DICE’s recent addition to the ever-most popular Battlefield franchise, was it justified to be as hyped up as it was?
Battlefield 1 was the recent biggest hit of first person shooters of 2016, boasting a more traditional setting (being the first world war) which opened up many possibilities and styles for game play direction. But just how does it fare five months later? With the latest update being the first downloadable content for the game, adding new maps and game modes I sought it to be appropriate to make a re-visit to one of my most excited for games of last year.
It’s no secret that DICE’s Battlefield series is a mainstream must-have for any platform, and is constantly noted for being the only rival to the ever popular Call of Duty franchise. Where you find consoles, you will always find these games and usually sitting at the shop front, titled as “must haves”.
As previously mentioned, Battlefield 1 is based on the true events that transpired one hundred years ago – “The Great War”. This separates it from it’s rivals, being more like traditional shooters of the roots in which the Battlefield series was based, not on modern conflicts, rather historical events. This is what gave Battlefield 1the cutting edge when rivalled with other shooters – attempting to be something more real that players would be able to easily identify, and nothing does that better than the world’s first war.
This is evident in the games “War Stories”, the single player bulk of the game and what replaces traditional “campaigns” in other games. The player is given the role of various soldiers in units across the globe, in iconic battles and events to re-live through control and vision.
The idea for these war stories was really good, and at first I enjoyed myself quite a bit, trudging across muddy landscapes – with crumbling ruins and surrounded in forests of barbed wire. Battlefield 1 does a great job of presentation, immersing you into the horrible and grimy world that it portrays, making you feel in a real war zone. Unfortunately as far as the single player goes, nothing else shines here. The first couple of missions you play aren’t bad, but after that things get a bit ridiculous, which is a shame for a game taking itself seriously.
My biggest problem with the campaign is how little sense it makes in terms of the player. Upon starting the first mission, you’re reminded that you’re just one soldier and boldly stated “You are not expected to survive” – which at first sends chills down your spine. The problem is, DICE, is that for something to have impact it needs to have meaning. When I’m flying around in a plane taking out Anti-Air batteries or storming hills with a metallic suit with great bullet absorption coupled with a mounted machine gun then I can’t tell if i’m playing a gritty serious war game or 1993’s DOOM. The single player campaign is lacklustre to say the least; very little impact or impression was made on me. It just feels like a generic modern first person shooter.
However, and this is where the game does shine, the multiplayer mode is where the game takes the setting of World War One and really turns it into an incredible experience. When battling over massive conquest maps, with thirty-two players a side complete with vehicles, squads and classes within those squads, the world feels much more alive and complete. Charging from one objective to another with your teammates is almost unprecedented before this game, I actually can’t find a decent comparison. I’m serious, the multiplayer of this game is what seals the deal and is where all the enjoyment and replay ability comes from, of which it almost has infinite of.
This game shines brightest when experienced with other people, and with all the maps and game modes it keeps things fresh enough to make you want to rank up, unlock all the weapons and complete challenges to obtain new items. In my experience with the Battlefield franchise, this game comes very close to the memories I hold of Battlefield 1942, a timeless PC classic of huge maps sprawling with people and activity, and I’m glad DICE keeps the consistent quality of multiplayer throughout their series.
It’s just a shame they still don’t know how to handle single player yet.
Verdict: 8/10. I’m reluctant to call Battlefield 1 a “must-buy”, however It does show a step in the right direction for mainstream first person shooters of the current age, showing that every once in a while a history lesson is maybe due, even if Battlefield 1 is consistent with Its history like being able to draw one hundred perfect circles whist taking shots every time you blink is consistent but it still delivers a fantastic multiplayer experience that it’s enough to carry it to the title of “a good game”. Well, unless you don’t have any friends of course.
Battlefield 1, available on the official Battlefield website (https://www.battlefield.com/en-gb) and EA’s Origin platform, as well as major game retailers.