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Battlefield 1 Review: War Stories Worth Experiencing

Battlefield 1 Review: War Stories Worth Experiencing

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Battlefield 1, the latest in the series from EA and DICE, is based on the events around the war to end all wars, World War 1. During all the fighting and chaos of battle, players encounter many elements that are truly special and unique, especially when compared to current trends seen in recent shooters.

Many first-person shooters go all out for war and capture intense battles for players to experience. There’s always a main character and a support crew that gamers get to know during these fighting segments. Thinking back on many of them, I can easily remember some of the action that occurs in those games. However, I don’t recall many of the characters or what their story was in the game. There’s rarely any emotion tied to these war games, but that changes with Battlefield 1.

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Battlefield 1 features War Stories that are based around the events of World War 1. Instead of one campaign with one individual character or battalion, there are six individual stories surrounding six uniquely different situations during the war.

I’ve played entire single player campaigns from many different games that have just a single character or group of characters and haven’t been nearly as impacted by those events as I have been by these six short stories that take place in the Battlefield 1 War Stories campaign. Each story lasts no longer than about an hour, depending on difficulty and how quickly players push through the missions. And even though it’s just about an hour of time to hear the story of these characters, it’s so much more emotionally impactful and memorable than any other shooter I’ve recently played.

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Right from the beginning, during the prologue, players are placed into the ugly trenches of war where they are constantly switched to a different character when killed in action. The opening text even lets players know that they are not expected to survive in these horrible conditions. It humbles the player and prepares them for everything that’s to come during the campaign.

War Stories lets players witness situations that seem hopeless for the characters due to the tasks they are asked to perform, and the player can feel the sense of bleakness for them as they get wrapped up into the happenings of these battles. Whether it’s taking a tank across enemy lines, flying in the skies where pilots only average a lifespan of 17 days, looking for a lost brother in the middle of chaos, or attempting to stop an unstoppable war train, there is so much desperation and emotion tied to the War Stories campaign. It really helps the player connect with the character and appreciate their story in the war.

Introducing War Stories is absolutely, by far, the best move that could have been taken for the game’s campaign. With so many battles – so many stories, providing players with multiple situational occurrences surrounding the war was perfect. And again, the War Stories campaign can be completed very quickly as each one lasts around an hour, yet during that time I’ve gathered a more significant connection with these characters than I’ve had in games where I’ve spent 10 hours or more with a character.

While the Battlefield 1 campaign doesn’t provide a great deal of detail surrounding the events of each battle, it still gives players a sense of what’s going on in each mission with brief introductions and conclusions to the situation through text and voice over. It may not seem like much, but it’s certainly enough to build the picture.

I’ve always known much more about World War 2 than I ever did about World War 1. So, what Battlefield 1 ended up doing for me personally, because it is based on events surrounding World War 1, is provide me with some search terms for Google to look up different aspects of the war. Some of these things I learned for the first time, while other pieces were nice refreshers. I ended up doing a lot of reading again about the 369th Infantry Regiment – The Harlem Hellfighters, the Ottoman Empire, Lawrence of Arabia, the Australian involvement in the Gallipoli Campaign, and the Italian Arditi and its use of Shock Troops. Battlefield 1’s campaign has moments based on each one of these topics in history.

Battlefield 1 is a special surprise. I was curious from the time it was announced, and then became even more interested upon learning of the War Stories element to the campaign, and it ends up being far better than I could have imagined.

While the approach is perfect for storytelling and connecting the player to each situation, the gameplay is also a fantastic indulgence that allows players to gun fight in the trenches, drive tanks, fly planes, ride horses, and become a lethal shock troop for driving back enemy forces.

I love each campaign almost equally, but flying high above in ‘Friends in High Places’ is probably my favorite as it had some of the best visuals in the game. Plus, who doesn’t enjoy a good dog fight and having to go up against a Zeppelin? It’s only made better by a fantastic sunset and rain-filled clouds. However, as much as I like flying planes, I must admit being a shock trooper is awesome too when it comes to gameplay. Still, because of the individual stories and enjoyable gameplay, each War Story in the campaign is a wonderful experience.

The Battlefield 1 campaign is the perfect mix of just enough story, good characters, and excellent gameplay that it becomes one of the best shooters in years. This is a special game that also continues the war in several online multiplayer modes as well.

Operations is the most notable mode that’s included in Battlefield 1. There are four different operations available and each one features a brief opening story based on the war. Players are tasked with attacking or defending positions on a map. If a position is lost, the defenders must regroup and defend two more locations further back while the attackers press forward. However, if the defenders hold out, the round ends and the attackers are pushed back. Even if the wrong side ends up winning the battle, the game provides a comment as to what may have happened in history if the other side actually won the fight.

Operations is an addicting new mode that features a more straight forward and far more interesting multiplayer experience than the always changing points in conquest mode. Both modes are fun to play, but Operations is a brilliant addition to Battlefield 1. And for those wondering, multiplayer also includes Rush, Team Deathmatch, Domination, and War Pigeons – a mode where players must find and release pigeons.

This is the first time in a long time that I’ve become completely wrapped up in the online competitive field of a multiplayer shooter. Battlefield 3 is the last time I spent a good chunk of time playing a Battlefield game online, but Battlefield 1 captures the enjoyment all over again of what makes an online competitive shooter so much fun to play – the atmosphere.

Battlefield 1 is one of the best games I’ve played in a long time when it comes to featuring a complete package. The campaign is immersing and emotional, and the online multiplayer is some of the best we’ve seen in a long time, especially thanks to Operations which puts a story to the fight.

Visually, Battlefield 1 has many brilliant moments that captures the eyes’ attention, and the audio does an impeccable job of setting up the atmosphere in the game. Hearing a light piano theme during the menus caught my attention immediately as it speaks loudly to the experience players are about to receive, and the music throughout the game is spectacular as it as well features an emotional tone.

Battlefield 1 brings a fresh feeling to the futuristic-based trend that first-person shooters are going through, a trend that’s simply becoming tiresome. Not only does Battlefield 1 go against this trend, it’s also a shooter with meaning and emotion, and features an online competitive battlefield that’s uniquely different and more engaging than anything we’ve seen in a long time.

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Battlefield 1 is a splendid game that offers players an opportunity to gather some amount of understanding of what it may have been like to have fought in World War 1 because of its War Stories campaign. It also allows them to continue feeling the impact of the war through its online multiplayer. It really is a complete experience worth playing.

Our Score:

(5/5)

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Andrew Stevens Andrew Stevens is the Managing Editor of FanBolt for Gaming and Technology. He has over 6 years of experience working within the gaming industry which includes a year at Bethesda Softworks. His unique view of the industry and passion for gaming can be seen within each one of his editorials. Andrew is a big PC gamer and always enjoys tinkering with his latest build. He also can’t get enough speed when it comes to racing games and doesn’t mind navigating through swarms of bullets in any shmup. Rez is the greatest game ever!

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