When it comes to each new Battlefield game there’s a lot to be excited about. With every release usually comes an exciting new story full of action and emotion, and enough bullets and explosions to start and end another world war. However, even though the campaigns may offer an exciting adventure, it’s really the multiplayer side of things that keeps players coming back for more.
Recently we saw the release of the latest expansion pack to further expand the Battlefield 1 experience with In The Name of Tsar. Does it maintain the high standard seen from the base game or have EA allowed the quality to slip?
In The Name of The Tsar continues on from the battles of the World War and takes us forward into the realms of the Russian Revolution of 1919. There are many new changes that have been brought to Battlefield with the latest expansion – of course the latest multiplayer maps are one aspect of it – but there are many other introductions that make for a very well detailed and overall accurate experience.
When the ‘They Shall Not Pass’ content released, it brought a real focus to close quarters infantry combat within its trench warfare possibilities, and In The Name of The Tsar continues on with this in two more new Operations. Red Tide and Brusilov Offensive are now both joining the many already available to bring the total to eight playable Operations.
Brusilov Offensive sees players join the battle of 1916 across the Eastern Front. This battle throws players into action in the breakthrough attempt that was famously put into action by General Aleksei Brusilov, as he and his troops looked to carry out a large-scale offensive against the Central Powers to try and release the pressure on both the British and French armies.
This Operation allows players to play as either the Russian Army or the Austro-Hungarians in a large-scale battle of either forty or sixty-four people. Depending on which side you start on, it’s probably fair to say this one can feel a little unfair, mainly due to the lack of immediate cover available to those playing as the Russian Army. With little other than open countryside for players to battle on, the start of this Operation is rife with snipers dominating the battlefield, and those coming in with close assault combat in mind will no doubt find themselves needing a decent squad if they hope to get to the second part of the Operation with enough tickets to spare. Those who manage to scrape through the opening section however will find that the latter part of the match will bring combat to the tight confines of a small village, complete with a train track that is perfect for that comeback with the behemoth when all fails first time around.
As for the second Operation, Red Tide, players go to war during the peak of the Russian Revolution, shortly after the war in 1919, to battle the civil war between the communist Red Army who are in battle with the tsarist White Army.
This Operation brings players together on one of the largest Battlefield 1 Operations to date, all of which starts with the Volga River. With a hillside view of the City of Tsaritsyn there in the distance and a cathedral taking centre stage within the map, this is by far one of the most beautiful maps within Battlefield 1. Close-quarters combat is certainly a focus within this Operation, with the second phase proving to be a hectic affair as players are forced into the cathedral and the many surrounding trenches, making for some fantastic melee opportunities for those tactically minded players.
Whilst the new Operations are quite possibly my favourite arrival with the latest expansion, they aren’t the only new things to arrive. Also available are six all new maps for the traditional multiplayer, along with a bunch of new weapons to take down the enemy, including some rather vicious looking melee instruments. The new maps introduced are Brusilov Keep, Tsaritsyn, Volga River, Lukpow Pass, Albion and Galicia.
What is likely the biggest arrival this time round however is with the new female soldiers – something that is now being seen for the first time in a Battlefield game. Female soldiers are available within the Russian Red Army, and given the history behind the infamous Women’s Battalion of Death, it makes for a fantastic addition to the game.
Unfortunately, much like the past expansion, there are no fresh War Stories for players to embark on within the single player component of Battlefield 1, something which I would have liked to have seen given the major shift in focus towards online gaming within the industry in recent months, especially given the high quality of the stories already present.
That said, Operations aren’t the only new multiplayer additions to be found. Supply Drop is another new game mode that comes into play and is a simple but welcome addition to Battlefield 1. This sees players battle on smaller variations of the current maps, much like in the Domination game mode, with the goal being to capture and defend incoming supply drops. Two random drops are added to the map with players battling it out much like Small Conquest, with the supply drops taking the place of the usual flags. It may not be the most original idea when it comes to Battlefield game modes, but it works and it works well, provided you have a team of like-minded objective driven players to play alongside.
Finally we have Rewards. These have been changed once again with the latest DLC, with new challenges now available alongside the original weekly medals, adding an extra progression based incentive for those that thrive on the grind of the Battlefield 1 multiplayer. Along with this comes the return of class specialisations, having been missing since Battlefield 4. Specialisations allow players to improve defence, increase movement, reduce suppression and add vital bonuses to spotting, and whilst these are all things that should probably have been present at launch, it’s nice to finally see them re-introduced to the series.
In The Name of The Tsar is another fine add-on to the Battlefield 1 expansions. Whilst it would have been wonderful to have seen some fresh content included in the War Stories, the changes made and the new additions included are valuable ones to have, with some fantastic new maps, more of the same attention to historical accuracy and some exciting new challenges. There’s plenty to shout about, and it brings another reason to dive into the Battlefield 1 Premium Pass.