Hype is a trend in this day and age that seems impossible to derail, some games live up to the pre-determined hype, while most fall flat on their faces in which the best they can hope to gain from that hype derail, is to be the butt of all jokes on endless internet memes.    Battlefield 1 is one such game, a game that prior to its release was showcased with many trailers, many not actually featuring in-game footage, but instead “in-game engine footage”.  It’s a fine line between showing some kind of representation of the game in question, and all-out deceit.  So with some degree of scepticism, I entered Battlefield 1 with a mixture of having an open-mind, while being somewhat cautious.

 

 

Upon playing the opening moments of the War Stories chapter (Battlefield 1’s singleplayer campaign), those concerns were quickly put to rest.  The tone for the campaign was quickly set during this opening moment, it was made clear that throughout its campaign, you’re not expected to live, but survive.  It’s a bleak outlook on any game you hope to enjoy, but with a game with such a delicate subject as World War 1 aka “The Great War”, it’s possibly as damn near perfect as you’re going to get within the videogame medium.  Each of the 6 War Stories takes you to various locations across the globe, each offering their own unique story, perspective and characters, all of each offer their own thrills in their own kind of way.  But this bleak and somewhat depressive tone offers a kind of horror that I’ve not experienced in a war themed FPS before.

 

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From the houses of parliament, the Italian alps, to the Arabian deserts, Battlefield 1’s campaign is as vast as this genre comes, equally offering a variation of gameplay elements such as epic dogfights, tense stealth sections, dominant, cumbersome tanks, right on through to feeling triumphant on horseback.  DICE really must be commended on what they’ve brought to the table here.  My only real concern with the War Stories campaign is that it’s all rather short lived.  You’re probably talking about an hour for each story, bringing you to around six hours in total.  I’m a fond believer in quality of quantity, but I feel that even just two more War Story chapters would have greatly benefited Battlefield 1’s singleplayer campaign.  That said, each War Story has its own set of challenges to take on, as well as hunting down the many Codex Entries and Field Manuals, which should please the completionist out there and adds a little much needed replay value.

 

As epic as the singleplayer campaign is, for many, the go-to feature of Battlefield 1 will be its multiplayer component, and for good reason.  It’s no secret that Battlefield 4 had its fair share of launch issues, so with a game that has had such high expectations as Battlefield 1, it was vastly important that EA got this right, in more ways than one.  I first played Battlefield 1’s multiplayer on EA Access about a week before the game launched and then I picked up my copy on PS4 (as this is my preferential console) and after sinking in several hours already, I can hand on heart say that I’ve experienced no issues what so ever, with overall stability or matchmaking.

 

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In terms of multiplayer modes, Battlefield 1 has six to choose from at launch.  Series favourite Conquest, which requires you to hold out your Flag (zone) from enemy onslaught on a large scale.  In a similar vein, Domination also requires you to control and capture your Flag, while eliminating the enemy.  Domination is arguably more frantic, then its Conquest counterpart.  The returning Rush (much like CoD’s Search and Destroy) will require you to infiltrate enemy territory to destroy the opposing teams Telegraphs.

 

You also have the traditional Team Deathmatch, which speaks for itself and a mode new to Battlefield 1 called War Pigeons.  Unfortunately, this isn’t a mode that has mini-guns attached to the wings of pigeons in epic dogfights (which sounds awesome), but instead you must infiltrate the opposing teams base to discover and successfully dispatch  the pigeon free into the skies.  Pigeons were used during The Great War to relay messages of vast importance such as enemy Intel, a decisive factor in how the war was won.

 

Finally we have Operations, another new mode to Battlefield 1 and my personal favourite.  In Operations you battle it out over a choice of four battles,  with map rotation and changing whether you attack or defend with each round.  While this mode is a little time consuming, it was easily the most fun I had with the games multiplayer.  Operations makes you feel invested in the battle, with its story elements and frequent mission status updates.  If you can get friends to join you in this mode (just like any other mode really), then I urge you to do so, because teamwork here is of the added upmost importance.  But whether you play with friends or with randoms, playing as a team in Operations makes you feel a part of something and brings a great deal of satisfaction after a hard-fought victory.

 

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A factor in Battlefield 1 feeling so immersive is largely down to its quality of both its musical score and calibre of voice-acting.  Each and every character is portrayed brilliantly, whether it’s the lead character in the War Stories or those that support the story.  The quality of work here really is top-draw.  Likewise, the musical score is truly epic with the work created by Patrik Andrén and Johan Söderqvist.

 

In conclusion, despite its bleak tone (which is fully justified and understandable), its short lived campaign had me gripped throughout, though I do wish it had just one or two more stories thrown in for good measure.  However, the real fun to be had is with its finely tuned and well crafted multiplayer component.  Whether you’re playing Operations or even Team Deathmatch, it’s a game that defines the meaning ‘battle’ in almost every sense of the word.  If you can look passed its short, but sweet War Stories, you’ll find that Battlefield 1 sits proudly at the pinnacle of the war themed FPS genre.  If this is the best that the genre has to offer right now, I can’t wait to see what DICE and EA has in-store for us next.  Battlefield 1 is also a rarity, a game that in my humble opinion, has most certainly lived up to the hype.

 



Author

Richard Lee Breslin
Richard Lee Breslin

30+ years of gaming with no signs of ever stopping. I have a BDes Hons Games Development and Digital Media, and I hope to one day turn my passion for gaming and writing into a living. My favourite gaming series are Resi Evil, Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill, Assassin's Creed, Uncharted and The Last of Us. I collect gaming merchandise, comics and movies. I love football (namely Aston Villa) and WWE. I can also often be found wondering the outskirts of Raccoon City. Follow me on Twitter @Solidus5nake