Battlefield 1 has finally been released, the next installment in DICE’s franchise. The trailers and beta suggest many improvements to it, but did they deliver?
The gameplay has definitely been improved. Your character controls much smoother than before, able to climb over ledges and walls that in previous games would have been impassable (unless you blew it up). Vehicles, too, have definitely improved in controls. Vehicles used to feel slow and clunky; I would avoid getting into tanks and trucks because they were pretty bad to drive, with bad turning mechanics and slow speeds. However, the turning mechanics have been refined, things no longer feel clunky, and overall the vehicles are actually FUN to drive now, which definitely scores points for the game.
The graphics engine has had an overhaul too, and it looks absolutely stunning. The faces of characters are detailed and lifelike, capturing their emotions as if I were looking at a real human being. Alongside these, the destruction – one of the selling points of Battlefield – has been improved and changed for the better. BF4 relied on levolution to show off its destructive mechanics, but BF1 returns to the much-loved complete destruction. Building walls collapse, craters in the ground litter the map from explosions, and entire buildings fall to the ground. Many people enjoyed the levolution of BF4, but I personally feel that this is a much better method of utilising the destructive capabilities.
And now time to discuss the campaign, one of the usually black spots on Battlefield games. Even I, as a big Battlefield fan, can admit that since Bad Company 1 and 2, the singleplayer campaigns have been dull and generally boring, to the point where I couldn’t finish them and just stuck to multiplayer. This isn’t the case in Battlefield 1 though. Where the campaigns of BF3 and BF4 focused on the war going on, rather than the individual soldiers, BF1 focuses on five different people across the globe, and their individual stories, ranging from a British tank driver to an Arabian guerrilla fighter. Despite what our Editor-in-chief Casey says (love you really Casey), I found the stories to be emotional and pretty gripping; *SPOILERS* I felt real sadness at the end of Through Mud And Blood storyline, when the commander Townsend and Black Bess went up in flames to kill the attacking Germans. One problem with the storyline, and this is a big problem, is that its way too short. All of the War Stories can be finished in less than a day, which really limits the potential of it all. Each story could have benefitted from being longer, and it shows. Overall, what we have is good, and definitely a move in the right direction, but really needed more content.
And now we get to the main and arguably biggest part of the Battlefield series; the multiplayer. The short answer on whether BF1 delivers is a big fat yes. There are a number of new additions and various improvements, both good and bad. The usual modes have returned; Conquest, Rush, Domination and Team Deathmatch are all back, alongside a new mode called War Pigeons; where players have to grab a pigeon around the map and hold it for a certain amount of time until it’s ready to release, which calls down artillery on the enemy team and gets you a point, with three points needed to win. One new mode gets its own tab though; Operations. Operations is a new mode that takes place across two maps, with three rounds for each one. It combines Conquest and Rush into one, as one team attempts to capture two bases in a sector of the map with limited numbers; whenever the attackers capture the points, the next sector opens up. This continues until either the attackers take all the sectors (unlikely to happen in one mode), or the attacker numbers run out, starting the next round. It’s a fun and awesome addition to the franchise, and one that’s great to play.
Classes have had a revamp too. There are four classes; Assault (the anti-tank troopers), Medic, Support, and Scout (the sniper class). Classes are customisable like before, except each class has three different slots, allowing you three versions of the same class – I have a Scout class for sniping across the map, a Scout class for medium range, and one for running in and capturing objectives. It’s a nice touch and allows players to use a range of different weapons that they may want to use but couldn’t equip both before. The class system has been improved for the better, not necessarily needed but definitely welcome.
The user interface has been updated for the game too, made in a more similar fashion to Battlefront’s UI. While it’s much sleeker and nicer to look at, it has also changed the squad system. Instead of having an option to invite players to a squad before joining a game, this time around you need to join a party in order to start a match together and guarantee your slot in the same squad. Despite the positives of encouraging party play for discussing tactics, it does mean that if you’re unable to join a party for whatever reason (maybe you have sleeping family members or your microphone is broken/lacking), you’ll find it more difficult to play with friends efficiently.
Overall, Battlefield 1 is an amazing game that takes the franchise in the right direction. With more emotional stories (albeit short ones), an improved multiplayer and smoother controls, this is set to be the best Battlefield yet, and personally my favourite instalment yet.
Gamers Pantheon Score – 87%
– Emotional storylines
– Astounding graphics
– Improved class system
– New, fun game modes
– Smoother controls
– Better destruction
– Storylines ridiculously short
– Usual bugs
– Challenging squad system