Battlefield 1 on the PC will see players fight their way through epic battles ranging from tight urban combat in a besieged French city to the heavily defended mountain forts in the Italian Alps, or frantic combats in the deserts of Arabia. Discover a world at war through an adventure-filled campaign, or join in epic multiplayer battles with up to 64 players, and adapt your tactics to the earth-shattering destruction and dynamic weather. Fight as infantry, lead horse charges or take control of amazing vehicles on land, air and sea, from tanks and biplanes to the gigantic Behemoths – some of the largest vehicles in Battlefield history.
Battlefield 1 - A Visceral Gem
World War 1 wasn't fun. At all. It was a dark period in this world's history filled with blood, grime and loss, and it created a sense that we as humans had the destructive capacity to make ourselves go extinct. Thankfully we didn't eradicate ourselves completely, and we're here today with the capability of recreating the mayhem to somehow make it fun.
While the psychology baked behind 'enjoyable killing' is up for debate, we can't ignore that FPS games are the one of, if not the, most popular genre around. Battlefield 1 is a primordially-spirited game focused around this time. It centres us on warfare that wasn't immediate, but more intimate, brutal and prolonged in ways that were both heightened and hampered by technology. There a purveying sense of a 'harsh' reality in this game, and one that helps it stand out in its particular brand of chaos.
Developers over at EA DICE understands the niche of having a WWI backing and their intent to let us know that 'war is not pretty' if effectively communicated. Before we jump into the success of the gameplay and its various modes, the developer should be commended for the consistent feel of the graphics and the overall sound quality throughout. The weapons and vehicles are crunchy in their realistic pop, and the look of the world and its topography is complimented by beautiful real-time destruction and dynamic weather. The maps never quite look the same because of this, and as rain pours down over our gunfire and tank treading - we can't help but be immersed by the impressive aesthetic detail. Thankfully, the game also runs very smoothly and is able to do so despite the impressive detail, large player count (64), and overall chaos happening across its battlefields.
Importantly, we need to note the work that Impact Games has done to improve their single player campaign. While it's never been the focus of the series, the diverse collection of episodic levels gives a well-rounded and entertaining dose of gameplay for the solo minded gamer. Each episode encapsulates a particular individual (or group) and tells a sort of 'one off' war story revolves around them. Each tale has a beginning, middle, and end and while the overarching tale is a bit disappointing in the way it concludes, on the whole it's a pleasant surprise. What's also nice is that levels can help newer players gain valuable introductions to certain mechanics such as the vehicles or the optional (but useful) stealth mechanics. All in all, this campaign is one of the very best this series has had to offer.
Beside this, Impact Games smartly understands the core of the Battlefield series and that is its impressive multiplayer component. In this iteration, we encounter epic maps and a player count that rivals any in the FPS genre. There are a bevy of modes, some new and some old, and the robust character progression is finely tuned after so many editions.
Out of the new modes, the most notable one is the Operations mode which seems to be the most popular if online numbers are accurate. This mode finds players engaging in historical fronts and fights from the first World War and making offensive and defensive efforts. The quicker matches set across the larger maps move from landmark to landmark and give players a great sense of scope and a feeling like they're engaging in an actual war.
One of the main draws of the Battlefield series is its class system and unlike most shooters, this series moves the player focus outside of just racking up the highest kill count. With an emphasis on its variety of classes, players are encouraged to work within the confines of their roles in order to get their squad to victory. Sure, pulling the trigger is ultimately important, but the feel of Battlefield rises above the average shooter because it makes every role fun and incentivizes different styles of play very well.
Outside of the notable new Operations mode, we're treated to the classic modes such as team deatchmatch, a typical conquest mode, and a strange but endearing version of capture the flag called War Pigeons. These modes are mostly vanilla but do well to accent the maps and represent the desired feel of the World War I combat. Teamwork is always the best way to success and while the class system is less felt in the more typical modes, there's good balance to make each of the classes a valid option in the more traditional combat scenarios.
On the whole, Battlefield represents a wonderful mashup of an under utilized era paired with the tried and true mechanics that series veterans have come to expect. The aesthetic quality and production values are as high as ever and the player count is one of the most healthy out there. In terms of safe purchases, this iteration of Battlefield represents a good investment for fans and a perfect jumping in point for new players.