Battlefield 1 Review

Battlefield is easily my favorite video game series. I think I’ve played every variation.

So keep that in mind when I say, this might be the best yet.

The Green Fields of France

Battlefield 1 goes back, way back, even before the original games. World War I is one of the rarest video game settings. Nearly a billion game (roughly) have covered every aspect of WWII, with slightly less covering the wars since (and in the future).

But not WWI. Perhaps because it’s because it’s known for its trench warfare and little else. That, of course, was a huge part of it, but not all. For a video game setting, that’s difficult to make work.

But from the Italian Alps to the Arabian deserts, the war covered far more varied terrain than just the blasted fields of France.

(Related, I HIGHLY recommend Tuchman’s The Guns of August as a riveting primer to WWI if you’re rusty. One of the most incredible books I’ve ever read.)

The basic Battlefield formula is all here. Massive battles with up to 32 players per side compete across expansive maps with varied terrain and buildings. The deformable structures and landscape is even better done here than previous outings. The classes, too, are similar to previous games, with combat medics, machine gunner support, snipers, and straight up assault, you’ll find a class that fits your playstyle.

A case could be made that the WWI setting is just the coat of paint on another Battlefield game. If you strip it all down to its basics, I can see that argument. Biplanes instead of jets, horses instead of ATVs, and so on. But there’s something about the setting the infuses the game with an extra level of intensity. Maybe because it’s I recognize the names of the battles. But I suspect it’s something else.

I suspect it’s the setup. You begin the game as a soldier on the western front. You’re surrounded, needing to survive wave after wave of attack. And here’s the thing… you won’t. It’s designed so your character dies. You see the dates your avatar lived, and then you zoom into the eyes of another soldier, and the process repeats. Its unlike anything I’ve seen in a game before, and paints a harsh picture of the harsh realities of that war.

This continues through a surprisingly excellent single player campaign. Well, excellent for Battlefield, which I can’t remember ever having much of a single player aspect. More than just “do stuff on the maps you’ll see in multiplayer,” the campaign missions have a distinct feel depending on what theater of war you choose. They’re well-crafted and compelling, and usually not on the rails that so hamper other shooters of this era (*cough*CoD*cough*).

All the maps feature tight close quarters action and, as I prefer, fantastic sniping locations. They’re massive in the way that Battlefield does best. The graphics, building on the already excellent///, are as stunning as they are efficient, offering high framerates on average gear.

I was disappointed with Battlefield Hardline, but not only is Battlefield 1 an excellent return to form, it polishes the formula to an exceptional luster. Great fun. Highly recommended.