Feature Article

Battlefield 5 Early Review Impressions

Field notes.

Editor's note: This is an early take on Battlefield V for PC; a full review is in the works but we will require many more hours to fully engage and evaluate everything the game has to offer. The overall opinion is subject to change through the review process.

The Battlefield series has always been about capturing the scale of war, and Battlefield V delivers as expected. Large maps made of both open fields and narrow lanes pit players in chaotic fights to capture objectives and deplete the enemy respawn count. Different classes empower soldiers with specific capabilities that provide distinct advantages in the right situations. And of course, tanks and aircraft not only change gameplay dynamics, but can swing the tide of battle in deft hands. The initial impression is that Battlefield V revels in familiarity--this entry doesn't stray away from the franchise formula, but it's a fine execution thus far.

It's been a while since the franchise set foot in World War II, but this time, it does so with lesser-known conflicts at the forefront. It's oddly refreshing to discover aspects of history that go overlooked. While we've had a steady diet of the snow-covered Narvik map prior to release, the game's collection of landscapes are varied set pieces. The lush vegetation of Western Europe and the harsh deserts of North Africa present beauty in the wake of utter destruction--all these battles have been inspired by the history books and realized in a refined Frostbite engine, which has never looked better. However, the maps themselves have their limitations.

Battlefield V is as devastating as it is beautiful.
Battlefield V is as devastating as it is beautiful.

Conquest has always been Battlefield's staple. Two huge teams fight to control capture points across a sprawling map, which helps hasten the drain of the enemy ticket count. It's a time-tested mode, but it also highlights the shortcomings of a few maps. I can admire the spectacle of Fjell 652 and the tight firefights that take place around the capture points, but navigating the map's narrow paths hasn't been much fun. Narvik's capture points encourage a variety of encounters with regards to distance, elevation, and space, but rather than flowing together, the maps feel like a collection of disparate parts for the sake of enabling these types of engagements. Metropolitan maps have certainly worked in the series' past, but Rotterdam hasn't been a great showcase of Battlefield V's strengths as matches can easily devolve into tedious shootouts on city streets.

If you're caught out of place, you'll be punished--in other words, you'll be shot in the back and flanked from unsuspecting locations frequently. While it can grow frustrating, overcoming seemingly hopeless scenarios is part of the process.

Grand Operations takes you into war-like scenarios that set teams up for a series of three consecutive matches, each in a different game mode and map (or variation of a map) from the same theater. This mode can be a big time commitment, but it has been the best part of Battlefield V so far, as Grand Operations keeps up the momentum and shakes up gameplay just enough to retain players through the course of the whole set of matches. The light contextualization of what both sides are trying to accomplish that goes into each phase helps (ever so slightly) paint a more enticing picture of multiplayer, rather than having you unceremoniously jump into the fray.

Success in Battlefield V very much depends on being at the right place at the right time. If you're caught out of place, you'll be punished--in other words, you'll be shot in the back and flanked from unsuspecting locations frequently. While it can grow frustrating, overcoming seemingly hopeless scenarios is part of the process. Adapting to situations that develop on the field and being a helpful teammate are further encouraged by the four returning classes: Assault, Medic, Support, and Recon. So far, it seems like a small tweak helps to bring out teamwork--squadmates can revive each other regardless of class, without negating the importance of Medics since they can revive anyone and dole out additional health packs.

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Player progression is dispersed in several ways. For one, you have career progression, which is your simple overall rank. Then there's class progression, which paves the way for unlocking equipment to further customize your loadout. And lastly, both weapons and vehicles contain their own progression paths. There appears to be a lot of systems at work, but rewards seem fairly lean outside of skins and individual weapon perks.

Microtransactions are currently absent from the game, so we can't comment on the business model yet. However, you earn in-game currency called Company Coins, which appear to be mainly for acquiring cosmetics like soldier uniforms and weapon camouflage. A few things like weapon perks cost Company Coins, but thankfully they're cheap and require you to reach a certain level beforehand.

The game's not a multiplayer-only endeavor with the return of War Stories, the single-player campaign offering that debuted in Battlefield 1. It serves as a tool to acquaint yourself with the basics of the game while providing grounded perspectives from contrasting theaters of war. Battlefield V itself starts not on a main menu, but in a playable teaser of each vignette from War Stories. Part of me wants to fully accept the sincerity that's trying to be communicated through the narration and cutscenes, but I can't help but feel it veering off into melodrama to a fault. I've only touched on the English campaign, but I'm hoping it makes good on the humanizing tone it appears to go for.

Sloshing through the mud in a tank in Twisted Steel is a necessary evil.
Sloshing through the mud in a tank in Twisted Steel is a necessary evil.

Battlefield V can be rough around the edges. Player models can clip through the world's geometry, sometimes sending bodies into a ragdoll frenzy. You may see teammates get revived only for their character model to frantically zip 20 feet in another direction. As of now, servers have occasional instability in terms of performance and packet loss (which causes choppy motion in-game). Thankfully, I haven't experienced hard crashes or drops from servers.

The initial impression is that Battlefield V revels in familiarity--this entry doesn't stray away from the franchise formula, but it's a fine execution thus far.

As of now, it feels as if Battlefield V is a variation on a well-established theme. It maintains the series tradition of grand spectacle with incredible sound design, impactful weaponry, and large-scale multiplayer chaos. There's a lot more to dig into, like the fortification system, squad reinforcements perks, and how destruction may change map dynamics, and spending more time with the game will paint a better picture. At the end of the day, it's still Battlefield, and Battlefield V is shaping up to be a good one at that.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

highammichael

Michael Higham

Associate Editor at GameSpot. Southeast San Diego to the Bay. Salamat sa iyong suporta!

Battlefield V

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Utnayan

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This game is a complete mess.

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untouchables111

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Battlefield is one series ill always play. i love the Tides of War in place of paid DLC. BF also has the best game music ive exp in a long time.

I plan on making BFV and Fallout my main go to titles for some time. with a bit of RDR2

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NSA_Protocol44

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Edited By NSA_Protocol44

I liked it but some modes and parts were not available yet.

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newbpwnr

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I think game of the year at least on pc.

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Virtue777

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its pretty fun, a lot better than BLOPS 4 that's for sure. the controls and the shooting in general just feels better, like it's more fun to sit down and play and everything just feels really tight

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bigruss51

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@Virtue777: I was so foolish to listen to all the hype reviews for how good Black Ops 4 was that I bought the deluxe edition with season pass. I've never been more bored with the multiplayer in the CoD franchise. Zombies is it's only saving grace for me as the blackout mode is not something I'm interested in. And the graphics are downright terrible to look at. All the colors just melt together like a painting. BOps 1 looks far better when upscaled to 4K res. Of course blizzard wouldn't give a refund.

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newbpwnr

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@Virtue777: also looks better than call of duty 4 black cops.

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barakz0r

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This comment section is split into two: the people who didnt played the game and call it shit, and ppl who did play the game and call it great.

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phili878

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@barakz0r: You forgot also about the people that play BF games since BF1942 that know the difference between a good quality BF game and yearly repetitive garbage.

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barakz0r

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@phili878: I didnt forgot, they are also split in the same manner. Those who played BF5 and think its great(like me) and those who didnt and call it shit.

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aross2004

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@barakz0r: So anyone who thinks it's shit hasn't played it? Hilarious!

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newbpwnr

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@barakz0r: I really don't like ea very much. They have a terrible history of scamming pc gamers.

This is not the EA that I know.

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untouchables111

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@newbpwnr: thought EA was giving away the dlc for free this time.

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newbpwnr

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@untouchables111: They are. And all the guns are unlocked from actually playing the game.

There are skins that will probably be opened up to monetization but for now everything can be earned by just playing.

This is not the EA that I know lol

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phili878

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looks like crap, probably plays like it too. But ofc, Review score 8 as usual.

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newbpwnr

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Edited By newbpwnr

@phili878: quit talkin out of your butt. It is gorgeous. The maps are great and fun.

And it isn't pay 2 win or random lootbox garbage.

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phili878

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@newbpwnr: Mate, they pump one of these games per year, it never is special, just repetitive crap and now apparently black female nazi soldiers because of whatever rights these days advocate for it and yes, as always, an 8 at least.

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jagdedge124

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Edited By jagdedge124

Hm, awful lol. After hours of Red Dead i think i was spoiled. I find this unplayable after that.

Die/ Respawn/Rinse/Repeat. And i wish it was that quick, but that bleed out effect has to go, slowing the respawn.

Plus the graphics are awful, and the maps looks identical to BF1.

I wish we had more Red Dead type historical games with that quality, being after playing that, i can't even touch this trash lol.

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triplebullet

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Edited By triplebullet

@jagdedge124: I don't mind anything in the comment except saying the graphics are awful. That is just plain stupid. If you think this game looks bad then RDR2 does not look any better...

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Pupchu

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Beetlefault IIIII

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NativePixel

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The game seems more immersive than others, more intense. I’m loving it ?

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fox_fury

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But Michael are you sure you're educated enough to review this game?

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Pupchu

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@fox_fury: *laughs*

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chechak7

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Mostly copy BF1 then CTRL+V = BFV

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osufan77

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Edited By osufan77

@chechak7: Ha, you're mostly right, but as a longtime series fan, I'm not complaining. They could literally just keep releasing maps for these games and I'll still keep playing.

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Johnnyboy787

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Edited By Johnnyboy787

@osufan77: Because they took a beloved series turn it into a SJW game to please those people, then insult the fans.

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aross2004

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@johnnyboy787: Ignorance.

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Statistic

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Man, I read this article with intent, wanting to hear something substantial. I almost fell asleep.

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osufan77

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I played for a few hours today already, and yeah, there's some graphical issues that need addressed in an update soon, but really other than that, it's a solid Battlefield experience.

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UltimateBastard

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@osufan77: tbh I thought the opposite. I played a good few hours of the beta and got the same impression i got from playing bf1, wouldn't make it past 20 hours before I was done with it.

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osufan77

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Edited By osufan77

@UltimateBastard: It's WAY better than the Beta right now FYI, but to each their own.

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UltimateBastard

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Edited By UltimateBastard

@osufan77: Fair enough, did they completely revamp the gameplay from the beta? because it was one of my main complaints. Its plays more like a fast paced arcade shooter. If I wanted that I'd go and play COD, they're the experts in that field. What is it that you feel makes it a solid battlefield game, because it doesn't play like any of its predecessors apart from BF1?

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spartanx169x

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@osufan77: In what ways is it better? When I played the beta I did not have or see a single epic battle compared to seeing them and being in them every single time I play BF1. Every single encounter was small in the beta roughly 2 to 4 vs 2 to 4. Tanks were impossible to kill. Health regen and ammo packs all but ruined the game in the beta.

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dragoonmike

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Edited By dragoonmike

@osufan77: how the game is not out till the 20th of nov the beta's are over I would really like to know. hell the only answer I can think of as to how your playing is you somehow sole a copy from a warehouse.

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carlgrimes

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Edited By carlgrimes

@dragoonmike: Subscribers to Origin Access can play now. If you have the Basic plan ($4.99 per month), you can play for 10 hours. If you have the Premier plan ($14.99 per month/ $99.99 per year), you can play indefinitely. If you preordered the game you can play it in full on the 14th, otherwise everyone can play the game on the 20th. Also important to note that the game is included in the Origin Access library.

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