As you sit on your couch loading into the new Battlefield 1 Beta, something peculiar happens. You’re instantly thrust into World War One. Specifically the Sinai Desert. As you take on the life of your soldier and begin to move toward your objective, as ordered by your squad leader, you take note of the sand billowing up around you. Looking back, all you see is the dark shadow of a massive sandstorm about to envelope the battleground.
Many gaming developers often think about their future titles and where they should go next. Games like Call of Duty, for example, have become more futuristic and advanced with time. EA and Dice decided to go a different route, however, and while other titles looked toward the future, they looked toward the past. Implementing vehicles such as Tri and Bi-planes to Land Shark Tanks and even mounted Cavalry Units, the game has taken a tremendous leap forward while maintaining a WW1 feel. The weaponry has taken a huge step backwards as well with weapons like the Russian 1895 Marksman rifle and the Automatico M1918 Factory assault rifle equipped with a bayonet, just to name two out of the many. As you charge forward with your bayonet, your character lets out a rage filled yell and plunges forward at a dead sprint. Hitting the enemy instantly kills them. Also littered throughout the battlefield are man-able artillery units, each able to deal tremendous damage to the environment as well as vehicles or players. And while the theme of the game may have its players travel back through time, the details in the artwork as well as the mechanics used have leaped forward.
Looking over towards your fellow brother-in-arms you’re able to see the finer details of the fabric, the ammo pouches on their bandolier and even the sword on their hip that is used when mounted on a horse. The classes all have a unique look and each is different for the factions within the game, currently Britain and the Ottoman Empire. If you decide to spawn into the game as a pilot of a plane or a Calvary Unit each has their own unique weapons as well as appearance. Located at two of the objectives are equip-able classes, again unique in appearance, that not only make it tougher for enemies to kill you, but also allow you to deal massive destruction with either a flamethrower or a hip-fire only LMG.
There are currently only two game modes available for the Battlefield 1 Beta and they’re both PvP multiplayer. If you’re looking for massive ELR, or Extreme Long Range, environments with a plethora of vehicles and engagements, then Conquest is for you. It allows not only sniping across an enormous environment, but also allows you more accessibility to the general aspects of the game. It plays host to everything: vehicles, weapons, artillery and even a Train of Death. The Behemoth Train is only accessible by the losing team, and only if they are losing by a lot. There is nothing more frightening than to be capturing an objective and have a train that has been modified for war, loaded with ammunition fit to wipe a town, and players angry at losing barreling down the tracks towards you. It’s an objective based Capture and Hold the flags game mode. The team that holds the most flags the longest wins. If you’re looking for something similar, however not as massive, then Rush would suit you better. Another objective-based game mode, Rush pits two teams against each other over control of two objective. One team defends them, the other destroys them. If both objectives are destroyed the objectives are reset farther back allowing the defenders another chance. It cycles through five times and makes for some thrilling gameplay.
The environment also holds many challenges. Wide open dunes roll out along one side of the map while the other is filled with densely packed stone buildings and ravines. The weather shifts mid game, sometimes starting out clear only to have a massive zero visibility sandstorm roll in and last the rest of the match, or fade away only to be replaced by a thick, mid-visibility fog. The buildings and stationary vehicles can be destroyed, mostly, and as tanks bombers, TNT and many other objects cause explosions, massive craters are left in the ground giving the battlefield a scarred and realistic look. Halfway through a match and the battlefield may look nothing like when it started with buildings falling into crumbling heaps of debris and craters littering the landscape while a storm begins to blow in. It’s the evolving environment coupled with the realism of things like bullet drop and gravity that make the game feel real, to a point.
But with all of the great there are some issues. Again, it is only a Beta, and the finished product isn’t scheduled for release until October 21st. For starters there are rendering issues from time to time where the game decides to sacrifice the finer details of a unit’s armor or clothing and instead replace it with a matte color. Sniping can be a nightmare where you’ll frequently be shot by a sniper who is “head glitching,” also known as shooting through objects, but can’t be hit, or who do not have a telltale sniper glare even though they could be using the exact same sniper as you. The pistols seem overpowered often killing you even after shooting an enemy with a full clip from your assault rifle or LMG. The Vehicles have a tendency to get stuck on the smaller objects of the map and yet can drive over the larger ones with ease. Bayonetting an enemy is glitchy, if they lay down or move a little you will charge past them often dying as a consequence. It’s hard to determine what issues are known or what need to be reported with there being no way to report them in-game.
Even with these shortcomings the beta is still amazing. With customization options, game modes and a campaign still locked until final release, we are really only seeing a fraction of what Battlefield 1 has to offer. If the developers intended to create a game that brings WW1 back to life and offers the consumer an engaging, authentic experience, they have done marvelously. It’s a beautiful game filled with wonderful encounters and multiple ways for the player to get involved. Hopefully the major bugs and small glitches will, for the most part, be fixed upon release. If so then I have no doubt that this game will definitely be considered the 2016 Game of the Year. For more information on the weapons, vehicles and the overall game, click here to visit the Battlefield website.
Battlefield 1 hits both the Xbox One and the PS4 on October 21st. Now click on over to Facebook and tell us your BF1 war stories!