When DICE first announced it Battlefield 1 was taking the series into a new alternative World War I history, I was delighted in the new direction but at the same time it felt a gimmick on some level. However, after seeing the game in action and its glorious return to environmental destruction, I can see this is the game I've been waiting years for since Battlefield: Bad Company 2.
Beyond destruction, there are multiple ways Battlefield 1 remixes some of my favorite elements from prior games and wraps them up with new features like dynamic weather. It's a game that's a return to form while introducing new ideas to the Battlefield series.
A new-old setting
Shooters have largely been stuck going in one direction with modern settings and introducing more and more futuristic technology. Battlefield itself has been stuck on a similar track since its second installment.
Given the series' history and the way it has competed directly with Call of Duty, I expected Battlefield 5 would take place again in modern time or take the series to a future beyond Battlefield 2142. And so when DICE announced the series was actually going back in time and to an alternate history with Battlefield 1, it was a refreshing change of pace.
The fictional timeline takes things to a simpler past devoid of UAVs and other remote controlled doohickeys that have become the bane of most Battlefield players' virtual existences. Even the number of different explosives has been cut, so combat will be based more on accuracy than splash damage.
Battlefield 1 also changes the pace of the game with this new-yet-old setting. Battles take place in more wide open fields similar to the first Battlefield 1942 rather than the urban settings of Battlefield 3 and 4.
Though the game is set in an alternate take on WWI, the technology of the world seems more befitting of WWII. DICE might argue that the technological world of Battlefield 1 is farther along than our actual history, but the biplanes and massive tanks seem like another call back to Battlefield 1942.
Environmental destruction has been one of the hallmarks of the Battlefield series since Bad Company 1 but recently it has fallen to the wayside in the last two games of the series. Thankfully, Battlefield 1 has brought back this concept in full.
Rockets and grenades will take down walls to completely level building. Being able to simply carve your way through the buildings has been a big missing component of the Battlefield series as of recently and I'm glad it's finally making a return.
What's more, Zeppelins crash land in a massive explosion leveling multiple buildings and dreadnoughts (naval battleships) can demolish entire shorelines. And if that isn't big enough for you weather will factor in for the first time and dynamically change. Heavy rain and fog can impact how you see and hear in the game.
The most interesting new mechanic Battlefield 1 introduces is interconnected battles called Operations. As you play this sequence of matches your actions will create consequences that bleed into the next. Persistence is a new gameplay wrinkle that still hasn't made its way to most multiplayer first-person shooters and so I'm interested in seeing how it all plays out.
We'll all be able to play Battlefield 1 soon with a beta coming later this summer and game launching in full on October 21. I personally can't wait to get started.
- E3 2016 is already into full swing