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The latest offering in EA’s long running war shooter, Battlefield 1 takes us back to the trenches of World War 1. With massive battles, tanks, airplanes and bolt action rifles, Battlefield 1 is an amazing game that takes from previous games in the Battlefield series while adding its own style and flare. This could easily be the greatest Battlefield game to date.

The Battlefield legacy continues

EA’s Battlefield series started in 2002 with the release of Battlefield 1942, a first person shooter set in World War 2 and with a huge emphasis on cooperative, team based objective gameplay. Not only did the game feature massive battles, it also offered players the chance to pilot numerous vehicles from the time as well, such as fighter airplanes, bomber, capital ships, subs and more. It also offered players a chance to take battlefield-2the role of one of five classes of infantry, four of which persist in the games to this very day. These five classes are scout, infantry, anti-tank, engineer and medic. The game was followed up with Battlefield Vietnam and Battlefield 2 several years later, with the later focused on modern day style conflict. The series would then make a jump forward to the future with the release of Battlefield 2142. Next would come Battlefield: Bad Company, which would place a massive emphasis on destruction and would enable the player to damage and in some cases destroy many of the level elements in the game.

The series would then focus on sequels to their previous games, such as Battlefield 1943, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (my personal favourite of the past games) and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam. Next would come Battlefield Online, a free online game which was mainly a remake of Battlefield 2, followed by Battlefield Free4Play, both of which servers have since been shut down. Next would come Battlefield 3 and the following year Battlefield 4, which is finally a decent game after all the launch issues have since been fixed. Lastly was Battlefield: Hardline, a much more arcade style take on the series, focusing on fast cars, new gadgets and smaller maps, with a cops and robbers narrative and style. I would also like to include Star Wars Battlefront here, even though it takes place in a galaxy far, far away, it still has many of the Battlefield elements and you can see some of its influence in the latest game in the series Battlefield 1.

There might be a lot of games in the series jumping between times and styles but they all have common elements running through them and are constantly being improved upon. Mainly environmental destruction, objective and team based gameplay, along with an unmatched level of realism when it comes to major war based video games. Battlefield 1, takes these elements to new heights and comes across as an amazing game in the series.

battlefield-1-coverPlatform(s): Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC

Release Date: October 21, 2016

Developer: EA Dice

Publisher: EA

Genre: First Person Shooter

Modes: Single-player and online multi-player

ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)

A setting and time like no other

The first world war, to this day still shocks and amazes me constantly. Unlike depictions of the second world war, which are often glamorized and given the Hollywood treatment, WWI is often overlooked as it was a very dark time for the world and the combat therein was by no means anything to glorify. Battlefield 1 keeps this in mind when presenting the game to you in terms of both singleplayer and multiplayer.

The single player is broken up into 6 different stories, each story has its own characters and main areas of the game to focus on. The first story is the shortest and gives you a horrifying look at trench warfare of the time. It starts with a brief explanation that ends with a warning that you are not expected to survive. The rest of the six stories give you a great experience as a whole, be it as a rookie tank driver or as a gambling pilot. Each story also has some really well done cutscenes, which are well written, well voice acted and look amazing. Overall the single player is a great introduction to the game’s mechanics and vehicles, albeit a little short. I think it took me about 5 hours to complete all the stories on the normal difficulty. They do offer some replay value, as there is a hard difficulty, hidden collectibles and unlockable vehicle and weapon skins for multiplayer as well.

Multiplayer only the way Battlefield does it

Battlefield 1 has a great single player mode, but the real meat and potatoes of the game (like any other Battlefield game), is the multiplayer. Many of the classic Battlefield multiplayer game types are present, such as Conquest, Rush, Team Deathmatch and Domination. New to the series is Operations and War Pigeons game types. The later offers an interesting take on a center flag push style game mode. During a match, a pigeon will spawn on the map in a random location. Each team must then attempt to catch and hold the pigeon for a brief time, to write a message. Once the message is completed you have to release the pigeon, while it takes off it’s vulnerable to enemy fire but only for a few seconds before it scores.  It’s not an amazing new mode but its’a neat addition and worthy of being played.

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Operations is a massive new game type which takes place in some of the most iconic battles and areas of world war one. Each operation is broken down in two main sections, where attackers attempt to take a series of objective points, while pushing back the defenders. With limited spawns each attempt, the attackers have three tries to complete both sections of the map and capture all the objectives. If the first attempt fails, the attackers will also receive one of the new behemoth vehicles during the next two attempts. You can also choose between playing in a 40 or 64 player version of the game mode. With tons of players, vehicles, massive maps and more, this game mode is certainly the highlight of the game for me.

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An even more impressive feat in my opinion, is the fact that each of the four currently available Operation game maps is based on actual battles from the war. The first being Kaiserschlacht, known as the Kaiser’s Battle, is based on the huge German offensive push in the spring of 1918. The second is called Conquer Hell and is based on the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, which was a part of the Allied attacks known as the Hundred Days Offensive, which in turn helped lead to the end of the war. The third, is called Iron Walls, and plays out during the final days of the war on the Italian front, in the fall of 1918. The final Operation is called Oil of Empires, and is based on the British quest for dominance and oil in the Middle East during the war. Every single one of these Operations is amazing and takes place in some of the most impressive maps I have played, in any online multiplayer game.

Classes and progression offer options for any player

During multiplayer, as with any Battlefield game, you will play as one of four main classes of infantry. These four classes are assault, medic, support and scout. The assault class has access to sub machine guns or shotguns as their primary weapons and numerous gadgets like dynamite, anti-tank grenades and more, all intended to help deal with vehicles and other armoured objectives. The medic is the healer, has access to semi-automatic rifles, they can also drop medkits or revive down players, pending on how they were killed. Support players have access to light machines gun’s, can drop ammo, repair vehicles and has gadgets like limpet mines and mortars, to help deal with fortified enemy positions. Lastly is the scout, they are mainly snipers and as such have access to long range sniper rifles. Scouts also have gadgets that are mainly focused on helping spot enemy infantry and vehicles, like the flare gun and the periscope binoculars.

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As you play Battlefield 1 you level up and unlock war bonds.War bonds are then used to unlock weapons and gadgets for each class. That is as long as you are a high enough rank as that class. You level up each class on its own while you play with it and play towards each classes specific skills.That means when you play as a specific class you need to play towards that classes skills. That means healing or reviving team mates as a medic, or repairing friendly tanks as a support player. Just like any other Battlefield game, you are rewarded for playing towards the object and helping your teammates outside of just getting kills.

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There is also the tanker, pilot and elite classes you can play as but like I said before you will mainly be playing as the four infantry classes. When you spawn in with a vehicle you will spawn in as that vehicles pilot type. These pilots can be customized and leveled up just like any other class and even have access to some unique weapons, such as the sawed off double barrel shotgun. You can also use your war bonds to unlock different versions of each vehicle, such as tanks with weapons to deal with long range weapon emplacements or attack plains that have rockets to help take down the behemoth airships.

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Lastly are the elite classes which mainly spawn in on the battlefield itself and act very much like the hero or power pick ups in Star Wars Battlefront. The only elite class you don’t need to pick up is the calvary class, which you can spawn in with when available and gives you not only a horse to ride but also a powerful both action rifle and a curved sword, which can kill infantry in a single slice. The elite pick ups are the Flame Trooper, Sentry  and Tank Hunter. The Flame Trooper has a flamethrower that can last waste to entire squads in mere seconds but it’s fuel filled pack can be cause to explode by a well placed couple of shots. The Sentry generally has a massive water cooled machine gun and armoured front. I have also played with a Sentry on some maps that has a super fast firing double barreled submachine gun. Unlike most other infantry the Sentry, since armoured, can’t use a gas mask, so they can be taken out by a gas grenade pretty easily if not careful. Lastly is the Tank Hunter, the elite sniper who uses the 1918 Tankgewehr, a massive anti-tank sniper rifle that can only be fired while prone, but can take out infantry with a single shot or can disable a vehicle by hitting one of their vital spots. When played right any of these elite classes can really change the tide of a battle and totally bump up your score to the top of the score board.

A word about Behemoths

As I mentioned previously when explaining the new game types at certain times players will get a chance to use the new behemoths in Battlefield 1. Behemoths are only available when certain criteria is met, such as after the first failed push in Operations or when losing by a certain number of tickets in Conquest. These behemoths come in three different types depending on the map being played, a massive air ship, an armoured train and the water based dreadnaught, a huge battleship. Each of these behemoths can totally swing a battle when used properly but if dealt with quickly by some savvy players, they can be reduced to burning wrecks before they can do any real damage.

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Final Thoughts

There is ton more I could talk about in terms of the weapons, maps, companion app and more in Battlefield 1, but you are better off learning about them in game. If you are a fan of the Battlefield games or looking to get into the series for the first time, this is a great game to get, I honestly think this is the best game in the series yet. It looks and plays amazingly well, even with 64 players in a single maps, while numerous planes, tanks and more all going on at once. There are the occasional bug here and there, but nothing game breaking by any means. One of the greatest achievements of the game however is that as beautiful and polished as everything is, the darkness and terrible aspects of the war still come through. Blood curdling screams of death and battles based on actual historic events, remind us that as much fun as we have playing these games, war is a terrible thing and how much we should respect the sacrifices made by those who fought for us all those years ago.

+ Breath taking visuals

+ Operations and behemoths are great additions

+ Classic Battlefield Multiplayer action

– Single player is a little short

– Occasional bugs but nothing game breaking

OVERALL

Gameplay: 5/5

Graphics: 5/5

Sound: 5/5

Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 5/5

Overall Rating: 5/5 (100%)