Battlefield 1 (PS4) Review
- Looks incredible
- Excellent campaign structure with some memorable moments
- Solid and enjoyable multiplayer experience with no issues this time out!
- Superb sound design
- New Operations multiplayer mode has great potential
Not So Much?
- Snipers can still rule/ruin certain maps and scenarios
- Having to plod back to the fight on larger maps can be tedious - especially if you dies as much as I do!
- Lengthy loading times
Battlefield 1 finally stops chasing Call of Duty and DICE produces one of its best Battlefield entries in a very long time…
t could be fair to say that Battlefield and its creators DICE had a shaky transition to the new generation of hardware. Try as they might they couldn’t get Battlefield 4 stable enough during those critical opening months. As such many Battlefield players lost faith with the franchise.
With a solid, yet shallow, showing for last years Star Wars Battlefront DICE managed to gain some ground back, taking some extra time to iron out their net code issues. Now DICE seem to have been chasing after two goals in recent years. They desperately wanted to court the multiplayer masses from Call of Duty and skewed their offerings more and more that way. At the same time they’ve been trying to offer the same huge maps that made Battlefield so great back in the PC only days. Throw the Bad Company titles into the mix as well and Battlefield has been a franchise tearing at its own seams for years now.
Battlefield1 then seems a reasonably bold step by DICE and EA and they seem to have finally found their footing. Taking the opposite approach than rivals they’ve moved the franchise back to The Great War (AKA the First World War… and FYI there was nothing Great about it!) shunning the current trend for faster, higher mobility and fantastical quasi-futuristic environments.
The first World War was brutal. Absolutely brutal with millions slaughtered. Approaching this as the topic area for a game was a brave path to take during the current centennial years yet DICE have treated things with care throughout. The opening scenes alone instill the brutality and frenetic pace of the battlefields of WW1. They have then opted to tell a series of person stories rather than one overarching narrative. You might initially think this may not work but it does so beautifully. This allows Battlefield 1 to concentrate on a strong narrative for each, serving up some of the most memorable FPS moments in recent memory.
These multi-stage campaign stories also help serve as a fantastic tutorial for the multiplayer without you even noticing. Having played Battlefield since 1942 was launched I thought I was pretty OK in my Battlefield knowledge but I still managed to learn a thing or two along the way.
Whilst talking of the multiplayer let’s get into the reason that most come to a Battlefield title – the hugely popular multiplayer. Where Battlefield 4 laid tracks, Battlefield 1 clears the debris and strengthens the line. There are some truly awe inspiring set pieces in this game, from the mayhem and debris of the battlefields themselves, to the plummeting fireball that is a down airship.
As in Battlefield 4 the larger Conquest mode maps are huge… I mean HUGE! Which introduces two issues, both long term issues at that. Firstly when you die (and you will die!) you more often than not end up spending 30 – 60 seconds running to the nearest area of skirmish. Obviously this can be mitigated somewhat by using any available vehicles but you can’t always rely on those being around. Secondly (and this really impacts all mode) the sniper class can be a real pain. The open spaces added to the crazy precision (and raw power) of the sniper rifles means that on certain maps and area snipers can rule the roost, only falling foul to medium range combat thanks to a meaty pistol. Obviously flanking is a thing and on a map with vehicles it’s less of an issue but can still prove
frustrating at times.
Battlefield 1 seems much more aggressive on the ground this time around with vehicles being able to inflict some considerable damage – and many a building will fall! There have been a few tweaks to classes (for instance medics can now also repair vehicles) but for the most part they’re only minor tweaks and work well.
The new campaign structure is superb. They don’t shy away from the mayhem and brutality that was the first World War. Neither do they revell or glorify in any way, instead meeting it head on and laying it bare.
Multiplayer is as compelling as ever with modes to fit your mood aplenty. Online play seems smooth and tight and I experience no issues getting into games both before and after launch (the review was held for a week to make sure this time!).
Well then. Battlefield 1 finally stops chasing Call of Duty and DICE produces one of its best Battlefield entries in a very long time – in fact one of the best shooters full-stop in a long time. It still has a few issues – semi-dumb AI, sniper power, long trips to rejoin action etc – but overall I had a superb time with Battlefield 1.