Battlefield 1 is set during the first World War, featuring a campaign mode, along side its 64 player multiplayer modes which feature some of the largest vehicles ever in Battlefield history. Does Battlefield 1 do justice to its setting? Read our review to find out..
Battlefield 1 takes players to a rather unfamiliar setting, especially amongst mainstream first-person shooters. World War 1. This change of setting along with some gameplay changes; which we can assume were to pull in a wider audience, has led to quite the change with the way Battlefield plays compared to the last main instalment in the series, Battlefield 4.
Firstly, a surprising new focus for DICE in Battlefield 1 was the Campaign, known in game as War Stories. There are 5 War Stories, each following a different person in the war through their own individual stories, each of which are set in different theatres of war. These locations range from the Western Front, to the Italian Front, to Gallipoli. You really get around with the stories and get to see multiple perspectives on the war. One thing I would like to have seen is some War Stories that were outside of the Allies’ perspectives. All of the stories that are offered to us however are great. Each of them is a nice, decent length and doesn’t drag out for too long, as well as still being engaging enough to keep us interested and want to keep going. Sadly this wasn’t the case in previous Battlefield games, but DICE really did make massive improvements for the single player experience.
We get only a little bit of character development time since the stories are only short, but in the short time we have with these characters DICE manage to do a lot with them. One of the stories in particular has an ending which thanks to the way the character is portrayed, leaves you wondering if the story you played is the story that happened at all. The only real issue I have with the campaign is that the AI can be a bit buggy and incompetent sometimes but overall it’s a solid experience. As little bonuses, players can also earn special weapon skins and a vehicle skin for multiplayer by getting all the collectibles in each of the War Stories so there is a little bit of incentive for those who don’t just do things for the sake of that 100% completion there is a bit of incentive there.
As collectibles that can be earned through campaign and performing tasks in multiplayer; players can earn codex entries which give information on things such as weapons, armies, locations and other aspects of the war. There’s a couple hundred of these entries to earn, a nice addiction by DICE to mix in a bit of education with one of the largest but lesser talked about conflicts in modern history, especially in media.
Now, the reason almost everyone wanted the game and the previous Battlefield games before it. Multiplayer. Up to 64 man, all-out war on maps of massive scale and destruction on an even larger scale than the maps. Pretty much sums up the multiplayer experience of Battlefield and Battlefield 1 is no different. There has been some changes to gameplay to accommodate the change of time period as well as changes to the pace of the game but the overall experience is definitely the same. Most of you would’ve played the open beta and are aware of the changes made to classes from Battlefield 4. Now we return to a class system similar to the older Battlefield games in which we have a Medic, Assault, Support and Scout class. Overall they still function the same as their BF4 counterparts (Assault, Engineer, Support, Recon) except when taking on the Assault role you are very much dedicated to taking out the larger targets such as tanks and Support/Medic now do all of the assisting such as repairing vehicles and healing teammates.
The main change to classes though with Battlefield 1 is that each vehicle that you spawn in turns you into a specific class dedicated to that role. All this really means is you have an individual rank for that vehicle and limited equipment options. It does make you think more though before ditching your vehicle to rush into a building since you’re limited to how effective you are. Another change to classes is special kits that can be picked up to turn the tide of battle such as a Sentry, a heavily armoured, walking tank. A Flame Trooper, a slightly armoured soldier equipped with a flamethrower and finally, a Tank Hunter; a soldier equipped with a Tankgewehr (anti-tank rifle).
Some new game modes make an appearance in Battlefield 1. War Pigeons is a game mode where you have both teams fighting to get hold of a Pigeon and release it to call in artillery strikes. This must be done 3 times by a team and whoever does this first wins. It’s a fun little game mode and is a bit different from game modes similar to this. The second new mode in Battlefield 1 is Operations. Operations tells the story of battles fought in the war while mixing the gameplay of Rush and Conquest together. One team defends flags while the other attacks. The attacking team has to take control of sectors which the map has been spilt into while the defending team has to successfully hold 3 sectors to win. This mode goes across multiple maps for each operation as well, so paired with it’s unique gameplay it’s one of the better game modes for long haul sessions. Alongside these two, fan favourites like Conquest and Rush are still available while TDM and Domination return also.
A good variety of maps are offered for multiplayer, each offering unique environments and dynamic weather which changes the gameplay and how you’ll need to play every match. Each map also has a Behemoth, a large vehicle which can turn the battle in favour of the losing team when called in. These Behemoths are the Armoured Train, Airship and Dreadnaught. They can only appear when there is a huge margin in score however so they are fairly balanced.
Balancing is sadly an issue this early in the game and the only thing really dragging Battlefield 1 down. A few of the maps feel too cramped for 64 players and when it comes to rush there’s definitely an advantage to the defending side on almost every map. While down also to team’s ability to recognise and deal with threats, this is mostly due to tanks being a little too effective unless confronted with multiple Assault class players. Besides a few balancing issues though multiplayer is very solid with me personally running into no game breaking bugs and what minor bugs there was they’re only small visual glitches such as holding a melee weapon like a gun.
Battlefield 1 takes us to a new kind of war, and does it great. Through it’s wonderful story telling, collectible history lessons and solid multiplayer, DICE have really knocked it out of the park and made historical shooters a big part of the shooter genre once again.