In the war for first person shooter (FPS) supremacy, Dice decided to flip the script and take it back to the past unlike its long-time nemesis Call of Duty who has stayed firmly in the future. One record-breaking trailer for Battlefield and one of the most hate bombed trailers from Call of Duty on YouTube later, I finally got to see if Battlefield unlike other franchises this year could actually live up to its hype.
The latest and worst named entry into the Battlefield franchise simply put looks stunning. Dice has always been known and renowned for their ability to make beautiful games with the use of the Frostbite graphics engine, and once again they did not fail to disappoint with Battlefield 1. From dense and formidable bleakness of the Argonne Forest to the desolate expanse of Sinai Desert, Battlefield 1 really creates gorgeous and treacherous environments within its single and multiplayer campaigns. The immersion from this attention to detail is further enhanced by its fantastic weather dynamics, where you can physically marvel at water droplets on your gun in raining environments or the obscurity of vision in desert heatwaves (that’s some intense nerd talk right there). In summary Battlefield 1 with its beautiful scenery, large colour pallet, destructive environments and attention to detail, is the gold standard of FPS gaming and continues to be a big asset in Dice’s objective of realism and immersion.
Starting with Battlefield Hardline in 2015, EA gave an intention of placing a larger emphasis on Battlefield’s campaigns to which it initially failed. However, it seems lessons were learned due to the Battlefield 1 campaign being fantastic, if not sometimes far-fetched. Provided via short stories surrounding various characters, Battlefield 1 looks to take you through the unknown elements of World War One staying away from predictable trench warfare and placing you in conflicts ranging over various time periods of the wars duration. A key success of this campaign is that Dice presents you with stories which respects the brutality of the conflict, with an underlying stress of moral ambiguity relayed in the fantastically crafted cut scenes to leave player wondering who was at fault and what was the point? This morally blurred theme presented through various character viewpoints creates powerful moments in what is a great addition to the Battlefield franchise, which many including myself wished was much longer than the roughly eight hours it took me on the hardest difficulty whilst attempting a trophy run (100% completion rating). So what about the multiplayer? well other than the vanilla game modes you have come to expect from the Battlefield franchise such as team deathmatch, conquest and rush, war pigeons and operations are also added to the franchise with operations being a clear standout. Played over multiple maps “operations” consists of attackers looking to capture points to take the map and proceed, with defenders looking to kill attackers until they lose all their tickets (one life = 1 ticket) and wipe out the battalion. What you are left with is an intense situation of attackers trying to push defensive lines to take the maps before all three battalions are destroyed, and defenders desperately trying to hold the lines to destroy the three battalions to ensure overall victory. I honestly can not remember the last time I had so much fun in a single game mode, spending hours begging and coordinating with my team to push and defend which lead to some extremely close games providing at times a pure sense of relief and heartbreak rarely found in current multiplayer offerings.
Like the aesthetic offering, Battlefield is a franchise renowned for great gameplay created to be easy, fluid and immersive whether you are on foot, in a vehicle or on a plane. Balancing at launch is relatively good with shotguns and snipers being the biggest offenders, with shotguns utilising the range of snipers and snipers not feel as impeded by Battlefield staples such as bullet drop which hopefully will be patched to entice greater levels of strategy in class selection. All positive’s for battlefield, a perfect game right? well not quite as if you’re looking for the great customisation you are used to from previous Battlefield titles you will not find it here….. well not yet anyway. Although I was extremely surprised by the lack of microtransactions (round of applause) I have a suspicion that Dice have carried out a content carving contest, which although does not by any means kill the game does leave a bitter taste in terms of game longevity. This is due to the period setting where unlike previous titles where all guns had various attachments and modifications, Battlefield 1 has virtually none other than basic scope which EA can defend as not realistic. And i would agree, However, Battlefield 1 also seems to have a very small selection of guns in comparison to previous titles in battlefield mainly consisting of multiple versions of one weapon. No one will convince me there were roughly twenty guns in a time period where “innovation” is claimed to be abundant in terms of war based technology and advancements, unless? you guessed it, they are saving all the tasty additional weapons for DLC content. I suspect DLC is also to blame for the single player campaigns short length but in multiplayer it especially stings due to many people having few options and just using the gun with high damage, rather than having a multitude of weapons to encourage play styles which were present in previous titles and should be expected with a game designed around strategy.
Despite the suspected cutting off content, overall Battlefield 1 is an FPS war game which delivers a powerful anti-war message. Providing powerful narratives, Battlefield 1 succeeds in delivery on a fun and emotional scale rarely seen since the old days of the World War Shooters such as Call of Duty 2 or Medal of Honour. It will be interesting to see how Dice proceeds with this success, and even more so to see other FPS juggernauts react.
Battlefield 1 was played on a Playstation 4 for approximately forty hours prior to review
Pug-Rating 4/5 Pugs