EA DICE is primarily known for their work on the Frostbite engine, and subsequently making some great war shooters like Battlefield. They appear to be back at the top of their game with their latest game, Battlefield 1.
After trying modern setting to portray a war based scenario, Battlefield 1 has taken a step back to history and seems to be inspired from the horrific events of the World War 1. The game actively makes it a point to show the effects of World War 1 and never shies away from showing its grim dark atmosphere. In fact the opening of the game goes through exactly that, showing us the horrors of the World War 1 from the soldiers that have been sent to the frontline of a Battlefield.
The opening of Battlefield 1 is definitely one of our favorite game opening this year. Not only it shows the importance of lives of an individual soldier in war, it tries to strike an emotional chord by listing their name along with birth and death year, which bears similarity to the method used in the popular HBO TV Show, Six Feet Under. I haven’t really seen many games paying tribute like Battlefield 1 when showing the death of a character and the good thing is that, it works! While the game doesn’t give a lot of time to build any of its side characters, their death is portrayed in a way that makes them seem an important part of the on-going war.
The main story of the game is spread throughout its 5 campaign that are labeled as ‘War Stories’. Each of the War Stories has its own set of missions that take us for a stroll through the history of World War 1. They also feature gorgeously rendered cutscenes that offer story for the the majority of the missions, so we are not merely following objects. There is more than enough variety here to keep the players occupied for a few hours. It took us around 5 to 6 hours to complete all the War Stories on the hard difficulty, while we also missed out on plenty of collectibles. It isn’t really hard to consider this one of the best single player campaign in a Battlefield game.
When it comes to visuals, EA DICE has really nailed the look and feel of a chaotic war and there is some technical wizardry in effect here with jaw dropping graphics in the single player campaign. Unfortunately while the game is visually gorgeous, it does have its fair share of performance issues, particularly in its multiplayer mode. Playing on some of the 64 players map, the frame rate has a tendency to drop when there are a lot of alpha effects rendered on the screen. This is rather unfortunate as the multiplayer is the peak of Battlefield 1.
Like with every other Battlefield game, the real draw here is the multiplayer. Battlefield 1’s multiplayer brings back the large scale conflicts that its series is known for, complete with World War 1 era themed arsenal of weapons, vehicles, and maps. The aforementioned maps stand out as a highlight, with each sporting a unique personality and having expansive layouts with intricately designed terrains. Unlike the maps in previous Battlefield games, the ones found here feel much more organic.
Returning multiplayer modes include the standard slew of Team Deathmatch, Domination, Rush, and Conquest, where up to 32 players go up against each other in a large-scale conflict. Battlefield 1 introduces a new mode called Operations; a tug-of-war, where one side attempts to make it past the defenses of the other side in a lengthy battle that can potentially span across five smaller regions of a large map. It’s essentially the equivalent of reliving the battle scenes from a World War film.
In an effort to unify certain qualities of both Conquest and Rush modes, EA DICE has quite possibly delivered one of the most exciting multiplayer mode in series history. The push-pull mechanic serves as great encouragement for players to work cohesively as a team. Due to the relatively smaller size of each region, firefights become severely intense, with as many as 64 players battling it out for victory. The concept introduced in Operations isn’t new, however. Other games, such as Red Orchestra, have done it in the past. Though, it’s worth mentioning that the game’s superb audiovisual impact adds an additional layer of realism to the intensity, as you see dirt and debris obstruct your vision and hear the sound of weapons emptying rounds all around you – it’s war like you’ve never experienced it before!
Rounding up the new modes is War-Pigeon, a novel take on the standard Capture-the-Flag match type. As the name implies, a pigeon is the object of interest here. Once captured, the bird is sent off to deliver your message at the designated location. The catch here is that the bird can get shot down by the other side, and preventing that becomes the immediate goal of your team.
Battlefield 1 is an excellent World War 1 focused shooter that manages to show the gritty reality of World War 1 through the eyes of the soldiers who witnessed it. It also presents a unique take in its multiplayer with its cutting edge operations mode. It is one of the most polished Battlefield game on release and worth the time spent on it.
Battlefield 1 is available now for the PS4, Xbox One and PC. It was developed by EA DICE and published by EA. This review covers the PS4 version of the game.
Battlefield 1 Review (PS4)
Battlefield 1 tackles the horrors of World War 1 in an exceptional, but albeit short, single player campaign while offering some cutting edge multiplayer with its operations mode. It serves as the perfect getaway for newcomers as well as old Battlefield veterans looking for a way to jump back into the series.