Battlefield 1 Review : The War to End All Wars – Or so they said, as it is eventually ended nothing.
Welcome to our review of Battlefield 1, a game which take the Great War / World War 1 as its main setting. Electronic Arts (EA) & DICE have taken up an interesting selection for this game, instead of modern and future combat route their main competitor took, they look backwards and deliver a stunning game that captures the essence of the Great War.
Battlefield 1 Single Player / Campaign Review
The War Stories
The game acknowledges the pointless carnage of the Great War, the first / prologue campaign, The Storm of Steel, showcase how brutal the Great War is. Playing as members of the US 369th Infantry Regiment “The Harlem Hellfighters”, an all-black regiment which famously known to never lose a trench, we are thrown immediately to the chaos of the trench warfare. The creeping barrage, the enemies charge that follows and eventually the hand-to-hand combat as both armies fight tooth and nail for the trenches, it is a testament of the carnage of the war.
From there, the campaign continues as a series of “War Stories”, which plays out independently from each other. The second campaign takes us to France during the Battle of Cambrai, which we play as Danny Edwards, a rookie Mark V tank driver. The third campaign introduces us to the aerial battles of Battlefield 1, as you take the role of Clyde Blackburn, a maverick volunteer pilot of the Royal Flying Corps.
The fourth campaign takes us to Italy as Luca Vincenzo Cocchiola, a member of the elite Italian Unit, the Arditi. This campaign is one of my favourite one, especially the first mission where Luca wear a body armour in a “Juggernaut” fashion. The campaign also showcased the extreme terror of wars in the Alps and the personal losses of the participants.
The fifth campaign shifts us to the coasts of Gallipoli, Turkey as we take control of the Australian veteran, Frederick Bishop. As a resident in Australia, I can understand the losses the Australia and New Zealanders (ANZAC) experienced during this campaign, which runs deep on both nations identities until today. The campaign itself is a beautiful story of a bond forged in battlefield and self-sacrifice, which is one of the best stories in the campaign for me.
The final campaign moves to the Middle East, where we meet Lawrence of Arabia. A highly controversial figure, nevertheless his exploits has inspired many. We are not controlling him though, instead we are put into the perspective of Zara Ghufran, a Bedouin rebel working for Lawrence. This campaign breathes a fresh air compared to the claustrophobic trenches of Europe as we ride on the Arabian desert.
These campaigns are pretty good, despite all the talks of the Multiplayer focus of Battlefield 1, DICE really pulled no punches on the campaign. It also serves as a good stepping stone for inexperienced players for the Multiplayer, while still having simple but interesting stories.
But, it is not without flaws, though. One of the most glaring would be the AI. One of my tried and true strategy of clearing a stealth mission is to find a field gun and level the whole village. Yes, the AI didn’t even try to outflank me, they just kept coming and got shelled in the face.
Another flaw in the AI would be their handling of vehicles, sometimes I found AI tanks stuck on trenches or small ridges. Another minor flaw would be it is a tad short (I finished them all in 2 days) and the historical accuracy of some of the events.
Battlefield 1 Multiplayer Review
As usual, Battlefield 1 offers engaging Multiplayer experiences. There are 6 main Multiplayer modes in the game: Conquest, Domination, Team Deathmatch, Rush, War Pigeons and the Operations.
Conquest is making a triumphant return from the previous Battlefield games and it is still the best mode to fully experience what Battlefield 1 could while Domination will also cater for players who prefers infantry vs infantry action. Team Deathmatch is still a nightmare for someone like me who likes to go YOLO just for fun, it is the mode where every lives count and screw-ups can be much more damaging than in other modes.
Rush also made a return where the M-COM are replaced with telegraphs. While War Pigeons is an interesting twist of one of the events in the Campaign, where pigeons being used to call for Artillery strikes. Yep, you read that correctly and it is historical (just google Cher Ami), messenger pigeons can be your saving grace or worst nightmare in the Great War.
Operation is an excellent addition to the Multiplayer. It plays out similarly to Conquest, but with one side defending and the other side attacking. The attackers have limited amount soldiers (lives), while the defenders must hold their ground. It also spans more than one map, giving it a “mini-campaign” feel. It is a must try for people who loves the original Conquest Mode.
The classes system is also back, offering a plethora of possible gameplay to the players, we can be the sneaky Scouts with their sniper, the frontline Assault troop, Medic (the name speaks for itself) and the versatile Support. Several specialized classes are also available if you choose to spawn directly to a tank (Tanker), plane (Pilot) or Horse (Cavalry). There are also elite classes that can be picked up by players across the map.
My favorite class is still the Assault class though, the satisfaction of blowing up the enemy team’s cars, tanks or even trains is too hard to resist. Support is a close second for me with Mortars and LMG raining destruction on unsuspecting foes.
The maps are quite balanced in my opinion, but some terrain conditions would favor some classes. The flat desert of Arabia for example will favor sniping Scouts to an extent, but it is never overwhelmingly so. The best map for me would be Amiens, which is an ideal place to go CQB (Close Quarter Battle), including daring bayonet charges which can be so awesome if it lands, or looking so silly when the enemies are waiting for you with shotguns.
Frostbite engine also works really well on the maps, the destructible environment offers many unique opportunities, such as hiding from enemies in an artillery crater or blasting open the wall where the enemies are holed up with dynamite. It is a marvelous engine, even FIFA 17 now use it even though they do not need to blast open anybody’s door.
Battlefield 1 Review – The Verdict
- War Stories are excellent and totally worth your time
- Great War look and feel, I specifically like having a shovel as melee weapon, which is totally historical (and based on the historic documents, actually pretty effective).
- Epic Multiplayer and Operations
- AI in Campaign is still very bad
- War Stories could be made longer or with more campaigns, especially from the Central Powers perspective (which is totally non-existent)
Battlefield 1 lives up to its hype to be one of the contender for best shooter game this year. It is certainly capture just enough historical authenticity from the Great War and mixed it up with the usual chaotic and Hollywood-esque action of its genre. It is worth investing if you like FPS, or if you don’t really like FPS but like historical games like me.
Nice work, DICE!
Disclosure: Review license was supplied for reviewing but all opinions are mine and not paid