Developer: EA Dice
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platforms: Xbox One, Playstation 4, Microsoft Windows
I bought Battlefield 1 the day it came out. I’ve played other battlefield games in the past, and this one is by far my favorite. I bought it because of the WWI twist. It was definitely an interesting idea to have it based on “the war to end all wars”. When I first heard about this game, I immediately thought of my history classes in high school. Trench warfare, disease, mustard gas, no-man’s land, and stalemates. How were they going to make this awful war into a semi-decent game?
Any doubts I had at the start were quickly removed after just a couple hours of gameplay.
I love everything about this game. The campaign has five different storylines and follows five different characters. They did a really great job drawing you into each character’s story of the war. I felt emotionally attached to each character, unlike some games where the character(s) feel shallow and flat. Another great aspect of the campaign is that it covers everything about the gameplay. From driving tanks to flying aeroplanes. From sneaking and sniping to running and gunning. It seems to cover all areas of gameplay very well without making it feel like it was just thrown into the story. And conquest and operations for multiplayer are both awesome! Seriously, it’s some of the most fun I’ve had playing online in a while. Don’t get me wrong, I’m terrible at playing online. But it’s a ton of fun! Let’s break it down.
Prologue, Storm of Steel:
This campaign is just a short introduction. You play as several Harlem Hellfighters as you fight against a German offensive attack in France. As you fight in the tutorial, the game will show you how to play by going over basic controls. When you die (and you will) you will automatically switch over to another new soldier. Once you complete this tutorial, you will be brought to the campaign menu where you can chose to play any of the five storylines.
Through Mud and Blood:
If you saw the Brad Pitt movie, Fury, then this campaign is pretty similar. You play as rookie Danny Edwards, who is now apart of a Mark V Tank crew. This mission was super enjoyable, which was a pleasant surprise. The tank fighting was actually a lot of fun and at one point you actually leave the tank and fight on foot. For this part, you have to get out of the tank and clear out enemy positions so the tank can move forward. You can chose to be sneaky or you can fight your way through and have the tank provide support. If the tank takes damage, you can repair from both the outside and inside of the tank. There is another part where you take on waves of German armor with your lone tank at a railway station. This was a blast… er… no pun intended. Weaving in and out of houses and train cars to strike at German tanks was challenging and super tense. There is also a pigeon cam in this campaign. At one point, your tank commander gives the order to release a messenger pigeon from the tank. With the tank stuck in mud and enemy soldiers surrounding on all sides, the commander wants an artillery barrage on the enemy (and your) location. When the pigeon is released, you get to play as the pigeon. You fly back across the battlefield and witness planes crashing and artillery rounds going off while dramatic music is playing. Tanks, guns, and pigeons. You can’t really beat that.
Friends in High Places:
In this campaign, you play as Clyde Blackburn, an american liar and gambler. He cheats in a game of cards and steals his opponent’s aeroplane, while pretending to be his opponent, George Rackham. He meets his co-pilot, Wilson, and together they fly off for aerial exercises. During the exercise, they encounter German aircraft, which is the beginning of their crazy adventure. A lot of ridiculous events take part, including the duo landing on top of a German zeppelin during an enemy air raid and shooting down other planes and zeppelins with an anti-aircraft gun, only to jump into the Thames River and survive. At the end, however, Blackburn hints at the fact that stories from war tend to be exaggerated. This leaves the player to decide for themselves how they think the story actually happened, which was an awesome little twist. The flying is a lot of fun. It was challenging enough to fly the plane and shoot down enemy fighters, but after a while I felt like I was getting the hang of it. That being said, I would not want to go against anyone online because I would probably make a fool out of myself. Solid gameplay and great story, win-win.
This time around, you are Luca Cocchiola, who fights for the Italian Arditi unit. Luca also has a brother, Matteo, who is also fighting in the war. Luca tells the story as an old man recollecting the events that happened in the war long ago. Luca’s mission is to suit up in armor with a heavy machine gun and attack specific enemy points. This part reminds me of Terminator. Wearing the suit of armor allows you to take quite a bit of damage while you mow enemy soldiers down with your heavy machine gun. Halfway through the mission, after losing your armor and heavy machine gun, you have to assault an enemy hill that is heavily fortified, all while in a desperate search for your brother. This was tough. There are artillery guns, flamethrower soldiers, mounted machine gun nests, and even armored vehicles standing in your way. Once you assault the hill and take it over, Luca continues to frantically search for his brother. He eventually finds his brother’s body, which ends the campaign. This was a very short story and the highlight of the gameplay was definitely the armor and machine gun fighting.
You play as Frederick Bishop, an Australian message runner who reminds me of John Wayne. In the beginning of the campaign, Bishop meets Jack Foster, a rookie who lied about his age to fight in the war and is now Bishop’s new charge. Disagreeing at first, Bishop eventually accepts the rookie but warns him not to fight. Bishop then storms the beach of Gallipoli, taking out artillery and machine gun nests along the way. Predictably, Bishop starts to get attached to Foster. I think we all know where this is going, right? Acting like his father figure, he constantly tries to protect him and look after him throughout the whole campaign. Also you do lot of running back and forth between frontlines and rear command and charging enemy lines. You have a lot of flexibility in what you can do. You can run straight through enemy occupied towns and not fire a single shot. Or you can take out every enemy soldier and level the whole town. This variability in playing makes it a fun and different experience every time you play it. At one point, you have to assault an enemy fortress to rescue Foster. Once you fight your way through another enemy occupied town, you reach the fortress to find Foster and the rest of the platoon. They’re pretty roughed up, so Bishop volunteers to stay behind and assault the base while Foster and the rest retreat. Taking on an entire enemy fortress by yourself is a bit much. But it’s entertaining, so who cares? Once you take the fortress, Bishop is shot by a lone enemy soldier (we all saw it coming). He falls and sees a flare being shot in the air to signal Foster’s safe return to allied forces. It ends with Bishop staring out over the beachhead as artillery rounds shell the fortress. Not a bad way to go.
Nothing is Written:
In this story, you assume the role of Zara Ghufran, a Bedouin rebel. She fights against the Ottoman Empire while teaming up with T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia). This whole campaign is about taking out the Canavar, which is a giant, fully armed war train that wreaks havoc on allied forces across the Arabian desert. In the beginning, you find an enemy code book and interrogate an Ottoman commander to find out that the train communicates by pigeon messages. The plan: lure the train into a trap by sending it false messages by pigeon. As Zara, you must go to three enemy outposts, kill the three commanders, take their messages, and have them delivered by pigeon. Once again, the flexibility of gameplay comes in. You can chose to fight every single soldier, armored vehicle, sniper, and whatever else stands in your way! Or you can simply sneak into town unnoticed, kill the commander, take his message, and sneak to the closest pigeon coup. It is totally up to you. And no matter what you chose to do, it will still be an adrenaline rush. But after all that, the plan backfires. So Zara and Lawrence go to plan B. You must go to an enemy refueling outpost, clear it of enemy presence, and then plant dynamite on the train tracks and wait for the Canavar to stop by and refuel. When it does, Zara cripples the train with the explosives and an all out firefight commences. You must use everything at your disposal to destroy the Canavar, which is quite the challenge. This part is super frustrating and difficult. Wave upon wave of allied and Ottoman reinforcements flood through the village outpost while the heavily armed train demolishes the tiny town. When the train is destroyed, that’s the end of the campaign. Lots of room for improvising and plenty of freedom to complete the mission the way you want to makes this story great.
The campaign is solid and really enjoyable. The only downside is that it’s short. Like really short. You could easily beat all five storylines in less than a day. They did great on the storytelling and the gameplay, but I wanted so much more. That was really the only disappointment for me.
My first game of multiplayer did not go well. I joined a conquest game in the middle of the match and had no idea what was going on. I got destroyed. Over and over again. So I switched to a different game type. I decided to play deathmatch or domination to try and ease into the multiplayer. Those games went a little better. Not great, but I at least got a better idea of how the classes, upgrades, and weapons worked. Once I felt like I understood the gameplay a little more, I tried conquest again. My first two games were a totally different experience. The conquest game type is a large scale war zone where you capture and hold areas on the map. You gain points for holding the locations. Whoever reaches 1000 points, wins the game. It’s epic.
My first game was the Argonne forest map. This map has a derailed train with boxcars scattered everywhere. As I sprinted through the lush green forest as the medic class, I came to a bridge. On the opposite side, I saw several enemy soldiers and a mounted machine gun. On my side, I saw several friendly soldiers army crawling across the bridge as gun fire shot all around them. There was also a mounted gun being manned by a friendly soldier and another friendly next to him, who was prone. I was seeking cover behind a derailed boxcar. I poked my head out and saw an enemy soldier on high ground. I aimed down my sights and pulled the trigger, getting a headshot. I continued to provide cover fire for the troops moving up, only to get flanked by two enemy soldiers, who then got mowed down by the mounted gunner. The whole game went on like that; like it was something out of a war movie. It was so much fun. From then on, I have had similar experiences and memorable moments every time.
The guns in this game are fantastic. I am not that familiar with WWI guns; picking up a gun in this game is like a mystery death machine. I love using a gun for the first time. There are some seriously bizarre and interesting guns from this era, and it’s great! There is also a lot of detail that can go into making and customizing your classes and guns. So far, I prefer to play as the medic, but there is also an assault, support, and sniper class. With the medic class, you can heal your allies with bandages or you can revive your fallen comrades with a shot of adrenaline. The assault normally starts off with a gun for close quarter combat and allows you to have different grenades and anti-armor explosives. The support class allows you to carry around a heavy machine gun and use ammo drops for you and nearby allies. The sniper starts off with a scoped rifle, allowing you to adjust your range gauge, and anti-armor rounds. There is a lot of customizing. As you get points and level up after gameplay, you can spend those points (war bonds) to buy more gear or different guns. So far, I feel that every class, even with all the upgrades, is very well-rounded. I think a combination of the game and the map makes all the classes pretty evenly matched. The maps are huge and have a wide variety of terrain. That terrain can also be blown to smithereens. There is also quite a bit of vehicles (planes, tanks, motorcycles, horses, etc) that also seems to balance out the gameplay.
I have played a lot of online multiplayer in my day, and Battlefield 1 is ranked up there as one of my all time favorites. I love the unique campaign. I’m a huge fan of storytelling and I believe that this game did an amazing job with the campaign storylines. So overall, if you are a fan of first person shooters or a history buff on the World Wars or a human being able to operate a video game controller, you should definitely get this game. I’ll see you on the battlefield!