<p>It's December and sometime this month we'll be seeing the first installment of Tides of War. Tides of War is Battlefield V's approach to expansion content. Rather than charge for a season pass or subdivide the player base by selling individual expansion packs, Battlefield V will be releasing new content over time in updates it dubs 'chapters'. Each chapter will be free for all Battlefield V players and focus on a different aspect of warfare while adding new maps, modes, and features to the game. The first of the three chapters announced so far is dubbed 'Overture' and its theme is armored warfare.
</p><p>The first thing that comes with Overture is a new map, Panzerstorm. This map is set in the gently rolling hills of Belgium which make for an excellent location for a tank battle. I had the opportunity to play a few matches on this map at a preview event, and it provides for more vehicle combat than any of the maps that were available at the game's launch. When you begin a match on the map, it looks like you've walked into the middle of an ongoing battle. Damaged tanks litter the battlefield and you can take command of them and use them to attack the enemy. There are some long sightlines across the fields, so you'll be engaging enemy armor from both close up and long range. The open fields can make things perilous for you when you're on foot, but a network of trenches and fortifiable structures give infantry a fighting chance by both providing cover and giving firing positions that can be used to ambush unwary tankers. The trench network also leads to some pretty pitched infantry fights that take place in close quarters, something that you wouldn't expect when first jumping into a tanker friendly map.
</p><p>I was also able to play around with the Company updates coming with Overture. Overture unlocks vehicle customization and aircraft are included. Like your soldiers, vehicles will be cosmetically customizable, in this case with camouflage schemes, insignia, nose art, and the like. Since you often engage other soldiers at a range where it can be difficult to see what custom pants they are wearing, vehicle customization is a better way to show-off your custom look across the battlefield. The available options look like they will work in the same way as those for the soldiers, with a combination of free items and those locked behind grind currency and in-game accomplishments.
</p><p>Vehicles also get their own tech trees, allowing you to customize their features and capabilities. With aircraft you can make trade-offs between firepower and maneuverability, and some of the vehicle capabilities can add protection against anti-tank weaponry or increase firepower or load time. The options that you select here can also change the look of your tank. For example, choose to make your tank less vulnerable to infantry carried anti-tank rocket weapons and you'll see armored side panels attached to your tank.
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</p><p>The vehicle focus continues with a new War Story, The Last Tiger. This new single player campaign is the game's first vehicle-based campaign, putting you at the controls of one of World War II's most iconic tanks. The war is in its waning stages and a Tiger I tank crew finds itself grappling with both their inevitable defeat in the face of the overwhelming Allied assault and the political forces in their country that led to the war in the first place. Unfortunately I wasn't given the chance to play the new War Story, so that's about all I can say about it.
</p><p>Other new features introduced with Overture that weren't available for preview include the Practice Range, a mode in which you can try out different weapons and vehicles outside of battle. I'm looking forward to using it to practice my flight skills, because combat isn't the best environment to getting used to handling different types of aircraft. Also planned are new weekly events and Chapter rank goals that will allow you to unlock unique weapons and customizations.