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If you were to ask someone to describe the first World War to you, chances are that they will tell you that it was a horrible conflict where millions of soldiers died fighting for even the most minuscule of advances on battlefields across the European continent. Naturally, this meant that when EA announced that Battlefield 1 was going to be based on the Great War, people jokingly predicted that matches would end in a draw, with most players being killed by disease, infection, gas, or a fusillade of gunfire if they were lucky. Now that people have actually gotten a chance to play Battlefield 1, it turns out that EA and DICE were smart enough to focus on the parts of the war that didn’t revolve around hiding in a trench for hours and hours, and to great effect.

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Gas in the middle of a sandstorm, the best thing ever for people who worry about inhaling things that they shouldn’t

From what can be seen in the beta, most people are playing in a very active manner, partially because of how the map and player classes are designed and partially because of how staying in one area for more than a few seconds is a death sentence. Of course, there is the usual cadre of helpful Recon players that play the objective by staring at it (a problem that is likely exacerbated by the nature of the weapons that are available to you), but that’s a tradition of Battlefield games at this point. In fact, if you take away all of the WWI weapons and vehicles and such, you might notice that Battlefield 1 is still very much a Battlefield game at heart, encouraging players to move around the map in a semi-coherent team to capture points. 

Part of this encouragement comes from how Battlefield 1 is the most visually and technically impressive Battlefield game to date. Unlike some of the most recent entries in the franchise, Battlefield 1 has full blown environmental destruction. That means that given enough time and explosives, you can flatten an entire village, with very few (if any) noticeable cases of seemingly invincible walls. This destruction is not limited to just manmade objects either, as you can create reasonably large craters in the battlefield. This has a potential impact on gameplay, as someone can take cover in a crater that you made and then shoot you from it. On top of that, there is a weather system in the game that can create situations where you have no choice but to charge forward. For example, on the one map that is available in the beta, heavy sandstorms can limit visibility to the point that you simply can’t see anything for a couple of minutes. Similarly, poison gas has the dual effect of obscuring vision and forcing players to don gas masks, which (from a practical standpoint) makes it impossible to fight at long range, forcing both sides to get close to each other.

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Fun fact: tanks in this game are incapable of masking their position

There are some slight balancing issues as expected (horses are ludicrously resistant to bullets), but Battlefield 1 feels fairly polished in its current state. There are no widespread cases of people falling through the map or magically sprouting elongated necks, and there is no real indication that Battlefield 1 will suffer from the same technical problems that Battlefield 4 had when it released (although it would be best to be cautious nonetheless). 

Battlefield 1 may be a radical departure from what you are used to in a modern FPS in that there is not a plethora of weapon attachments to choose from. Players may feel like the weapons are comparatively unsatisfying to use because of this (even though DICE obviously took some creative liberties in that regard), and most of the vehicles rely almost entirely on having teammates to be effective (even more so than the vehicles in most Battlefield games). Needless to say, Battlefield 1 is a game that should be viewed with cautious optimism, as it is a very impressive looking game, but only time will tell if it has enough quality content to keep people entertained.

In case you were wondering how useful an early tank is in the middle of a sandstorm

In case you were wondering how useful a tank is in the middle of a sandstorm

This game was previewed on the Xbox One. Battlefield 1’s Open Beta is available on the Xbox One, PS4, and PC. The game is scheduled to release on October 21, 2016.

More About This Game

Anson Chan

Staff Writer

You ever wonder why we're here? It's one of life's greatest mysteries, isn't it? Good thing games exist so that we don't have to think about it. Or at least I don't have to think about it. Instead, I'll just play Halo or something.