Opinion PC

We ask a South African casual and pro what they think about the Battlefield V Open Beta

Battlefield V open beta impressions.jpg

I am no pro when it comes to Battlefield games, but I am also not a complete noob. I understand squad play, and in public matches, I could always hold my own with a decent score. I was a credit to the team. Playing the Battlefield V open beta, however, made me feel like the fat kid on the team no one wants to play with.

I've asked Stephen Fowler de Witt (F5-Slang), owner of F5 Gaming, and one of the admins of the local Battlefield Facebook group to also share his opinion about the open beta. He formerly played for xTc, one of South Africa's top MGOs, and has been playing Battlefield for almost eight years. One of the highlights of his Battlefield competitive career was when he played for the Southern Barbarians when they took the ESL Nation's Cup.

(Please note that we both played on PC. Click on images to enlarge - all taken from the open beta).

The Casual

Battlefield V is a different beast. The new gameplay mechanics have a significant impact on the game and without a proper squad to play with, it becomes .. less, and an extremely frustrating experience. You could get away with a lot of things in Battlefield 1 that you won't when playing Battlefield V; and it is a good thing because everyone has to up their game, even casuals.

In Battlefield 1 you could get away with playing public matches on your own (even though you are part of a squad), but in Battlefield V you have to play as a tight, controlled group, and you have to think strategically. Yes, it is something you should always do in games like Battlefield, but it has never been more clear for me than in Battlefield V.

A soldier alone on the battlefield is just a dead man walking. A squad that doesn't play together is just taking up space. With the refined Time To Death mechanic, more predictable recoil and bullet spray, Fortifications, refined player movement, and deeper squad play, DICE changed not only the flow of the game but also the demand it places on players.

For me, Battlefield V is definitely less noob friendly than Battlefield 1, but not yet as competitively refined as Battlefield 4. It has a lot of potential, but we will have to wait for the full release to make a judgment on that.

Battlefield V open beta screen.jpg

I found myself staring up into the sky more in Battlefield V than in any previous instalment. If you enjoy playing Medic, then you'll love the new revive mechanics, it's easy, quick, and you can even opt out of a revive if things get too hot. As a support class, I felt a lot more 'exposed' in the sense that there was never a squad with me to provide cover fire while I rescue a fallen comrade. The battlefield is deadlier than before, and support classes will have to rely on their squad if they want to fulfil their function properly. Because of the reduction in ammo available at spawn, you can also not pull of 'spray and pray moves', you have to make each shot count. There are ammo depots at specific locations, but these are also easy target points.

When it comes to the technical aspects of Battlefield V, I feel that DICE still has a long way to go before the game will be launch day ready. OFor the first couple of hours I couldn't complete a round and got disconnected all the time. I know many local players reported the same issue. I've been able to join local matches fairly easy and without waiting more than three minutes, depending on the time of day. There are also a lot of in-game issues; floating bodies, stuttering, overlaps, and at times the graphics even look ugly. Visibility is also still an issue. I have a GTX 1080, so I am well above the recommended settings. When activating my GeForce experience to capture footage, it got even worse, so much so that I had to disable it. Last night, my game also completely crashed with some DirectX error that states my graphics drivers are not up to date - while it is. I had to do a fresh install, and I still get the message. My Battlefield open beta is currently completely broken, and I am waiting on DICE for a solution.

However, when it does work, it works really well. I've had moments of pure joy with gameplay as smooth as velvet. No drop in framerate, no issues at all, and with surroundings that look magnificent. Gunplay can also be extremely satisfying, but you'll have to spend some time with each weapon to get the best out of it. If you're just gonna pick a class and run into battle you'll feel that lack of knowledge when you come up against other players more familiar with their weapon. In a lot of ways, Battlefield V is a much more refined game than its predecessor.

Battlefield V has tremendous potential to be one of the best titles in the series, but until DICE works out the kinks, I cannot recommend the game. We have to keep in mind that this is a beta, but having said that, the release day is less than three months away and I expected a bit more from the open beta.

Battlefield V will require more dedication and time to excel in than Battlefield 1, but if you are willing to go the extra mile, then it will reward you with an extremely fulfilling experience.

Lastly, about the customization controversy. From the bit I have played it didn't feel like it was something that disrupted the experience. The battlefield demands your attention 100% of the time, so you don't have the luxury of gaping at strange-looking soldiers. The only times I did notice these oddities were when one managed to kill me. They looked strange, but it's such a little thing when compared to everything else the game has to offer.

BFV screenshot.jpg beta.jpg

The pro

Overall impressions from the beta

"The only main issues I have at the moment would be the constant server crashes and game optimization. With that being said, it is only in beta, so issues are to be expected. You do need an absolute monster of a rig to run this beta smoothly.

Overall the game looks good; really pretty and well designed. It looks complete even for a beta which is impressive. One of my teammates mentioned something really interesting, making me realize how clever the devs were in tying in the flags on the two available conquest maps, it allows for good flow in the gameplay and a lot of different avenues for you to approach objectives from.

The game looks promising, but obviously, I still have doubts as I feel the game is built more for the public satisfaction rather than the competitive aspect. With Battlefield 4 being the last game we are able to play competitively, we are looking at this title with hopes of it showing competitive promise. Otherwise, we as an Esports group, would all move on to a different title next year. So holding thumbs for domination!

Comparing this beta to the first impressions I had regarding BF1; it is a definite step in the right direction. BF1's beta was so bad in my opinion that I didn't even purchase that game. I will purchase BFV regardless of the competitive standpoint because I am enjoying the game and would recommend it to my peers."

How did you find the new squad mechanics?

"The 4-man squads coming back is a bit of a concern for me, I hope they allow 5-man squads in domination because if not, this could present a whole different problem for us on its own.

As for public gaming and playing for fun, the squad mechanic is pretty cool, allowing you to create a lobby with squad mates and match make as a squad. You are also able to join on your squadmates game directly from the menu. I personally do not like the way they carried the deploy screen over from BF1; it is time-consuming and unnecessary. It could be more optimized like they had it in BF3 and BF4, user-friendly, light on resources and straightforward. The deploy screen since BF1 feels more like a gimmick that looks good, instead of being practical.

Revives have also become much more tactical if you do not play as a medic, it takes really long to revive a teammate, you have to make the call whether it is worth the risk in reviving or just letting your teammate bleed out and respawn."

How do you find the new TTK mechanic?

"I am really loving the TTK, rewarding aim and skill over complete randomness and luck. The thing I enjoy most is the fact that these weapons all have a set recoil and spray pattern, there is no more randomness. If you take the time to get to know the weapons and make an effort to learn how the recoil works, it will reward you and allow for consistency. Even from the competitive view, this is a massive plus, and I look forward to playing smaller/infantry only maps where this reward on skill comes into play. I just hope that the smaller maps have good map design!"


Is it more competitive with the new changes?

"The two maps available in conquest does make it competitive yes, but only when you look at the technical aspect of the game. Like I mentioned, weapons have more recoil, harder to control. Sights are almost useless on the weapons, so you have to use iron sights on all SMG's and assault weapons. This all adds up. I see a lot of people missing the easiest shots purely because of them "mag dumping" their weapon (holding in the trigger) and being unable to control it. So yes, from that point of view it is more competitive.

But the game mode in the beta which we are all playing "Conquest" is not the correct mode for us to have a proper opinion regarding competitiveness. The map is too large, too open, and too pub friendly. Allowing people to camp and avoid objectives for KD. We will have to wait for the full game release and for domination to become available before we can conclusively say whether the game is competitive or not. So far so good though.

I would just like the devs to maybe add a little more ammo, especially on infantry maps! On a final note, speaking about the competitive aspect of the game, server availability and the server admin tool is going to play a massive part in whether this title will be the next competitive battlefield or not. This is a major reason for BF1 not even being mentioned as a potential successor from BF4 as the next comp title. If we do not have local server (which we already have in BFV luckily) and a proper server admin tool and possibly 3rd party rentals. We might have an issue.

We need the ability to change things on the server, like time, tickets, bleed rate, unlocks, server passwords, etc. for it to be considered as a competitive title."

If you've been playing the open beta then we would love to hear some feedback, so drop us a comment in the section below.

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"DICE changed not only the flow of the game but also the demand it places on players"

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