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Battlefield 5 E3 2018 Multiplayer Preview: Going 'Airborne'

Battlefield V represents EA and DICE's return to World War II, but a lot has changed since the last time they ventured into the mid-20th century. A whole console generation has come and gone, FPS mechanics have evolved, and EA has further built its empire on the Frostbite engine. So how different does a WWII conflict look with the newest iteration of the Frostbite engine?

Shacknews recently had a chance to try out Battlefield V and one of its newest additions to multiplayer during this year's EA Play event. With two teams of 16, Battlefield builds on some of its previous multiplayer modes to offer a multi-phase capture mode that takes place over two days. This mode is called Airborne.

For the Allies, represented here by the British forces, the main objective for the first day is to take out the anti-aircraft artillery cannons on the opposing side. Allied soldiers will fly in and parachute down to the battlefield below, where one player will pick up a pack of explosives to plant on the nearest cannon. As with previous Battlefield games, downed players can opt to respawn next to a squad member. However, it's important that at least one member of the squad stay alive, because if the squad gets wiped out, they must re-deploy from the plane, which can cost precious seconds.

The Axis' main objective is to defend the cannons. They'll have the benefit of being able to set up defensive perimeters, but also, they'll already be stationed on the ground. If a squad gets wiped out, the German forces will spawn at a distance, but they won't have to wait the extra time to jump out of a plane.

Day 2 tasks the Allies with taking three different sets of two control points. Results from Day 1 will carry over to Day 2, mainly the survivor count. The Allies have a limited number of spawns over the course of Day 2 and if the Axis forces can outlast them, they will win the game. At one point, our offensive forces exceeded over 250 soldiers. While that seemed like a surefire path to victory, the Axis forces were able to set up a strong defense and whittle down those numbers to nothing. The third set of points, in particular, became extra difficult, as the Axis forces started showing up with tanks.

One general observation from Battlefield V's multiplayer is that DICE went out of its way to show off what the Frostbite engine could add to this setting. Day 1 took place in the middle of the night, as a blizzard was in full force. Not only was there a big challenge in trying to anticipate enemy movements, but the snow flying at full speed towards the camera proved to be an obstable in itself. The weather effects, in this instance, felt like they spiced up the action.

Teamwork is also just as important as ever. The defensive side is only as strong as the team members that fight alongside each other, holding down points, creating forts along dilapidated homes, and riding in vehicles together. On offense, it's crucial to keep squads fighting together and for at least one member to stay alive. The Medic class can help keep team members alive by reviving anyone bleeding out. This is both a nice touch and an annoyance, because downed players will almost always bleed out and it eats up a lot of time. There's no option to just die instantly, but rather players have to wait out the process before they can try and respawn and get back in the game.

Airborne is an intriguing game mode, one that tries to weave in narrative elements of the war. The narrative idea is something that could grow old after multiple sessions, but the idea of a voiceover narration telling the story of this particular battle is a neat one that makes the effort to add some stakes.

This is just the beginning for Battlefield V, as more information is set to be revealed during Sunday's Xbox E3 2018 presentation. Come back to Shacknews for more information as it becomes available.

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