Also available on Xbox One and Windows
Review written by Stephen Deck; originally published 5/15/5019 on Teacher by Day, Gamer by Night
Battlefield V was a controversial game upon release, to say the least. Fans of multiplayer criticized the game for focusing too much on the single player. Fans of single player criticized the game for focusing too much on multiplayer. History buffs criticized the game for being inaccurate. Misogynists criticized the game for featuring women on the battlefield. With all of that, I wasn’t too sure what to expect when I started Battlefield V, but fortunately for me, I don’t really agree with much of the criticism at all and ended up having a fantastic time.
If I were going to agree with any of the criticism, it would be that the game DOES have some historical inaccuracies. For the most part, however, these inaccuracies are creative decisions. The whole point of Battlefield V’s campaign is the “untold stories” of World War II. One of the missions has you assume the role of a young Norwegian woman in the Resistance. One has you play as Senegalese soldier fighting for France and encountering European racism for the first time. One – and my personal favorite – has you assume control of a German Tiger commander at the end of the war struggling between his obligation to carry out his duty and the knowledge that the war is lost and his country has committed unforgivable sins. When I first saw that you played as a German commander, I was a bit uneasy. Are they going to try to portray the Germans as somehow less guilty of horrific war crimes? Are they going to just have the player do horrible things to reinforce the point that Nazis are history’s shittiest people? Fortunately, however, they didn’t do either. They managed to humanize the Germans without sanitizing them. The four characters in the campaign each represent the major archetypes of soldiers. Your character, the commander, is, as I said, struggling with doing his duty despite knowing his country is wrong. The driver is jaded and disillusioned, bitter from the horrific things his people have done in a war they can’t win. The gunner is the patriotic party-line toting loyalist who executes traitors without mercy and never questions Germany’s righteousness. The loader is the terrified, young recruit who doesn’t know what to do, who to believe, or what to trust. They never try to suggest that Germany was right in this war, though, and that’s a relief.
My biggest complaint with the game as far as historical inaccuracies go is their refusal to use the swastika. They make mention of the swastika as a metaphor for German control, but they never use it actually in-game. Everything from uniforms to tanks to symbols on banners in Germany all uses the Iron Cross; there’s not a swastika to be seen. Obviously, the use of the Iron Cross isn’t a problem; it was still a symbol wide used throughout Germany during the war. The problem is the use of the Iron Cross to the total exclusion of the swastika because that is a big point of historical inaccuracy. The Nazis put the swastika up all over Germany. That probably wouldn’t bother most people, but as a history teacher, that kind of erasure REALLY irks me.
I never played the multiplayer as it’s just not a feature that really interests me that much, but as for the gameplay in the single player, I was pretty satisfied. I’ve read that there were a lot of complaints about the accuracy of the weapon models in the game, but while I am a history major, I’m not a gun nut, so I can’t speak for how accurate and appropriate the weapon models are. The aiming seemed pretty well polished and responsive, weapons were well detailed, and the firing sound effects are full-bodied and satisfying. The vehicular combat, while fairly limited in most of the single player, is extremely gratifying.
Battlefield V is definitely not one of the better efforts in the series, but it’s still a good bit of fun if you’re a fan of World War II shooters. It’s definitely not as good as Battlefield 1 was, and it’s certainly not the WW2 glory of yesteryear’s Battlefield 1942, but the single player is a good experience, and it tells stories that you’re not likely to see told elsewhere. That alone won the game some major points in my book considering that I play games for the stories they tell and the experiences they provide. I wouldn’t pay any more than $20 for Battlefield V, but if you can find it for that price or less, definitely give it a play.