Battlefield 1 goes right back to its roots this time with a setting in World War 1. That’s right, there are no jet packs, wall jumps or guided missiles here. This one dials things right back to the days when your reload took ages, you had to rely on your aim, and sometimes you’d even take advantage of a four-legged friend to get from A to B and chop your foes down from above.
While Battlefield Hardline actually gave us quite a good story-based campaign, Battlefield 1 takes a different approach with War Stories that tell very personal tales from all over the world. You may play a few missions in charge of a tank called Bess in one campaign, fight on foot as a sniper, or take to the skies in some tales with fantastic cut-scenes and performance capture, mixed with some cool scripted moments. They’re fairly short segmented scenes but they do serve as a kind of training mode for the multiplayer which most people will spend the majority of their time in.
Multiplayer has six game modes. There’s the classic Conquest where you must capture and hold objectives on land, sea and air, there’s Domination which is a smaller on-foot only version of Conquest, Team Deathmatch, Rush where you must plant bombs at telegraphs or defend them in order to push your enemies back through the map, and a brand new mode called Operations which takes place over a number of maps as you capture and hold sectors to move forward. This mode can hold 40 or 64 players and really feels epic as everyone rushes to the objective. It’s sure to become a new favourite among fans of the series even though my main criticism is that it’s actually very hard to win as the attacking side. Some more balancing may have to done by the team at DICE in future. War Pigeons is the final new mode which is basically the first team to find the pigeon, write the note and send it flying to call in air strikes. It’s sort of like capture the flag mixed with the history of the first person to send the first Tweet I suppose.
The setting really is the star of the game here. It actually feels like you are shaping history over some stunning maps ranging from fortresses to deserts and everything in between. There’s also a cool new mechanic in some of the larger modes where the losing team gets given a Behemoth to help them turn the tide. This can come in the form of a massive Dreadnaught battleship, an armoured train or even a huge blimp that hovers overhead. You can spawn inside these and get a fair few good kills to try and even things up a bit!
The era also means there are some new weapons and kits to play with. Poison gas can be thrown to make everyone don gas masks – you then can’t aim down your sights and it’s harder to see! Melee weapons range from small knives to clubs and shovels. These all have different levels of power and hit boxes for some risk vs reward gameplay. You can also go crazy with a bayonet charge, rushing towards the enemy and skewering them if you make contact.
This game also looks beautiful. Even on console you’ll be forgiven for dying as you stop to admire the sunset or the dynamic weather as the fog rolls in, causing difficulty for snipers and changing the layout of the land. Talking of change, the whole battlefield is also extremely destroyable to the level of the Bad Company games. You can blow holes in almost anything and cause damage to enemies with falling debris. There really are a tonne of gameplay options here and it’s up to you how you go about playing. The game can feel a little tricky and lonely if you’re playing as a lone wolf, but jump in with a squad and the game really does shine and become another more epic experience entirely.
This is by far one of the best Battlefield games to date. It’s classic rock paper scissors action and is sure to get better as new updates and patches are rolled out so it gets a blockbuster 9 out of 10.
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