Battlefield V’s initial post-launch plans focused on story and special game modes, with only a large tank-themed map breaking up the pace. Fans then waited eagerly over the next several months for new battlefields, their patience eventually rewarded with an intense coastal map in June. This past week, Battlefield V has expanded again with another map, Marita. It’s a mixture of idyllic villages and high cliffs; the terrain design creates a fast pace that calls back to some of the more popular maps from Battlefield 1.
Marita, which was released on July 30th, is an homage to the real-life Battle of Greece, which took place in 1941. It features a mixture of locations including a small vineyard, a dilapidated bridge, and a high mountain fort. Battlefield V’s first new map, the vehicle-focused Panzerstorm, was extremely large and not always ideal to play on if you didn’t like riding around in tanks. The most recent map before Marita, Mercury, was much more focused on infantry combat. Marita follows the latter approach with a few tweaks. The official Battlefield V website cites maps like Battlefield 1’s Lukow Pass and Brusilov Keep as inspirations, but I think the better comparison would be the claustrophobic and popular Argonne Forest. Marita has open spaces between its initial control points, but as the mountain path moves upwards, the terrain becomes harder to navigate, and there’s much more of a threat of getting fired on from above. The verticality of the map is huge, and in my matches thus far, Marita’s high cliffs were teeming with machine gunners.
That can make for a frustrating experience on the part of the attacking team. Mercury was a hectic battlefield, dotted with ruined and abandoned houses that encouraged close-range encounters even if snipers could lurk on ridges. Marita’s uphill march isn’t quite as balanced, and it feels as it the defending team has some advantages thanks to the terrain. Breaking through to new control points as the attacking team can be exciting, but gaining progress takes hard work. That’s compelling if you manage it, but horrible if you and your team are getting your asses kicked.
Marita seems like a confirmation of a philosophy that’s been forming for Battlefield V’s design. Be it through temporary game modes like the bloody “Fortress” mode, or maps like Mercury and Marita, there’s been a shift away from larger maps like Battlefield 1’s Sinai or Battlefield 4’s Lancang Dam. (Panzerstorm and Hamada would be the biggest exceptions to this theory.) Battlefield V has always positioned itself as faster and more action-focused. Marita is an extension of that philosophy, a sort of pristine meatgrinder for players to churn through. There’s no many vehicles, just bodies. Tons and tons of bodies, tossed at control points in bloody waves.
Marita is rife with ambushes and heroic pushes. Its bomb-scarred mountain paths are tailor-made for disastrous failures; these narrow passages allow players to perfectly funnel grenades towards masses of players. This design keeps with the game’s current pace, but considering there is a WWII version of the super enclosed Battlefield 3 Metro map on the way, hopefully we’ll have more variety in whatever is to follow.