giving players exciting and 'useful' weapons to play with no matter whether they are strictly accurate from a historical point of view.

In BF1 EA eventually just seemed to give up (of give in) and added some really exotic weapons to improve 'run and gun' gameplay that were either extremely rare or even prototypes and never featured  in mainstream use (or at all) in the way EA implies in the game. According to EA's history boo, every soldier had a submachine gun or assault rifle in WW1!

This compromise over 'fun' and excitement over accuracy seems to be equally evident in BFV, unlike games like 'Day of Infamy' who take a much more realistic approach to how they arm player characters. Sadly, EA also seem to have opted for a 'symmetrical' weapons issue system as you can clearly see British characters using StG 44s in the video (unless they are allowing players to pick up enemy weapons).

British paras using German StG 44s? Source: Jackfrags

All, in all I found this Pre-Alpha gameplay (and I must emphasis it IS pre-Alpha, so things will probably change)  an unsettling mixed bag of WW2 'flavours'...Like a smorgasbord of a menu of places, characters and objects from across six years of war compressed into a few minutes ('Oh there's Dunkirk (blink), oh, now it's D-Day!').

I understand it makes for exciting and varied gameplay, but I would have much rather they had, instead, gone for a full-blown 'alternative reality' and based the game in the popular '1946' genre, that way they could have included as many fanciful weapons as they liked and nobody could complain about the accuracy of their inclusion.

Hopefully, things will settle down and become more clear as we get further examples of gameplay.

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