Battlefield is an established series of first person shooters primarily known for their multiplayer. The series has been set in many time periods (e.g. 1942, present, 2142) and bar one installment, all have been made by EA DICE. Battlefield 1 is set during World War 1.
This is going to be another back and forth review between Nik and I.
I’ve played 20 hours now.
Battlefield 1 is similar to other Battlefields in that you can pick from some classes, in this case they are assault, medic, support and scout. I’ve spent most my playtime so far as a medic because I’m keen on the bolt-action rifles (although I’m not sure why the medic has them). Assault has assault rifles and shotguns, support light machine guns and scout is basically a sniper. You can also end up as a couple of other classes like pilot and tanker if you choose to spawn a vehicle. As a medic I can also heal and resurrect folk.
There are a couple of game modes, Nik and I have mostly been playing Conquest which is probably the most common and involves capturing and holding as many flags as possible in order to win. There is also Domination, Operations, Rush, Team Deathmatch and War Pigeons (collect pigeons for artillery strikes).
Battlefield 1 is suffering from the very common case of “new game, quick, everyone go sniper!” which is a bit irritating at present. Seeing half your team on a ridge miles from the play area contributing nothing is frustrating to say the least.
Nik, what do you think of the map selection? I’m finding that there are some top notch maps and some pretty awful ones.
I have mostly played as assault which is has been merged with the anti-tank parts of the engineer from previous Battlefield games. The repair aspect has gone to the support class. Assault is calibrated to be most effective at short range skirmishes, so can make the more open maps frustrating as they continue to be dominated by snipers and now a few medics.
On the whole, the new maps are fairly well balanced and a lot of fun in conquest mode. There has recently been a patch to address balance issues with the devs adding in additional flags to a particular problematic map. There are a few more open maps, an urban map, and two tighter maps where it there’s a very BF3 metro style combat.
Jason [Updated 08/12/2016]
I’ve played about 42 hours now and have maxed out the medic class. I’ve moved onto sniper which I’m enjoying. I’m more of an aggressive in your face sniper, rather than a camp on the side of the map one which works quite well. My flares can easily sway the outcome of a fire-fight (show enemies on the map) and shooting down planes with the armour piercing bullets is quite rewarding. The sniper rifles are all useful in their own way as they have different damage peaks at various ranges allowing you to pick the one that best suits your playstyle.
Melee happens more frequently than in previous Battlefields, I often find myself stabbing people. The melee is very rewarding to boot, especially if you get more than one person is quick succession. Some weapons have an optional bayonet which when attached allows you to perform a “bayonet charge” making you run quickly for a short period; if you don’t kill someone with the charge you suffer a speed penalty for a short period.
The game looks good and performance is top notch. Audio is also excellent quality - I don’t have any complaints.
Tanks are interesting in Battlefield 1, they’re harder to take out than in normal Battlefield games and very easily sway the combat in their teams favour when in the vicinity. What do you think, Nik?
I like that tanks have been redesigned so some of the heavier types are now mobile fortresses - not very agile - but can take a reasonable amount of damage and can hold 5-6 players so make a good armoured mobile spawn point and are great for assaulting capture points.
Planes are slower so are slightly less dominant in the hands of a good pilot because they are slightly easier to shoot down. However, the anti plane weaponry is mostly limited to stationary flak guns.
The mounted cavalry are another new addition to battlefield. They are most similar to speeder bikes from Battlefront or motorbikes in battlefield. They are zippy horses that can get you around the map quickly, but at the expense of terrain cover. You can shoot from horseback with a rifle or more hilariously mow down enemies with a sword. I can’t decide if cavalry is all that effective - they can seem pretty weak and easily dispatched at times yet giant bullet sponges at others.
Jason, what did you think of the single player?
Jason [Updated 10/12/2016]
I’ve done a few hours on single player and it’s just “alright”. The cutscenes are quite tasteful and nicely done but the gameplay boils down to repeated filler sections with no soul. For example, in one area you had to help get a tank through a forest which basically involved five or so stops in which you had to clear the area ahead for the tank. Another area had you defend a small outpost a couple of times and felt very forced content wise.
Dice have some other interesting additions in the form of Behemoths (balance mechanic) and a elite classes. What do you think about those?
Dice have attempted to provide balance to stop complete walkover games where one side is dominating by providing the losing side with a behemoth. This takes the form of either a large battleship, armoured train or zeppelin. They are effectively massive tanks with very powerful artillery weapons driven and gunned by players. I have found these make the games last a bit longer and begin to bring the balance back but have rarely seen it completely swing the tide of a battle.
Dice have also added in elite classes. These take the form of a pickup that spawns in various locations around the map. These are very similar to the hero classes in Star Wars Battlefront. They take the form of a flame thrower unit, a sentry (big armoured guy with machine gun) and the tank hunter (sniper with gun that can slay tanks / planes). These are another fun addition that mixes it up a bit and does not require grinding and levelling up to unlock, like the most advanced guns and gear do.
Randomly awarded battlepacks given at the end of rounds provide skins but no functional differences to the weapons. The WW1 setting means there are fewer add-ons to the weapons and all of these come with the guns instead of having to be unlocked.
I’ve found a couple of bugs, mostly to do with the menu system (e.g. quit not working) and the Origin overlay being extremely slow. Occasionally I’m not able to bring up my scope or iron sights but I haven’t nailed down the cause yet (might be after a melee?).
We highly recommend Battlefield 1. It’s an excellent multiplayer shooter.