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Battlefield 1 review

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Summary

Our Score:

9

Pros

  • Incredible campaign
  • Multiplayer feels built for the WW1 setting
  • Moment-to-moment action is excellent
  • Looks absolutely gorgeous

Cons

  • Long load times
  • Campaign over too soon

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Key Features

  • Battlefield 1 release date: October 21
  • Available on Xbox One, PS4, PC
  • Genre: FPS, single and multiplayer
  • Manufacturer: Electronic Arts
  • Review Price: £39.99

All Ghillied Up, No Russian, The Silent Cartographer. These moments in the first-person shooter genre stand out thanks to a combination of their wonderful design and narrative impact. Battlefield 1 has managed to produce not just one, but a series of incredibly crafted and powerful set-pieces capable of going toe to toe with any of them, as well as the best opening level since Medal of Honor Frontline’s “D-Day”. If this wasn’t enough, DICE has also built the best multiplayer combat experience we’ve seen this console generation.

There was much controversy surrounding Battlefield 1 and its return to The Great War. Concerns about whether or not such delicate subject matter could ever be given the treatment it deserves, especially in a video game, are justified. Whether or not EA and DICE achieve that will be determined by the individual, but I think they come as close as anybody to providing an incredibly powerful representation through what is an utterly brilliant campaign.

This is unquestionably the best shooter campaign we’ve seen in a decade. Not since Modern Warfare has there been a single-player experience that’s told such a great story, or more specifically, five.

Related: Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare review

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Battlefield 1, rather than telling a single narrative, hosts five short stories following different soldiers in different parts of the world throughout the conflict. It plays out like a fantastic mini-series, each brilliantly voice-acted and believable, with screens of text contextualising each soldier’s situation as the prologue and epilogue.

What’s great about each story is they don’t try to portray heroes. These are simply the stories of war, of brave individuals doing incredible things. One story in particular leaves you questioning whether or not the lead character was even a hero at all. It’s utterly engrossing, and thankfully there isn’t a single “hoo-rah” to be heard.

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Through every chapter I’ve borne witness to the true horrors of war: bodies strewn across no man’s land, soldiers fleeing trenches on fire as a flamethrower guard clears a path for his allies, and trench rats running all around, creating the real sense of the conditions these men endured. The game will never force your attention to any one of these, but by noticing them myself each has much greater impact. It helps that the scene rendered before you is done so in such exquisite detail. Even on Xbox One it’s gorgeous, and comfortably one of the best-looking games on the console.

Once again it’s the little touches that really build the experience. Diving into a trench sees my gun covered in dirt, the screams of soldiers writhing in agony as I run up the battlefield, the mud of the disgusting trenches squelching underfoot. DICE has always been the best at sound design, and continues to show why in this World War 1 gameplay.

Related: Battlefield 1 vs Infinite Warfare

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Each story also has its own gameplay focus, with the first seeing you join a British crew driving a tank through France, including a segment deep behind enemy lines. In the second you’re an American pilot battling in the skies, the third an Italian heavily armoured soldier leading men up the mountains. Each offering’s unique approach keeps things interesting, and what makes the whole experience even better is that the formula is wrapped around the traditional structure of a Battlefield multiplayer match, further playing to DICE’s strengths.

Always tasked with completing a series of objectives, moving forward and driving the enemy lines back, just like a battle of Conquest, it makes everything so much fun to play. It’s quite clear that DICE has also taken stock of recent outings like Star Wars Battlefront, too. In Chapter Two, there’s a mission as a fighter pilot that feels directly taken from Battlefront’s Fighter Squadron mode with a World War 1 skin.

While on the subject of multiplayer, this is quite simply the best it’s ever been, and the best multiplayer shooter of this generation. DICE has always been known for its excellent large-scale warfare, but something about it being set in The Great War makes every single encounter matter that much more.

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The map design is absolutely stunning, with so many landmark structures that are equally fun to explore and destroy. From the castles in the corner of Suez to the idyllic palace in Ballroom Blitz, every map has a standout piece of architecture, which will slowly but surely fall to pieces the longer the battle rages on.

The classic argument every year is: which is better, Call of Duty or Battlefield? This year both feel more different than ever, and the great thing about that is, while on the surface they are both shooters, the experiences couldn’t be more different. While Call of Duty is great at offering that instant gratification of spawn-shoot-kill-die-repeat, it cannot come close to matching the incredible storytelling found in Battlefield’s multiplayer.

There are so many moments that occur that you will feel must be scripted, simply because they’re so well designed. It’s almost like those moments in sport where “you had to be there” to understand. In Amiens, one of BF1’s more compact urban maps, I took up a spot in one of the blocks of flats and began shooting at enemies on one of the bridges, which housed one of the conquest flags. Safely ensconced behind the concrete wall, I was able to pop in and out of cover and kill five or six enemies – until a tank came along and shot down the entire side of the building.

Yes, there are some frustrations with this more chaotic format. The longer the map goes on, the more scattered allies and enemies become, meaning there’ll be times when you spawn and are instantly killed – or do what I did and spawn staring at an enemy tank. There’ll also be moments when you spend several minutes running from one flag to the next without firing a bullet, only to get shot in the back of the head. But these pale in comparison to those landmark battles which can also happen, making it all so worth it.

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There are also minor and infrequent performance niggles. Particularly when coming out of the pause menu, I experienced brief freezes and some screen-tearing, but nothing game-breaking.

Another sticking point is the campaign’s brevity. Because each story is so bloody good I didn’t want it to end. The move to create a series of isolated episodes was a great one, but the whole lot can be done in around six hours. And with five separate narratives, the conclusion of the fifth will lack that climactic moment that one would get from a single story. Hopefully we’ll see more episodes released post-launch, but that doesn’t excuse the brief experience that currently exists.

VERDICT

DICE has put together a superlative campaign experience. The decision to create a mini-series following multiple soldiers is brilliant, and something that other games should follow in the future, as there wasn’t a single moment of filler.

It’s just a shame that the word “mini” is so apt, with the whole campaign over all too soon. It’s testament to how good it is, though, that I simply want more of it – more stories, more acts of heroism, more incredible, heart-wrenching moments.

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Long load screens, overbearing hints and other minor quibbles aside, this is undoubtedly the best campaign DICE has ever produced, and the best single-player war experience we’ve seen in almost a decade.

I really hope DICE spends much more time in World War 1, because it feels like there are many more stories waiting to be told.

Overall Score

9

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jimmym99755

October 9, 2016, 11:40 pm

Bring it on!!

HolmestheBond

October 17, 2016, 9:48 am

Hints are quite easily turned off in the menu, along with everything HUD related.

Great mini-review, I cannot wait to play this!

Paul

October 17, 2016, 11:15 am

they could bring out more mini stories in the dlc.

PK777

October 22, 2016, 10:19 am

Another fluff piece.
"Oh Battlefield is great, it's huge, it's marvelous, believe me !"
You would think that some game journalists would actually do there jobs instead of just downplaying all the bad things and just lying how wonderful each game is.

Another review that doesn't rock the boat. Look at metacritic. Whenever
you see lots and lots of so called pro-reviewers state that a game is just marvelous,
you should know something is either really really good or something is
really really fishy. In most cases, as in this case, the latter applies.

The truth is, it's crap. It boils down to a re-skin of SW:BF with at times sound assets that have been re-used form BF3 and BF4. Yes, there's nothing that will make it feel more like a WW1 game by using weapon sounds from present day guns.
You'll be hard pressed to find an AI in a triple A release that is this lack luster and even just stupid then in this game. Having a WW1 game where the majority in MP are fighting with LMG's and SMG's should already tell you just how more of the same this is.

Calling the SP campaign intelligent is just ludicrous and insulting to the users intelligence. Having a mission where you are running, not walking mind you, up a mountain bearing a heavy machine gun while dressed in steel armour, mowing soldiers down left and right while their bullets just bounce of you because wearable steel plate armour can with stand hunderds of bullets (at least according to Dice) and you think, yeah that's a thing in the spirit of WW1! Really ?

Being able to ram planes with your plane and being able to repair it while your flying ...
and you think that's a good concept? Really?

Of how about that in the same plane you get a dynamic cross hair update so that you don't have to worry about leading the target or keeping into account how fast you are going, they are going and in which direction you are moving compared to them. Yep, biplane pilots in those days must have had HUD displays not unlike in an F16, or so the guys at Dice seems to think.

You have the mission that deals with Gallipoli (the D-day of it's day that went horribly wrong mostmy because of incredible stupid generals on the Allied side). So here you have a mission about a beach landing that failed and the game turns it in you getting of the actual beach within 40 seconds and killing a few hundred enemies while getting your objective.

On top you have a SP campaign that last barely 6 hours of which about 1hour 40 minutes are cut scenes. Counting the load times you end up 'playing' an SP for 4 and a half hours, and if you can believe player reviews, that's on hard difficult.

"But, but the multiplayer is where it's at", I can hear you say.
Yeah, where you aren't bothered by gas attacks because you are in a tank.
Where wearing a gas mask doesn't really limit your sight. If you ever put on an old style gas mask, the ones with 2 holes for the eyes instead of one big one for both then you know it limits your view to no end.

Where everyone is just running around with full automatic weapons (because that's sooooo WW 1 /sarcasm) and where your enemies can be spawning right behind your spawn point. Aid the usually difficult with netcode, hit boxes and bullet cones, long load times and you have something that even when enjoying the graphics should have no one think it's worth a 7,8 or a 9 out of 10 nor 4,5/5 stars.

In short I rate this review a 1/5 star. And that's being generous.

PK777

October 22, 2016, 12:25 pm

If you want an actual review that shows the truth of this game then look up Total Biscuit on youtube. Even if you only believe half of the facts he mentions you'll see that his game is nowhere what the gaming mags/website are saying.

MrRandom

October 23, 2016, 5:54 am

Biscuit has some great reviews.. BUT he is off his rockers with this one. ANYONE who went into BF1 (AAA studio release) expecting a historically accurate non arcade like shooter is just plain stupid. If realistic/historical WW1 shooter is what you want then get on Steam and buy Verdun. As for his "Not Immersive" comment... The Storm of Steel story that kicks in when you first load up the game is pretty damn intense. It was a brilliant way to kick off the game and all the missions feel pretty good after it. THIS is by far the best shooter to come out since MW 1 and the best Battlefield in the series to date.

Michal C

October 29, 2016, 2:09 pm

Looks like you did not get the basic concept mate. Nobody told it supposed to be accurate, boring and frustrating. How thick really are you? Go and buy Verdun as this might be right up your alley. And stop picking up on things which you can simply change: you can switch of HUD all together with crosshairs as well for much better game play if you like (on the downside you need to count bullets). What else you are going to pick on? Fonts in the menus are to modern for your liking? Perhaps a faster up to date ssd drive would not go a miss either?

SEL

October 29, 2016, 3:44 pm

Have to say that the review of the single player campaign is ridiculous. This is the shortest campaign I can recall of any game so that alone should get a huge negative. I finished it on hard in a couple of afternoons (and I am no super hero at games) - I would be suprised if there is 6 hours game play. It felt more like a demo! And the content itself was ok, but nothing remarkable at all. The multiplayer is typical BF stuff, nothing like the fun and skill that were in the original earlier BF games like Bad Company. There is little thought required, no tactics, just your ususal CoD aim/shoot stuff. If you have low latency and super hand/eye coordination, then you excel. Anyone else is just ususal CoD fodder. I would give the game 3/5 for Multiplayer and 1/5 for Campaign. Another poor review from TR in my opinion. Oooo, for the good old days when the word "Trusted" meant something!

Crippled by UK State goons

November 2, 2016, 11:28 pm

99.7% of all the dead and wounded and damaged by that War were White. So racist DICE kick all their corpses (& surviving families) in the proverbial teeth in order to shove an African on all the main marketing, because White folk just aren't good enough for the marketing of a game about 17-million white people being killed (& 20-million more wounded).

Crippled by UK State goons

November 2, 2016, 11:30 pm

So, is it really more of a STAR WARS Battlefront re-skin?

Which I quite like btw.

Crippled by UK State goons

November 2, 2016, 11:32 pm

You are probably not a real European in Europe, so you probably have no idea about where TB is coming from on this one.

Crippled by UK State goons

November 2, 2016, 11:33 pm

STAR WARS Battlefront re-skin. My thoughts exactly since the title was first put on youtube.

MrRandom

November 3, 2016, 2:19 am

No.. You are right. I am a CANADIAN. You know.. That little "colony" of 8 million at the time who sent 615,000+ people over to Europe in uniform to serve.... 61,000 of them never came home and another 172,000 were wounded.... We have ZERO understanding of this war.. You are as ignorant and disrespectful as the foreigner you are implying me to be.

MrRandom

November 3, 2016, 2:29 am

Hardcore mode is going to release in a month or so as well delivering a bit more "realism" for this who want that sort of game mode.

Crippled by UK State goons

November 3, 2016, 9:49 am

Lol. Snowy; you miss the point.

Lol when you accept a muslim as leader of Canada, and you all have to bow to Sharia. One o dem foreigners.

megaman

November 5, 2016, 4:04 am

Or they could do the sensible thing and bring out more multiplayer maps and more multiplayer modes

Paul

November 5, 2016, 8:43 am

they do that anyway funboy

neiliewheeliebin

November 6, 2016, 5:11 pm

What are you going on about seriously

neiliewheeliebin

November 6, 2016, 5:29 pm

There's some weird comments in here,this game is freaking awesome in both campaign and online multiplayer

xkqytm

November 6, 2016, 8:39 pm

I would like to start off with I highly enjoy the gameplay and action of this game. It has wonderful mechanics and movement is well designed. The various weapons and combinations of gadgets make this game really interesting to play. There are so many roles you can fill that you end up spending a ton of time playing. However, there are major flaws to this game. Starting with the horrendous user interface. The interface is not only overly flashy and inefficient it is not laid out well enough for quick and easy access that one might assume things should be grouped together. For example, you cannot set a load out/ purchase new weapons prior to queuing for a game. There is also an issue where i derank from medic rank 3 to medic rank 2. Then i have to gain xp to go back up. The friend bar on the side menu that automatically appears when moused over is also a waste. There is also the fact that when you press console key ( ` ) you cannot press escape to override going into the console. Forming a party is also pretty ridiculous. After one sends an invite you have to open the origin ui to accept an invite which of course you have to press shift + f1 to do so. Then there's the issue when you leave a game you don't have the option to leave the game as a party.

Overall, game is BAD ASS but the bugs and inefficient ui make me personally rank this game at a 3/5

Crippled by UK State goons

November 6, 2016, 11:40 pm

Illiterate punk.

Popa2caps

November 7, 2016, 2:24 am

Not a fan of Battlefield 1 at all, Th bad map design, 5 guns made to look like 10 to 15. If you didn't buy Battlefield 1 and love Battlefield 3-4 wait and rent it or something, It's not the same gameplay. There is big battles and nice looking textures but you lose sight very quick if your not biased.
The hero classes need to be taken out, They control the maps, The maps need to be redone, There is too many issues i see with the game to like it and not to make my comments. This game is nothing but trying to make you learn of WW1, History channel not a video game.

patrick

November 17, 2016, 10:50 pm

First I would like to say I am slightly biased to the battlefield franchise but I do not want you to skip this comment. Battlefield 1 is a very different game when you compare it to the past battlefields but if you know how to play you can do great. The main thing that drives people away is is the slow pace long match game play unlike cod this game takes a long time to play and get good because of the liberty bond system witch I do not like but once you find you good class you can shred any one in you path. getting to the appearance the graphics are stunning unlike infinite warfare there are also vehicles in this game such as tanks and cars witch help t speed up the game play also if you want to have a more fast pace game of battlefield 1 you should spawn on bases or teammates overall i love this game and I recommend it over infinite warfare

O D B

November 23, 2016, 10:31 pm

You cant seriously be upset?

O D B

November 23, 2016, 10:31 pm

I didnt think there was enough content in battlefront.

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