E3 2018: In Battlefield V, Teamwork Has Never Been More Important

By Mark Delaney, 3 months ago
Battle royale in Battlefield V is happening. We learned that at EA Play. Maybe they were spurred by rival Call of Duty's similar reveal a month ago. More likely, they were just waiting until today to show it off. But like Call of Duty, the game mode addition is obviously being done on the fly, later than much of the rest of the game. That means the focus at the scene of EA Play was on Battlefield V's other major new game mode: Grand Operations. From the Hollywood Palladium, I got to take part in a 32-v-32 match playing a pre-alpha build of the game. What I saw didn't quite redefine Battlefield, but as has long been the case, it was hectic and fun.

E3 screenshots

Playing on PC, the label "pre-alpha build" sort of felt like a joke. Battlefield is always one of the most visually arresting games and V is no different despite being in its early stages. From the snowy hills of Norway, my demo was one of the prettiest of E3 week — and I saw 25 games. Grand Operations was talked about at the game reveal event hosted by Trevor Noah a few weeks back, but if you missed it, essentially it's a multi-stage overarching mode that offers several shifting game modes and modifiers during the course of several in-game days. How you perform each day affects things like your volume of reinforcements and ammunition over subsequent days, thus highlighting the need to play as a tightly knit squad.

My demo started as we dropped out of an airplane and parachuted to land — it seems even here some battle royale influence can't be avoided. I played as a medic, but different archetypes for each of the four usual Battlefield classes can be unlocked as players progress through the multiplayer ranks. This wasn't on display today, but something like skill trees was teased that should allow players to customize their class and perhaps even meld to some greater extent with other classes.

Landing in Norway, our goal shifted several times over the two-day affair, so much so that it's hard to recall in which order it all took place. Planting bombs, destroying a train and wiping survivors were all on the agenda and the objectives change a lot based on which team is winning. Sniping enemies with my Kar98k felt nostalgic as the series has been away from WWII for so long. Maps once again were vast, and this time changing round to round.

A much-requested feature, calling out for revives, has finally come to Battlefield. Players can choose to skip it, as before, and bleed out quickly, or hold a button to delay their death in the hopes that a teammate notices them and gets them back to health. Gasping and looking left and right for an ally is actually quite effective. It makes you more noticeable on the battlefield thanks to new HUD displays and a good teammate will make the effort to save you more often now, it seems, since they are better alerted to your presence. My team wasn't tasked with building fortifications, but we were shown how that works and, like much else in the game, any player can do it, but those of a certain class can do it best.

It's teamwork or defeat in Battlefield V.It's teamwork or defeat in Battlefield V.

The best new aspect of Grand Operations is how the ammunition reserves are more scarce. Players seem to start with less than they used to which means they'll need to rely on better teamwork from their squadmates and teammates to resupply them regularly. It's never been more rewarding to play as an actual team. Lone wolves are almost punished at this point. Battlefield has always prided itself on a more tactical approach than, say Call of Duty, and this fall's entry seems to take that directive to new heights.

Everyone has a role to play in Battlefield V. That's long been the case in the series but now you really can't get away with ignoring it the way you once could. You'll soon run out of ammo and reinforcements over the long days and nights. The changes witnessed in my play session could arguably be considered more incremental than revolutionary, but they smartly hone in on precisely why some Battlefield players prefer it to anything else and fine-tune those elements like never before. It's never felt less inviting to those only willing to sprint around looking out for themselves and I don't mean that in a bad way. If you want to lone wolf a shooter, you'll need to look elsewhere. Now more than ever, over the multi-day assaults of Grand Operations, Battlefield is saying team up or GTFO.
Mark Delaney
Written by Mark Delaney
Mark is a Boston native now living in Portland, Oregon. He's the Editorial Manager on TA, loves story-first games, and is one of three voices on the TA Playlist podcast. Outside of games he likes biking, sci-fi, the NFL, and spending time with his fiancée and son. He almost never writes in the third person.