Battlefield 1 Review (PS4)

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Developer: EA DICE
Publisher: EA

Main Review

Review Context: I have played Battlefield Bad Company, Bad Company 2, Battlefield 3, Battlefield 4, and Battlefield Hardline. Battlefield is my favorite FPS franchise.
Date of Playthrough: November 1-11, 2016

Are you tired of futuristic shooters from the unforeseeable future with giant robots or exosuits that allow people to fly? Are you wanting to go back in time and use the machines of a forgotten war? DICE, the creators of Battlefield 1 clearly thought people did, so they brought you this World War I based first person shooter.

Battlefield 1 follows events that happened during WWI from the years of 1914 to 1918. Unlike all the other major Battlefield titles, Battlefield 1’s story mode does not follow one continual story, but rather it is a conglomerate of six different stories that happened all over the fronts of the Great War. The first, which can be played while the game is finishing downloading, takes place in France as Americans must hold off the German advances. The other five short stories can be played in any order you would like once the game is finished downloading. All five have unique tales, from fighting alongside Lawrence of Arabia to being a volunteer pilot in the British Royal Flying Corps. Due to the fact this game is based off a real war, I like the idea of splitting the story mode into many differing tales as opposed to one fluid story. It allows for a more diverse set of missions and let’s be honest, it would be hard to cover all the aspects of WWI while following a single person like previous Battlefield campaigns. My largest complaint with the Battlefield 1 War Stories is that too many of the missions focus on sneaking around like much of Battlefield Hardline was.

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The online multiplayer in Battlefield 1 is the real highlight of this game (like all other Battlefield games), but what sets it apart from previous titles is the time period. Because it doesn’t take place in a modern setting, the weapons are less powerful compared to the ones used in previous titles. This completely changes the pace of the game, while still staying true to the Battlefield experience.

Two new game modes have been added for Battlefield 1. The first, War Pigeon, is a capture the flag kind of mode, except instead of fighting over a flag teams are fighting over a pigeon. Any player can pick up the bird and run for their life as they write a letter to the command. Once someone has taken control of the pigeon the enemy team will be able to see their icon and hunt them down. The faster you move while holding the objective, the slower the meter for writing increases.  Once the meter is full the pigeon will fly off into the sunset carrying orders to rain down sweet metallic hell down on your opponents. The player holding the pigeon can choose when to release it, which is important because it can be shot out of the sky by the enemies. Whenever a team delivers three messages the game is over. The second game mode is Operations. It is very similar to Rush, except the attacking team has three rounds to move across the map capturing the points. My problem with this game mode is that it takes forever to finish. Anyone tired of conquest should check these modes out.

There are few things right now that are setting the multiplayer back. First, it takes forever to join a game, and even worse, it takes longer to quit a game. Players have to wait until the next match starts in order to leave because the quit button keeps disappearing. Hopefully this will be fixed by the first patch and players can leave right away. The next problem I’ve had with the multiplayer is being body blocked by my teammates. There is no worse feeling than trying to escape and not being able to run because your allies are in the way. Other than that, the game runs smoothly and I have only ever been kicked from a lobby once when it was first released.

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The classes in Battlefield 1 have received some big changes from previous titles. There is still the assault, support, and scout classes, but the addition of a medic class has mixed up what the assault class is capable of. In Battlefield 4 assaults were given med packs and defibrillators, making them the healers for your team. Now with the addition of a medic, assaults have been given a new focus towards vehicle destruction, and trust me when I say you will need one in your squad. The scout class also received a slight change, as the designers tried to bring them closer to fire fights and not just hide out in no man’s land. Many of the bolt action rifles used by the scout are given a sweet spot, as I like to call it, where any shot to the chest at a certain range is a guaranteed one shot kill. The range is dependent on what gun you are using and it incentivizes finding the sweet spot, but it means you must be closer to your enemies. Overall, there doesn’t seem to be one class that is the best and all of them have powerful gadgets and weapons.

The weapons in Battlefield 1 are quite enjoyable to use, but are very poorly balanced. As of now, there are only one or two guns per class that are viable and they completely outshine all others. Also, with the exception of the Hellriegal for the assault, all the level ten unlockable guns are extremely underwhelming. The scout’s Martini rifle that you unlock at level ten is an interesting weapon to use because of its huge sweet spot, but it only has one round per reload and you must use iron sights. Personally, I love running around with a bolt action with iron sights, but the other scout guns can do the same thing with four more rounds. Hopefully this balance issue will be fixed, because with more viable gun options comes a more enjoyable playing experience.

Battlefield 1 has also added three new classes that can only be used if picked up on certain locations of the maps. The classes consist of an armored machine gunner, a flamethrower, and an anti-tank rifleman. All three classes are given extra health, making them much more difficult to kill, but the player that kills them will also get extra points for doing so. The armored machine gunner and flamethrower are straight forward in what they are capable of, but the third is more complex and if used correctly, the most powerful. The anti-tank rifleman is equipped with a single shot high powered rifle that one-shots enemy infantry and shreds through enemy armored vehicle. The downside is that the rifle must have its bipod deployed to shoot it, so that means you either have to lay down or use cover that is the perfect height to deploy.  These classes can be a real menace to a team, so pay attention to where these pickups are so you can grab them before your enemies.

Even more differences in the classes come when you decide to spawn in a tank, a plane, or the horse. In other Battlefield field games engineers could use the blowtorch to repair vehicles, but now there are two specific classes that are the only ones capable of repairing vehicles; the pilot and the tankers. They come equipped with a wrench, but are also able to repair the vehicle while inside by holding L1. The horseman comes with a lever action rifle, but the true killing potential comes from the sword he can hold while riding the horse.

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Battlefield 1 has a wide array of powerful vehicles you can choose, from heavy armored tanks to bombers. First, there’s the smaller transport vehicles like the motorcycle with a sidecar and a car with a mounted machine gun on the back. These two are no different than the 4-wheeler and car used in Battlefield 4. Second are the light armored vehicles. Included is an anti-aircraft truck, mortar truck, light armored car, and light armored tank. The tank is the best of these vehicles, and with everyone running around with explosives, it can take the most hits of any of the light armor. Third is a boat that can fire torpedoes to take out other enemy boats. It’s nothing special and not many maps even have water. Next is the big guns, the two heavy armored tanks. The first, called the land ship, is a three-person tank with two massive side cannons. This is the tank to use when destroying other vehicles. The second is a six-person tank with a cannon in the front, four machine guns on the sides, and a final machine gun at the rear. The heavy armored vehicles can take a huge beating and this is why I stated you will want an assault class on your squad. The last vehicles are the planes. There are three different types; the bomber, the fighter, and the attack planes. The bomber is a slow-moving aerial fortress used to inflict heavy damage to opposing vehicles and decimate areas with high infantry traffic. The coolest feature of the bomber is the ability to, by holding the L2 button, switch camera angles and see below the plane. This allows you to get a read on your target to time the perfect bombing run. The fighter is a high-speed plane used primarily for destroying enemy aircraft. The attack plane is a mix of both the bomber and the fighter. It can make bombing runs, while also useful at taking out enemy aircraft.  The best part about the tanks and planes is that each one has different loadouts, giving them alternate weapon capabilities. Some of these are rockets for the attack planes or flamethrowers for the heavy tank. The vehicles in Battlefield 1 can be very hard to destroy and cause havoc if they aren’t dealt with quickly.

There are three more vehicles that are even more destructive and powerful than all the other ones combined. They are called the Behemoths. They are only spawned in conquest and operations when one team is trailing heavily. The Behemoths are designed to swing control over the map to the losing team, and which Behemoth appears depends on the map. The first is the Dreadnought, a heavily armed battleship that will lay waste to the enemy from the water. The second Behemoth is the armored train. Armed with machine guns and artillery, this train is a nuisance, especially when its tracks run right through the middle of the map. The last one is my personal favorite, only because of the way it looks when it’s destroyed. The airship, a true flying fortress, can drop bombs on the enemies and is equipped with around six machine guns. When it is finally defeated, the zeppelin will start to ignite and come crashing down in a blaze of flaming glory. I’ve died many times while watching it fall. The Behemoths can completely change the tide of a battle, so the faster your team can destroy it, the better. Aim for the weapons because they can be destroyed and greatly decrease their power.

One of my favorite aspects of Battlefield 1, which DICE has seemed to master in all the Battlefield titles is the sound design. Whether you are in a tank chugging along the map, using a mounted machine gun to mow down enemy infantry, or just hiding for your dear life as artillery is blowing up everything around you, it simply sounds awesome. All the details put into each weapon and vehicle’s sound effects show how important this was to the creators of Battlefield 1. The best example of this is when flying any one of three classes of planes. From the sputters and spats of the engine, to the chugs of the mounted machine guns, or the ripping of the canopy as bullets tear through it, nothing sounds more satisfying then zipping around in the planes. DICE even added a whistling effect when dropping bombs on enemy heads. The details don’t stop at just weapons and vehicles though, as even the infantry themselves will burst out commands. Battlefield 1 has done an excellent job in recreating the sounds of war and then throwing the player into the explosive filled chaos. Just remember, if you hear a whistling sound coming from above, you’re probably dead.

The biggest drawback about having a game based on WWI is a lack of weapon selection. With a modern-day shooter, the choices are basically infinite in what weapons designers would like to add to a game. Because there weren’t that many different firearms in WWI, DICE was limited and they had to find a way to compensate. In Battlefield 1 each gun, with the exception of sidearms, gadgets, and level 10 class guns, has two to three unique loadouts. These loadouts change how the guns perform. For example, let’s look at the MP 18; a submachine gun for the assault class. The first loadout is the MP 18 Trench, and this version focuses primarily on higher hip fire accuracy for the cost of aim down sight accuracy, making it a much better candidate for up close engagements. But what if you only want to use the MP 18 and the map is more focused on mid-range fighting? Well the second loadout is called the MP 18 Optical, which equips the equivalent of a red dot sight and focuses more on aim down sight accuracy for the loss of hip fire accuracy. This was how DICE decided to add variety to a seemingly bland array of weapons.

Didn’t Battlefield 3, Battlefield 4, and Battlefield Hardline do the same thing by allowing you to customize what attachments you could put on the guns? Yes, but as stated before, this is a game based off WWI. There were no ACOG sights, night vision scopes, compensators, wide array of suppressors, and twenty different styles of foregrip. If there were, they either didn’t work well or came at the end of the war and weren’t seen until the 1940s. So, yet another downside of Battlefield 1 is a lack of weapon attachments. This problem was much harder to compensate for and because of it, there just isn’t a lot of ways to customize the guns. You are able to change the magnification on scoped weapons and even non-scoped weapons (apparently, your character just gets better eyes), which is helpful if you want to mix your style up depending on the map, but there isn’t too much else you can change. The reticle, adding or removing the bayonet and style of iron sights are the only other changes that can be made to the guns. The bayonet is an important customization though. Every main weapon can be equipped with one which allows you to do a bayonet charge. The charge gives the player a quick burst of speed and allows you to instantly kill an opponent if you run into them. There are downsides though; one, it is very hard to successfully complete without whiffing and running right past your opponent. Two, your character will not be able to sprint after the charge has ended, and finally, you have a slower aim down sight speed after sprinting if the bayonet is equipped. It’s a neat mechanic that will get you killed more than getting kills. Because there are no suppressors in Battlefield 1, DICE has removed showing up on the radar when firing a weapon. I feel this was a necessary change and allows you to play little more reckless.

Overall, Battlefield 1 is an excellent addition to the series, even with the problems it has. It is graphically stunning and the features that I have issues with can be fixed with patches. If you are a fan of the Battlefield franchise or just looking for a first person shooter that takes place in the past, Battlefield 1 is the game to play.

Similar Games Liked:
Battlefield 4 (PS4/PS3)
Battlefield Hardline (PS4)
Star Wars Battlefront (PS4)

Similar Games Disliked:
Battlefield 1942 (PS3)

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