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Letters from the Front

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( Editor’s note: After the Apocalypse Review, I wanted to do a full review of Battlefield 1 with all the DLC installed and review it as a full game plus the base game that originally launched in 2016 with a lookback at the journey that Battlefield 1 had over the course of almost two years. This review will be split in 5 different sections. For this review, for the first time, I will add a review score. This serves as the final blogpost on Battlefield 1 as a whole. Enjoy!)

Wow. That was Battlefield 1.

Before 2016, I and many other people believed that World War I wouldn’t be a suitable setting for a military shooter as the general belief was that the entire war was fought on the European continent and for the whole entirety of the conflict was just trench warfare with bolt action rifles and that would be a boring game, it would bore you to tears. Nobody knew how to approach a World War 1 themed videogame in the Triple A space until DICE did the impossible. At first, I thought the rumors were false and that surely it would be another game set within the present day or within World War II, but DICE threw a curveball when everyone else went further into the future or competing in the present. DICE went beyond to the mud-soaked trenches of World War I and for the first time in the Triple A military shooter genre; the battles, the history, the weapons, and the armored vehicles were brought to life for the first time in a triple A military shooter videogame. The game was an outstanding hit for me.Battlefield 1 wasn’t as historically accurate as a game like Verdun, the weapons were mostly prototypes and semi-automatic rifles alongside LMG’s but DICE had to make the setting be appealing to someone who’s been playing modern military shooters since Modern Warfare arrived in 2007 and the genre began to head down that route, most military shooters up to that point had been set in the present and slowly headed towards futuristic and the what if scenerio, so to have a game set in a historical period in a very long time was kind of refreshing and to have it set in a period that isn’t seen much in videogames or is well-known is kind of revolutionary.

DICE went above and beyond by setting it in the First World War, they took almost four years on developing Battlefield 1 and the game was in complete secret for the better part of three years until leaks and rumors appeared. For the first time in the franchise, the Frostbite Engine could do things that weren’t possible in Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4 like dynamic weather or changing the landscape to use as cover from incoming enemy fire. The Frostbite Engine brought the era and the world to life with a marvelous attention to detail that most games don’t often have. They put so much time and effort into the game that it felt like you were there on the battlegrounds of France and Russia, they pulled back the curtain on just how grand the scale was in World War I, how vicious this war was and in many ways it wasn’t anything like World War II.

Base Game

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The base game was large scale warfare done right. World War I was a refreshing setting from that of games like Halo, Call of Duty, Titanfall, Destiny, and others. DICE drove into the annals of history and brought to life a setting that wasn’t seen before in triple A games. It replaced modern technology like the Abrams and the Jet with early 20th century technology like the FT Renault and the Biplane; it replaced guns like the SCAR and the M4A1 with weapons like the Autoloading 8.25 and the Ribeyrolls 1917, the guns had shorter ranges and the combat was immensely brutal. The drums of war was brought out in this entry then in previous installments, the combat of the early 20th century was brutal and vicious and unlike anything seen in the present and Battlefield 1 nailed it. The base game was plagued with some issues but it wasn’t as much of annoyance as Battlefield 4 and Battlefield 3, there were still some legacy issues like hard crashing or server lag but over the course of last year, DICE would go and smooth out those issues before the launch of several DLC’s.

They Shall Not Pass

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They Shall Not Pass introduced the French army into Battlefield 1, the French was omitted by design from the base game and was held back. I believe this wasn’t the right move to make as the French were one of the biggest players in the real war and to omit them was kind of weird but in the end, DICE made one of the greatest expansions ever made in the history of the Battlefield franchise.

They Shall Not Pass brought more of World War I to life with the introduction of the French army and some of the biggest battles on the Western Front. From Verdun to Soissons, the maps were great and the map design was superb; frankly something that we wouldn’t see again as the rest of the DLC was handed off to DICE LA as DICE SWEDEN moved on to put the finishing touches on Battlefront II and put more time on this year’s game according to a rumor, also it introduced brand new weapons like the Lebel Model 1886 to the hard-hitting Chauchat LMG. It didn’t introduce anything new but it became one of the best DLC’s of all time because mostly of the maps and map design.

In The Name of the Tsar

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As opposed to They Shall Not Pass which opted for more action on the Western Front, In The Name of the Tsar took us to the cold regions of Imperialist Russia and for the first time, took us beyond the First World War to the raging civil war that took place in the streets of the former Russian Empire after the 1917 revolution. In The Name of the Tsar built off from TSNP and made the game more expansive with huge open maps like Albion and Galicia while adding a load of new content.

In the Name of the Tsar took us to Imperialist Russia at a time when the Russians were about to pull out of the war due to rising tensions on the homefront. It continued to expand the theater of World War I by introducing to us the Eastern Front for the first time during this time in military history and introduced some of the biggest battles on that Front as the Brusilov Offensive and the Russian Civil War of 1918-1923, some of the maps were great like Albion and Volga River while others weren’t so memorable or great like Tsarityn which was basically Stalingrad before Stalingrad ; In the Name of the Tsar introduced iconic weapons like the Mosin Nagant, Obrez Pistol, and the SMG 08/18 which was an experimental German SMG intended for usage by the German Empire. In The Name of the Tsar became a solid expansion, I really enjoyed it for the content it introduced and the fascinating history.

Turning Tides

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Turning Tides brought us back to the fronts that were introduced in the base game. The maps took place from Belgium to the Dardanelles Strait in Turkey, for the first time battles Gallipoli and Heligoland Bight were playable in videogames. Personally, I dislike this expansion to a certain extent and I find it not as great as the previous two expansions that were released, it just didn’t have that thing that made the first two expansions so memorable. It was also split in half.

The first part of this expansion, Capes Helles was one of the maps that was introduced and I definitely didn’t enjoy playing on it. It felt like D-Day but DICE failed to try and replicate that feeling and place in a WWI game, Capes Helles was a mediocre map with it being completely unbalanced on Operations and on Conquest Assault, Cape Helles just felt more like Operations but on a grander scale. Meanwhile, Achi Baba was an okay map on Conquest but wasn’t as much fun on Operations as the map become a bottleneck across each sector. Gallipoli should’ve been a free map that should’ve come in a free update because it just didn’t feel like it belonged in this expansion; the second half of Turning Tides is much better then the first half. Maps like Zeebrugge and Heligoland were introduced and took place on the Coast of Belgium and the North Sea at the beginning of the war in 1914. These two maps brought out the naval warfare theme that this DLC was promising to give and it delivered. It also introduced new weapons like the Browning M1917 and the Ariska Rifle that was the Standard Issue Rifle for the Japanese during World War I and World War II. Turning Tides should’ve been much better.

Apocalypse

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Apocalypse is the final and last expansion to Battlefield 1. It served as the swan song for the game and the end for the lifecycle of Battlefield 1. Apocalypse sounded the most intriguing and the most interesting expansion as opposed to the other three. I was expecting this DLC to be the big sendoff for a game that ultimately was one of the successful games in the entire franchise and was one of the biggest games of 2016 however, I was wrong. Apocalypse wasn’t the big DLC that we were expecting, it was a shell of whatever it was in production with three infantry maps and a game mode that ultimately was boring and didn’t make much sense. This DLC felt rushed and incomplete and didn’t feel as meaty as the previous expansions, not including Turning Tides.

Maps like the River Somme, Caporetto, London Calling, and Razor’s Edge weren’t very good maps because two of those were on Conquest Assault which was a mode that was introduced in Turning Tides, while the other two were reskinned SP levels redesigned for MP. The only good part of Apocalypse was Passchendale and the new weapon unlocks which included the RSC SMG and the Webley Mk. VI revolver that saw usage in both World Wars, this expansion felt incredibly rushed and felt like it should’ve been more content added. I find this the weakest of the entire DLC in Battlefield 1’s lineup of expansions, this DLC was just a disappointment as a whole.

Finale:

Battlefield 1 is to me, the most definite of WWI era games while being not so historically accurate but it is the definite game based around the era if you’re looking for a good game to play that isn’t as realistic as Verdun or Tannenburg. Battlefield 1 brought World War I to life and out of the shadows, for the first time in a Triple A game World War I is a setting. I wonder if one day, we’ll see another World War I game in the spirit of Battlefield 1. It’s the end of the line for a game that was ultimately refreshing and unique at a time when modern day and futuristic shooters are all the rage, unfortunately it is time to close the book on this chapter. Battlefield 1 is one of the best games that gaming had to offer, Farewell.

Verdict:

8.30 / 10

( Thanks to Berduu and Supremex11 for their screenshots.)

 

 

 

 

 

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