I wrote an article yesterday, giving my first impressions of the Battlefield 1 beta. Since then, I’ve had even more time to play the game. My second thoughts? It’s still awesome. Here are my five favorite aspects of the game, based on my impressions of the beta.
5. the weapons
Coming into the beta, I was concerned that the combat would suck because of the weaponry. The First World War is an incredibly interesting conflict. For a vast number of reasons. But ‘modern weaponry’ isn’t exactly one of them. It wasn’t known for fast paced combat, that’s for sure. I always worried that the balance between a true depiction of the conflict and an entertaining ‘FPS’ would be a difficult one to strike. But DICE has knocked this one out of the park. The weapons feel authentic, and they look authentic too. But there’s also a great range to choose from, each with their own unique qualities and drawbacks.
My personal favorite is the Medic’s Mondragon, which reminds me a lot of the Gewehr 43 / SVT-40 / M1A1. It’s a semi-automatic rifle, with decent power and maneuverability for both long (ish) and short range combat. The melee weapons are great too, and they’re all incredibly brutal. There’s something incredibly visceral about charging across the battlefield and driving a bayonet through an enemy’s back / belly.
4. the best of Battlefront (what little there was)
Battlefront, for me, was a massive disappointment. It had the potential to be something incredible, but in the end it failed to deliver. The fact that it has “it’s a Star Wars game” to fall back on was a saving grace. But that being said, there were one or two aspects of the game that worked quite well (other than its Star Wars… ness).
I loved the heroes aspect of Battlefront, and they’ve brought it back in Battlefield 1 in the form of Elites. To become an ‘Elite’ you have to find the activation point, which randomly spawns in the map. You can be one of three Elites, the Flame Trooper, the Sentry, and the Tank Hunter. Each has their own specific bonuses and weapons, and each is difficult to take down in battle.
The other aspect taken from Battlefront is the instant action for flying vehicles. In other Battlefield games, you have to either run to the planes or spawn in them and take off. Often you’d get shot down before even leaving the runway, so being able to spawn into a plane whilst it’s already in flight is a great feature, in my opinion.
3. the scale
The one playable map on the beta, Sinai Desert, is absolutely gigantic. It probably feels even bigger, due to the fact that there aren’t quite as many vehicles as readily available as they are on other Battlefield games. It’s a stunning map, though. Flying over the top of the cliffs and buildings is just as visually impressive as it is walking across them. Part way through the map, a sandstorm rolls in, which changes up the feel of the battle considerably. If anything, the scale is amplified, as you struggle to see through a scope, or across a street.
That being said, I’m looking forward to playing some smaller maps too. Or instead, perhaps some more infantry based maps similar to Battlefield 3’s Operation Metro. Whilst I love the slower paced, more tactical aspects of Battlefield’s larger maps – you can’t beat the thrill of close quarters combat in the chokepoints of Battlefield 3 and 4’s infantry based maps.
2. horses for courses
I initially thought that the horses of Battlefield 1 would be a novelty. Turns out that I was wrong. Riding horses is convenient, it’s tactically sound and it looks epic. From the horse you can shoot, sure, but you can also swing a sword. That makes it effective for storming protected positions and traversing the map at the same time.
For instance, Alex and I were pinned down by a sniper, on top of a cliff. So I rode the horse up a slope, over to the sniper and hacked him down with my sword (video will be on Facebook soon). On foot, we couldn’t reach them because we were easy pickings whilst climbing the slope. On horseback, though, I could charge them at speed.
1. World War One
All of this combines to create an epic, thrilling and generally engaging re-creation of a First World War battlefield. I was both excited and nervous about Battlefield taking to the early 20th century for this game, but I was wrong to be. From the few hours that I’ve played of the beta, it’s looking like Battlefield 1 will be an incredible game. Maybe even GOTY? Who knows.
Are you playing the Battlefield 1 beta? If so, let me know what you think in the comments below!