First gameplay footage, full details for Battlefield V’s Firestorm revealed

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To paraphrase Billy Joel’s popular 1989 ditty about shifting blame when it comes to starting fires, we didn’t light it but we tried to fight it. At least that’s what we’re going to do when Battlefield V’s long-awaited battle royale mode Firestorm goes live sometime later today (UPDATE: It’s live now, but servers are being rolled out as needed so locals are still being paired with EU players). Pitched as one of the WWII shooter’s biggest drawcards before release, Firestorm has been held back in development for months now. Possibly too long though as surprising competitor Apex Legends may have stolen its thunder, as we recently discussed. This weekend past saw the first official gameplay footage and details for the new mode developed by DICE and Criterion Games released, and I have to admit that I’m kind of stoked to play it now.

The official gameplay trailer dropped on Friday, giving us a neat breakdown of how things will play out.

At first glance, it’s pretty standard battle royale stuff. Sixteen four-person squads air drop into a large map which they have to loot for weapons and equipment so that they can battle it out to be the last squad standing while the gameplay area slowly contracts around them. Subsequent footage revealed by the EA Gamechangers streamers who got flown out to Stockholm to take the new mode for a lengthy spin a few weeks ago, reveal that there are a couple of unique twists though.

Firstly, let’s talk about the mode’s actual namesake: the Firestorm. While the Halvøy map DICE and Criterion Games have created here is massive (ten times the size of the already dwarfing Hamada map on BFV), you won’t play on every part of it all the time as the game starts with the Firestorm ring of fire already in place. Just which portions of the map the ring cuts off will be completely random, forcing players to not always drop in the same locations over and over again as what sometimes happens in other battle royale titles. Most importantly though, unlike those other games, you really don’t want to get caught outside of the zone. Hell, you don’t even want to get close to it!

Unlike the simple contracting circle of light in other titles, here it’s a proper firestorm, a roaring maelstrom of flame and destruction that utterly razes any buildings or equipment in its path. Just get close to this wall of flame, and your soldier in-game will start to cough and struggle to breathe as they feel the residual effects. And it’s apparently scary as hell. No more of those quick “I’ll just pop in and out of the zone to flank” moments here. You really don’t want to get caught by the Firestorm.

The game mode also brings an interesting take on UI. While not as genius as Apex Legend’s efforts, there’s still some innovation here in that there is no separate inventory screen. Instead you have your soldier’s backpack permanently represented on the bottom right-hand corner of the screen, the area dynamically expanding or contracting as you pick up or drop loot. The size of the backpack itself can be increased, allowing you to hold more items at one time.

Unfortunately, criticism has already been levelled at the mode’s looting system as dead players don’t have death boxes to rummage through, but rather just fountain-spurt out all the loot they were carrying. This wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the fact that there are some serious clipping issues with loot, meaning that often different items are lying literally inside each other, making it almost impossible to quickly grab just what you want and go. DICE were already made aware of this issue during the Gamechangers event and are already trying to come up with a solution.

Those patented Battlefield franchise vehicles are also in the map, allowing the action to traverse land, sea and air. There is a huge range of vehicles available from a lowly tractor to an experimental helicopter. The most devastating vehicles can be found in bunkers dotted throughout the map though, but they require teamwork to open up (there are two huge doors to open separately) and while you’re doing so, an incredibly loud klaxon sounds notifying everybody around you as to what you’re doing.

Also, while the locations of these bunkers are fixed, their contents are not. The vehicles will all be of the highest tier, but they could range from a nimble Staghound T17E1 armoured car to a lumbering-but-deadly Churchill Mk VII flamethrower tank and more. All vehicles have limited supplies of fuel and ammo though, forcing you to either scavenge for more or abandon your now-immobile find. This, along with very effective anti-vehicle ordnance found on the map, means that a squad rolling around in a tank don’t become unstoppable.

Along with bunkers, there are also more than 20 possible Resupply Objective Points randomly placed on the map (they reset when the Firestorm contracts) that have to be captured just like in your normal Conquest mode. Capturing them will give you access to the highest tier loot within. All players are notified of their locations though, so you may need to fight your way through to them. There are also safes to be cracked and random supply air drops which also gives you access to higher tier loot. Some of these will contain special flares, which can be used to summon reinforcements – either a supply drop, a vehicle drop, an artillery strike, or a devastating V-1 guided rocket.

As for weapons and other equipment, they come in three tiers of Common, Rare, and Epic. Your soldier can carry two primary weapons, one sidearm and up to four different types of ammo. You also have four gadget slots, one for the new healing syrettes, one for grenades, and the other two for whatever gadgets you can scrounge up. Players all start with a base health pool of 150, and this can be increased by picking up and inserting armour plates into your soldier’s vest, with each contributing an additional 50 health points each. The higher the tier of vest, the more armour plates you can carry – Common fits one, Rare fits two, and Epic fits three. These plates have to be replaced after taking weapon/explosive damage and there’s a very neat animation that shows your soldier swapping them out.

All in all, there are 16 primary weapons, 5 sidearms, and 10 melee weapons to be found in Firestorm. All are pulled directly from the main game and behave virtually identical to their established counterparts. This means that due to the higher health pool of soldiers (potentially triple what you would find in standard multiplayer), the Time-To-Kill is now much longer than Battlefield V’s normal fast and unforgiving gameplay style. If you do get dropped, while death is permanent and there’s no respawn system a la Apex Legends, you will first go into a downed state. If you don’t get killed you can be revived from here by any teammate and can also crawl around. What’s unique is that while in this downed state, you can still use your sidearm or melee weapon. Throw in the Battlefield franchise’s trademark levels of destruction, and the components are there for some hilarious and inventive kills.

There are still more finer details (including thorough weapon, vehicle and gadget breakdowns) that have now been made available which you can check out on the official Firestorm page, but I’ve already seen enough. Yes, it’s true that the new mode is going to feel slightly outdated in certain aspects, simply because Apex Legends came along last month and unexpectedly pushed the genre forward in so many regards, but I am actually very excited by what I’m seeing here. DICE have made sure to reiterate across all their press releases and the like for Firestorm that what we’re getting at launch is just the beginning and they’re already at work on more content and ideas for the mode. I can’t wait to try it all out when I get home this afternoon.

Last Updated: March 25, 2019

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