There is no shortage of Battle Royale games on the market and every newcomer must find a way to put its own spin on the genre. What does Battlefield V: Firestorm do? Destruction.
Dice and EA recently released the long-awaited Battle Royale game mode Firestorm to Battlefield V. It is safe to say that it is late to the party; six months after the biggest competitor Call of Duty and released a mere month after the launch of the excellent Apex Legends.
Same, but different
I have played nearly every Battle Royale title on the market so far. What Firestorm does better than all previous games in the genre is destructible environments.
Yes, Fortnite technically does destruction on a greater scale, but no, it is not nearly as immersive or fun as in Firestorm. When compared to PUBG, Blackout and Apex Legends, this game mechanic changes the way I play more than I initially would have thought.
It is everywhere and it is engrossing. The destruction is best suited to the squad mode, where Firestorm truly shines.
Rocket launchers and grenades are plentiful and there are many ways to destroy campers in houses, especially as a team. The gun that can call in artillery strikes over a surprisingly large area is incredibly lethal and very thrilling to use, especially in the later stages of a match.
In one instance, my squad and I were taking shelter in a mansion on the map’s snowy area. We were surrounded by a team of aggressive players that were shooting through the windows. Before we knew it, the rockets came flying. The entire wall behind me – where I thought I would be most safe – was now completely blown off and I was exposed.
Within the next thirty seconds, two other walls were gone and we were swiftly dealt with. It was intense, exhilarating and sweaty in a way that I have not felt before in a Battle Royale game.
The fun factor in Firestorm is real and destruction plays a big role in it. While playing PUBG, I have countless times fantasized about having this level of destruction and thought about what it would add to the gameplay.
Firestorm will satisfy that desire for people enjoying that tactical game, as it certainly shares the same type of intense anticipation and tense atmosphere.
Firestorm may not have the most memorable Battle Royale map from my first impressions, but it definitely has a distinct flair to its gameplay that is both tactical and fun.
The Battlefield gunplay works better in Battle Royale than I would have hoped for – it is tight, responsive and feels just realistic enough to be placed in the middle between PUBG and Blackout.
As part of Battlefield V, Firestorm is gorgeous. The destruction is not just tactical, but also addicting due to its beauty. Particle effects fly across the screen and smoke effects fog up the sky. It is by far the best looking Battle Royale on the market. The genre has not had a true stunner up until now, but this surely is one.
The firestorm itself, the shrinking zone where players battle in, is more terrifying than anything before it. It is visual eye candy to see the fire obliterate anything in its way as it is sweeping ever closer to you.
The start of something new?
Red Faction: Guerrilla is still the king of the hill when it comes to destruction, despite being over ten years old. That is disappointing and there are many ways in which destruction could improve in terms of realism and detail.
To be frank, the Battlefield series has used the same level of destruction for ten years now, with minor improvements. It looks better now, yes, but it works the same. If you fire with your grenade launcher at a wall, the whole thing will come crashing down, in the same way, every time.
It is predictable and shows that there is a lot to be desired when it comes to more detailed destruction. Instead, grenades should destroy walls down to individual bricks.
Another thing that I would love to see in a Battle Royale game is bullet penetration. Rainbow Six: Siege does this in a great way and it would do wonders to have a similar system in a game mode like Firestorm.
For the next instalment, I would love to see the Battlefield series take a big leap when it comes to this aspect. A big leap, not a baby step. There is a lot of unexplored potential here and I would hope that other developers will take note of that.
Battlefield V: Firestorm is a lot of fun and a worthy competitor to Apex Legends, PUBG and Blackout. The destruction sets it apart from the crowd and makes the already sweaty encounters even more exciting.
I hope that Firestorm will act as an inspiration for future Battle Royale games to execute even more detailed destruction because as a gameplay mechanic, it truly shines in Battle Royale.