When the initial trailer for Battlefield 1 was released, the game was met with quite a bit of enthusiasm. It heavily deviated from what other shooters on the market were/are doing, mostly due to it’s transition into the World War I era. This is important due to the technology of the time in history in which the game takes place. But, having played some of the game during E3 2016 at EA Play, the title proves that less really is more.
Prior to starting our 32 v 32 match, we were briefed on some of the tactics, types of classes, and geographic location in which the battle was going to be taking place. We were about to embark on the Conquest game variant, something notable to Battlefield players. This mode usually is open to much larger maps, having multiple location points to control. The area in which this battle was taking place was located in France in a small city untouched by WWI. This place was titled the “St. Quetin Scar”. Most of the buildings were partially in tact, alluding to some of the areas in which we were not tasked in finding refuge.
A massive attack on the scarred battlefields of northern France. As part of the Kaiser’s battle, the German army throws everything they have to try to break through the British lines. Prepare for truly cataclysmic assaults as you push through the trenches of the St. Quentin Scar
One thing noted in the demo was the use of environments. Prior to jumping into the match, there was a lot of destruction seen in the environments, and was something that was emphasized by the development team. Destruction of houses and other structures could expose enemies with blasts, not to mention firing holes into a zeppelin is pretty badass. But, this destruction wasn’t really seen in the demo all too much. The weather system in the game is dynamic, having real-time changes in weather patterns. This means you could enter the map with it pouring cats and dogs, only to clear up and have your enemies in plain sight. While this may not seem that important, when you apply it to the era of the game, you start to realize why this is important. Combat in this era was close-quarters, trench warfare. Soldiers were more often battling the elements of their environment, instead of the vast distances that planes and warships produce.
Much similar to other Battlefield titles, the given classes found in Battlefield 1 are the: Assault, Medic, Support and Scout. The Assault class was fitted with a bolt action rifle, while the Medic had various supplies, could revive, and mowed down enemies with a sub-machine gun. You could also customize your loadout; selecting gadgets and weaponry. This is different than some Battlefield titles that have combined the Assault and Medic classes. The Scout was your typical Sniper class, able to camp at various parts of the map. And, in this France map, there were plenty of hills and land divots to park yourself for some additional kills.
One of the main variations in gameplay surrounded the vehicle classes. These Pilots or Tank Officers were fitted to repair vehicles much like that of the engineer classes of prior titles. And, in terms of vehicle gameplay, you can commandeer multi-gunned tanks, as well as Behemoth’s such as the sky-engulfing zeppelins. These can be spawned into. I had the pleasure of striking down a few enemies and picking apart a bi-plane as it grazed our troops with gun fire.
The gunplay in the game is just as swift as you would expect from modern shooters. There was a lot of available technology for the time, leaving access to gas powered, multi-round extinguishing weapons. Even as the Medic class, your sub-machine gun is swift on the draw and fire. But, firing from distances shows visible inaccuracy. I found this out multiple times trying to plug enemies at far brick walls. It wasn’t until I climbed into the remnants of the house that I was able to chase down an enemy and get the kill.
In terms of gameplay, Battlefield 1 is surprisingly fast. I found myself in a sprint across the map to most houses in a scurry to find cover. However, the demo terrain did have some faults. As I hopped in and out of ditches, I found myself being stuck. This happened when traversing ground littered with obliterated brick houses. Of course, this doesn’t represent the final build, but it did put a damper on my playthrough not being able to move while a tank filled with enemies pelts you with lead.
The Bottom Line
At this point, I can’t really say where I stand with Battlefield 1. I did like the combat, both in vehicle and on foot. There was enough diversity in the landscape, as well as the types of weaponry available. However, the early build was brief and to the point. There wasn’t much time to become acclimated with controls, even though, if you’ve played other Battlefield games, they are very similar. I did find a few problems when becoming stuck within the environments houses left in shambles, becoming stuck on mounds of bricks. Another match would have been beneficial, but, I’m entrenched for now.