Battlefield 1 is now a complete product, with all of its DLC now available and no more planned. It was a departure from its previous iterations, Battlefield 3 and 4, both based pretty much in the present day. But what has kept me coming back for more? Read on to find the things I think Battlefield 1 has done excellently.
Running around and capturing flags isn’t the only thing you can do in Battlefield. Oh no, there really is something for everyone. The maps are so vast that there is nearly always some rock or mountain for you climb up on to snipe from; horses to charge into battle wielding deadly sword or rifle; fighter planes to soar through the skies and dump bombs on those unsuspecting foot soldiers below. Add to these the various tanks, trains, boats and buggies, there’s plenty to learn and master.
There are a good selection of weapons to choose from too – not as many or as configurable as there are in present day titles, sure – but plenty to experiment with to find your style. The light machine guns feel heavier than your standard assault rifles, and sniper rifles provide an extra challenge with the bullet drop feature of the Frostbite engine. It’s very satisfying when you successfully navigate a bullet into your opponent's head.
If you are on the losing side, you will often be given some form of “power-up” in the way of a train or behemoth (basically a big tank with more armour than the usual fare) when you’re about two-thirds through the match. I’ve been in multiple games where these really have turned the tides. On Brusilov Keep, my team was losing (on Conquest), and our train parked itself close to the enemies’ spawn, whilst we captured all objectives around the map. I can imagine this being slightly infuriating from their point of view – but all it takes is one squad capturing an objective behind you, and they can soon sneak up. Teamwork is very much rewarded in Battlefield 1, and it was teamwork that got us into that position.
Of course, there’s not only Conquest; there’s also Rush, Team Deathmatch, Domination, Air Assault, Operations…the list goes on. Rush is my usual go-to after Conquest, which splits the map up into sections, each with two charges that need to be armed. Once these have been destroyed, you can move up and take the next two. It makes for more close quarters gunplay than Conquest, because the areas of the map accessible at each point are much smaller. It’s limited to 24 players because of this, compared to Conquest’s 64.
This point almost doesn’t need to be raised, but I have to emphasise just how fantastic this game looks. From the dusty deserts in Sinai Desert, to the strangling fog Passchendaele, DICE have served up a real feast for the eyes. There are dynamic weather events too, so at any point a giant sandstorm could roll in, rendering your vision greatly reduced to just a few metres in front of you.
The respawn screen is quite nice too, which is handy if you die a lot. When you accept your untimely demise, you get a nice little zoom out to the full map from your point of death. Once you’ve chosen your landing point, it’ll zoom into the map at the point where you are spawning and into the eyes of your soldier. It’s a nice implementation which is surprisingly smooth, given the size of the majority of maps.
I can only envy those who game at 4K. Personally, I have a 1440p monitor, and get 96Hz from it (meaning I get ~96 FPS). If you’ve a PS4 Pro, it won’t look as good as PC, but you’ll still get “4K” which looks markedly improved from its standard resolution. Unfortunately, there isn’t a patch to enable Xbox One X enhancements at the time of writing.
Whilst some have complained about a lack of progression available, due to the lack of developed technology in WW1, I have still found the return to pre-noughties to be a fitting timeframe for Battlefield. DICE have an amazing talent for capturing the right atmosphere in their games; just look at the Battlefront games as an example: they might be quite divisive, but the one thing most can agree on is that it really feels like you’re running and gunning in the Star Wars universe.
When you’re stuck in a dingy trench, grenades landing besides you, and gas sneaking into your lungs, you really do get a feel for the horrors of war. Of course, I’m not saying it’s like physically being there, but it gives you a glimpse that you definitely don’t get from Call of Duty: WWII.
It’s all of these together, plus the mostly excellent DLC releases, that has kept me interested in Battlefield 1 and going back for more. Now I’m looking forward to this year’s entry, where the rumours are suggesting we’ll be going 20 years forward into World War 2.