Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Battlefield 1

Release Date: October 21, 2016
Played on: PS4

Battlefield 4 was my first real foray into Battlefield multiplayer. I played Bad Company, but not online. It seemed like an overwhelming community to jump into.

Battlefield 4 seemed like the perfect early PS4 game to show off the new hardware.

For the most part, I had a great time playing online. I was impressed by the all out war and chaos involved in Battlefield. And even though some players had a decade of Battlefield experience, I was able to hold my own and figure out the game modes and class system pretty quickly.

However, I was concerned with Battlefield 1 because the dynamic map changes that happened in BF4 often caused server crashes. With EA showing off very destructible environments, I was concerned that backing this over COD or Titanfall might bite me in the butt.

What I didn't like

EA loves to force a tutorial on you. Madden and NHL have you play a game as the two teams in the
championship before you see the opening menu.

Battlefield 1 has this too. And it's actually a great intro to the brutality of World War I. However, I've now had to sit through my friends playing this three times because they got the disk and we all wanted to jump into a Multiplayer game.

I'm sure there will be some balancing updates in the future, but the tanks are nearly impossible to take down in multiplayer, especially before you unlock some of the larger explosives.

If you can get a tank, there's a solid chance you'll go 30-2 in a round.

What was OK

There are so many great times in multiplayer where you work as a team and rush a point together, but there's still a lot of individuals out there and it can really turn the tide of a match.

For instance, I was dropped into a domination match this weekend. It was pretty even. We were fighting over the middle capture point. Our tank rolled up into an alley way and just sat there picking off enemies. This killed the effectiveness of the side machines guns and flame throwers and because we didn't have the tank for cover and extra fire power, we had a really hard time taking any of the offensive positions. Ultimately, we lost by 40 tickets.

I was also sort of looking forward to the slow moving, bolt action guns you think of in World War I. It was a problem many people questioned how EA would solve. They did it by making most the weapons machine guns or shotguns that don't shoot much differently from modern shooters.

The campaign stories play out like tutorials for the multiplayer. Most the time, it's fine. You don't think about it. But there are times where you have to fend off waves of guys as you slowly take a base that can get annoying. The worst offender is during "The Runner" story. You have to storm up the side of this hill with dozens of enemies and then hold a capture point at the end before you get a checkpoint. There were several times where the capture point had one or two enemies hiding somewhere and when I went looking for them, they would take me out and I would play the entire 10 minute section again.

And because of all the things you have to be taught about tanks, the pacing is really slow on the tank mission. You have to stop every now and then so they can point out a field gun or emplacement. It's probably the campaign story that lingered too long.

What I liked

The campaign stories are all perfect length little stories about various forces and the types of people that were fighting in this war from the Italian from a small village, to the American criminal, to Lawrence of Arabia's controversial hero crew.

Each story lasts between 45 minutes and 2 hours and each one is supposed to teach you how to play the multiplayer. So some campaigns are focuses on how to fly planes or drive tanks. Some campaigns show you how to capture points or blow up targets. And the campaigns sort of take you through how each of the classic battlefield classes work and what they can do.

The stories are really well written and have some of the best voice acting I've heard since Uncharted 4. Even though the models seem a little, "Off" when watching cutscenes, all of these characters are believable, flawed, miserable, and convince you that they just want to make it through.

The multiplayer maps are incredibly dynamic. There were times where I was having panic attacks at everything going on around me.

For instance, the Argonne forest has you running through muddy trenches, hearing bullet snaps happening all around you, trees coming down from the barrages of field guns and grenades. It captures the chaos of battle like Saving Private Ryan did.

Then there's Monte Grappa. My squad was desperately trying to survive an onslaught while we captured the position. Gas grenades rained down on us. A tank started shelling the bunker we were in. I poked my head out just for one moment and took a head shot.

I re-spawned on top of the zeppelin flying over head and parachuted down to the ground to re-join my brothers. We had captured the point, but no one was left. The bunker we were in was a smoking crater. Nearby was the burning shell of an enemy tank. We had won the battle, but the war raged on.

Final Thoughts

Battlefield 1 is definitely filling my first person shooter need. Titanfall and COD haven't been a consideration since I started playing it.

It's a game where every online battle plays out differently, fighting off the feeling that you're getting tired of the same maps again and again.

Battlefield 1 may be the best value add for these types of games this year.

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