When a game series is big enough to consistently generate interest from millions of fans with each release, any announcement is big news and with each new detail comes a certain level of excitement. When that news comes in the form of letting you know you’ll be playing the latest Battlefield a couple of months before release however, it’s no longer early 20’s me sat patiently listening for what’s to come next from the geniuses over at DICE, but rather a guy with the excitement of a young kid on Christmas Eve looking at all the presents sat under the tree and wanting to rip them all open like a carnivorous beast!
Yes, Battlefield generates that much excitement in me. But there is good reason.
So as you can tell by this point, I have a certain amount of love for the Battlefield series already. But each new release doesn’t necessarily guarantee a great title, and so with the closed beta of Battlefield 1 finally upon us, I got my chance to have some hands on with this year’s newest iteration of EA’s popular first person shooter… Titanfall was last week guys, stick with me!
Okay, so there are two game modes available in the beta, and they come in the form of the popular Conquest and the not so popular, but still fantastic, Rush. As arguably the better game modes of the recent Battlefield titles, it tends to harbour sense that DICE would chuck these at us first. Apart from maybe a few graphical bugs every now and then, some rather slow menus that should be well and truly ironed out by the time release rolls round, and the lack of people showing any interest in the Rush mode, it must be said that if this is what’s due to arrive in October then bring it the hell on.
Yes, the Battlefield 1 beta is absolutely incredible, but did it really need confirming? This is a game that offers up to 64-player combat in an explosive and rather realistic (from the movies I’ve seen) World War 1 setting. Complete with classic weapons, with many of those making their debut appearance in a Battlefield title, this may well be, dare I say it, the best Battlefield game yet. And this is just the beta.
With only one map currently on its public outing, with Sinai Desert doing the rounds, it’s fair to say things can start to feel a bit samey after a few hours, but when the full thing drops next month with a bunch of maps and the ‘levolution’ that goes with them, we will have even more to shout about. By no means is the Sinai Desert a dull place to be however, with a clever design meaning combat is heavy no matter where you find yourself running, riding, driving or flying too, but when coupled with the new weather system which works way better than I expected, it really feels like you’re fighting on a genuine battlefield.
An issue that was previously bestowed into Battlefield 4 and Battlefield Hardline was the impact of the vehicles in the game and how weak they often felt when faced with simple bullet sprays. It seems that this hasn’t gone unnoticed though with vehicles now feeling like a real force on the field, with strategy and planning taking the rightful high ground over pure brute force and ignorance. Not only this, but it seems (to me at least) that vehicles are now much more user friendly. If getting a 13-kill streak in a light tank is anything to go by, given that previous iterations have seen me forced into ground combat due to the awkward handling of vehicles proving to much hassle, it certainly adds to the many positives we can take from this beta.
Combat is on a high for the series too it seems, with close quarters combat coming in the form of bayonets and shovels as well as spiked clubs and batons, which despite the aggressive nature seem a perfect fit with the fluid and satisfying gameplay seen throughout. As for the rest of it, weapons feel fair and accurate in their capabilities and with each class now enticing the use of each of the class specific items such as gas masks and medic bags via a friendly hint to really make the most of them, combat may finally become more of a team effort rather than every man for himself.
The nicest thing about the Battlefield 1 beta for me though is the return to the classic ranking system, with military style chevrons gracing my first 22 levels of progression in the beta. Of course there’s no word yet on what the max rank will be, but with incredibly addictive and fast paced combat on show from the first second to the final moments this will be a title that I’ll be happily willing to pledge many hours into to find out just how high it goes.