No game has truly made me feel like I was in a war before Battlefield 1. Like most people, I was becoming exhausted by the onslaught of futuristic warfare games with the recent releases in the Call of Duty franchise. Surely they had their heyday thanks to titles like Modern Warfare 1 & 2, but the gaming industry pretty much forgot about historic war games. Despite Battlefield 1 not being quite historically accurate, DICE found the right balance of fun gameplay and immersion.
So, how does Battlefield 1 make you feel like you are a soldier on the front lines? Well, there are the obvious Battlefield series trademarks that can be recognized: squads, a variety of vehicles, big map gameplay. I can’t forget the little details and moments that I haven’t experienced in a game before illustrated in the Operations game mode.
The first time I charged the front lines on the Iron Walls Operation, I could hear the soldiers around me screaming before gunfire ensued. I almost had to laugh because of how neat the experience was. Planes were soaring overhead and the beautiful scenery of the Venetian Alps instantly captured my attention. This was exactly the kind of FPS experience I was looking for: giant groups of players charging a battlefield together in a historic war setting. I prefer this instead of doing some acrobatic jump off a wall before shooting an explosive arrow in Call of Duty: Black Ops 3.
Battlefield 1 also has amazing audio: players can hear bullets whizzing by them; explosions feel abrasive, up close, and personal; and each weapon in the game has a unique and satisfying sound effect.
I love the feeling when you take a sector (or defend one) in Operations. Every sector has multiple points to capture. Most of the points in the Operations mode are protected by bunkers, castles, or villages. These structures are almost always protected by marksmen (mostly found on roofs and high level buildings), armored field guns, and trip mines. This forces the player to find different ways of attack. Between spawns, the overhead map view helps you make strategic plans of attack instead of mashing the respawn button just to jump back into battle.
The attacking team can usually achieve greater success by assaulting in an armored tank or coordinating with your squad rather than running right towards the point. If all of your squad members are different class types, you’re likely to counter the other team effectively. Whenever a sector is captured, victory screams are heard across the battlefield by teammates. It is corny in the best kind of way. The Battlefield franchise certainly knows how to make the player fight more for the team rather than themselves.
While those first few moments of charging the battlefield can feel empowering, DICE doesn’t shy away from displaying the true horrors of war. There is nothing more terrifying than being outnumbered in a trench. Gas grenades are thrown in every direction, planes are dropping bombs, and you are prone in the mud witnessing all of the skull icons popping up on the screen. I have jumped in my seat one too many times by the unexpected scenarios I found myself in – most of which were hand-to-hand combat situations, especially when enemy players aren’t afraid to charge at you with a bayonet.
I was trying to revive an ally and a horseman came charging at me with a sword. It took every last shot in my pistol to finally knock the player off the horse right before he had the opportunity to trample me. This is a prime example of immersion and when adrenaline kicks in.
Destructive environments also took me by surprise. One of my favorite things to do in Battlefield 1 is to defend a multi-level building with a squad. The game startled me when a tank blew a hole in the building, causing the entire second floor to collapse underneath my feet. This aspect of the game really enhances the immersion, knowing that any structure isn’t immune to high degrees of firepower.
Most people who love to play the Battlefield franchise are looking for tons of possibilities in combat. From besieging Fao Fortress to watching a blimp explode into flames as it crashes into the ground, Battlefield 1 is no exception when it comes to having a variety of special moments, all to enhance the immersive factor that Battlefield 1 holds so dear.