2016 has had first person shooter written all over it. But in the short space of a month or so, three heavy hitters have landed in three different corners. Battlefield 1, Titanfall 2 and Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare. We're looking at all three of them and telling you what we thought. Welcome to our review of the first of these three, Battlefield 1.
I am currently sat in front of my laptop screen, keyboard in front of me and I am heartbroken, saddened and awestruck. I've just finished the single player campaign for Battlefield 1. Heartbroken because that was the last mission, saddened because it wasn't long enough and awestruck because for the first time in an incredibly long time, a story hooked me so badly that I stayed up past 11 on a school night.
Battlefields story mode is split into 5 main arcs. We start with a team of allied soldiers, where you play an ex-chaffauer turned tank driver. You clamber into 'Big Bess' and away you go. The first thing that hit me is the beauty of this game. The detail is incredible. You can see the mud flying off the tracks on the tank, the ripples in the puddles of water as you pass through and the destruction of the environment as you rampage your way towards the enemy. I won't give much more away in regards to this arc, but it is fantastic.
Next it's to the skies. You become a fast talking con-man from the US, steal a plane and fake your way as a son of a British lord. Oh wow. The handling of the planes in this game is phenomenal. From the weapon handling to the tight turning of evasion tactics. I haven't come across anything this good in a very long time. Incredibly well played DICE, you did well in Battlefield 4, but you've outdone yourself here.
3 takes you to Italy. And it's here that the writers come to a peak for me. This is the shortest story in the game, but it's the one I think will carry on the most. Focusing on family connections, people reflecting on the past and passing memories on and the vain attempt of finding one man in a war, this tugs at the heart. But not only does the story shine, the environment of Italy is gorgeous. You move through the mountainside, using new weapons and tactics not yet used, and events unfold in directions not expected. Chapter 3 is the small diamond in a crown that gives it the extra shine to make it beautiful.
More nationalities! Boom, you're an Aussie legend. A name spread all across your home country. But this can come with some disadvantages. A young boy cheats the conscription age and becomes your new runner. Overrun with guilt, your character takes a solo mission in this arc, relaying messages along a front line, and sneaking through an enemy controlled village.
5 is the masterpiece. Whereas is doesn't reach the heights of storytelling as chapter 3, it is obvious this is the arc that DICE poured itself into. Set in the Arabian desert and based around Lawrence of Arabia, it opens with a stealth-esc mission based around a crashed train. The mixture of graphics, gameplay and story-telling as the level unfolds is astounding. The arc then continues into an open-world esc level and climaxes with what I will say was one of the most challenging levels I've ever come across in a first person shooter. When completed, I felt a giant sense of accomplishment, but then a horrid feeling of saddness. As I said earlier, I had finished the campaign, and I would have done anything to have gotten more from it. I'll be replaying it on a harder difficulty and to get all the collectables for sure, but to be honest, I'll be playing it again to just enjoy it. To the team behind the single player, take a bow.
But that isn’t where Battlefield 1 ends. The franchise is well known for its outstanding multiplayer and 1 takes it to a whole new level. I’ll be honest, to start with, you will die. A lot. It is a brutal and unforgiving curve. But at the same time, it doesn’t feel unfair. I didn’t throw my controller at a wall, or give up. It was difficult in the sense that I wanted to preserve. I wanted to become a key part of the teams I joined up with. I have one single issue with it, which is I would prefer to edit my loadouts in the main menu, not midgame. However DICE have already addressed this and said it will be incoming on a later patch. The response on online forums, Reddit, Twitter etc for this game has been very active and you can tell how proud they are of their creation.
If you were to take the ratio of time I’ve had this game and the amount of time I’ve played it, and compare it to pretty much any other game I’ve ever owned, Battlefield 1 would soar above it. I think it will continue to as well. I’ve told countless people to buy this game and support the devs, because frankly DICE, you’ve earnt it. Bravo.
I give Battlefield 1 a 9 out of 10. I was close to the 10 or the 9.5, but a longer single player campaign would have secured that. If DLC extending the experience drops, 10 it shall become.
Words - Jack Kirby
Pictures - EA