Sunday 4 December 2016

Battlefield 1

It’s crazy to think that people are excited to visit World War I in a video game considering how sick of World War II everyone was a decade ago. Then again, if you push out modern military title after modern military title, where else is there to go but space. While the competitor might be doing just that, Battlefield has gone in the opposite direction and the result is a game that’s setting is a perfect fit for the franchise’s multiplayer that may feel more familiar than you may be expecting. 

Developed by DICE and out now on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, Battlefield 1 is a great and expected multiplayer and a fun and unexpected campaign. Let’s be honest, DICE don’t have a great track record with their campaigns on their base games (Bad Company’s campaigns were awesome). Rather than funnel you down a six hour campaign of set-pieces, Battlefield 1’s campaign are a series of mini-stories set all over the front of World War I. This works because it allows the developers to introduce different mechanics without feeling forced as well as mix things up how they choose. The result is a short experience that works on every single level. 

As you move from one War Story to the next, you are introduced to different characters, different locations, and a different focus on gameplay. One story has you taking to the sky in a plane while another will incentivise you to approach open areas stealthily. It shows both the impressive scope of the game as well and its versatility to approaching gameplay. At times, it honestly feels like a few small games brought together seamlessly. That’s pretty much what the multiplayer is anyway. Chances are by playing through the campaign, you will favour a certain approach to gameplay and that will become your default class as you jump into the overwhelming world of Battlefield’s multiplayer. 

If you are familiar with the franchise’s multiplayer then you might be shocked to find that the drastic change in setting, weapons, and vehicles have not really changed much. Sure you don’t have explosives like rocket launchers or fully automatic machinery but the rock, paper, scissors approach is still implemented and carried out really well. There are plenty of anti-air turrets to take down the planes but the planes themselves are much weaker and slower that before meaning your own main weapon can be affective as you chip away at its wings. 

There are land vehicles too but once again, they aren’t the powerhouses they were in previous Battlefield games meaning infantry is more effective than it ever has been and honestly it’s all balanced so well. Don’t expect it to feel like its contemporaries though as maps are still huge offering varying styles of play. Planes still swoop overhead and rather than the typical AA guns you can equip, there are turrets thrown all over the map and all bullets can cause some damage. It really feels like every approach can cause some amount of damage regardless. 

Despite the massive change in source material, this still all very much feels like Battlefield. You will still do the same things, play the same objective type matches and unlock new attachments, weapons etc. It’s surprising just how well the Battlefield template works in World War I with very little creative liberties taken. I mean, there were no real automatic weapons in those times so while you won’t be taking on the battlefield with an M16 but there are some changes that had to be made to keep the game feeling fun. 

I haven’t even mentioned just how incredible destructibility is. It takes the expected destruction of the previous games and takes it to the next level, all while looking better than it ever has. When the action gets thick and fast, it’s equally thrilling and impressive. It’s hard to get a better and complete multiplayer experience this year for military fans.

The king of the battlefield. 4/5


Jason Redmond

Battlefield 1 at CeX

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