Game review: Battlefield 1 offers some thrilling combat and a compelling story

Despite some minor quirks in single and multiplayer modes, complete immersion in the history and horror of the first world war makes this instalment a must-have

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 October, 2016, 8:18am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 October, 2016, 8:18am

Battlefield 1


5/5 stars

The long-running Battlefield franchise jumps back in time and takes players on a journey through the first world war . In the single player campaign, gamers will travel through France, Germany, Italy and the Arabian peninsula with Lawrence of Arabia to take on foes. Multiplayer features six modes across nine maps.

The single player campaign in many first person shooters often gets overlooked. In big budget titles, some gamers will even skip the campaign completely and dive into multiplayer. It’d be shame if you do that in Battlefield 1. The single player mode in this game is impressive.

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Battlefield 1 (for PC, PS4 and Xbox One) divides its campaign into unique levels called War Stories. Each tells the tale of a brave warrior on a different front. It’s a clever way to hop around the globe and tell a thoughtful, compelling story from a wide range of perspectives. Along with some thrilling combat, players will bond with a variety of characters from different backgrounds and experience stunning and diverse environments.

Unlike some shooters, Battlefield 1 treats war seriously. By sprinkling in some history and unravelling its plot from multiple characters, you’ll feel the burden of the protagonists as they endure a devastating level of combat no one before that time had ever experienced. The first world war truly changed the nature of war, with drastic and horrifying consequences. Players will get a sense of that in this title.

The counterbalance to an intense single-player campaign is Battlefield 1’s immensely enjoyable multiplayer offering. Make no mistake, gamers will find online play action-packed as well. But sometimes a consequence-free environment is exactly what’s needed to unwind and this game provides that.

Multiplayer maps are well balanced, with enough scale for those who like to prowl on the edges and enough structures for those who like to get up close and personal. Weapons, vehicles and classes are varied and offer plenty of customisation. Players will enjoy the two new multiplayer modes – War Pigeons (capture pigeons to unleash an artillery barrage) and Operations (a large scale war that spans several maps). There’s always a good time to be had online in Battlefield 1.

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While the single-player campaign is engrossing, a lack of strategic thinking from enemy AI can take away some of the fun. For example, in one section of the game, about five or six soldiers can be taken down on a muddy road. Instead of noticing the pile of bodies and calling for help, enemies will keep walking slowly to the same location and they’ll be taken out too. Enemy AI in single player isn’t too bright.

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Multiplayer isn’t without some minor quirks either. The variety and sizes of maps are great, but when it comes to vehicles Battlefield 1 is a mixed bag. Tanks and four-wheeled conveyances are easy enough to manoeuvre but winged vehicles are a chore. Because players only get to pilot flying vehicles sporadically, the learning curve is steep. Be prepared to crash, a lot.

When it was announced the Battlefield franchise was going to be centred on the first world war many were sceptical. What cool weapons could there possibly be? Horses? Combat on horses? It turns out the concerns were unfounded. A beautiful game that’s a tonne of fun, Battlefield 1 is a must-have.