The screen fades to black and out of it, the words, “More than 60 million soldiers fought in ‘The War to End All Wars’. It ended nothing.” This is how Battlefield 1 opens. These few words set the tone for the rest of the game. Right out of the gate you are reminded of the mass loss of life and the toll of war. Once the small introduction is over, you begin the campaign. Multiplayer will be touched on later, but the campaign comes first, as it should in this game.
You load up the prologue and are greeted with a man lying in what appears to be a hospital when suddenly he snaps awake and flashes back to when he was in the war. Immediately, you see him looking around at the animosity of World War 1; men in hand to hand combat, in the mud, beating each other with rocks, clubs, guns, and even their fists. It is a very chilling scene, to say the least. After this opening cinematic you drop into a squad of the Harlem Hellfighters, on the frontlines, with one objective; Survive. This is where Battlefield 1 grabbed my attention with one simple thing. In the story, when you die, your character’s name appears on the screen with his birth year and year of death. This not only makes you emotionally invested but shows you just how young most of these men were.
After the prologue, you have the choice of five different war stories, that range from a British tank squad to joining forces with Lawrence of Arabia. Each of these five stories focuses on the main characters, but all of them are given cutscenes between each playable section of their story. These cutscenes are masterfully done and either add backstory, or a deeper emotional connection, or both. In the second War Story you get familiar with flying, and how to master pilot controls. Taking on German planes, artillery, and the occasional Zeppelin is just the first half of this man’s story. At one point he is shot down and he finds himself in “No Man’s Land”, which is the area between the opposing forces. This again brings into light the carnage of war and is one of the best missions in the game.
The game uses real world battles, locations, and the countries that fought each other with amazing accuracy.Each one of these war stories is unique unto them and introduces a new side of the war. Spoiling all of them would be rude, but saying this was one of the best single player experiences in recent gaming is an understatement. Each story is believable to the point where you think this could have happened in real life. It may only take around 6-7 hours to complete while playing on normal difficulty, but each of the characters’ stories alone is well worth your time. This is still a video game where realism takes a backseat to video game logic. Battlefield 1 has some unbelievable moments but they are few and far between. Nonetheless, this game represents World War 1 very well.
Multiplayer is the bread and butter of most games nowadays and Battlefield 1 is no different. The Battlefield standard of massive maps and 64 player warfare is at its best in Battlefield 1. The setting of World War 1 perfectly meshes with the craziness of a Battlefield title. There are 9 maps spanning from the Western Front to the Italian Alps, and over to the Middle East. Whether you are a ground troop pushing the objectives in the trenches, a tank on the front lines, or a pilot supporting from above, all are possible play styles and they are needed to succeed.
World War 1 was a time of technological advancement but neither side knew exactly what would work, so they experimented. This is reflected in the vehicles, each is unique and plays a completely different way. The weapons from the turn of the century are fairly well balanced in the game as well. No single gun has laser beam accuracy or can take out someone from a ridiculous range. They all have their own drawbacks and advantages for every style of play. SMGs are supreme indoors, but go outside and risk losing to literally any other gun at a distance. Semi-auto rifles, while good at medium range, come up short in close quarters, but have a significant disadvantage to sniper rifles. The light machine guns are well versed in close and medium ranges but can be sporadic due to full auto and their recoil. Even the snipers are balanced as you have to lower your scope to chamber a round. It’s very refreshing to play a game where any gun is viable if played correctly.
The classes also help the balance and flow of the game. The Assault class is the tank buster, with rockets and grenades paired with the SMG. You may be limited to certain engagements but you pack the firepower to offset it. The Medic class gets the semi-auto rifles, and with a revive syringe and medical bags, you are encouraged to stay in the back and be a team player. The Support Class with its mortars can push the enemy back, resupply teammates and repair friendly vehicles. Paired with the light machine gun, you can hold the front line alone. The Scout class is the sniper, who spots enemies for the team, and watching over them from afar. They play a critical role for the team. Onto the best part of the Battlefield 1 multiplayer.
Operations, this new game mode highlights everything great about this game. You begin this game by getting some narrative by a person describing their side of the war, and then the fun begins. It mixes two of the most iconic Battlefield game modes; Conquest and Rush. The attacking team must push up and capture flags while the defending team holds the flags. Keep in mind that the whole time, there are also tanks and planes in the mix. When captured, the defending team must fall back to a more fortified position and this continues until the attacking team runs out of lives. Then something amazing happens. The attacking team regroups and tries again with more lives and what is called a behemoth. All the maps get one of three behemoths, a Zeppelin, a Warship, or an Armored Train. These massive machines of war are outfitted with a large arsenal of weapons and can push the defenders back in the blink of an eye. They are able to be destroyed but it requires a massive amount of damage done to it. Once one side loses and the other has won, the game actually goes into a few real historical facts about that specific battle, which is a very nice touch.
Even as great as this game is, there are a few drawbacks. There are a limited number of guns. To compensate for this, they made different variants of the guns with a few differences in stats, but nothing ridiculous to change the gun play completely. There are also very long load times between games and the menu is still a little buggy. Your customized classes sometimes reset in-game. Vehicles do not spawn sometimes, and invisible barriers, on certain objects when flying, can get in your way. Some minor issues here and there that can probably be chalked up to lag. The story could also be longer, and the war stories could go into a little more depth, but it is already a great storytelling device for a World War 1 game. Hopefully, the War Stories gets more content through DLC, maybe the Eastern Front?
Overall this game has many positives that outweigh its few drawbacks. The graphics weren’t mentioned, however, there are times that you just stop and stare because of how beautiful it looks. From the new “War Stories” to a truly refined multiplayer, Battlefield 1 has become the top first person shooters of this year. This is the year Battlefield will surpass Call of Duty for best FPS. The diversity in this game, the unlimited possibilities, the ability to simply play the game how you want, along with the graphics and you have a superb game!
I give Battlefield 1 a 9/10! A must own!