It has been over a year since DICE took us back from the modern era of war; from jetpacks and wall running; towering skyscrapers in The Siege of Shanghai; to trudging through dingy and damp trenches in World War 1. Upon release, I was very pleased with the change of pace; the aforementioned modern war setting becoming stale and tired after nearly 10 years of yearly iterations in the form of Call of Duty, amongst others.
On PC at least, it did not come without its fair share of issues, which has seemingly become an unfortunate staple of Battlefield release day. Random freezes, stuttering and disappearing audio made it difficult to enjoy. One year on, these issues have all been resolved for the vast majority of players. Couple that with new DLC, Giant’s Shadow, They Shall Not Pass, In the Name of the Tsar and Turning Tides, Battlefield 1 has grown into a truly fantastic game.
Of the new DLC, it is the In the Name of the Tsar, released in September 2017, which has delivered my favourite content in Battlefield 1 so far. The sprawling, snowy scenery of the Russian landscapes in the six new maps (with the exception of one) makes for nervous crossings, as scouts watch out and tanks lie in wait in the distance. The landscapes are dotted with cover points, such as derelict windmills in Galicia, or abandoned buildings; all easily destructible, another staple of the Battlefield series that is difficult to find elsewhere.
The one exception to this design is Tsaritsyn, which could be likened to as the “Nuketown” of Battlefield. As far as maps go in Battlefield, this is much smaller than the rest, with only three capture points available in Conquest. The centre capture point here, a large monastery, is the main battle point, so to speak. The first team to capture this, and hold on for more than a few minutes, will usually be the favourite to win the game, as the opposing team will need to rely on foot soldiers to recapture it; tanks and other vehicles cannot make it inside.
Released in December 2017 was the first part of Turning Tides, to some disappointment amongst certain groups of players. Achi Baba, a map based in Turkey, has ruins littered about the place on a dusty terrain. It is the second map contained in this release, however, that seems to encourage a landslide victory from one side of the fight. In conquest at least, the British attack the Ottoman held mainland, supported by a Dreadnought. All points on the island begin being held by the Ottomans, so to give some balance DICE give a head start to the attacking side as to give chance to capture these objectives.
On almost every occasion, however, it has been the defending side that have managed to hold onto these objectives systematically, resulting in a heavy victory for the Ottomans.
The earlier extra content, They Shall Not Pass, added new environments from the green, sunny landscapes of France. Mountains rise under your feet and off to the distance, while houses crumble below as explosives rip the walls from the foundations.
It is not only maps that have kept Battlefield going since its release; new weapons, vehicles and even a female Russian soldier have all been added. Of the lot, I have stuck with the Fedorov Avtomat in my stint as a Medic. There are additions for all of the classes, with new sniper rifles and assault rifles giving more variety.
New modes, such as Frontlines, Supply Drop, and the upcoming Incursions, a 5v5 competitive option, have added some diversity. But it’s Conquest that remains my go-to; it really feels like this is how the maps are designed to be played. At 1440p, the flora and fauna is simply stunning. I can only imagine how impressive this would be in motion at 4K.
My reservations about Battlefield 1 are incredibly minimal; sometimes it can be frustrating to see someone hiding in an indestructible concrete shelter, and the addition of new modes may be seen as splitting the playing community across too many DLC’s and modes. Nevertheless, these are miniscule compared to the thrilling moments that each match provides.
Battlefield 1 might have been a bit ropey on its release, but it is now a very solid game with excellently designed and balanced maps. I can but hope that EA’s microtransaction “philosophy” doesn’t make its way to the next instalment.