Rush was the game mode that made me fall in love with Battlefield. Bad Company 2 on Xbox 360 was the first game I played in the series, and it seemed designed specifically for the mode. Attacking every sector was a journey in and of itself, with a ton of options for flanking and outsmarting your enemies. And defending was equally intense, as you had to be constantly on alert as to when enemies had infiltrated your defensive lines. Despite the fact that it only hosted 24 players, it felt like a war.
But over the years, Rush has become less of a focus for the series’ multiplayer offerings, and the quality of the mode has gone downhill, culminating in the fact it wasn’t even included in Battlefield V at launch. There are a lot of reasons why Rush didn’t work as well in Battlefield 4 and Battlefield 1, and only slightly better in Battlefield 3, but the main reason is that DICE stopped designing maps around the mode and prioritized Conquest and then Operations.
Rush has arrived in Battlefield V as a limited-time mode for the next two weeks, and it finds itself in a similar situation as Battlefield 4 and Battlefield 1’s versions of the mode. Battlefield V’s maps are built to house every mode from the linear Breakthrough to the circular Conquest to the hybrid, singularly focused Frontlines. These maps are performing a tightrope act, one they pull off with assorted levels of success.
So how does Rush translate to Battlefield V? Well, just like the game it’s now a part of, it’s a predictably mixed bag.
Rush in Battlefield V is a 32-player affair. That’s eight more players—four more per team—than were in Bad Company 2’s Rush. It might not sound like a lot, but when you have eight extra bodies piling onto a small objective area, matches can rapidly devolve into hamburger factories. The extra numbers are good for creating a warlike environment, and they don’t necessarily make strategic play impossible, but it can become a little frustrating when half of your team keeps marching down the middle, wasting tickets.
But, really, the only thing that matters when discussing Rush is the maps it takes place on. Battlefield V’s Rush is only available on three maps—Devastation, Twisted Steel, and Narvik. Twisted Steel and Narvik seem like obvious choices, as both provide a mixture of natural and urban environments in a more-or-less linear composition. Devastation, on the other hand, is a giant circular pyre that might not seem like a Rush map on the outside, but it’s full of lanes for attackers to flank down and hidden nooks for defenders to ambush those flankers. The locations for every MCOM station are also smartly laid out, providing unique options for attackers while still being close enough defenders can watch both.
The main problem with Rush in Battlefield V, however, is the amount of space that each map affords each sector. One of the best things about Rush in Bad Company 2 was that defenders had multiple opportunities to stop attackers. This made defense a little more forgiving and offense a more trying but ultimately more satisfying journey. Battlefield V’s version of Rush seems cramped in comparison. Some objectives are pretty close to the offensive spawn points, meaning that defenders sometimes have a longer way to travel to objectives than the attackers. It also means that attackers are often coming up against every member of the enemy team all at the same time, which can result in cascading ticket bleed.
Because the distance traveled between sectors isn’t as significant as it was in previous versions of Rush, most of your time will be spent on foot, unless you get in the one tank that attacking teams get on Narvik and Twisted Steel. You won’t have access to transport vehicles, which doesn’t necessarily impact gameplay all that much, but it does take away from the atmosphere and sandbox sensation that Bad Company 2’s Rush provided.
Really, though, the biggest thing that’s holding back Rush is the fact that it’s a limited-time mode attached to Tides of War challenges. Throughout a Battlefield game’s life, certain players will gravitate towards certain modes. This means that, after a few months, every mode will be filled with players that more or less understand how to play the mode. Rush in Battlefield V, on the other hand, is currently filled with players who might not have played the mode before, or wouldn’t generally gravitate towards linear attack-defend modes. By the time these players will have a chance to get familiar with the mode, it will already be gone.
I’m glad that Rush is in Battlefield V. I’m glad that it sort of works. And, most importantly, I think I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that DICE will never again build maps specifically for any one mode. I’ve been in denial for so long, I’m almost grateful that Battlefield V has finally given me some clarity.