Battlefield V’s new gameplay changes offer realistic immersion, but require more player interaction

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Battlefield V has finally been revealed. Or rather a brief overview of it has been revealed during Wednesday evening’s event as there were new gameplay changes that were only mentioned briefly. And damn are there a lot of them. Luckily EA and DICE gave their Gamechangers (prominent members of the community involved in early testing/feedback) a peek behind the curtain and they’ve been sharing what they learned. And it sounds huge –  these changes will offer a revolutionary new way to play Battlefield games!

There’s a LOT of info to get through, so I’ll break it down into sections and bullet points.

CLASSES

  • Traditional four main classes (Assault, Medic, Support, Recon) are back, but they can now be customized using Archetypes, sub-classes that specialize in a particular role. Eg. An Assault that focuses on anti-infantry and anti-armour.
  • There’s a deeper level of customized classes called Exotics, these are very, very specialized classes that excel at one thing. An example given is a Recon Paratrooper, who boasts silences weapons, throwing knives, and a Silent Footsteps perk to allow for behind-enemy-lines infiltration.
  • Classes now have a skill tree that unlocks via progression through usage only. No abilities/perks can be purchased.
  • Classes no longer have predefined looks as you can customize every aspect of your soldiers using the new Company features. The customizations are persistent across game modes.

WEAPONS & AMMO

  • Weapon recoil has been completely reworked. Bullet spread is no longer random. All weapons will have a very distinct recoil that can be learned and even compensated for when firing.
  • Weapons now have accurate levels of bullet penetration, so you can use that LMG to rip through wooden structures or eat away at brick walls to hit enemies inside.
  • You will now be able to mount LMG tripods in far more locations.
  • A new system called Attrition will see soldiers spawn in with less ammo and grenades than before, preventing the grenade spam of previous games and forcing folks to rely on teamwork with support players to stay stocked up.
  • Picking up ammo is now an interactive process. You need to press a button to prompt an animation to pick up ammo from crates or supply depots or loot enemies. No more passive resupply auras.
  • Weapon emplacements like field guns and AA cannons can now be hooked up to vehicles and towed around the map (even used while towing) to prevent tanks and planes from being able to just bomb default positions that would have countered them.
  • Weapons can be ranked up via a skill tree progression system through usage, just like with the classes
  • Weapons can also be customized on a granular level using the Company (weapons can be broken down to up to 7 different components) but it is all purely cosmetic. E.g. you can attach different grip, barrel, stock, or skin to your weapon, just like in Battlefield 4’s complex weapon system, but it will have no impact on how the weapon performs.
  • Grenades can now be picked up and thrown back, or even shot in the air while being thrown.

VEHICLES AND ELITE CLASSES

  • Vehicles can be ranked up via a skill tree progression system through usage.
  • Vehicles can be customized using the Company but it is all cosmetic.
  • The special Behemoth vehicles and Elite Classes from Battlefield 1 are now gone.
  • Certain maps will have asymmetrical vehicle spawns for the two teams. E.g. one team may have a single bigger, stronger tank, while the other has two or three smaller, more nimble tanks that don’t pack as much of a punch.

DESTRUCTION

  • Battlefield’s trademark destruction is now far more detailed. Hit an outside wall with a tank shell and it will knock it inward in one fell swoop, but toss a large grenade indoors or maybe have a tank shell pass through an opening to detonate against an inside wall, and you will see the structure explode outward in a shower of deadly debris.
  • Buildings will now also not collapse in one quick action, but will slowly and realistically crumble and fall over time as they sustain damage.

FORTIFICATIONS

  • All soldiers, irrespective of class, will have a toolbox that allows them to build fortifications, these include building up collapsed walls, ladders, barbed wire emplacements, foxholes and more. These can only be built at predetermined locations though, usually close to a defensive point.
  • The support class will be the only ones that can build advanced offensive fortifications like supply depots, on top of the rest, and they will also build faster than other soldiers.
  • The built supply depot can be towed by vehicles like weapon emplacements to allow for more mobile resupplying.

HEALTH AND REVIVAL

  • Health will no longer auto-regenerate fully. The new Attrition system also affects your health bar by dividing it into sections. Take enough damage to drop several sections and your health will only regen up to the current section it’s in and no further.
  • All squadmates can now revive each other, irrespective of class. The medic class though will revive faster and be able to heal soldiers to full health using a dropped med-pack, but they need to actively collect and use the med-pack themselves.
  • Revival is now a cancellable detailed animation that takes several seconds to complete and will show you jabbing a syringe into your fallen comrade’s chest, helping them up and sending them on their way.
  • To counter being shot while reviving, you are now able to drag the ragdoll model of a downed comrade by their limbs so that you can move them to cover before starting the revival animation.

MOVEMENT

  • You can now crouch sprint to keep a low profile while moving fast or dive through windows and land in a roll to keep up momentum.
  • You can dive forward, backwards or side to side while running and then choose to stay on the ground to fire from whatever position you landed in or even seamlessly transition between them and even move around.
  • DICE are aware that this sounds like the old dolphin diving problem so they’ve added a delay between you hitting the ground and being able to shoot to prevent this from being exploited.
  • You can be knocked back by shockwaves from explosions while moving.
  • Your movement has an impact on the environment and vice versa. Run through deep water and you will see your character’s leg animations change to show them putting in more effort while the water will slow you down and hinder movements, perhaps making taking a shortcut across a river a risky endeavour.
  • Your movement will now disturb foliage. So laying prone in tall grass may prevent you from being seen, but your movement will move and part the grass or reeds giving your position away.
  • There’s talk that running across rocky areas off the beaten track may cause your character to stumble or even fall on unsure footing. This has not been confirmed though.

SQUAD PLAY

  • Battlefield V will reinforce the importance of four-player squad play, as every soldier spawning in will instantly be placed into a squad.
  • Playing in a squad unlocks rewards and perks that cannot be obtained while playing solo.
  • Playing in a squad earn squad points while playing the game, and these can be used by the squad leader for specialized call-ins like a B2 bomber run, a V1 rocket, a smoke barrage, a supply drop with ammo and med-packs, special heavy weapons, and special squad vehicles like the Sturmtiger tank.
  • When you die, you will now first go to a Squad Redeploy screen where you will see a third-person, full-screen view of the action surrounding your squadmates. This allows you to pick just the right squad member at the right time to spawn on, preventing those irritating past moments of spawning right into weapons fire and dying.
  • If you’re the last member left alive in your squad, you will get an on-screen prompt informing you of this, meaning you need to play more carefully to all squad mates to spawn in safely.
  • If an entire squad wipe happens, you will then get the old Redeploy screen where you have to choose a point on the overhead map – usually a distance from the engagements – to spawn on. This makes squad wipes one of the most effective ways of swinging a battle.

SPOTTING

  • The new spotting system has still not been explained 100%, but you will no longer be able to look in a general direction and hit a button on your controller to light enemies up on a 3D map.
  • Passive aura spotting appears to be gone, and the new system will require a bit more interaction, though the details are not clear yet.

And that concludes the rather lengthy list of gameplay changes we know about for now. We’ll know more after Battlefield V’s official multiplayer reveal at EA Play next month, but for now it seems clear what DICE is doing with all these changes. As per their promises, they want this to be the most immersive WWII experience by forcing you to actively perform all functions. They’re also stressing teamwork and more tactical play. No longer can assault players storm an enemy encampment solo, take out a few targets, retreat to a hidden corner after taking some damage, wait for their health to regen, then throw themselves back at the enemy to rinse and repeat. You now need those specialist classes to perform those specific tasks all while making sure you have a medic or support player around to keep you in the fight.

Even more than the new Combined Arms co-op mode or epic sounding Grand Operations, or even dropping of Premium Pass, it’s these gameplay changes that have me the most excited for Battlefield V. These are the very definition of game-changers.

Last Updated: May 25, 2018

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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