There has been a trend in the FPS market for the last few years – a move towards a modern or futuristic setting. It makes sense as just over a decade ago there were more WW2 shooters on the market than you could shake a stick at, so a more futuristic setting was welcomed. However, history certainly repeats itself and it seems fans of FPS titles feel that it is time to go back to the trenches at the dawn of war and give the futuristic settings a break. DICE are listening to the community and are leading the charge in taking players back to some of the most brutal battles in history.
Tell me a War Story
Battlefield 1 will take you to the very dawn of war as you play through various campaigns in WW1. At first people were concerned that the sluggish pace of vehicles and weapons from that era of war would slow gameplay down and make it less fun to play, but that could not be further from the truth. The gameplay in Battlefield 1 is fast and more brutal than any Battlefield title before it. One of the best things about Battlefield 1 has to be the campaign that has been split into six smaller campaigns that can be finished in about two hours each.
The six short campaigns range from mastering air combat controls as a pilot in the British Royal Airforce to pushing through German lines as a tank driver. Every ‘War Stories’ chapter helps you master the various aspects of Battlefield 1’s gameplay so that you will not just be cannon fodder when you jump online in a multiplayer game. The stories themselves are very good, I loved playing as Zara while battling alongside Lawrence of Arabia and I grew attached to my tank crew in the “Through blood and mud” story where keeping Big Bess in one piece proved to be very challenging, as you take on what felt like the entire German force. I must say that I prefer the multiple short story approach that Battlefield 1 took over traditional campaigns, and it felt like the strongest single player campaign the series has ever produced.
Pigeons are deadlier than mustard gas
What would a Battlefield game be without its 64-player multiplayer, and in Battlefield 1 DICE have once again included fan favourite modes like Conquest and Rush but they rolled the dice on some new modes called Operations and War Pigeons. Operations Mode almost feels like a small story campaign where you get three attempts to capture strategic points on a map and every time the attackers fail they are reinforced with either an airship or armoured train to try and help them turn the tide of the battle. The mode usually sees you play two maps, so if the defending team fail to hold the beach, for example, they will fall back to the forest where they can try make a final stand. Each game can take you well over 30 minutes to complete thanks to the multiple attempts and map changes provided, but you will be having so much fun you will hardly notice that it’s 3am in the morning and you are jumping into your tenth Operations game for the night.
Operations Mode is easily the most played mode in Battlefield 1 and is quickly becoming the new go-to standard as it’s stealing players away from Conquest mode. Then there is War Pigeon mode, and no you don’t play as a pigeon with mounted gattling guns under each wing – although that would be cool, so DICE if you’re reading this you have your next DLC idea. Instead it is a unique take on capture the flag where both teams fight to get to a pigeon coop in the middle of the map. Once there you need to grab a messenger pigeon and make your way to a clearing to release it so that it can carry artillery coordinates back to base. Once it makes it back to base your artillery will rain hell down on your enemies turning them into something resembling your moms spaghetti bolognese.
Hell on earth
The multiplayer player maps are very nicely varied as well, for example the vast dunes on the Sinai Desert map provides a perfect line of site to the enemy from practically any area on the map for a skilled sniper. If close quarters is more your play style the small rubble littered streets on the Amiens map will make sure you get close enough to your enemy to smell their aftershave. The maps are very well thought out and you will need to master all the classes to be able to adapt to the changing weather conditions as well as the terrain.
After the gun smoke and dust settles you will be left feeling that Battlefield 1 feels refreshing, even though it relies on many of the tricks that made the previous titles so much fun to play. DICE took a risk taking the series back to WW1, but with big risk comes big reward and DICE went all in with Battlefield 1 with a royal flush in hand. Is Battlefield 1 more fun to play than Battlefield 4? Yes. Is it better than any Battlefield game released in the last 10 years? Absolutely.
Battlefield 1’s new approach to both single player and multiplayer is exactly what the series needed and I can see other major FPS franchise following in DICE’s footsteps as the game continues to sell well beyond initial projected sales. In a genre that is so flooded with big budget titles the only way to stand out is to do something completely different and hope it pays off, and that is exactly what DICE and Battlefield 1 have done.