Battlefield V’s War Stories explore lesser-known vignettes from World War II, for the better

Strange days, when I’m looking forward to a Battlefield game’s singleplayer campaign more than its multiplayer. Battlefield 3’s campaign was mediocre. Battlefield 4’s was somehow even worse, full of tough-guy posturing and the worst excesses of the “Modern Military Shooter” era.

Then Battlefield 1 won our Game of the Year prize. And sure, the multiplayer side of DICE’s World War I shooter was impressive, albeit much more explosive than the grim trenches of Verdun. The singleplayer “War Stories” were the highlight for me though, a series of vignettes covering different theaters of the war, different tones, different military roles. Lawrence of Arabia, zeppelins and biplanes, tank crews and trench warfare—Battlefield 1 captured a very large war by focusing on the very small, the ultra-personal, and was a better game because of that approach.

So then, the question: Can Battlefield V ($60 preorder on Amazon) do the same with World War II?

If necessary, alone

I headed down to EA’s Redwood City office last week to find out. We were given two to three hours to play through a subsection of Battlefield V’s War Stories, although only one of the mini-campaigns to completion.

DICE revealed all four War Stories on Tuesday with a new trailer. If you missed it, the campaigns are titled Nordlys, Under No Flag, Tirailleur, and The Last Tiger. There’s also a flashy prologue called “My Country Calling” that lasts 10 or 15 minutes.

We played through said prologue, plus all the way through Nordlys. Then we had the chance to play through the first chapter in Under No Flag and Tirailleur. All we got was a trailer for The Last Tiger—which isn’t too surprising, as it’s not going to be present at launch. Instead, The Last Tiger will be added to the game in December.

I’m not sure whether that might mean further singleplayer DLC down the road or if DICE just needed more time to finish The Last Tiger, though I’m hoping it’s the former. I was disappointed Battlefield 1 never got any singleplayer DLC, since War Stories is built in such a way it could easily accommodate additional self-contained arcs. I’m hoping Battlefield V takes more advantage of that fact.

But the point is we didn’t touch The Last Tiger, and that’s a bit of a shame because it’s the most daring of Battlefield V’s War Stories. Set towards the tail end of the war, you play as a Tiger tank commander—which means, for those who aren’t tank buffs, you’re playing as a Nazi. That’s a pretty sensitive subject, and I’m curious to see whether DICE can pull it off. It’s damn risky.

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