It’s shaping up to be an interesting year for FPS. There aren’t many shooters aiming for the “normal FPS” crowd right now, but this is the era of the battle royale, and the Battlefield V vs Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 battle will be framed around how they respond to the progression of FPS.
It seems these two franchises have switched places. Once upon a time, it was unheard of for a Battlefield game to have singleplayer component. Now it seems to have wrested that role away from Call of Duty, which won’t have a campaign at all in Black Op 4.
But while Battlefield games are DICE’s domain, development of Call of Duty is split between three studios. We’ve been told the decision to eschew singleplayer is limited to Treyarch and not a franchise-wide trend.
There’s a strong focus on your squad, or your “company” in Battlefield V. It’s a progression and customisation system that you’ll take into multiplayer, though every mode will add to it.
BFV vs BO4 — Co-Op and Campaigns
The Battlefield V developers see its singleplayer campaign as a necessary element to set the tone for the game.
Say what you want about its “new setting” being World War 2 – again – but the fact that we’ll be exploring African, Norwegian, and Dutch locales might benefit from some setting up in a campaign.
Battlefield V will continue the last instalment’s popular War Stories mode, highlighting lesser known tales of battlefield heroism in playable form.
On the campaign front, the Battlefield V vs Black Ops 4 battle is a default victory — Black Ops 4 having ceded that territory to Battlefield V.
But co-op is more complicated.
Treyarch has teased a somewhat co-op sounding mode in Black Ops 4 to get to know its “specialists.” These are characters taking the form of classes, much like the previous game, and much like Rainbow Six Siege before it. Some are better for team communication, some for fortifications, some for explosives, etc.
As we noted in our multiplayer hands-on, it’s unlikely this will be anything resembling a campaign. It could just be a way to learn the ins and outs of each specialist. But if they find a clever way to do it in co-op form, that can only be a plus. It could also just be objectives and pieces of story within multiplayer missions, as it has been said this aspect will live in the “multiplayer setting.”
Treyarch’s goal with this is to tell the story of each specialist, give players a “deeper connection” to them, and flesh out why they’re working together. It’ll also provide some bridges between the stories of Black Ops 2 and Black Ops 3.
Last but not least, zombies mode will also be returning in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.
Battlefield V will have a four-player co-operative mode called Combined Arms. From descriptions, it sounds like there will be an element of risk/reward to this — pushing your luck as far as it’ll go against randomly generated objectives before choosing to extract. The rewards will benefit your company and carry over into competitive multiplayer.
We’ll wait to hear more about Black Ops 4‘s mysterious co-op mode, but until then, this section of the Battlefield V vs Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 battle goes the way of Battlefield V.
BFV vs BO4 — Competitive Modes
Battlefield V is specifically targeting high action periods punctuated with lulls in its gameplay. A lower ammo count will make players more cautious — two or three kills and you’ll be out of bullets, though you can replenish some from enemy bodies. Fortifying capture points will replenish ammo as well.
We’ll see the return of Conquest mode, as well as a new multi-day event mode called Grand Operations.
This will be played over multiple days, modes, and maps. The developers have described a Rotterdam map which degrades as the city is bombed. What happens on one day will affect the scenario the next day.
Paratroopers might jump out of a plane in a fashion similar to a battle royale game, choosing which area to target. Once they’ve secured some territory, the next day might involve the usual Battlefield system of respawn tickets as you try to secure the foothold. Depending on how the scenario goes, you might be pushed into additional days in which both sides are tired. In these situations, there will be no respawns and only one magazine per player.
It very much sounds like existing modes will be strung together to make a narrative, using new maps that are separate but thematically connected.
Call of Duty usually likes to include something a bit different in its mix of modes. Last year’s WWII had Gridiron mode, a low-tech version of Uplink. It also had War Mode, and we don’t care how shamelessly it stole it from Battlefield. It was fun.
We’ve heard less about the different modes that’ll be in Black Ops 4, but it would be uncharacteristic of the franchise to have nothing new to offer. War Mode might be limited to WWII/Sledgehammer, but we sincerely hope not. We were also big fans of the Hammer Cam, and we hope Black Ops 4 continues this trend of make FPS esports more spectator-friendly.
BFV vs BO4 — New Features
Both Battlefield V and Black Ops 4 have opted for static recoil patterns this year. This is the Counter-Strike philosophy of bullet spray, in which every time you hold the trigger, your bullets will deviate in the same shape. It effectively gives a higher skill ceiling to each weapon, allowing players to learn and specialise in specific patterns.
Battlefield V has brought some level reconstruction to go along with its destructive elements. Each player will have a building tool which can be used to make sandbags, repair structures, and build fortifications that replenish ammo and other things.
Towing AA guns will also be allowed, and the oft-quoted example is using a tank to tow an AA gun behind it. This may rid the tank of its weakness to air somewhat. It could perhaps even change the meta so controlling the air isn’t on a higher tier than controlling armour.
Both games have revamped healing. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 now requires you to dedicate a few seconds to injecting yourself with magical FPS healing fluid — an eternity when waiting around a corner, also trying to reload. It has a cooldown of around 13 seconds. Battlefield V will let anyone heal a squadmate now, to a limited degree. Medics will heal much faster and for a much higher amount.
Standard Black Ops 4 play is brought to 5v5 now, which Treyarch felt gave its mix of specialists more emphasis. We also noted a few intriguing systems in our hands-on that’ll improve positional awareness. Muzzle flare (and its reflections) is noticeable now, and you’ll be able to determine the direction of bullets when you can’t see the shooter. Stealthy players should enjoy both features.
DLC and Extra Content
Another important point here is that Battlefield V has committed to not splitting its community. It won’t be selling map packs. All additions to the game will be free. Because everything EA does needs to be branded – even the absence of doing something – this new system is being called Tides of War.
There will, however, be three different release dates for Battlefield V depending on if you’ve preordered and if you’re subscribed to Origin Access.
Though we can’t be sure yet, it looks like Black Ops 4 might be following suit. After the big global reveal, there’s no mention of a Season Pass or Deluxe Edition. No pages for these items exist on retailer websites.
We won’t know for sure until Activision confirms it, but we’re daring to dream.
Black Ops 4‘s Royale Flush
Surprise, surprise, Call of Duty is throwing its helmet into the battle royale arena. Black Ops 4’s new Blackout mode is promised to be “more PUBG than Fortnite,” sporting a map 1000 times larger than Nuketown. The play space will be who’s who of popular Call of Duty maps rolled into one Frankenmap.
While Battlefield V has no battle royale mode in the game currently, it would be fairly easy to add one. The developers have even said as much recently. The franchise has always featured large maps, and it would be a good fit. Whether it’s announced before or after release, a new battle royale mode in Battlefield V would not be a shocking turn of events.
We’re still of the opinion that this is too close to call. In the Black Ops 4 vs Battlefield V battle, this round is currently going to Black Ops 4. But this story is still unfolding.