The latest entry in DICE’s Battlefield franchise, Battlefield 5, hasn’t exactly set the world on fire since its release last November. Though the same can be said of the developer’s other recent project, Star Wars Battlefront 2, a steady stream of post-launch content has significantly improved the game’s reputation in the two years it’s been on the market. When the two titles are examined side by side, it’s clear that Battlefield 5 still has a long way to go if it hopes to garner the same goodwill that Battlefront 2 has managed to slowly build.
DICE may have felt like it had hit “rock bottom” after Battlefront 2‘s loot box controversy, but the recent cancellation of the Battlefield 5 close combat mode indicates that the company hasn’t made a complete turnaround just yet. The following are a few criticisms that the studio should address as its latest military shooter enters its second year on the market.
Why Battlefield 5 Is DICE’s Biggest Disappointment | Lack of content
Though both Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Battlefield 5 lacked content at launch, the latter felt much more barren than the former. This is most due to the fact that Battlefield 5 released with only eight maps set in four different locations while Battlefront 2 released with 14 maps set on 14 different planets. Nearly each one of Battlefront 2‘s war zones feels completely different, as players are able to journey to the deserts of Jakku, the streets of Naboo, the dark world of Kamino, and more. Battlefield 5‘s maps don’t feel as diverse, as many of them are set in run-down cities or industrial areas. While the game’s attention to detail and realism should be appreciated, locales set on tropical islands or deep underground would have helped it stand out from every other World War 2 shooter on the market.
Additionally, while each game may have only offered four classes to choose from at launch, Battlefront 2 makes skirmishes more interesting with its inclusion of unlockable heroes and villains from every era of the Star Wars movie universe. Slicing up foes as characters like Darth Maul, Luke Skywalker, and Rey is a unique feature that separates the title from other multiplayer titles. Battlefield 5 doesn’t offer any novelty with its gameplay or modes. Shooting up foes as a typical video game grunt can become stale pretty fast, especially for longtime Battlefield veterans. Vehicles like tanks and aircraft help shake up the experience, but only a handful of these were available at launch.
DICE has attempted to remedy Battlefield 5‘s lack of content in the past year with nine new maps, seven new game modes (including Firestorm), new vehicles, new armor classes, and new weapons, but it has yet to arrive at the point it should have been at launch. The game’s live service component is being used as an excuse rather than an incentive, setting a worrying precedent for how DICE approaches its portfolio in the future. Should the developer keep up its output of post-launch content, Battlefield 5 may finally be worth its $60 price tag in 2020. For now, the game continues to warrant a discount when it comes to content alone.
Why Battlefield 5 Is DICE’s Biggest Disappointment | Forgettable events
While Battlefield 5 and Battlefront 2 have both had their fair share of double and triple XP weekends, the latter has done a better job of hosting limited-time events that keep fans engaged. Modes like Extraction, which tasked a Rebel team from securing a shipment from Imperial forces, and Jetpack Cargo, which saw every combatant don a jet pack and rocket launchers, show the developer’s willingness to experiment and have fun with the Star Wars license. That’s not to mention the map playlists centered around Star Wars eras or holidays.
Though Battlefield 5 has offered more limited-time modes than Battlefront 2 so far, many have felt dull and unnecessary. Grind, for instance, had the same objectives of a normal Conquest map, only had its three flags laid out in a straight line. This was at least slightly more novel than Rush, which was a copy and paste job of the game mode of the same name from Battlefield 1. The most interesting limited-time mode so far has been Outpost, as it tasks two teams of 32 players with constructing radio towers and obtaining recruits. Considering how this was the last temporary mode DICE has offered, there’s hope that the developer will be delivering more imaginative events in the near future.
Why Battlefield 5 Is DICE’s Biggest Disappointment | Firestorm
The one feature that sets Battlefield 5 apart from Battlefront 2 and every other entry in the franchise is the game’s battle royale component, Firestorm. The mode gives up to 64 players the chance to duke it out in the series’ biggest map yet, Halvoy. Though Firestorm includes the destructible environments and vehicles that Battlefield is known for, it fails to do anything remarkably different from its competition. In fact, some aspects of the mode are ripped entirely from market leaders like Fortnite (all of the equipment that splurges out of a downed foe comes to mind). It hardly offers any incentive to people who have yet to purchase Battlefield 5, as they can enjoy another battle royale title with better features for free. DICE needs to find ways to make this the battle royale to play and not some also-ran with a big name.
Several factors may contribute to DICE’s lackluster support of Battlefield 5. Since Star Wars Battlefront 2 released a year before Disney owned the title and property, most of the studio’s talent and attention may have been diverted away from the franchise. Great sales of Battlefront 2 and poor sales of Battlefield 5 may have incentivized DICE to prioritize support of one title over the other. Of course, the studio may have just gotten lackadaisical after it had decided to make Battlefield 5 a live service game. Whatever the case may be, the developer should learn from the criticism that Battlefield 5 has received so far in order to create better entries in the franchise going forward. A better Battlefield 5 would be nice too.