I mentioned in my last BF5 post that I’d delve into a bit more of the minutea of the series’ upcoming iteration. So here we’ll deep dive into the game, scratch away the fancy fluff on the surface and see what else we can expect.
It was a big gripe of mine with the most recent Battlefield games that the level of destruction players could inflict on buildings seemed to have been dialled back and simplified. Destruction peaked with Bad Company 2 and sure, while the patterns of destruction themselves were predictable, they were an excellent game mechanic. Many a time have I used it to flush a player out, or bring the building down around them. In BF3, 4 and to an extent 1, this really didn’t seem to happen anymore. EA/Dice started bandying around terms like “Levolution” instead, using scripted events during a game to re-shape the battlefield, allowing tactical variations. While the idea seemed good on paper, after you’d seen it once the novelty quickly wore off, and the events became anticipated. Gone was the random nature of the battlefield, not to mention the satisfaction you got from blowing the crap out of some random house.
Destruction is back in a big way in BF5 and debris is also more realistic, exploding in the direction of the hit. For example, fire a tank shell at a wall and the debris goes inward, whereas explosions within the building throw the debris out. You can also drive tanks through buildings if you’re impatient and need a shortcut, and from a player’s point of view you can do things like diving out of a window and barrel rolling on the ground, without first needing to break the window before you can leave the building.
One new aspect of BF5 is fortifications. All players, no matter their class, will be capable of building defensive fortifications such as sand bags, foxholes, tank stoppers, barbed wire or trenches. Reinforcing and, to some extent, rebuilding destroyed buildings is also possible. However, if you’re in the Support class, you’ll also be able to build offensive fortifications like machine gun nests. The Support class will also be able to build everything else more quickly than other classes of player too. Players won’t be able to place fortifications willy nilly about the map though as there will be predetermined locations which will highlight when you’re near.
I’m not sure about this feature yet. I hope it won’t become a distraction or needlessly slow the pace of everything down, and I hope it’s not one of those features that players simply end up not using as it gets in the way of the “fun”. Likewise I can see the benefits. It’ll create more challenge and randomise the field, hopefully promoting more team play (see below) and force players to think about how to counter the new enemy fortifications that have appeared ahead.
Squads & Team Play
I mentioned in my last BF5 post that when entering a map you’ll automatically be placed into a squad. Well, there are a few other changes that EA/Dice hope will encourage players to think more about team play.
For one, health will no longer automatically regenerate back to full. Instead, the player’s health bar is broken up into several stages, or chunks. When a player takes damage, their heath will only regen back to the top of the chunk that they have health left in. So for example if each chunk peaks at 25, 50, 75 and 100 percent, and you take damage that knocks you down to 45% health, your health will only regen back to 50%. To get a full bill of heath back, the player will need to seek out med packs or crates, or ask a medic to assist.
You’ll also get less ammo upon spawning. Gone are the days of a single soldier carrying 200+ rounds of ammo that any person in full combat gear would be incapable of carrying in the first place. To replenish or top up your ammo you’ll need to, like heath, seek out ammo crates, packs and supply depots. You will also be able to loot small amounts of ammo from fallen comrades and enemies.
Taking both of these in to account, no longer will you be able to run off alone to capture a flag, take some damage, hide and wait for your heath to regenerate then, with plenty of ammo left, go head on at the flag again. My hope is that these simple changes will make players consider their actions and work together with their squad mates. It’ll hopefully also mean less of the good ‘ole, intensely irritating, spawn-run-die bollocks.
Reviving. All classes can revive their own squad mates now too, using Squad Revive. It won’t give you full heath and Squad revives are slower than Medic Revives, but it’ll be enough to get out of a sticky situation. For a full revive you’ll still need a medic.
Another thing worth mentioning about health and ammo packs is that you’ll now have to interact with them. There will be no more of the magical stand-next-to-it-to-get-bullets stuff. Now you’ll physically have to hit a key to get ammo or heath, with the relevant animation playing on screen. Likewise, for reviving and resupplying team mates. On a similar vein you can also drag fallen comrades out of harms way to administer happy pills in a (moderately, it’s still war after all) safer environment.
Squad call-in is another new feature. As a squad you’ll accumulate points which the squad leader can spend on a variety of call-ins. These range from V1 / JB2 rockets, supply drops and smoke barrages, to heavy weapons and squad only vehicles like flame thrower tanks.
The biggest change to the weapons in BF5 is the recoil. Gone is the unpredictable and rather annoying random bullet spread. In is old school fixed recoil patterns. Yes! To be honest I never realised this was a thing in the most recent BF games. All I knew is that I couldn’t shoot for shit. I was used to the old school shooters where you could learn a gun and compensate for its recoil and specific characteristics. Clearly I was assuming this was still the case and was trying to learn the guns and failing miserably. Very frustrating.
There will be a unique recoil patter per gun that you can learn and predict. The first few shots will/should always go to the same place, and the recoil will get worse the longer you hold the trigger. But it’ll be predictable and therefore the player will be able to compensate to a degree, be it by controlling their bursts, or by mouse movement.
Bullet penetration is also a thing now, so if an enemy is hiding behind a shed you’ll be able to shoot through it and get them. Penetrating thicker surfaces like metal and walls should also be possible too, and is governed by the weapon you’re firing.
You will also be able to throw back grenades and shoot them in the air.
One of the biggest changes with vehicles is towing, whereby you’ll now be able to tow gun emplacements such as AA guns. Further details on Vehicles is a bit sketchy at the moment so I’ll update when more is known.
Release date and Specs
The game is avaiable to pre-order on Origin now, with prices set at £54.99 for the Standard edition and £69.99 for the Deluxe edition. The release date has been set as 18th October 2018, with early access (3 days) for Deluxe Edition buyers. There’s no date yet for the Open Beta, but anyone who pre-orders will be granted access.
There’s still no news on specs.
That’s it for now. I’ll post further updates as and when info is released by EA/Dice. For now, here are a couple of videos to keep you going.
BF5 Official Reveal Trailer:
Jack Frags has also released a pretty cool Multiplayer gameplay video: