Battlefield V got a negative reaction from a small, vocal segment of fans when it depicted a woman warrior on its cover instead of a manly man and highlighted tales of diversity from the Second World War.
But I have to say it has a fine beginning for its single-player campaign, a collection of vignettes called War Stories. It’s got beautiful orchestral music that sounds human and respectful, not militaristic or gung-ho. It’s not pretty, but it’s moving.
It starts with Winston Churchill, the prime minister of Great Britain, announcing in 1939 with great gravity in his voice that “the country is now at war with Germany.” The gravity of that moment had to be terrifying to those who heard it. I took a tour of Churchill’s war bunker underneath 10 Downing Street in London. It was a fitting place for darkest hours and finest moments. And it seems so remote, so forgotten, today.
The scene cuts to Narvik, Norway, under the beautiful Northern Lights, where the British paratroopers land in an effort to stop the German invasion. You’re thrown into the action and must face the Germans in the frozen north, where the wind carries both snow and ashes at the same time.
You fight for a bit, then the action shifts to another scene, and then another and another. It gives you a sense of the grand sweep of the war with all of its combat theaters, and the sadness and sacrifice on both a global and a human scale. The war was so diverse, with so many ways to die.
It talks about war, “man’s unworthiest creation,” without a celebratory tone, and how humanity forgot the horrors of World War I as it careened into yet another conflagration. It reminds you that Battlefield is at its finest when it reminds you of the superhuman efforts of those who sacrificed all to save the world from evil. It feels like the right sensibility for retelling stories about a war that seems so far away today.
I played the prologue and posted it for you to see. I’m looking forward to playing the rest.