As any history buff would ever tell you, World War 1 had effected our lives in many ways. This was the war that was the first to use mechanical wonders like Tanks, Planes, the earliest versions of the Machine gun, and the first use of chemical warfare. A war that took place between July 28, 1914 and November 11, 1918, racking up an estimated 38 Million casualties.
It was a war of so many amazing feats and battles that has immortalized in film and TV series, but video games are a different matter. This is usually due to the war being mainly Trench combat and having soldiers slaughter each other across No Man’s Land, while horrific, does not play well in a video game. The closest we’ve ever seen to The Great War was Ubisoft’s 2D Emotional Puzzle/Platformer “Valiant Hearts” which was still almost too light hearted about the events of the war, but it’s EA DICE’s attempt with Battlefield 1 that gives us a realistic look of No Man’s Land, the use of Machines and the impact that a war that happened almost 100 years ago changed combat and the world forever.
Battlefield 1 feels like it treats the war with the respect it needs, and this is largely in thanks to it’s Campaign mode which is called “War Stories” in this iteration. War Stories follows 6 unique stories highlighting battles in France, Ottoman Empire, England and Italy. These stories give a glimpse at the men fighting the war and the struggles they went through.
The War Stories are short but powerful, the most powerful of which would be the prologue “Storm of Steel”, in which the mission starts with giving us a warning that we are not expected to survive. This throws us into the point of view of several soldiers while describing the events that will unfold in the later war stories and puts extra emphasis on the loss and horror that the soldiers faced.
The War Stories also do a great job at preparing you for Multiplayer, as you get a glimpse at the weaponry including the Tanks, Planes and Elite armour, items that are heavily used in Battlefield 1’s online mode. It’s these moments that the single-player campaign really shines, but when they put you on the ground without any of the extra features, the game returns to the Stealth elements that made Battlefield: Hardline a chore to play, luckily these missions are still short and easily completed.
While War Stories may be the best campaign Battlefield had since Bad Company, it’s the multiplayer that shines as usual. With most of the modes that Battlefield players are familiar with, Battlefield 1’s weaponry and vehicles turns everything on its head thanks to how the weapons feel powerful but generally unreliable when it comes down to range.
Vehicles are usually the highlight of Battlefield’s multiplayer, it is even so more evident in Battlefield 1, as Tanks are machine of reckoning, rolling through objectives with ease. Due to the lack of technology available as a foot soldier, it takes careful planning or another Tank to even the odds. Some special classes also get thrown in the mix including flamethrower and heavy machinegun gear that allows players to take on a large amount of opponents by themselves.
It’s hard to find something that tops Battlefield 1’s graphics at this time, from the trenches of No Man’s Land, to the villages and the desert, the levels are gorgeous to behold. On top of this, character animation feels responsive, from players getting hit with powerful weapons to even movement, it all feels natural.
Battlefield 1 is a game that takes itself and the source material seriously, delivering a powerful look at the War to End all Wars that we haven’t seen in media. It’s immersive, it’s competitive, and it’s DICE at its best.