Battlefield 1

Posted by GG Goblin On October - 31 - 2016

Brutal.

 
Jumping backwards, both in history and title, EA and DICE’s latest Battlefield game immerses players into the First World War and offers them all of the brutality and hopelessness that the great war involves.

 
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While a certain competitor takes their blockbuster shooter franchise into the future, there has always been a grittiness to the Battlefield games that suits grim reality, at least within the confines of a videogame. There has always been a realistic flavour to the Battlefield games, it is part of what makes them different to the competition. But dropping back in time to World War One was a risky choice for the developers, it would take both respect and balance to pull off.

 
Fortunately, it would appear that DICE have managed both. The multiplayer game is where most players will spend their time in Battlefield 1, and it is where the game most successfully portrays the utter waste of life that was World War One.

 
The Battlefield games have always been chaotic in their multiplayer, but Battlefield 1 multiplayer is on another level. Massive battles involving up to 64 players, dropping into one of the many game modes will result in confusion and a quick death for most new players, and even those who have been around for a while. Huge explosions, clouds of poisonous gas, the shouting and screaming of both enemy and ally alike, the multiplayer does a great job of recreating what I would imagine the conflicts to be like. It is quite terrifying.

 
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But it is a videogame, so certain things thankfully break that immersion. The most obvious is that when players die, which will happen so often, they then respawn. Strangely, it almost feels wrong, but it wouldn’t be much of a game otherwise. Players of the previous Battlefield games will be comfortable with much of the multiplayer, as many of the features have simply carried over. Classes offer a variety of different roles for the player, and squads add some cohesion to matches. The weapons are mostly of the era, but while some carry traits that make them feel more authentic, the majority have been given a level of polish that suits a modern shooter. It’s a balancing act that works.

 
Most of the game modes are mainstays from the previous games, although there are a couple of interesting new ideas, including one which has a player writing a letter and sending it away with a pigeon while being protected by their team, while the opposing team tries to get their hands on the pigeon. The most impressive new mode is Operations though. This mode involves a story and multiple matches with moving front lines. A single game of Operations can easily last over an hour, making it the most involved mode in the game.

 
The multiplayer maps are, as always, nicely thought out in Battlefield 1. There is plenty of variety in locations, showing the global nature of World War One, but the maps do feel somewhat smaller than in the previous game. However, slightly more intimate maps doesn’t mean that the developers haven’t managed to squeeze in some cool vehicles. Simple tanks and terrifying biplanes both make an appearance, as do other vehicles such as the highly advertised horses, making them a game highlight. Another highlight is the use of massive vehicles, such as Zeppelins and trains, to try and change the tide of a match.

 
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So yeah, the multiplayer is great. But it is not too far removed from what you would expect in Battlefield multiplayer, just with a World War One flavour. What you might not expect though, is an equally great single player mode.

 
The single player campaign, which measures at around six hours in length, is made up of six different short stories that players can drop in and out of as they see fit. As is often the case, the single player campaign works as a great tutorial for the much more brutal multiplayer modes, and the different stories tend to focus on different gameplay aspects, such as driving a tank or flying a plane.

 
Each of the stories also focuses on a different character and are well written to respectfully show the hell and pointlessness of war. The player is warned that they will be expected to die at the very beginning, so the short lives of these characters in the game should come as no surprise, but it still feels as though we don’t get enough time with them. I would have happily spent more time getting to know these characters, but the short time we do get to spend with them is poignant.

 
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Fans of the Battlefield series will not be disappointed with Battlefield 1, it manages to take the series to a different place without losing what makes it a Battlefield game. The chaotic multiplayer is even more so, while the single player campaign is surprisingly worth playing. Those taking their first steps into the Battlefield series may well find that they are in over their heads, but playing through the single player first will certainly help. Either way, DICE have done a great job with Battlefield 1, making it an essential purchase for all FPS fans.

 

 ★★★★★★★★½☆ 



 

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