One of the most difficult things an existing franchise has to do is continuously reinvent itself. Sure a brand must maintain its core identity, but moving gameplay and concepts further is important too. Battlefield is one of the biggest brands within EA’s portfolio, and the latest installment does all of the former. Battlefield 1 is an intriguing step back into the era of World War I.
The gameplay is fast, frantic and fun. Thanks to excellent execution, War Stories is perhaps one of the best campaign concepts of the generation. Aerial combat is a joy, both in single player and multiplayer. Battlefield 1 is a refreshing dose of World War I action, and it brings to life that time period in phenomenal fashion.
For the game’s main campaign, there are six different War Stories, as the mode is termed in the game, for you to complete. Each one tells a different story, and each focuses on a different country and protagonist. Single player is also a good way to become familiar with the elements you’ll find in multiplayer.
From the first War Story to the last, Battlefield 1‘s campaign tells compelling tales of heroism, the loss of life and how glory is not found in war, mostly just survival. Each of the War Stories vary in length. “Through Mud And Blood” was a mission that had five chapters to it, while “Remember Us” only had a few.
It is not just the length of each War Story that varies, but so do the settings. You aren’t just nailed down to the mountains, desert or hills. Battlefield 1 keeps the landscapes you play on unique for each episode. “Through Mud And Blood” focuses on an Irish crew who guides its tank through treacherous enemy territory in order to find friendly quarters.
This War Story focuses mainly on tank gameplay and gives you an idea for their maneuverability. The five chapters also provide an accurate expectation for the type of destruction you’ll see in the game’s multiplayer experience.
Tank combat was extremely entertaining as I would try to use buildings as shields for when enemy fire came about. Then, I would break from cover, fire a shot, and then return to cover. Being able to use your surroundings is crucial in tank combat. I very much enjoyed the differing style of gameplay tanks bring and think it helps diversify the experience.
“Through Mud And Blood” was perhaps the most compelling War Story of them all. This part of the campaign feels like it was inspired by the film Fury, which covered an American tank crew during World War II. Battlefield 1‘s gritty storytelling, unique characters and extraordinary events made this War Story a favorite.
“Friends In High Places” starred a brash, yet humorous young man who took to the sky in Battlefield 1‘s aerial-focused War Story. This is the episode where players become familiar with the easy-to-learn, hard-to-master aerial combat. The game showcases a number of different contexts for aerial combat, but no matter, it’s a thrilling experience all around.
In this episode, there is a portion where gamers fight their way through an enemy blimp. This sequence is rather short and nothing too outside of the ordinary. However, I bring it up because it reminded me of a similar scene from Sony’s The Order: 1886. It too had a scene where characters fought through a blimp cast high above the ground. For this episode, it is an interesting change of pace from the game’s aerial combat.
The third and fourth episodes in War Stories are also a blast to play. Each of them takes gamers to a different part of the world, playing as a different country. These varied landscapes help showcase a unique element of gameplay, as the first two do.
In “Avanti Savoia!,” gamers battle through the mountains of Italy. In this sequence of missions, we are introduced to heavy armor and artillery. While the weapons are powerful, they sure do slow you down and make the player more vulnerable to incoming fire. This is particularly true when you charge up a mountainside, fighting off enemies.
“The Runner” was yet another dose of varied terrain and gameplay. This focused more on boots on the ground gameplay than any other War Story. I enjoyed this episode simply because of how it forced gamers to be creative with their tactics, and think outside of their typical gameplay styles.
Finally, “Nothing Is Written” brings us to our most diverse setting yet: The desert. This episode is there to mainly showcase horseback gameplay. Riding on a horse provides a fast and effective mode of transportation. Additionally, it gives gamers yet another lens to view combat through.
While on a horse, you play in third-person and it is not combat as usual. Having to balance your horse’s speed, your own aim and navigating tight spaces makes combat entertaining. Horseback is not my favorite style of combat, but I appreciate the change of pace it can provide.
War Stories was always an intriguing idea from the moment DICE revealed it. Telling different stories from the war with each episode is absolutely brilliant. It would have been easy for the studio to waffle on these episodes and sort of mail them in, but they didn’t.
Battlefield 1‘s War Stories concept makes for a wonderful campaign. The diversity of stories and characters keeps the experience fresh, and it truly felt like an authentic attempt at telling stories we haven’t heard from World War I.
Battlefield 1‘s multiplayer is wide open and explosive. Gamers will find plenty of playtime in the experience, and it is a multiplayer with incredible depth. For newcomers, multiplayer is something you’ll want to toe the waters with at first. The game places excellent importance on each role you can take on. For those who play as the scout, the flare gun is a great way to spot enemies.
Should you choose to play the support class, make sure you fire long bursts of ammo. The longer you fire, the better aim you will have. Lastly, Warbonds are few and far between, so make sure you use them tactfully. There is so much to talk about when it comes to Battlefield 1‘s multiplayer, however, I’ll keep it brief for the sake of time. Stick with it in the game’s multiplayer and you’ll find it is an extremely rewarding experience.
Taking a step back from everything it’s clear to me that Battlefield 1 is the complete package. DICE has created an original and compelling single player experience, while still delivering its trademark multiplayer. Battlefield 1 is an excellent showcase of gameplay verticality, rewarding progression and unexpected narratives. Stick around here at We Write Things for more on Battlefield 1. EA provided We Write Things with a PS4 code of Battlefield 1 for the purposes of this review.