Battlefield 1 is the next installment of Dice’s acclaimed series about warfare.
In their past few installments, the series has become a bit stale in its execution, moving strictly to modern warfare settings and storylines specifically about the fears of today (terrorism, Russia, China, etc.), but their new installment moves back in time to a relatively untouched historical era in terms of video games.
Battlefield 1 takes place in the first World War and looks to show the stories of the war from all fronts and all sides, providing much-needed humanization for all those who took part in the war.
The game’s campaign is constructed in a much different way than the previous installments. Up until now, Battlefield told one personal story about a force looking to save the world, or America, from threats abroad. This time, the game shakes things up a bit.
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Each story mission tells a different perspective of someone on a different front in another army. These stories all focus on different types of combat as well. In one, the player is part of a British tank crew and in another, is an American who lies about his identity in order to fly in the British Royal Air Force.
No story missions exist from the perspectives of the Ottomans, the Germans and the Austrians, however, humanizing the allied forces extremely well, but still showing those they fought against as alien “others” — an idea which goes against the main theme of humanity.
It is also prohibitively short, as the longest mission was maybe two hours at most and with five different missions, it only provided around seven hours of singleplayer content, which is far too little.
The multiplayer, however, shines in almost every way. The Battlefield ideal is still upheld, with battles of immense scale taking place with up to 64 players and every type of warfare, whether it be with tanks, airplanes, boats, or cavalry. It really is all encompassing, and the massive scale works perfectly.
Fighting alongside a squad of up to four other players, players work with the rest of the team to do a variety of objectives based on game types. The main two games — conquest and rush — are back and are still very well balanced and extremely fun.
The game’s new mode “Operations,” however, is where they make a great step forward. In these matches, players fight across massive battlefields and on multiple maps to play out real-life WWI scenarios in which the game explains what happened in the past and how differences in the simulations played may have affected the overall war. It’s extremely inventive and matches can last up to an hour, so be sure to have plenty of time on your hands before taking the plunge.
The graphics of the game are stellar as usual. It looks beautiful even at the lowest settings on the PC. The unlock system for new gadgets and weaponry for each class has been tweaked slightly. Instead of immediately unlocking weaponry once you reach a certain level, you can buy what you like with in-game currency rather than clutter your inventory with things you don’t want. This seems to have worked quite well, though some rebalancing should probably be done in the realm of shotguns, which seem a bit overpowered at the moment.
All in all, Battlefield 1 did a great job of providing some freshness for a series which was beginning to get stale, and it worked quite well. Consider picking it up this holiday season for some thoughtful storytelling in single-player or immense scale action with friends.