If you've ever wanted your online battles to feel a little more meaningful in Battlefield, it looks like the new mode, Grand Operations, might just do the trick. Going hands-on with the mode for over an hour during the EA Play event at E3 2018, I had the opportunity to take the new Battlefield V mode for a spin and, along the way, I discovered all sorts of little touches that will likely make the series' online firefights better than ever.
The idea behind Grand Operations is simple. In it, DICE took the framework of Operations from Battlefield 1 and cranked all of the nobs up a couple of notches. These aren't intended to be quick sit down and play sessions, but rather a series of operations strung together over a series of in-game days. Days will likely move more quickly if one team is dominating but, for our play session, each section of gameplay took about 30 minutes.
In Grand Operations, players receive a bit of story, some cool cutscenes and narrative-based missions. We played on the Narvik map and, as the Allies, my side was initially tasked with parachuting into an area under cover of night in the hopes of taking out a collection of artillery cannons. Once that mission was complete, the Germans had been pushed back into a nearby village, where they were tasked with preventing the Allies from locking down several control points.
Having the missions feel like they have a purpose outside of "hold down three points just because" certainly made the firefights feel more meaningful, and that bolstered sense of purpose was complemented by quite a few changes that will only help make the in-game battles feel more dynamic.
For starters, DICE's destruction engine is even more impressive in Battlefield V. Rather than simply crumble to pieces, buildings tend to fall apart more realistically. A single rocket isn't going to bring down an entire house, but it'll certainly give your team a new doorway to enter through. Do enough damage and the house will eventually be shredded to kindling or crumble into a smoldering heap.
And while the destruction is great, the introduction of building is a huge surprise that goes a long way to making each firefight feel unique. As an engineer, you've got access to a build tool that can do quite a few interesting things. While attacking the Nazis, I watched as their team quickly threw together sandbags and small structures to protect the objectives. In houses, I was able to fortify windows, giving myself just enough room to shoot out of the second floor without being an easy target. And speaking of windows, you can even dive in and out of them with ferocity in Battlefield V.
Another cool aspect of the battle is that certain pieces of machinery, like trailer-mounted machineguns, can be hooked up to a tank and moved around the map. That felt like DICE's way of saying "the guns are good here, but would they be more useful somewhere else on the map right now?"
There were a boatload of other small changes, including classes that are broken down into subsets to allow for more customization and, unless I'm mistaken, marking an enemy now highlights the place they were standing rather than the soldier themselves, which is a far more realistic use of the ability. The point is, there's a lot here to discover, and we're looking forward to learning even more alongside the community when Battlefield V finally launches on Oct. 19 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. To help pass the time, be sure to check out the new multiplayer trailer above.