Electronic Arts and DICE have just begun letting fans into the Battlefield V open beta test on PC and consoles. This is the publisher’s latest attempt to get feedback from players while also generating buzz for the upcoming World War II military shooter, which EA delayed to November 20 last week.
Battlefield is one of EA’s most important franchises. In 2016, Battlefield 1 was the No. 2 best-selling game of the year in the United States, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group. EA is expecting big things from this sequel, and it will need to fulfill that prediction or else it may risk scaring off investors.
DICE previously held a closed beta, but now it is opening up the action to everyone. The studio is also giving players a taste of its Tides of War live-service campaign, which will regularly introduce new content, goals, and cosmetics to keep players coming back.
I’ve booted up the test on PC, but I don’t think I’ve played enough to see how the Tides of War is going to work beyond getting a handful of missions for each online multiplayer round. For example, Battlefield V showed me a progression screen that started off by asking me to get 15 kills in the beta’s Shock Troops Chapter Event. I did that, and now I need to check back in for what to do next time I log in.
What’s interesting about this event, however, is that EA and DICE are saying that it won’t ever show up in the final version of the game. It is exclusive to the beta, and if you complete it, you will get rewards that show you participated in the event that no one will ever have the chance to get again.
While I think I’ll have to spend more time with the beta to get those items for myself and to learn more about the experience of Tides of War, I’ve already seen enough to know that the game is looking beautiful. The first map takes place in a nearly pristine Rotterdam, and you get all of the colors of that city. That realistic saturation is something that other World War II media excludes in favor of accurately re-creating the look of the photography from the time. Saving Private Ryan taught a generation of people that war is desaturated with intense contrast — but, of course, a city like Rotterdam was just as colorful in the 1940s as it is today. Battlefield V captures that, and it makes you feel awful about the destruction that you’re bringing to such a gorgeous locale.
The Battlefield V beta test runs through September 11 at 7 a.m. Pacific time, and you can get into it now by downloading it on Origin, Xbox Live, or PlayStation Network.