Battlefield 1 is nothing short of an anatomical shift for the popular first-person shooter series. Fair to say that the genre had become saturated over the years with repetitive, dull, and arid titles. Thanks to Battlefield 1, the genre blossoms once again.
The Single Player Campaign
Battlefield 1’s single player campaign tells short burst stories from the perspective of soldiers from various nations. Rather than using the same good vs. evil formula, Battlefield 1 uses futility, sense of loss and dread to captivate its audience. Emotionally jolting stories that make you respect each and every human being who suffered through the agony of The Great War.
Admittedly, the short length of “War Stories” undermines its emotional effect which is a shame. The full campaign lasts roughly five hours. Sometimes, you don’t feel as invested in the individual stories and characters as you should, a problem that could have been easily avoided if each character was given more screen time.
You are put in the shoes of a Harlem Hellfighter, young British tank driver, volunteer pilot in the Royal Flying Corp, an Italian special forces soldier, veteran Australian war hero, and rebel fighter who is trying to rid her land of the Ottoman Empire.
At the end of each story, you fail to develop a conclusive thought on who lies on the side of evil, which in itself is a breath of fresh air. Battlefield 1 is respectful to the horrors of The Great War.
The tank driver’s story deserves a special mention; out of all six stories, this one stands out. The story revolves around the emotions of friendship that forced three men to come together and fight. They also have a special connection with their tank, Black Bess.
It is clear that each story was crafted with care by developers, something we hope to see in future Battlefield games as well.
The sense of battle is escalated by brilliant sound design from DICE. All that can be said to the sound design team is, bravo! From explosions to gun fire to melee kills, each aspect of the game that generates any type of noise is exceptionally designed and simply stunning, to say the least. Guns have a real mechanical sound to them and the sound design even makes reloading your weapon incredibly satisfying.
The sound of your weapon changes based on your surroundings; the shot from sniper rifle echoes throughout the map and it forces you to pay attention to the great sound design of this game, a feature that is overlooked most of the time in video games. It adds an extra layer of immersions and realism to the intensity of the battle around you in both single and multiplayer modes.
The War Stories incorporate elements that educate you on how the multiplayer game works. Once you leave the single player campaign, you will have a firm grip on conquest mechanics, spotting, driving tanks, piloting, and how to deal with Behemoth.
The Multiplayer Mode
Battlefield 1 multiplayer mode is much different from its single player portion. It is not about respect, sense of loss, futility of war. It is pure Battlefield, filled with chaos that was designed with the sole purpose of having fun.
There are few other games out there that manage to immerse you in combat like Battlefield 1. The squad based gameplay is exceptionally designed with clear objectives and a sense of battlelines. The impressive explosions, particle effects, dynamic weather effects, smoke, and even rubble on the ground are beautifully crafted.
Weather effects impact your visibility, strategy, and change the way you approach different situations. This is especially true for Sinai Desert where Snipers are rendered useless during a sandstorm due to low visibility.
Battlefield 1 multiplayer is fast, frantic and can prove to be difficult for newcomers on occasion. Like always, Conquest mode remains the greatest showcase. DICE did make a few changes here and there; a notable change comes to the classes that are shaped to better suit the theme of Battlefield 1.
Still, they are very easy to understand, allowing you to experiment with different weapons and gadgets. The assault class are your front line soldiers that rush the objective, they also have the tools to destroy vehicles. Support class is for heavy hitters who prefer heavier weapons. The medic class is the healer of the group while the scout (sniper) is your long range warrior.
There is a little bit of Star War Battlefront DNA found in Battlefield 1. Special class – Tank Hunter, Sentry, Flamethrower – randomly spawn on the map similar to hero cards in Battlefront. Special class upgrades diversify the play enough so that it feel more exhilarating.
Vehicular combat is directly tied to the destructibility that sits at the heart of Battlefield 1. Tanks, small armored vehicles, and even Behemoth are balanced in a way that they don’t feel overpowered, yet strong enough to be game changers.
While Battlefield 1 does not have levolution like Battlefield 3 and 4, it does come with great levels of destruction. Destruction in Battlefield 1 is highly detailed as nearly everything you see on the map can be reduced to rubble.
Meanwhile, Shell and Bomb impacts create craters, changing the shape of the map. Each map can be transformed into a No Man’s Land of World War I.
DICE has introduced a new multiplayer gameplay mode called “Operations.” The mode brings out this sense of large scale war spread across different maps and multiple objectives. Inside the mode, you have clear objectives of capturing enemy points and pushing them back. You have a limited number of lives for your side in order to accomplish your goals.
Operations is an elongated game of Rush, a player-driven spectacle. You participate in multiple games of attack and defend in different areas. Each game is treated as an individual conflict and overall, the war can last up to an hour.
Another new addition is a mode called “War Pigeons.” It is more of a joke than a game as players fight to get a hold of a pigeon in order to send a message, whoever gets it first and releases it wins the match. It feels comical and out of place but surprisingly, it is a fun mode and you actually end up being invested in War Pigeons games.
Fun is prioritized over historical accuracy by EA DICE; weapons, gadgets, and other equipment were present at the time but are exaggerated in Battlefield 1. There are plenty of automatic and experimental weapons that are over-represented by the game. Battlefield 1 is a hybrid of WW1 and WW2 and that should be kept in mind if you are going in expecting historical accuracy.
DICE took a major risk going back in time but the studio nailed it right on the head. Battlefield 1 relieves the stagnancy in the genre and is the must-have shooter of the year.