Switching my woodland camouflaged M4 with 3.4x optic scope for the screen covering Madsen MG comes as a drastic change but epitomizes everything Battlefield 1 is about, World War 1 and the customs that come with it.
As I dived further into the Battlefield 1 open beta, the changes become ever more apparent. Developer DICE hasn’t only changed the era in which the shooter stands, but also improved various features that lacked efficiency in previous titles. Them changes make very little impact on the action itself, almost like it’s watching the theater of war unfold from behind bulletproof glass.
DICE wanted to be historically accurate and gamers will find out quickly that they’ve spared no expense. Firstly, weapons are clunky and are much harder to control, but feel overwhelmingly satisfying when you take down an enemy. A certain level of balance can be found over all weapon classes, each with its own unique boost and weakness to contrast.
However, balance doesn’t apply to gadgets, with certain items locked to a specific class. Medic’s can equip medical equipment(revive tool, medic pack), while snipers will have permission to loadout with dynamite and spotting equipment. Each class has a valid use that compliments the class it belongs to.
DICE do throw some Elite Class pickups in there to spice things up. A flamethrower class tears through enemies with ease(like in our video below), the anti-tank rifle will cause serious damage to vehicles, and the machine-gun class will turn you into a glorified Rambo.
The mayhem that ensues is played out over the vast Sinai Desert map, one of the largest multiplayer maps to feature in a Battlefield game. Two game modes come with the beta, Conquest Large, and Rush. As expected, Conquest always delivers the best in all-out warfare, with the majority of a map always coming into play.
The flags are well placed, leaving no corner of the map untouched. While one flag lies south of the map, getting to it doesn’t feel like a chore and rewards you with the chance to enter a bomber plane which can be devastating when used correctly. The flags also attract a soldier’s playstyle. The D, E, And A flags all suit armored gameplay, while B, C, F are more suited for up-close gun-on-gun battles.
Rush plays out like usual, a linear version of the map with two objective straight ahead. With destructible environments returning with Battlefield 1, no cover is safe and with Rush being a more “stay where you and defend” game mode, walls begin to fall.
Altogether, its size can feel intimidating when on foot and you’ll find yourself pushed towards the variety of vehicles at your disposal. Much like the weapons, vehicles are difficult to use but can be lethal when operated by a team. At the moment, the vehicles, including the five-seated tank, feel a tad over-powered. It’s unknown if this is DICE being too generous, or the really good anti-armor gear is locked behind the weapon progression system gamers yet have access to.
Horses are also available, on Sinai Desert at least, and make up for lack of protection with speed and agility. Bottom line, the transport and weapons ooze personality, mainly due to how accustom we’ve come to modern day weapons.
While the majority of the action is decided with fingers, thumbs, and a giant train that comes through the center of the map, the environment also plays a big part in how a match transpires. Battlefield 1 includes dynamic weather and its commencement isn’t fixed to a certain time. Without caution a sandstorm will roll through the map, bringing visibility down and making weapons that worked perfectly before almost useless; sniper rifles being a good example.
Speaking in a more general sense, the map and design is beautiful and really encapsulates the work DICE have put into the Frostbite engine following development on Star Wars Battlefront. Even with a heavy emphasis on one color scheme, Sinai Desert is beautiful and only gets me excited for the lush landscapes the final game will offer.
Such a drastic change from the steady production of Battlefield titles threaded to modern day warfare might come as a shock to some fans of the series, but certainly doesn’t rob the franchise of any credit. Playing the same map over-and-over may seem tedious, but for some time you’ll find yourself truly immersed in what the upcoming shooter will offer and realize the full installment of the game will be something worth buying.
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