The Battlefield series has always been about about massive warfare. From planes flying overhead, tanks rumbling on the roads and dozens of infantry soldiers fighting inside buildings, there is no greater sense of all-out-war than what DICE managed to create. Turning back the clocks on Battlefield and setting the latest entry during the events of World War I seemed like a risky challenge as it’s a war not many people are well informed about and the series has always been on the cutting edge with the latest gun power and technology. Surprisingly enough, it works beautifully. The hundred year old weapons and machines create one of the most visceral and stunning games of the year and perhaps the best entry into the Battlefield series to date.
What Is It?
As the name states, Battlefield 1 takes place during World War 1, a time when war was brutal and ruthless. All of the weapons used in Battlefield 1 are ones used throughout the war, including bolt-action rifles, bayonets and even mustard gas–a gas so lethal and debilitating it was actually banned in later wars. The vehicles are a sight to behold, as biplane aircrafts roam the skies dropping grenades on unsuspecting foes and massive land tanks that look primitive in nature can still pack quite a punch on the battlefield. Sorting through all of these old weapons and vehicles might seem daunting at first, but after a while this still feels like the same old Battlefield formula with a new change of scenery.
Battlefield 1 is most widely known for its multiplayer mode, but Battlefield 1 has a solid campaign mode that is separated into various “war stories” based around events of the war. The campaign takes you from various countries like Italy, France, Austria, and Germany as you learn the stories of those soldiers who sacrificed so much. World War 1 was especially brutal, and you see that in various parts of the story as you blow apart enemies with a massive tank or rain down fire from an attack plane as you assault a city. The campaign has its fair share of memorable moments. To refrain from spoiling anything, it’s best to play campaign first before delving into multiplayer to understand how many of the weapons work.
But the fun of Battlefield 1 comes with its multiplayer and that’s where the game truly shines. Conquest is the bread and butter of Battlefield 1 and it involved two teams of 32 fighting over control of flags. Using anything at your disposal, your goal is to control flags and earn points by killing enemies until you have enough tickets to win. What makes this mode so much fun is the sheer size of every map! One map in particular, Monte Grappa in Italy, has massive rolling hills and heights. If you stand on top of the tallest one, you can see down into the valley below where everyone else is fighting. Seeing how many people are fighting simultaneously coupled with the size of the area is impressive. Rush is still around, which requires teams to attack certain objectives and destroy telegraph posts to advance. The defenders can use artillery strikes in an attempt to stop the attackers. It’s a trench game mode that requires considerable teamwork to successfully complete.
Operations is a new mode that was added for Battlefield 1 and its similar to Conquest and Rush combined. Players are divided into attackers and defenders while guarding a set of flags that need to be captured. However, unlike Conquest where flags can be captured one by one, the only way to secure an area and continue is to capture all the flags at the same time. This creates a very frantic and massive war with dozens of players fighting at once. Operations also follows war stories derived from the campaign, so there is a bit of story and reasoning as to why you are all fighting on certain levels. What makes Operations so much fun is that even if the attackers fail, they get multiple shots to complete their objective. Reinforcements are called in for either side depending on the outcome to help push back the enemies. That’s a nice change of pace from the basic modes in all the other Battlefield modes. War Pigeons is also a new mode where teams fight to control pigeons that carry coordinates for an artillery strike against the opposing team.
Why Should I Care?
Battlefield 1 is the same gameplay you loved from the other games, but so much has been added that makes it the best entry yet. For example, in Conquest once a certain side is losing heavily (usually by 100 or more points) your team gets control of a massive vehicle to help turn the tide of war. The Behemoth, a gigantic zeppelin with mounted guns, is one of the more breathtaking encounters in the game. When this monstrosity arrives, it unleashes a massive belch that sounds like Godzilla approaching through the clouds. It can carry six teammates aboard at once and they have the ability to shoot from all sides and even capture flags while floating in the air. Of course the opposing team still has the ability to blow it out of the sky using AA guns and airships to help regain control of the fight. Besides the Behemoth, other levels also include the Dreadnought, a heavily fortified boat that can fire artillery strikes from off-shore and an Armored Train that can actually move in between the level and fire cannons and machine guns from every angle. The Argonne Forest level has the train moving directly in the middle of it, forcing the winning side to take cover as this monstrosity is literally barreling down towards you. These massive vehicles are a sight to behold once they enter the fray and using them or taking them down is one of the highlights of every match.
Besides the vehicles, the new infantry weapons offer plenty of new options as well. Many of the guns lack the high-tech sights from previous Battlefield games but aiming down the iron sights has never been so much fun. It takes a lot more of a learning curve than previous games, but it’s definitely much more balanced for both sides in this instance. Gas Grenades is probably the biggest addition to Battlefield 1 as they are used often in every match to gain control. Once thrown, the mustard gas causes you to cough and wheeze and you will eventually die unless you equip your gas mask with the simple touch of your D Pad. However, with your gas mask on, you can no longer shoot down the sights of your gun thus only allowing you to hip fire. Gas grenades are essential for clearing out rooms of enemies trying to capture a point or giving the enemies a disadvantages at firing their weapons.
Weapons on the field of battle have also been added as well. From giant artillery cannons that fire massive bullets to AA guns that can shoot down aircraft, almost everything you see can be used to your advantage. Even buildings topple in a much more realistic manner than in previous games, perfect for taking out those pesky snipers. That coupled with barbed wire scattered around the battlefield that can hurt you when touched alters the way many encounters are approached. The melee fighting in Battlefield 1 has been revamped and now has a dozen or so options of hitting enemies up close, such as shovels and hatchets. It’s a lot of fun to get up close and personal! The bayonet in particular, once equipped on your gun, lets you unleash a bayonet charge once you are running at full speed that instantly kills an enemy when touched. Nothing is more fun than running across the field screaming at the top of your lungs as you plunge a bayonet straight into the neck of an unsuspecting victim.
New elite classes are available at random points on the battlefield as well. These classes give players certain special abilities, like the ability to use a flamethrower to mow down groups of enemies or ride on the back of a horse and use a cavalry sword to take out enemies who try to outrun you. There is so much available at your grasp on the field of battle from vehicles to weapons to horses that you will always find something new to try every time you start a new match.
To top it off, Battlefield 1 has the best sound and visuals of any game to date. Every level is stunning with amazing attention to detail. Whether it be an Ottoman Fortress overlooking the water or a massive fight in the Sinai desert across endless miles of sand, every level sports amazing detail and lifelike scenery. Some of the levels even have their own weather conditions that randomly alter the flow of battle. The Sinai Desert could be a clear sunny day one match and have a massive sandstorm the next that hinders your vision. One of the best sights in the game is when the Behemoth eventually gets taken down it quickly explodes into flames, crashing down to earth. The imagery of seeing this gigantic fireball landing right on top of you is both exhilarating and frightening to witness. The sound is exceptional as well. You can hear commands from your team shouted out on the battlefield, the hiss of gas grenades being spewed out, and even the screams of soldiers who caught fire from incendiary grenades. Never has a game of war looked and sounded so lifelike.
If there is one gripe to make about Battlefield 1 is it perhaps how wonky the squad system still tends to be. Squadding up with friends is always important in Battlefield to utilize respawns, and the game actually rewards you for doing so. It’s still a pain to get it to work properly. Joining together in the menu and entering a game should be as easy as 1-2-3, but yet it still requires you to accept when another player enters the game and sometimes players are thrown on different teams. If this slight blemish can be fixed, then Battlefield 1 might end up being one of the best shooters this year.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
DICE has pulled out all the stops and delivered what is undoubtedly the best entry into the Battlefield series to date. Everything about Battlefield 1 is perfectly executed, from the weaponry and vehicles to the stunning landscapes and Operations mode. Every battle within the game truly feels like a work of art. The first time you see a Behemoth approach the battlefield, your jaw will drop and the inclusion of new weaponry and vehicles only adds to the mayhem and excitement during every match. DICE took a lot of heat about the way Battlefront was handled, but if Battlefield 1 is any indication to how truly masterful they can be at their craft, the future is bright for subsequent Battlefield and DICE games. There simply is not a better shooter out right now.