Battlefield 5 is a mess. It’s the glitchiest, most technically troubled DICE’s sandbox multiplayer has been since the infamous launch of Battlefield 4, and even the launch itself is all over the place. Here’s a game that’s not out for paying punters until later this month. Or it’s out today, if you’re willing to pay a little bit more. Or, if you’d rather not pay for the whole thing, it’s been out for a week for EA Access subscribers. Or maybe a bit over a week, if you’re an EA Access Premier subscriber. Of course.
And even when that particular mess is behind us, Battlefield 5 isn’t where you might expect it to be. The inevitable Battle Royale mode – surely the perfect fit for DICE’s own brand of chaos – isn’t out until next March. The co-op mode that was announced at launch isn’t coming until later as, for that matter, is one of the four single-player War Stories, another planned piece of post-release support. Such omissions and scarcity of features is all collateral from EA’s move from its older business model towards free, regular updates, though Battlefield 5 feels so incomplete at launch as it veers away from the dreaded season pass at times it feels more like an Early Access title. Small wonder the sense of anticipation around this one has been particularly muted.
Put that down to another episode of epic mismanagement from EA, and take some pity on DICE, because the game it’s crafted beneath all that chaos is frequently fantastic; a shoring up of the Battlefield formula with a suite of new systems that can come together beautifully. It makes for some of the most fun I’ve had with Battlefield since the heady days of Bad Company – not that fun is something that’s encouraged by the sombre tone throughout Battlefield 5 (a tone that was absent in the upbeat reveal trailer, which suggest that maybe there was a change of gear in the run-up to release).
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