EA’s newest addition to the Battlefield franchise launched sandwiched between their own shooter Titanfall 2 (Which they woefully neglected to care at all about) and the latest CoD installment. Battlefield 1 takes us back to the days of the early world war era of trench warfare and guys with capes.
Lets get right to the important stuff.
What improved, if anything, over the past Battlefield games?
EA did a nice job refining the main menu and overall presentation of Battlefield compared to a few of their recent previous versions. Battlefield 3 and 4 (if I even have the right numbers there) had clunky web interfaces and menu systems. BF1 wraps what I still believe to be a ‘browser’ into an application, and presents it with a nicer bow or cherry on top.
The menu system is decently intuitive. Joining friends is simple. Getting into any sort of game appears to be their #1 priority. There’s even a server browser, and it has so far worked perfectly fine for me.
What sucks about the out-of-game menu system is the weapon unlocks or soldier gear setup. It’s seemingly non-existent. I can look at what I have unlocked, but I can’t do a dang thing about it. Compared to the in-game menus which have everything I want, albeit less intuitive, and it’s questionable why the out-of-game menu even exists. It’s more of like an achievement scoreboard.
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Unlocking items in general is SUPER slow. I’ve put hours and hours into a class and I haven’t even reached the next rank in that class or unlocked a single item. Graev has dumped like 5 hours into one and unlocked the first rank, but he still hasn’t made progress on item unlocks because he has to earn lots of Warbonds (in-game currency).
Do the guns feel good?
They feel very different from recent Battlefield games. I consider that a great thing. Bad company felt like paintball guns. Battlefield 3 and 4 felt weak and clunky. Battlefield 1’s shooting mechanics are solid, realistic, and have a nice feel to them. I feel like I’m shooting the guns from the era — though I have no basis for that statement.
Bullet drop is ever present. At times I feel like I’m lobbing sniper bullets rather than projecting them in any sort of straight line. That’s okay.
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Gun diversity is lacking. I feel like there aren’t a whole lot of options — and I suppose there weren’t back in the day — and customization is kept to a minimum in an effort to maintain some chance of suspending our disbelief.
How’s the match pacing?
Matches feel much slower and methodical. I attribute that to a lack of fighter planes and explosions coming from every player. There are still tanks (which are way less annoying to deal with) and grenades, etc. There’s even gas now which is annoying, but pressing T puts on a gas mask so that’s cool.
Going back and forth between Titanfall 2 and BF1, I feel like I’m moving slower than molasses as I charge up a hill to take a bunker. Again, I don’t see that as a bad thing but a definite note to make. No running on walls here.
Are there vehicles in Battlefield 1?
Yep, a decent number. Most of them end up feeling similar to each other. Lots of machine guns instead of shells, and lots of troop transporting instead of 1-man boom sticks. Again, with big maps and slower pacing, the troop transports work out nicely. There are even horses on some levels, though I have yet to see a single person use a horse and not be completely annihilated. Who brings a horse to a tank fight?
Planes are handled a bit differently than past games. Instead of waiting for a plane — which I actually liked — you have to be the first to click the button on the respawn map. When you die, there’s a chance one might be up. If you’re lucky, you’ll spawn right into one and already be in the air flying. I think this is a huge let down for those of us who enjoyed the plane experience of taking off, landing, and putting TNT on our wings.
Aerial combat is decent in BF1. I think it pales in comparison to 1942, though.
Certain maps even have special ‘super vehicles’ like a big battleship, armored train, or zeppelin. These definitely influence the battle, and are a lot of fun to both pilot/gun in and to take out.
What about the maps and modes in BF1? Are they any good?
The maps are good. Sometimes I feel like the map sizes are decent, and other times I feel like there’s absolutely no way the map should be this small. Many of the game modes I’ve played take the map and truncate it into smaller pieces which. Capture A and B to unlock the next area, then capture the new A and B.
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All of the maps have felt memorable, and I think I can say that I like all of them.
The modes are your standard Battlefield modes with the exception of a new mode called Operations. These are like replaying old battles where you have objectives in a 3 part series to advance the campaign or theater of war you’re participating in. These are a lot of fun, though they are definitely the “take these points to unlock more points to take” style of play. Operations are a nice way to battle across multiple maps in order to determine a victor.
Maps in general are all about PLAYING THE OBJECTIVE! More than any previous Battlefield game, I feel like playing the objective has 100% priority. This is how you’ll rank up, get the most points, and win.
Conclusion – Is Battlefield 1 any good?
Battlefield 1 is A LOT of fun. The guns feel great, the maps are memorable (though I want bigger maps), the vehicles are right for the era (though I want better plane combat), and the modes scratch that Battlefield itch.
My biggest gripe about Battlefield 1 is the rate of unlocking items due to ranking up classes. You’re going to need to spend time playing in order to make progress, but hey at least it’s fun.
Battlefield 1 checks all of the boxes for me. Despite not living up to 1942 in some aspects, BF1 still exceeds my expectations. Its gritty, real, and brings a great new angle of action and features to the BF franchise. If you’re a BF fan, then this is definitely one you can’t skip.