For fans of the first person shooter genre, I don’t have to give the history of the Battlefield franchise. It got its roots in the, at the time overused, World War 2 setting, and brought new possibilities to gaming. It came out on the PC in 2002 titled Battlefield 1942, and the FPS landscape at the time was very different than it is today. It came out around the same time as Max Payne, Ghost Recon, and Halo, but offered something those games couldn’t. 64 player online gameplay. The game then was actually very similar to what it is now, a testament of how ahead their ideas were. The maps were iconic, the gameplay felt a little loose but was simple enough to pick up and play while also favouring realism just enough to be satisfying. They just needed technology to catch up.
For a franchise I still relate to World War 2 to this day, it’s actually surprising how few of their games took place in that time period. The second game they released, after 2 expansions, jumped forward about 30 years to the Vietnam War, and was both different and excellent in it’s own way. From there they were one of the first franchises, after Call of Duty, to jump on the modern warfare bandwagon. They’ve held their ground in that genre for quite a while now, but just as things were starting to feel like they might be on the brink of growing stagnant, Dice has come up with a new idea. Battlefield One, the first triple A World War One multiplayer shooter. They just had a large open multiplayer beta, and if you forgot to check it out here is what you missed.
Upon playing, it’s pretty clear to see where their inspirations lie. They learned a lot from Star Wars Battlefront. Not just it’s successes and the things that worked, but also the things that didn’t work that they needed to improve on. It is very easy to play, while still holding onto a lot of the depth from Battlefield 4. There’s a lot of customization options for your classes (Though I don’t understand how you still can’t customize your class outside of an online game, like maybe I dunno… the menu?) and a lot of weapon/vehicle options to choose from. This doesn’t feel like a dumbed down version of Battlefield, like Battlefront did at points. Instead this actually feels like it’s paying respect to the original game. Perhaps it’s just the old timey vehicles, but this beta often felt to me like it might be the closest thing we’ve ever had to Battlefield 1942 finally being on consoles. More so even than the partial HD remake Battlefield 1943.
The vehicles are all a joy to play around in. The biplanes are fast but loose with their controls, feeling basic and thrilling all at the same time. There’s never been a better time to pick up the basics of flying than with some of the worlds first fighter planes. And it’s not just biplanes. There’s a larger bomber and even a nimble quick little triplane. All three are super fun to whip around the map. The horses are too much fun as well. My girlfriend in particular took a really liking to running around on horseback with her sword drawn and dueling other players. Me, I enjoyed horses enough. They feel solid for something that could be accused of being nothing more than an added gimmick. They don’t play like a gimmick.
But I also enjoyed my time in a tank. I had a lot of success in a heavy tank. For one thing, they don’t seem to be as popular as the previously mentioned modes of transportation, and it’s quick to see why. They are a helluva lot slower. But damn are they powerful. I cross the map murdering left and right, taking every objective along the way, and there was little anyone could do to stop me. With so few tanks on the field, it seemed people weren’t too practiced in stopping them. Considering the time period I had expected more single shot rifles, but the default class in this game still has a machine gun that feels a lot like any Call of Duty weapon. I much preferred the default rifle for the medic, which reminded me a lot of the M1 Girand I enjoyed in other titles like Medal of Honor and Day of Defeat, but with an added bayonet on the end that was a real laugh to charge with, as your character gives a blood curdling scream/war cry.
The objective hasn’t changed. Capture the most flags and hold them as long as you can to make the enemy’s tickets go down. Killing the enemy works pretty good too though.There was only one included map on the beta, and it was an impressive thing. Large, with a railroad track that runs through the middle hitting a lot of the objectives, it was a desert landscape often prone to sandstorms that sometimes whip up so strong that you wont be able to see a foot in front of you. Sandstorms seem to be a popular trend in gaming as of late. Just saw it in Deus Ex, the E3 demo for Gears of War 4… and that list could go on for a while. Also on the one map included, there was a train you could take control of with powerful guns that traveled across the track and could even capture a couple objectives. There weren’t, however, any Zeppelins.
Everything that was there looked amazing. This is the first game released by Dice, other than Battlefront, to be built from the ground up for this generation of consoles only, and it shows. It looks at least as good as Battlefront, a game praised by even its critics for being beautiful.
Being afflicted with ADD, I quickly got restless with only one map to play. It shows a lot of promise for the final game, but only once the game is out will we see whether or not there is enough variety to make this game last. The original game launched with 16 maps, and then added many more with the expansions. Number of maps is something that has been declining across the entire genre, but would go far here to prevent stagnation. The game comes out October 21st, and if it’s a success like I expect it to be, perhaps next we can finally get around to the faithful hd remake of Battlefield 1942 I’ve always wanted.
Photos by: Sabrina Mendez
Some screenshots may have been taken from the PS4 version of the game