Publisher: EA Games
Release Date: 10/21/2016
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First-person military shooters have received more controversy than any other genre in gaming history. Going from WWII games every few months to modern military shooters, and then to futuristic, gamers just can never be happy. DICE decided to change things up for the first time in a decade and release a historical military shooter that other franchises are now coat-tailing.
BF1 is also the first AAA World War I shooter to date, and it was a nice change of pace. There is a lot of history behind WWI that never gets talked about, and DICE could have easily just made another WWII shooter. The weapons, historical figures, battles, and politics behind WWI were brutal, and fascinating at the same time. WWI was a kind of limbo between modern technology and the warfare of old, it was an interesting time for sure.
BF1 doesn’t follow the traditional sense of telling a tale of a fictional squad and one hero trying to get through the theatres of war. We get to see different mini-stories with quite interesting characters throughout the entire war. These mini-stories are anywhere from 5 to 3 levels long and it allows us to get a taste of everything rather than bore us to death with a 6-hour campaign of the same thing over and over again. There are 5 mini-campaigns to be specific and they all play differently. One has you running a tank down French frontlines, while another has you, gunning enemies, down in a jungle, and then you’re in Italy as a heavily armored soldier mowing down opposing soldiers on a mountaintop. Then you get to follow Lawrence of Arabia and a small part of his story in Constantinople. It keeps things interesting and I felt like I was able to experience all the weapons, and various ways to play the game. BF1 actually incorporates a lot of stealth which is unheard of in this type of game, and it’s completely optional.
Once you’re done with the campaign, BF1 truly shines in multiplayer. Battlefield 3 was already my favorite multiplayer game of the series, and BF1 picks up the baton and carries it with pride. The multiplayer mode has a personality all on its own. Thanks to the many modes there’s so much fun to be had in multiplayer and to prove this it’s one of the few shooters I still play online months after release. You have a few typical modes like Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch, but it’s the Campaign mode that really pushes BF1 to the top of the list. The campaigns are loosely based on the maps of the single-player mode and these are vast maps that have serval objectives that each team needs to complete. Depending on skills, the Allied team will push through and complete them sweeping across the entire map of 100 players. The Axis players need to keep them back using planes, tanks, motorcycles, and any weapon they can pick up. The tug-of-war aspect is so addictive and allows for a lot of strategies and the feeling of being a small part of a big war.
Multiplayer is just so amazing and with all the expansions there’s nearly endless fun. However, the weapons themselves make up half the multiplayer. The WWI era weapons are predecessors to WWII and feel almost ancient, but not really. From the giant scopes on weapons to various melee weapons and rough shooting machine guns, BF1 nails weapons down perfectly. These feel so good to shoot and are so satisfying to just try out and mix up. The various classes you can pick incorporate a good balance of weapons and abilities. From medics being able to revive teammates and using single-shot rifles, to heavy mowing down enemies with highly inaccurate machine guns, it’s just a blast to experience. The only letdown is grinding to unlock new skins and weapons take forever. You earn rare cash for unlocking items and I highly suggest only spending these on weapons. There are loot boxes you can earn to unlock stuff for free, but it’s a grind for sure.
Lastly, the visuals are absolutely stunning. Some of the best ever seen in a shooter and the game actually takes on its own art style rather than looking like a bleak dry historical shooter. There are lens flares, dark contrasted visuals, and the various lighting effects are stunning. The audio experience is just as powerful as Battlefield has always excelled in that department time and time again.
Overall, Battlefield 1 is a fantastic historical shooter, and one of the best to come out in over a decade. The campaign is refreshing and fun, and the multiplayer will keep you busy for months after beating the campaign. I just wish the campaign was longer as I wanted more unique stories to play through, and that feeling is always a good sign. Hopefully, Battlefield 2 (?) will expand upon all of this and maybe even jump wars.