Battlefield 1: History never felt so good (review)

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Battlefield is a series that has been near and dear to my heart for quite some time. To say that I’m a fan is an understatement, as I’ve played almost every iteration of the series (I didn’t enjoy Battlefield 2142 very much). I mean, we’re talking from Battlefield 1942 and the Desert Combat mod, all the way until Battlefield 4 and Hardline, and that’s still counting the Modern Combat that released on Xbox and its resubmission/remaster on the Xbox 360. So, to say that I’m an experienced Battlefield player is slightly an understatement.

So now that Battlefield 1 is finally here, everyone wants to know, is it good? I can say in one word, yes, it is. If it were that simple, then I guess this review would be over, but where’s the fun in that? I still have yet to tell you why it possibly is the best Battlefield game yet.

Single Player

Battlefield is a series that has not been too keen on campaign for quite some time. Bad Company 1 and 2 were the first to actually be single player games, with a multiplayer addition to it. Battlefield 3, 4 and Hardline, however, was the other way around, filled with campaigns that felt like cheap bolt-on attachments rather than a solid fleshed-out story (this goes for BF3 and BF4 mostly, as Hardline had somewhat of a decent story). This mottled past me a bit uneasy, but I still had hope.

Battlefield 1 takes us by the hand on a guided tour of one of the largest, albeit horrible, events that shaped modern history, and does so with the utmost respect to the combatants who lived it. The prologue really teaches you the definition of the phrase “war is hell,” as every death puts you in the shoes of a different soldier. The campaign, itself, is split into five different War stories (not counting the prologue), each unique in its own right, but all equally good and immersive.

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Even though it only took about 8 hours to complete the campaign on the hardest difficulty, I’d easily play through it again. From battling as part of the tank crew, to chaotic dogfights, to fighting alongside the legendary Lawrence of Arabia, there’s nothing short of action in this game. Scattered intermittently throughout everything are the stealth missions, which give a good ebb and flow to the story as a whole. Not to mention the cinematic aura it all has surrounding it.

I love the fact that not only am I getting a history lesson, but, in a sense, I feel like I get to live it. Especially since World War I , in general, feels like it gets glossed over way more when compared to World War II.

Multiplayer

Now we get into the meat and potatoes of what Battlefield is known for: all-out warfare on a massive scale. When it was first announced that the series was going to WWI, I was a bit disconcerted at the idea. Why would they back that far? Obviously, this was my train of thought after playing so many different FPS games based in modern times. After seeing the first trailer, my mindset was changed from that moment on.

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Battles rage though six different multiplayer modes across nine different maps: Conquest, Domination, Rush, Team Deathmatch, and the two all-new modes, War Pigeons and Operations. Conquest has always been the bread-and-butter of the franchise, with teams vying to capture and hold control points across the map, while trying to run the enemy ticker count to zero first. Domination is similar, except that it’s on a smaller scale with not vehicles, and your score increases the longer you hold control points. I should note that the Conquest, Rush and Operations modes have vehicles, while Domination, Rush and War Pigeons do not.

Surprisingly, the modes that really stand out are the new additions. War Pigeons is akin to capture the flag, except there aren’t any bases. Player fight to capture a pigeon, which sounds odd, but I assure you, is brilliantly in line with the game’s setting. Hold onto it for long enough and you attach a message that, when released, delivers it to an artillery that attacks the other team. Do that three times, and you’ve just won the match.

Operations has to be my favorite, overall, though. If you though Conquest was large-scale, just wait until you play Operations. This game mode takes actual historical WWI events, and lets you play through them in either 20v20 or 32v32 matches. One team is on the offensive, tasked with capturing an enemy sector (usually comprised of 2-3 control points within each sector and 5 sectors per map) while the others are on the defense. These points can be recaptured by the defensive team, as long as the focus hasn’t shifted to the next sector.

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What this creates is this massive back-and-forth between the two teams. It doesn’t end there, however, as this battle happens across 2-3 maps, which then completes the operation. Victory or defeat will bring on reinforcements that come in the shape of behemoths, like an airship, destroyer or armored train. So in essence, what you have is at least an hour-long, if not more, entrenched battle that makes you feel like you’re literally at war. There’s even a narration that paints the picture of why these battles are taking place, which ups the immersion by so much more. It’s the most pressure I’ve ever had playing a Battlefield game, and it was fantastic.

Audio and Visuals

DICE always brings their best to the table when it comes to sound and visual pleasure. The Frostbite engine produces absolutely stunning work with practically photo-realistic environments. The game is just gorgeous with rich colors and textures to look at. From the subtle smoke rising from a just-fired gun, to the raging blast of sandstorm courtesy of dynamic weather, DICE have pushed themselves to the limit.

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To go along with those beautiful graphics, the game hosts sound that is some of the best you’ll ever hear in a game. In a tank, you can hear each creak it makes while driving, as well as the grit of every piece of sand and dirt hitting you after an artillery shell explodes in front of you. The clink of an expended clip, or the faint sound of an attack plane in the distance, everything is clear and crisp, making you even more aware of your surroundings.

Overall

To sum it up, Battlefield 1 is an awesome game, to say the least. Is it perfect? Not in the slightest, as I did have a few issues with some things. There’s still a balancing issue with players on horseback, as well as tanks feeling just slightly overpowering. The weapons, in general, are fairly balanced, although it seems that there are more people using the sniper class than I’ve seen in previous Battlefield games. Are they major gripes? Not really, as they seem more like minor inconveniences when I really stopped and thought about it, and it’s not like a quick patch can’t fix it, either.

Amidst the battle-scarred landscape and fully destructible environments, lays a game that has come a long way from its predecessors. EA and DICE have realized that in order to move forward, they had to take a step back, which in this case, was a step back in time. Battlefield 1 is a must-have game in your library.

Rating: 4.5/5

NR 4_5 Atoms - A-

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Narvin Seegoolam
Narvin Seegoolam 712 posts

Narvin's middle name is FPS....ok maybe not, but he's like BOOM!! HEADSHOT!! I'm hungry...