Over Christmas, I got playing Battlefield 1, the latest instalment of the ever brilliant DICE franchise. I had been desperate to play it, if I’m being honest, as I am something of a fanboi of the series. However, I had some trepidation – I had never played a game that was based around the First World War and more to the point, I wasn’t really aware of any of the “kit” that soldiers of this era would have carried. My assumption had been very low tech rifles and a trench shotgun. Boy was I wrong!
But let’s start at the start. Set in World War 1 and against expansive backdrops of Arabia, The Western Front and more, this is a large scale multiplayer first person shooter. Unlike other franchises, though, the emphasis is firmly on teamwork – even with strangers.
A Touch of Class
There are four customisable character classes; Assault, Medic, Support and Scout. Whilst some weapons and items are shared across classes (such as grenades), much of the kit is only available to specific ones. For instance, only the medic gets the revive kit and only the scout gets sniper rifles!
Modes, Modes and More Modes
There are also several game modes, most of which will be recognisable to previous players of the series. You have all of the usual team deathmatches, domination and rush propped up by the ever brilliant Conquest mode (my favourite). However, there are a couple of new modes introduced in Battlefield 1. First, there is War Pigeon mode, that sees players trying to capture a courier pigeon, write a note on it and send it off again! The team have to defend the player whilst they write the note and also prevent the enemy from shooting down the pigeon after its release.
The second and biggest mode in the game is Operations. This is like a cross between Rush and Conquest and is a great addition to the modes. The teams are split into attackers and defenders. The attackers must take control of all points on the current map, before moving on to the next map and doing the same there and so on across several maps. All the while the other team will be trying to prevent them. This is a good mode for those who want a longer game as it can go on for a while!
Make Mine A Large One!
Another new addition to Battlefield 1 is the introduction of Behemoths. These are giant super weapons given to teams when they are losing badly in conquest, to help even up the score a little. There are three that can be given, based on the map. The Airship, The Armoured Train and the Dreadnaught (a massive warship). Each of these can be manned by several people and can inflict massive destruction on the enemy, at times drastically changing the tide of war!
The maps are all well constructed and provide varied challenges. There is plenty to look at as you destroy buildings, drive vehicles and manage the ever changing weather! Actually, the weather can play a vital part in a match, because when the fog drops visibility hits a real low making long distance players have to re-evaluate their choices!
Driving Miss Gunner
The vehicles in Battlefield 1 are also an interesting mix. Land based tanks are nowhere near as powerful as you will be used to in other games but focus instead on getting players to work together manning machine guns along each side. Planes are of the Bi-Plane persuasion, so much slower and less manoeuvrable. Again, they have multiple seats and can have multiple gunners working with the pilot. There are also options to fly bombers instead of fighters. My favorite addition s cvalry, a mainstay of the First World War. Horses provide a fast and agile form of transport and give you teh sabre. Cutting through a line of infantry is extremely satisfing!
We Want to be Together
The emphasis of the game is teamwork. Even if you are on a server with strangers, you have to work together to a greater extent than in many other games. Joining a squad means that you will receive commands from the squad leader. Complying gains extra points for you. Healing and saving and protecting your squad gives you extra points. Playing as a team becomes a valuable exercise in Battlefield 1, both in terms of fun and experience points!
All in all, this is the best game in the Battlefield Series since Battlefield 2142. If you are looking for a slightly slower, more team based experience online then this is the game for you. If you are looking for something a little different to the “other” main FPS franchise out there, then this is also for you. Hell, if you like good games – this is for you!