+Extremely well balanced classes, weapons, and vehicle systems
+Unlock progress smoothly transitions to an era set before previous games
+Vehicles are unique and authentic to their time
+Multiplayer deepens the games story through operations
+Gorgeous graphics and soundscapes (music, ambiance, etc)
–Sound performance problems seem to pop up during extremely chaotic moments.
Much like any Battlefield, Battlefield 1 is not a far cry from what makes the series unique among all the competitors out there. For the first time since Battlefield Bad Company, the series finally displays what it is to make a campaign a piece of importance to the overall title. While the series adapted to destructible environments, which is still present this day, the game also followed suit with titles such as Activision’s Call of Duty in the element of including unlockable items.
Since the release of Battlefield 3 the series has been trumped by an rather distinct since of identity conflict due to the direction the series began to take. With the launch of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, players whom purchased Battlefield 4 on the next gen consoles (at the time) were plagued with numerous problems. Each of these problems weren’t elusive to just some players, but they plagued all. With game crashes, texture issues, and insane load times, Battlefield 4 put a black mark across the franchises name for many.
For many it would seem as if the franchise was losing its focus, that it was falling apart, and luckily that has changed as they took a bit more time with Battlefield 1. Long had been the days since I thought World War 1 or any other war would have been a viable idea. Games such as Medal of Honor, Shellshock: Vietnam, and Rising Storm 2: Vietnam had proven that wars previous to Desert Storm, Desert Shield, and even Iraq. Setting foot into even older wars, however, had seemed to set things a bit more taboo in modern years. What happened though to DICE? Were they working on anything outside of Star Wars: Battlefront? That was a question much of the gaming community had asked. No, they weren’t, they were focusing on Battlefield 1.
Battlefield 1 Feels More Like a Movie than a Game
To succeed as a new portion of the series, Battlefield 1 had first wave farewell to the modern day military aesthetic the series has seen for almost a decade. Doing so has allowed the developers to prepare the franchise for something new, something unique, and ultimately something that would help re-define the series as we know it now. The game so precisely and carefully weaved itself into a brilliantly crafted masterpiece, one that has been so carefully crafted that even the developers shared this intensity within the game itself.
Unlike previous shooters, Battlefield 1 brilliantly bids farewell to the one-man-long campaign, and instead, it brings forth multiple stories that across multiple theaters of war with many different tones in narration. Instead of continuing on with the one-man-hero story that Call of Duty has done across multiple installments, DICE approached the game differently by creating a finely tuned anthology, each one telling three completely separate stories across the events of World War I. The game telling the stories of multiple men and women within the theaters of war that take place across Europe.
While many would question how the game offers up a movie-like experiences, it’s quite easy to discuss when it comes to how well the narrative spans across multiple sequences even outside of the campaign. DICE does this quite well by bringing in a new mode named “Operations”. The Operations mode is what one would expect. It’s multiple battles that take place across several scenarios within a single area within a single battle. Each of these ones are told through the eyes of troops or leaders that players encounter within these missions. To fill in the need for cinematics, the game offers this up across multiple occasions to carry on the movie-like experience that takes place across the game.
Battlefield 1 is as Authentic as Possible for War Games
Much as one would expect, there’s always a question about where a game may go as it begins to unfold. Does it ignore the costs of war? Does it ignore that the terror’s that those in it will not have some mental anguish caused by it? Do they remain silent about what they go through in all tonal challenges made possible by the costs of war? No. In a unique way, Battlefield 1 provides the real-life costs of what such a war would be like.
This move sets Battlefield 1 apart from all the rest. This makes it one of the largest departures within the military genre. The first chapter of the game captures this perfectly as players take on the role of a tank driver in “Mud and Blood”. In this chapter players are forced to enjoy a rather unique trip through Europe in a tank named “Big Bess”. In this mission players are given the option to approach the enemies in two manners. One is stealth, eliminating them with brutal melee finishers, and using silenced weapons that can be found scattered across the battlefield.
The landscape, as you can imagine, is unique as players will sneak across mortar-blasted lands covered in mud that are filled with German forces. In the second story, players will become adept in using the games flying mechanics. In the second story titled “No Man’s Land”, players fly their way throughout the battlefields of Europe before taking to the grounds where machine-guns have cut almost everything down to size, tanks that have been demolished are littered across the trenches, and even mortal created holes that decorate the ground.
Let alone does the authenticity of the stories help portray the realistic costs to each character in Battlefield 1, the weapons help this authenticity seem even more plausible due to how each weapon has been carefully crafted in order to give a realistic response to its uses. Let alone do the weapons look, sound, and “feel” real, they offer a depth of realism never seen before within their customizations. This goes for combat as well in both single-player and even multiplayer.
If Battlefield 1 Provides a Realistic Feel for the Game it’s Throughout the Entire Thing
Unlike previous Battlefield titles, sneaking, maneuvering, and flanking didn’t feel as needed in order to progress through each multiplayer session as it does now. The newest portion of this mechanical design worked well in Battlefield Hardline where players would find themselves cautiously sneaking across each map. They also found themselves using every bit of their terrain to provide themselves a tactical advantage. Much like Hardline sneaking and careful maneuvers serve as an important role to the game. This further proves that the need to shoot at enemies sometimes isn’t quit the best idea.
Unlike previous titles, Battlefield 1 isn’t some dull experience that players will find boring as they find themselves storming across landscapes as a Bedouin horseback resistance fighter, an Italian shock trooper, an ace pilot, or even a tank pilot there wasn’t an inkling of boredom coming from me. While it does suffer from rather well known issues of any shooter franchise, y’know, idiot A.I., players crashing friendly planes into me, and the occasional tank driver who decides to drive us off a cliff. With those issues aside? The game has vastly approved upon many of the underlying issues from previous titles.
Closing Thoughts of a New Era of Shooters
Battlefield 1 – PC, PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: Now Available
Battlefield 1 is a departure from what we knew the series as. It forgoes the idea of the long ran approach to single character designs. It breathes what the title is through and through. It benefits itself from embedding the games core elements throughout the title. Whether it’s players storming across each map in combat in Rush, Domination, Team Deathmatch or even players storming across each operation that takes place in each multiplayer session. Something I can contest to after the dozens of hours I’ve already put into the game.
The game goes back to the days of what makes Battlefield 1 a classic Battlefield title. While some would assert that the game is slower in many aspects, others would carry on to say that the game is much faster paced in many ways. It serves as a reminder that the franchise has moved to grow as semi-automatic and bolt-action firearms fit perfectly with the era they came from. While the shooter genre moves forth into the distances of humanities future, Battlefield 1 will always be behind them as it remains very alive in its very unique way by departing from the competitive edge in ways the previous titles ventured into.
For now, it’s safe to say that Battlefield 1 pushes the boundaries into emotional depth and grasp. It’s a game that will push the FPS genre in a direction that it needed to go without underplaying the importance of building the single player into all aspects of the game and allowing that narrative to drive the games overall design.
Our review is based upon the release version of the game we purchased for review. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 9 out of 10
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter, Google+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.