Thus far, Battlefield 5’s post-release content has included an extra story mission and tank-focused multiplayer map. That map released in December, leaving players waiting eagerly for months for new battlefields.
Last week, Battlefield 5 sneakily released a new map set in Greece called Mercury. Its idyllic coastal town and outlying rolling hills offer a fast-paced experience that helps balance out some of the larger, well-worn maps that players have come to know.
Mercury is named after the German forces’ Operation Mercury, an invasion of the Greek island of Crete that took place in 1941. The battle lasted 13 days and ended in an Axis victory. That outcome isn’t so certain in Battlefield 5, where players can clash along the cerulean waters and engage in close-quarters combat in a nearby village.
Battlefield 5’s maps tend to be pretty big. The desert map Hamada is a sniper’s paradise, while the French countryside of Arras has open fields to rush through.
Mercury is much more confined, especially in smaller game modes that feature fewer control points to capture. Rushing between these points takes less time, leading a more hectic and bloodier combat style, which was largely absent until now.
To spice things up, Mercury opts for an asymmetric approach to vehicles. British forces have more tanks and only a few planes, while German forces can easily control the sky with their abundance of fighters.
This means that you’re always as some kind of disadvantage, which you can push back against if you use your team’s vehicles smartly. It might be hard for German forces to take back a control point from a British tank, but a smart fighter pilot can harass the behemoth until it’s taken out.
That’s exciting, but Mercury shines most in focused modes such as Team Deathmatch or the scaled-down control-point-capturing mode Domination. The central town in particular lights up with a frenzy of door-to-door activity that mounts into an endless cycle of carnage.
There’s rarely a lull in the action, and you’re always spawning close to a new and exciting firefight. That might not be everyone’s cup of team, but it helps break up the pace established by larger maps.
In a lot of ways, Mercury reminds me of older maps from games such as Battlefield 1943. There’s a splash of colour in the environmental design, plenty of tight spots for infantry to clash, and just enough vehicles in the larger game modes to make teams feel different.
More maps are coming at the end of the month, including a WWII riff on the classic Battlefield 3 map Metro, whose enclosed spaces made for intense firefights. Mercury is a push towards faster, more classic map design that meshes well with Battlefield 5’s more arcadey movements and gamefeel.
It’s a welcome addition to a game that was feeling a bit stale, and hopefully an indicator of what’s to come when the next collections of maps arrive.