I’m not one to get excited about first person shooters. Battlefield 1 is however something special, something unique and something that requires a look from every single gamer on this planet.
So given the opportunity to go hands-on with EA and DICE’s latest Battlefield title at EA Play, I was excited to see exactly how the huge Great War battles would play out.
There are two words that sum it up totally. Utterly stunning.
I mean, utterly stunning, as in my jaw dropped from the first moment of the initial 12 minute screening video, right up to the very last second of the 15 minute war focused fights. It’s big, it’s brutal and it’s pretty damn emotive as you get drawn into a world from 100 years ago, fighting it out as if your life depended on it. In fact, it captures the good, the bad and the downright ugly sides of war brilliantly.
Powered by the Frostbite engine (which strangely a whole ton of stuff is nowadays), the visuals on display are absolutely first class and whether you choose the Assault, Medic, Support or Scout classes the battle will be different each and every time. Whilst I was only limited to one fight, I quite happily took in each and every one of the classes to see exactly what was what. With quick firing assault rifles for the former class, through to the heal and reviving options associated with the medic, resupplying team mates with the support class or laying prone in a partially destroyed building, picking off the enemy with accuracy as a sniper, I even found that war was completely different dependant on which class was chosen.
Throw in the option to become a tank officer and command the battlefield from the ground, or a goggled pilot whizzing through the air, the sheer excitement and adrenaline rush caused by each option was brilliant to take in. With the usual Battlefield overview maps allowing you to get into the action swiftly and easily, pinpointing your drop point – on a squad member, in a plane or just randomly at a controlled objective – with unerring accuracy, death was never too much of a hassle. Normally, I tend to shy away from these massive online multiplayer shooters due to the sheer ease in which any opposing team will get a kill, but, even with the massive St Quentin map, never felt overwhelmed.
Many will laugh at those getting excited by Battlefield 1 and pass it off as just another old BF shooter with a new skin. In a way, they’d be right but this is a much more savage beast. One that is summed up beautifully with the Behemoths. These are huge game changers which can cause terror in the enemy ranks – or just provide some gigantic cannon fodder for those brave enough to try and take it down. In my case, this played out as a huge airship. Brought in to help establish control from one side, this ship can be fully manned with gunners and bomb drops in order to help create havoc down below. It’s a powerful beast, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be taken down and boy, when it does, it certainly comes down in a big, big way. As you can imagine, something the size of an airship is going to cause damage down below and as soon as it is damaged enough, will plummet towards the ground, wiping out everything below – houses, tanks, planes, soldiers. It doesn’t stop there though because once the burning wreck has taken out heaven and earth, the carcass will stay in place to create a new battlefield, one full of melee opportunities and pistol whipping performances. Like I say, the Behemoths are massive game changers.
They aren’t the only game changers though and whilst I didn’t notice any major weather changes, I couldn’t help but be hugely impressed by the level of destruction on offer. Obviously things change massively when the airship comes crashing down, but standard tanks and planes can cause nearly as much on there own. There was utter joy in tearing down a fire ravaged valley in a tank, smashing through trees in an attempt to help my team-mates take a hold of an objective point, even if those journeys nearly always ended up with a beached tank sitting prone across some half demolished building. I apologise right now to that unnamed squad mate who I left high and dry due to poor land vehicle skills…and even more to the one whom I took on a kamikaze mission from above into an enemy filled objective point. Hey, at least we took them out right!?
With five player squads being the key to real success, a brilliant mini map bringing enough details for even the most green of newcomers and a massively fun bayonet charge ensuring there is enough chance of getting up close and personal with your enemies, Battlefield 1 could quite possibly be the one and only shooter that will continue to get me excited throughout the rest of this year, up until its October release date and long beyond.
Whether you’re a first person shooting fan or not, there is little chance you’ll be able to avoid the hype surrounding EA and DICE’s superb all-out-war creation. To be honest, on the back of my playthrough, you’d be mad to want to avoid it.
I promise you, it’ll be well worth taking the fight to the enemy.