You’d think Battlefield 4 would be better than Battlefield 1, but not this time. Just as the Xbox One confused everybody with its name insinuating it came before Xbox 360, at least 359 systems before it, Battlefield 1 is actually the sequel in the Battlefield franchise. And, unlike the Xbox One, it not only has a purpose for its title, as the theme is World War 1, but it also doesn’t do what Xbox One did before it was released: suck eggs.
The graphics from the get-go are impressive. The music is what all shooter game music is: meh. The gameplay and design, however, is where things truly shine. When you die, you see everything as you would in a game of Civilization: the map zooms out with the area outlined. The objectives are clear, with an emphasis on teamwork and moving in a squad, like in, you know, actual warfare. Most games fail to accomplish this and focus on making the game all about moving on your own, yet this game gives you and your team a common goal and purpose to fight unlike most capture the flag games. It’s new, fresh, yet stays the same.
Again, the graphics are marvelous, as whether you ride around in a tank, plane or one of those mini-tank-guns that they only used in WWI because it looks dumber than a smart car, the surrounding area looks almost real. Some games look pixilated or odd when viewed from above, but flying a plane can be a joy in of itself if, even without the shooting (don’t worry, you’ll be shooting constantly).
Multiplayer mode, which, by the way, I was covering above, introduces Operations mode, allowing multiple maps to be used for multiple rounds. If one team wins overwhelmingly, the game is over, but if one side wins only slightly, than the map zooms out, revealing the world and how one team is pushed back to the map’s location. This is how actual war works, and it’s possibly the most intriguing thing about the game. Each time you play operations mode, whether you win or not, you’re bound to experience something new, as long as you’re halfway decent.
However, that’s not the best mode. The best mode is pigeon mode. You catch pigeons on the battlefield. Carrier pigeons. In order to send messages by pigeon. It’s the stupidest thing I’ve seen in my entire life, so, of course, I’ve played it more than any other mode.
Campaign mode attempts to do what Titanfall 2 did: to get away with five hours of content by giving a great story with some cutscenes. Battlefield 1, instead, gives you five main characters and expects to develop all of them within a few short cutscenes. Titanfall 2 had, surprise, a focus on the two main characters, making the story interesting through futuristic mechanics and dialogue between only two characters. If this was a five-hour movie: a) that’s a long movie and, b) you would have enough time explore the five-person dynamic. They also could have focused on developing one character per hour, dropping one character and moving on to the next. Forget about solutions, what’s done is done, but it’s still hella disappointing.
Back to the positives, there are a massive amount of weapons, although some of the automatics taking away from the “hey everybody it’s WWI” aesthetic, but hey I’m not one to complain. Hundreds of weapons, from hand grenades to miniguns, are available, with incoming free DLC. What is with EA and Capcom recently? Downloadable content used to mean “pay us another $60 dollars while you watch us eat aged cheeses and fine wine in order to get the initial product you paid for.” Perhaps it’s because, with the increase of graphics, intended ideas are postponed, or perhaps gamers are being listened to for once. I don’t care either way, I’m just glad I’m not paying for another full game just so I can get four new characters and a costume pack!
What does this mean for the future of Battlefield? It’s not crap. Sure, they brought back the “pay for a box of guns” shtick, but that’s in Gears of War 4, but that’s old news and, frankly, I have nothing new to say about it that I didn’t say a paragraph ago. Disregarding the campaign, it’s a dream come true for shooter fans. Get your PTSD-inflicted grandpa out of the room, the fate of World War I is in your hands with a sequel that makes up for past short-comings.