I personally believe that one of the most iconic scenes in Saving Private Ryan is the D-Day scene at the beginning of the film when Tom Hanks and his team is in the Higgins Boat, ready to face whatever it is that they’ll encounter on Omah Beach. Boats reach the shore and as soon as the troops disembark, they’re lit up by German MG42’s and 88 guns. I almost experienced this in Battlefield 1.
I looked over the trenchlines with my Browning Automatic as my fellow American soldiers charged across the hellish landscape as the Germans gunned them down while they were inside their bunkers, and machine-guns lit up the map. I charge across the field and I get down on my belly as I witness my fellow soldiers being gunned down by a Sentry and a machine gun nest inside the bunker, I crawl through the trenches until I get to the Bunker and I toss a fire grenade in there and the bunker lights up in flames as I hear the enemy screaming in agony as they’re burned to a crisp and I move up once more. This is probably how World War I was like in 1918, just without the videogame antics that you can pull off in multiplayer.
Battlefield 1 takes place 100 years ago, on the onset of the first global war that would end all wars and it didn’t change a thing. It is one of the most realistic shooters I’ve played in a long time, every component is in service that every gamer should be in like some sort of movie that equates to Saving Private Ryan, it’s immersive as hell, it’s frightening, and it’s harrowing.
The masterpiece that is Saving Private Ryan takes place in a different war, a war that was different altogether from The Great War but the message and the emotions and the feeling still remains. The level of combat that was seen in the early 20th century is unrivaled and so horrendous that it’s hard to actually see what’s going in the game when you know what happened in The Great War. Soldiers are lit up by flamethrowers and fire grenades, grenade launchers launch from the rifles of medics and blast their foes to dust, tanks roll across the hellish landscape and rip their enemies to shreds, and lastly airplanes dives to knock out enemy encampments and fortifications along the line. Battlefield 1 comes closer to making you feel like you’re in Saving Private Ryan or Band of Brothers then any other game that came before it. War is hell and ultimately, War is nothing to be proud of.
You can praise alot of things that has to do with Battlefield 1. From the shooting mechanics, to the vehicles, and to the mood of the game but one thing that stands apart is that it is highly cinematic and highly immersive. Battlefield 1 is almost like Saving Private Ryan or Band of Brothers when it comes to actually being on the Battlefield, gameplay feels cinematic and it feels like you’re watching and participating in a movie about the Great War, and when it comes to immersion: Whoa. That’s what I think makes Battlefield 1, a great success. Battlefield 1 goes to great lengths to tell that War is not gung-ho with heavy weaponry, it tells that War is no joke and that War is awful.
The multiplayer consistently tells you that while you’re playing matches and experiencing your own and making stories with maps like Amiens or Ballroom Blitz that features the Americans, and the story reminds you of that as well. It has a message and it isn’t like a Hollywood pop-corn movie although at times, it does feel like that but it’s pretty dark and pretty somber. It’s clear that War is hell and that Humanity is the worst species on the planet, but we’ve seen that from different videogames before like Brothers in Arms or Spec Ops.
The way, Battlefield 1’s campaign tells that is through the visuals and the sounds of the game, and the tone of helplessness that many WWI veterans had during the Great War, also that tone of helplessness is seen in Multiplayer as well, through Operations which is a beat by beat look and experience of the Great War. It’s raw.
Battlefield 1 always reinforce the fact that War is hell and reinforces the horrors of War itself, Battlefield 1 doesn’t glorify it or doesn’t glorify killing. It’s a game where War is taken seriously and it touches on the aspect of real world conflict, it isn’t easy. War isn’t easy, War isn’t fun, War is hell.
That’s why I think Battlefield 1 succeeds at doing, and that’s why I think Battlefield 1 is pretty good. Often times, you’ll duck in a foxhole and be beside your friend or teammate as he pulls off some quick shots and get back into cover and once he raises his head, he gets headshotted by a machine gun or a sniper rifle or both of you die in flames as mortars rain down from the skies above.
The only way to push forward is to push the frontline and keep suppressing the enemy because one of these days, a bullet will have your name on it and it will strike you down. War is indeed hell.
*Check my review coming soon, as soon as I wrap up the campaign. I will have the review out.*