Battlefield 1: A Historical Journey

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Game: Battlefield 1
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Rating: M for Mature
Cost: $59.99

By Dean Moses

From the early 1990s until the mid-2000s, video games were obsessed with World War 2. Countless franchises, such as Medal of Honor, Call of Duty, Wolfenstein, and Battlefield adopted this conflict as their trademark, formulating numerous sequels around this profitable recapitulation of wartime events. However, consumers grew tried of game after game based on the same battles, so one by one the aforementioned franchises brought things up to date, basing their products on modern warfare. Despite the advanced weapons, faster vehicles, and new locations, these fresh games were not quite as enjoyable. They lacked the foundation of history supporting their gameplay. As Call of Duty continues to expand into the future, Battlefield returns to what made it famous: the past.

War Stories

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Battlefield 1 has adopted the Great War, World War 1—much to the delight of fans. This brutal conflict is steeped in history, weapons, vehicles, and environments gamers haven’t been able to explore before. This leaves ample territory for new narrative experiences in addition to fresh gameplay elements. Developer Dice has done an excellent job showing the sheer scope of the war through the single player campaign. Instead of playing as one distinct soldier over a specific story, Battlefield 1 allows you to play through a variety of them. An expansive world map allows the player to pick from five war stories, each one taking place in a different part of the world from a different man’s point of view, with their own motivations. Some are looking for glory; others are just looking to survive a war-torn world. Not only are their reasons for fighting dissimilar, their experiences are vastly different as well, meaning players can dive deep into unique skirmishes, including driving antiquated tanks over mud-filled trenches and stalking enemies throughout forests. Having the story sectioned into five cinematic slices permits gamers to feel the emotions of war instead of forcing a long winded, nonsensical drama on players that does not fit into the genre’s parameters.

The Cogs of War

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Multiplayer has always been the real bread and butter of the Battlefield series, and the latest installment is no exception. Thousands fought and died in the Great War, and Battlefield 1 shows this fact with ruthless honesty—not in a disrespectful manner, but in an educational one. War can often seem like a noble venture, while serving one’s country is undoubtedly heroic; the ramifications of combat are not so black and white. This game left me awe-inspired from moments of awesome destruction. I charged the enemy line, my screen brimming with fellow soldiers, my teammates crumpling around me from machine gun fire. Houses are dynamically powdered under the power of dropped bombs. This game is the closest one will come to war without—thankfully—being in one. Sessions can hold up to 64 players, and have a plethora of game types, the most popular being operations. This match sees one army trying to capture pivotal points on a map defended by the opposing team. In order to seize the abovementioned objectives, one can make use of the game’s class system: Medic, support, assault, and sniper. The addition of these categories keeps the player on his or her toes. Is there marksman lining you up in his sights over the hill, or an individual waiting to spear you with a sharp bayonet?

The Devil is in the Details

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Halloween has just passed. When we think of horror, we think of ghosts and monsters, we don’t often think of war, mostly because it is so real. Battlefield 1 portrays this realism with incredible graphics. Character models are extremely lifelike and filled with immense detail, from their facial expressions to the gear they carry. Vibrant weather effects spontaneously seize control of matches—rain splatters and dribbles down guns, mud leaves them caked and crusted. The sheer sizes of maps are jaw dropping. Players can see planes engaging in dog fights and airships plummeting to the ground in the distance, all being real, human players.

Conclusion

This is the closest I have ever come to the perfect first-person shooter multiplayer experience. Fans of large-scale battles, history, and fun in general will not be disappointed. If you don’t play games online then the campaign—entertaining as it may be—is not worth the price of admission alone. The true pleasure is found with friends in the incredible multiplayer.