When this game was initially announced, I had a lot of misgivings on the idea of a WWI shooter. The very idea of a game depicting a war that was fought mostly in the trenches did not appeal to me. I wondered, if EA Dice was going to go back, why not go back to their bread and butter and make a new Battlefield 1942 game. But then I played Battlefield One and it’s almost forgivable that a new WWII shooter isn’t out. Battlefield 1 is far from a dull war game. With a combination of variety of gameplay and powered by the Frostbite engine, Battlefield 1 is as engaging as any other shooter on the market.
In a world where FPS games have more outrageous futuristic settings, Battlefield One’s step back in time is what gamers really need. No jetpacks, no mechs, and no weird police chases here. In this game, we go back to the heart of what made the Great War savagely noble: the people. The game opens up by giving you a slice of life in the war through the eyes of different soldiers, and allows you to try out of few aspects of combat (tank tutorial, anyone?). Even though you “die” in nearly each story, the game sets you up for what’s ahead.
When playing the campaign, you will notice the difference playing through each scenario as you get a better feel for the story than you would in many games. In many ways, this game feels more like a war anthology with clever stories than it does a straight-on shooter, and it makes me wish more games were like this. The best part about playing the campaign, is that there are many ways to approach an objective and it doesn’t quite feel so “on the rails” as some Call of Duty games are. In some missions you can go in with guns blazing, while others require finesse and stealth. However, this is not a game you can Rambo your way through and expect great results. Also, because this is a WWI game, players will have to learn to make do with guns that are imprecise & hold far less ammo, as well as sometimes learn to scrounge for ammo when they run out – which happens frequently. The game play can get frantic at times but not so much that you lose sight that it’s not in tune with the setting. This is not a slow shooter just because the times were different. Players will have to work to earn kills here. Even with headshots, players will have to shoot enemies multiple times in order to take them down. Tank battles can be slow and brutal affairs, but when you win, it’s so rewarding – especially when your lone tank has to fight against multiple antagonists. There’s something about each battle that when it calms down for those brief moments that it leaves you feeling accomplished
Powered by the Frostbite engine, Battlefield 1 is a graphically beautiful savage garden. There are scenes that will impress and sadden you at the same time. The game does not hold back on the blood, damage, and the multitude of creative ways that men can kill each other. It’s amazing to go through a mission set which starts in the afternoon, goes on through the night and well into the afternoon of the next day. After one story set, I felt mentally exhausted after playing through, at which point I felt like, unless you were in the military, there is no way to relate what these people went through in this war nearly 100 years ago. Another big plus that I love about this game (besides the lighting) is the amounts of damage you can do to nearly everything. This is most notable when you are in a tank. If you have enemy soldiers holed up in a house, shoot at it and bring it down on top of them. Or drive through it and note how weighty the controls feel once the structure is down. Also the dynamic weather plays a huge factor in some areas, and it’s not just for aesthetics. If it rains enough, roads can become a muddy quagmire slowing vehicles down. In other scenarios, things like sandstorms and fog will hamper your vision. In short, maps and battles can change at the drop of a hat because of the weather. The level of havoc one can cause in certain levels seems infinite because of the destructibility of objects and weather changes. With the graphics and presentation, gamers will never lack for variety.
All of this being said, there are some minuses keeping this from being a perfect game. One of the biggest issues being that of the game’s AI. While some missions require some stealth, it occasionally feels like no matter what you do, you will always be spotted. Likewise, there have been occasions where I have walked right up on the enemy and no alarm whatsoever. The good news is that it’s rare and fixable. Another issue is multiplayer. I will come on out and say it. I have never been a big fan of multiplayer, because your ability to win or lose is based on how coordinated your team is at any given moment. As usual, you will find your lone wolves, your Rambos and even people who are just out to try and dampen everyone’s day. But that is the beast of multiplayer games. I did have a few enjoyable moments of playing matches where attacks were coordinated and strategic, where others were organized chaos. Mainly due to other commitments to real life situations and family, I don’t have the time to really dedicate to multiplayer games of this sort, which is why I wish that EA DICE would dedicate a few maps to those wishing to play with bots – because at least then, many of us could get into a game, play for the fleeting time that we have, and be done. I mean, look at the basis around Battlefield 1942’s campaign, which had a multiplayer feel for a single player. However there is a nice variety of multiplayer modes to play should one choose to engage.
When asked if this game could bring in Call of Duty gamers, I would say, “Yes it could.” It could because Battlefield 1 offers CoD gamers a blast to the past that we have not seen in nearly 10 years. The campaign is not a throwaway portion, the graphics are beyond surreal, and as said before, there is enough to keep you wanting to play. Also this is a game that is not dedicated to killing your enemies from distance. This game requires you in many ways to get intimately brutal with your opponent and this is what makes this different from the new Call of Duty games.
If you have an Xbox One, get EA Access and at least give it a try to see if it fits. It’s what I used to get me off of the fence about this game and I think this will be the shooter that gives Call of Duty a run for its money.
4.25 flamethrowers out of 5