Thursday, November 3, 2016

Less is more in Battlefield 1

Max Charney
Arts & Entertainment Editor

Battlefield 1 (BF1) has gone back to the beginning of all out warfare, and if there is one thing that BF1 has proven so far, it is that less is more. BF1 has proven itself to be a tremendous shift, and a fresh taste for the first person shooter franchise.
 This fresh, “less is more,” feeling comes from The Great War’s antique weaponry, and the boots on the ground feel. Coming from Battlefield 4, and other modern day military shooters, the combat is coming from both vertical and horizontal. Helicopters, jets, AC130’s, heat seeking missiles, lock on rockets, even wall running, the combat comes at you from all sides and it can be a bit much at time. Now, I’m not saying that the combat doesn’t come from everywhere in BF1, but much of the vertical game play has been taken away. Yes, there are zeppelins, bombers and biplanes, but the gameplay relies more on player skill than ever before, everything is analog, there is no lock on’s doing the work for you, you are the one aiming and shooting more than before. The multiplayer lives up to what we saw in the beta and better, it feels familiar yet new at the same time. It doesn’t feel like a Battlefield 4 or Battlefield 3 game just with a WWI skin on top. There are new game mechanics, new ways of fighting that come from the new weaponry. It’s the fresh taste, with the “less is more” feeling.
 Yet, even the great must have weaknesses, and it comes from EA’s selfish and greedy production style. What I mean by this is the lack of content, for some reason EA has decided to hold back certain game modes. Custom matches, hardcore mode, and air superiority are missing; however, they are displayed in the menu system as Coming Soon. It just seems odd that they would hold back these game modes for later dates, and will probably make you pay for it. Now that does not mean that there isn’t anything to do at all in the game, and in no time will you get really truly bored. Also, the French and Russian armies are not yet playable. That’s right, two of the biggest countries that contributed to the War to End All Wars are not available. But they will be later on as DLC. That to me is insulting to Russian and French fans of the series. (It should be noted that DICE is not an American company, they work out of Stockholm Sweden and EA is an American-based company.) WWI had, and still has, such a big cultural and historical impact on their country that to make fans pay upwards of $20 to play as their country to me feels wrong. Now the British, American, German, and Ottoman Empire’s armies are playable. I would have liked to have seen a role switch: make the Americans and Ottomans DLC. Somehow, that seems more fitting.
 However, BF1’s biggest surprise comes from its single-player story mode, something that has not been well received in past Battlefield games. This is just one more thing that makes  Battlefield 1 such a game changer. The community was more than eager to see if DICE could finally give fans a good story mode. They delivered.

 The story mode is broken up five separate War Stories, as they are called. WWI spanned the globe, and so do these stories. From the French Alps as an Italian special unit volunteer, to the skies over France and London as a lying, cheating American Pilot, and as a tank gunner, BF1’s War Stories cover it all. Even Lawrence of Arabia shows up. These War Stories are like a small anthology of the war. BF1 definitely has a solid campaign for a game that is heavily centered around the multiplayer aspect. There is a gravity to these War Stories. They tell great stories from real battles and events, with the protagonist’s not being directly taken from real life (except for Lawrence of Arabia). However, they are inspired by real people and what it was like to be involved in the war. War Stories tackles the social dynamic change of WWI, with the collide of old vs. new that was heavily present in real life. However, you just do not as feel invested as you should in these characters, primarily because of how short their actual stories are. Most of the War Stories only last about two to four missions long, and the entire campaign is only five hours, which is incredibly short. It would be nice to see a campaign that is much longer, somewhere around ten to fifteen hours long would be great,something where players got to get connect just a little bit more to the characters. It feels like DICE fell short of what they were ultimately trying to reach. But this does not ignore the fact that there is in fact a solid campaign here, with great stories to be heard. In short, this is the Battlefield the community has been waiting for.

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