‘Everyone else is doing it, why shouldn’t we?’ Should not be the formality of these games. It seems BR’s will continue to flourish in an attempt to supersede predecessors such as H1Z1, PUBG, Fortnight, Realm Royal, Blackout by COD: BO3, Apex Legends, and all the other piss that seems to be begging to wear the crown of shit that is Battle Royale.
Yeah, I’m tired of the genre – so what, it doesn’t look like it’s disappearing anytime soon. That being said, some of them are not entirely wretched; Apex is actually pretty solid in my mind.
So, what does one of my favourite FPS titles do? Makes a BR game mode – brilliant. It’s not necessary but here we are. I’ve been playing BFV a fair bit so it’s fair to assume I’ve given this a go, I wouldn’t be ranting about it otherwise. Let’s see how it’s stopped to the… I mean how it compares to the other BR’s.
Okay, the features, how does it work? I mean this is the only game I know that is allowed to include tanks, so it’s going to be somewhat mental. 2 game modes; Solo and Squad play. I was surprised to see a Solo mode even introduced, it doesn’t exactly scream solo play on the trailers for Firestorm does it? Perhaps that’s why some of the marketing team for EA have been laid off, but that’s a different article I’m sure.
The video introduction reveals that it’s obviously not going to be your bog-standard deathmatch game mode. There are no classes, you are your own man, and all the equipment and weapons are scattered across the battlefield. There’s a rarity system involved, common, rare and epic; equipment and weapons are affected by this.
Equipment that is common will be things like pistol grenades and rifle grenades, whilst your epics can be an air strike, which is an insane tactical advantage. Weapons take on the role of the rarer they are, the more perks and attachments they will have; so, your common will be a bare bones weapon, whilst an epic will have a full skill tree like additional sights, extended mag, rate of fire, ect ect.
I was concerned but it’s not a bad system in my mind, it would be fun to customise your weapons still, but in a game mode like this, you can’t afford to hang around, so it’s very much grab ’n’ go play-style, but will get to gameplay later. Weapons also have ammunition for each type (SMG, Rifle, Sniper, Shotgun shells etc), and since you have a carrying capacity, choose your ammunition wisely.
Next on the features list is vehicles, both military and civilian vehicles, including a tractor, can be driven about on the battlefield. Which if used right, finding a military truck in the early stages can give you some banging protection, until someone finds a Panzerfaust, then you’re toast.
Some of the more weird and wonderful vehicles can even go across water, although a great feature, it’s around half the speed on land, making you the perfect target for snipers. The best way to traverse across the map is getting the prototype helicopter. Although light in armour, it has enough room for your squad, so when some lucky sod scores that killer rocket kill on it, he will get a nice multikill – Put simply, I wouldn’t use the chopper in an assault, just for travel.
Tanks are also drivable in the game, a huge tactical advantage, if your good. Everyone knows where you are, they can carry twice the number of rockets they did before, and like all vehicles, they have limited amount of ammunition and fuel, so use wisely. Speaking of ammunition for the tank, there’s an additional catch, and rightly so in my mind. To drive the tank and use the canon are two separate seats, so you can only drive or only shoot at any one time. Easier when you have a squadmate in the gunner or driver’s seat for you, but a bit of a nightmare when using it solo.
Okay, positives – It’s still gorgeous, I’m not going to fault the looks of the game or its environmental effects. They always have been well designed and Firestorm is no different. They’ve done exceptional work on trying to converge nearly all the environments into one map; there’s mountainous snowy wastelands, industrial quarries and power-stations, lakes and rivers with a harbour and a dam, and plenty of urban villages.
It’s got plenty of landmarks for sure, but it’s a little bit random, don’t you think? Who lives here!? In a place where you have a dam, harbour, power stations, a quarry and several towns all a few hundred meters from each other? If I was purchasing a property here, I’d have a little concern living next to underground bunkers with tanks and a shit load of guns. But I get that; that’s part of the fun in BR games, exploring all the unique sites to find the best loot.
The other thing that is sort of annoying is the game never starts off with the whole map; it will pick a ‘zone’ on the map and start the circle from there, instead of right from the back of the map. This does make for quicker games, true, but you don’t get to explore some of the other parts of the map until you get into a game which changes the zone.
A World in Flames
So, gameplay then. Right from the start your put into the pre-lobby, where the players gather and turn everyone’s face into a lead sandbag by stabbing or shooting repeatedly in the face, so when you do start the game, everyone looks like Mick Jagger but better. It’s pretty standard affair too, once all 64 or so players are in, you are para-dropped out of a plane flying across a set trajectory, allowing you to roughly guide where you want to land.
The same goes for choosing that said landing spot; named locations are generally going to be more populated because they might hold better loot. My personal strategy is to go as far to the left or right of the plane’s trajectory as possible, might not be the best gear but you can get lucky, and get a good start before other players. I learned this the hard way, and set my mood straight away when I got stabbed to death the first 2 games I played, barely had my boots on the ground. Scum.
Some animations are a little lost on some of the weapons, like the reloading animation cut out for me a few times. One of the more annoying things I found with the game mode was the interaction of objects. Sometimes you have to hold down a button a little longer than normal to pick an item up, which can be a pain when you consider that it’s quite a quick paced game mode. You will also have trouble picking something up if one or more items are on top of it; there’s no way to select it separately from the ‘pile’ so you spend valuable time trying to grab that desperately needed epic or needed ammunition.
There is a feature I didn’t cover yet until now. Armour. As you know, you can die quite quickly in standard mode, so the total amount of health has been raised to 150 points, and to give you a better chance of survival, you also can equip armour. Armour is like a second layer of health; depending on what rarity of armour you have, the more armour packs you can use, to a total of 3. Each pack gives you roughly 50 points extra of health, so with epic armour you’ve practically doubled your health. Do not for a second think that it will save your life and become invincible however; bullet damage is still the same, you will die quickly.
When you understand this, you don’t just play this like a normal BR, you gotta play it like Battlefield, kill that bastard before he kills you, and don’t hold back. Chances are he will be doing exactly the same. There’s also something about the game staying in first person which makes it harder, true, but more immersive. Everyone is in the same boat and there isn’t any 3rd person, peaking around walls bullshit, which is nice. Even the 3rd person view whilst in the tank they have limited, to make it as fair as possible. So, the devs have thought it through somewhat.
The ring of fire is great in my opinion; it actually feels like something you’d rather avoid, that’s because it won’t give you a burn you can just put aftersun on, it’s destructive. Dice love using the whole ‘collateral buildings’ feature, and nothing shows a ring of fire and its de estate get effects than buildings literally crumbling as it passes through the flames. When it comes down to crunch time, as in if you do make it to the final circles, then is the time to be tactical and aware.
Audio is your best friend in these situations. It’s not an issue as such, but the ambience effects are so good in this game that you can mistake a slight noise for a foot step. I practically have paranoia and PTSD before I even jump out of the plane. This is where it starts to get real fun now. It’s tense, and suddenly that shotgun you held onto doesn’t seem such a bad investment anymore. With it being battlefield and containing a diverse range of weaponry, the combat feels just right, still great moments can be created, it’s just a different mode is all. Solo is still compatible play style if you are lonely and have no friends, it’s still good, the squad mode is just a little more added chaos and is great fun, but you have to cooperate, otherwise you may as well have uninstalled the game.
I may have moaned about Battle Royale and big games succumbing to the genre, but Battlefield have done a pretty good job with firestorm, I’d even go as far to say it’s one of the best versions of BR I’ve played so far. It still has that Battlefield feeling and hasn’t completely changed it into something new; they’ve tried to stay as original as possible, yet put an exciting spin on the genre. I’d highly recommend giving it a go, with friends or on your own. It hasn’t converted my thoughts on it, but yeah… it’s proper fun, credit where credit is due.