The Battlefield V beta is raging right now and I can confirm: war is indeed hell. According to Dice, though, war is also full of some incredibly stunning vistas just begging to be screenshot. Handily, they’ve also allowed you to turn off almost all the UI (except that ‘BETA’ notice in the corner, and the fact you can’t holster your weapon), so I spent several matches documenting views and action alike as an amateur wartime photographer. I can only apologise to my teammates, but with the consolation that my aim is terrible so I wouldn’t have been much help anyway.
The thing about Dice allowing you to turn off pretty much the whole HUD is that...I’m not sure they should do that? At least when it comes to encouraging players to shoot at one another. It’s very helpful for when you want to take in both the beautiful snow-sea-sky combo and the juxtaposition between the fishing boat and the warship, like so:
But it also makes it impossible to tell friend from foe. This fellow I ran into further down the beach turned out to be alright:
Unfortunately, that lulled me into rather a false sense of security when it came to peering out of this bunker into oncoming fire.
For some reason, being downed brings all the UI back, which is a shame, though not quite as harrowing as all the “hold to call for help” voice lines. Again, war is hell.
For me, the best shots come at the end of matches, as the camera pans up and away from the actual fighting, but people with all the tools and who are much better photographers than me will likely be creating stunning albums even in the midst of gunfights, like they did with Battlefield 1.
Moving out of Norway and into Rotterdam, I figured out how to get my slightly less intrusive knife equipped just in time to capture the styled minimalism and chiaroscuro of its interiors.
Alternatively, it’s a bit weird that these houses are so empty, and I imagine the game's overall contrast levels will be toned down before the game’s real launch. This is why that beta notice is important! See also, this weird alley that leads to the void:
The furnishings aren't a problem everywhere, though, like in the fancily decorated White House objective:
But the horrors of war are still lurking in every corner.
This, perhaps unsurprisingly, became something of a theme:
Still, there are spots that you can pretend everything is normal. These neon signs caught my fancy for a while, mostly because trying to catch them all lit up at once was a real test of reflexes.
And then there are the spots where you get ambushed and have to drop the shtick for a second to do some good old-fashioned war. Sorry, unnamed soldier who got on the way of my relentless pursuit of scenery shots.
After this small incident I returned to Norway, where I discovered that skydiving is the perfect time to take in the views, and to watch in horror as other planes explode before your very eyes:
Mostly, I wanted to go and visit this postcard-perfect house, but apparently deserting is rather frowned upon. (In other words, it’s beyond the game’s boundaries.)
Instead, I started following this specific sniper for a while:
There’s an interesting quirk where other players’ avatars will turn to look at you when you approach, in a way that I think has nothing to do with where the player is actually looking? It’s a neat touch to make a squad feel together, even if you’re not just in it for the screenshots.
Sadly, though, this person eventually got tired of me following them around, or perhaps misunderstood my weapon choice, and my photography adventure ended with a knife fight.
If you want to go and see the sights for yourself, or maybe be of actual help to your teammates, you can play the beta until Tuesday the 11th of September. Battlefield V is scheduled to release on November 20th.