Battlefield 1 Preview

Judging from the Open Beta, Battlefield 1 will be fast, visceral and intense.

By Woozie, Posted 02 Sep 2016

My squad and I sprinted across the desert towards our designated objective. The clear weather slowly transformed into a sandstorm that severely limited our visibility. Distant gunfire and invisible planes passing overhead were our constant comrades. When I thought I saw a silhouette moving in the distance, I started charging with my bayonet at the ready only to take an enemy down seconds later. An enemy landship trudged in not long after that, reducing the entire squad to shreds, sending us back to the respawn screen. I have not had this much fun with an online shooter in a very long while. Battlefield 1 may be taking the series in a different direction, which won’t please everyone, yet the sum of its parts make for a great online experience.

Battlefield 1,Screenshot,Beta,Preview

The first change encountered when booting up Battlefield 1 is the different UI. Perhaps borrowing from Battlefront, Battlefield 1 comes with a UI that looks slick and feels less intrusive than in the past. On top of that, an option for selecting servers in-game is available, and I hope this will transfer onto the release version as well. Battlelog always felt like something optional and I’d have nothing against them having a separate website which tracks stats as long as I don’t have to open my browser in order to play the game. The beta includes one map: Sinai Desert. It’s mostly built in a symmetrical fashion, with a town on one side, offering opportunities for close-quarters combat as well as vantage points for sniping and a vast swathe of desert between this area and the E point. This adds a good portion of variety to the combat scenarios as you’ll move around from point to point, trying to hold as many as you can in order to best your opponent. The game looks and sounds absolutely amazing. DICE have been known to always capitalize on great sound and graphical design and Battlefield 1 is no exception to the rule. Tanks are slow and loud, there’s an authentic feeling of power when you fire a cannon at enemies. The explosions in Battlefield 1 are among the best I’ve ever seen in videogames. Bombers dropping their payload from above will cause you to recoil from their impact and the moment you charge an enemy, piercing them with your bayonet while watching their last breath leave them is close to memorable. It’s worth mentioning that while the game is more demanding on hardware than Battlefront, it is optimized in a very good fashion.

Now, being a game in a setting that hasn’t been used so far, not in noticeable efforts if we discount Verdun, Battlefield 1 changes a couple of things around. Tanks are more powerful than ever, however this is dependent on a couple of factors. The primordial one is having people fill up turret positions as the majority of guns are often found on the sides of the tank. On top of that, the gunners’ field of vision is partly blocked by the tank’s armor which requires a driver that’s very conscious of his surroundings. This applies to other vehicles as well. You can no longer pick up a tank and go on a 30-0 killing spree by yourself; instead, you need a couple of teammates to work together with. Speaking of vehicles, entering them is no longer done instantly. If you’re being chased by an enemy, trying to enter an armored car won’t save you because of the entrance animation required to play, which renders you exposed to enemy fire. When used properly, vehicles give an amazing feeling of satisfaction. On the receiving end, it takes a combined effort to bring down a tank. Having armor of your own is the best solution; however, infantry have to rely more on grenades or armor-piercing sniper bullets to damage vehicles. Damage numbers differ based on how heavy the vehicle’s armor is, but getting a heavy tank in a tight spot and throwing a couple of AT grenades at it will send the crew flying through the air.

It’s much easier to control airplanes than in previous iterations, yet, mastering them is a different thing altogether. Two of the three types of planes can also provide ground support with various types of bombs, however, so far, I cannot say that airplanes have changed the course of any match I’ve played. Regardless, the controls are tight, though, being a gunner can get a little bit frantic as learning when and how to lead your target takes lots of practice. For the most part, I’ve found horses to be a forgettable addition. Apart from being another way of travelling faster through the map, their use is really limited. Shooting from horseback is too unreliable to be worth it as you cannot zoom and the accuracy will be off. On top of that, doing so disables sprinting which makes you a large target on the enemy radar. On the other hand, the sword attack is useful for taking out unsuspecting enemies, however, getting the timing right will require a decent amount of dying to last second sidesteps you could have never predicted. Horses are, however, considered vehicles from what I could tell. A sniper bullet to the body of any player does 65 damage as opposed to the 17 damage caused to a horse. I also repaired my horse with the wrench on a couple of occasions.

Battlefield 1,Screenshot,Beta,Preview

Battlefield 4 had scripted weather on a couple of maps but it never felt like it did much in the way of changing the course of the battle. That is not the case in Battlefield 1. Not only are the weather events seemingly randomized, occurring at different times or not at all during the course of a match, they also impact vision. Fog will require airplanes to get dangerously low in order to see what they’re bombing, or just let go of bombs blindly. On the ground, you’ll be shooting at silhouettes for the most part and relying more on your charge/melee. Having fog and sandstorms occur at different times is a very efficient way of adding variety to the same map.

Battlefield 1 also handles melee a bit differently, as it now is a two-part system. The most important addition is that of the bayonet charge. With a bayonet attached to your weapon, you can press F while sprinting to initiate the charge. This will give you a significant speed boost and instantly kill the first enemy you come in contact with. In case you miss the target, you’ll have a couple of seconds where your movement speed will be lower as you recover from the charge. This is best used in open spaces, or leading into a house where you know an enemy can be found. The sheer look of surprise on the enemy characters’ faces, alongside the meaty feeling of the action itself make these things so satisfying that I went around trying to stab people maybe a little too much. If the enemy catches sight of you while charging and has a steady hand, your attempt will most of the time bring you death. The other part of the melee system consists of regular melee attacks. They take about half the enemy’s health, so, hitting a wounded enemy will set off a two animation chain that results in their death. While there were some clumsy situations, the melee system is mostly responsive and provides satisfying kills.

Battlefield 1 won’t, at least judging by this map, be about slow-paced trench warfare, which was a staple of WW1 combat. This is fairly evident especially when playing a Scout. Even with long-range scopes, the downtime in between shots on bolt-action rifles is very low, allowing for really fast kills even at close-to medium range. While perhaps not the role of real life sniper rifles on the one hand and a bit too akin to Call of Duty’s quick-scoping, getting these fast kills as a sniper feels amazing. This led me to spending most of my time played as the Scout class. The other available classes are Assault, Medic and Support if we leave out Cavalry, Pilot and Engineer. The first four are standard classes which had their roles shifted around from BF4. Assault tends to have the most anti-armor solutions; gunners can place mines while medics are, again, their own class. Upon mounting a horse your loadout is temporarily changed into a Cavalryman’s. The Pilot and Engineer classes are available upon spawning in a tank or plane from the spawning screen. Only these two classes can repair vehicles and, needless to say, while they come equipped with a carbine, they are inferior fighters outside of vehicles.

There is recoil going into the guns, thus, spraying at-mid distance won’t do much apart from suppressing an enemy. Bullet drop, in sniper rifles, is only significant at long distances and, from what I could tell, there’s much less of it than there was in Battlefield 4. Tank shells, on the other hand, suffer from serious drops over longer distances. The weapon modification feature was not available during the beta, however, a glimpse into the unlock system was offered. Upon leveling up, you receive war bonds which can be used to unlock weapons of your choice. The same weapon comes in more versions: trench/artillery for SMGs; scopeless/sharpshooter/marksman for sniper rifles. Unlocking certain weapons and gadgets can, however, only be done upon leveling your class. The requirements for getting class ranks were not made clear in-game, but, simply playing a class should eventually gain you enough ranks to unlock everything.

Battlefield 1 also introduces Behemoths which come in different shapes and sizes. Sinai Desert had an Armored Train that would come into play when one team was having a significant lead over the other. These Behemoths are meant to help the losing team get back into the game; however, on their own they cannot do that. Sure, the people using the turrets of the Armored Train will do significant damage to infantry and vehicles. Heck, the few times I got to use a Behemoth turret I would just level as many buildings as I could. However, without teammates that are aware of cleared areas, without them coming in and taking points, a Behemoth will not do very much. Resilient as they are, they can still be disabled and destroyed by a coordinated attack on the enemy side. Destruction is present in Battlefield 1 as well, and, while it’s not exactly at a Bad Company 2 level, good chunks of buildings can be torn apart, thus rendering certain vantage/cover points useless.

There is a significantly greater feeling of teamwork in Battlefield 1, or at least that’s how I perceived it. One of the best matches I played was a Rush match where me and another teammate had tanks on both flanks. Our teammates were constantly with us, pushing forward, taking out enemies and planting bombs. The enemy couldn’t do much against our coordinated effort which led to a categorical victory on our side. Yes, there are moments when you will be alone, both in friendly and enemy territory, but there are also so many other times when I found myself advancing alongside a slow Landship, taking out enemy Assaults attempting to throw grenades at it, or supporting a handful of soldiers capturing a point from afar as a scout.

Battlefield 1,Screenshot,Beta,Preview

By all means things can change. The beta also included only one map and two modes: Conquest and Rush. Regardless of this, there’s no denying the fact that, as I said in the beginning, I have not had this much fun with an online shooter in a long while. Certainly, there were a handful of bugs which rendered reviving teammates impossible or which made me play without sound for good portions of rounds, but, such is the way with betas. Battlefield 1 does not play the realism card, it’s true. Rather, it tries to build an authentic experience around the World War 1 period and it succeeds in doing just that. The open beta for Battlefield 1 is still going on until September 8th and, if you’re able, you should definitely give it a try.

Bogdan Robert, NoobFeed
Facebook | Twitter

comments powered by Disqus


General Information

Battlefield 1


Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher(s): Electronic Arts
Developer(s): EA DICE
Genres: First-Person Shooter
Themes: Online Multiplayer
Release Date: 2016-10-21

View All

Popular Articles