Battlefield 1… Three Years Later

This is one of the many levels that is playable in the DICE production Battlefield 1. There is a sort of beauty in this hellscape, gas covering the once-pretty fields of Passchendaele.(Photo courtesy of Greyson Rupert)

On October 21, 2016, DICE developed and published Battlefield 1. It  takes place during the first great war and sees fighting in major battles, as well as some minor battles that may have been forgotten. Almost three years later, I decided to go back and experience the war-torn levels and the intense recreation of World War I.

While going back, I remembered how historically accurate Battlefield 1 was. The developers definitely did their research when it came to paying homage to World War I. From the guns to the characters to the levels, it all feels so real. Throughout the game you can unlock Codex Entries that tell you more about the war and the people fighting in it. The voice lines for each faction feel like they belong. British soldiers speak English, German soldiers speak German, Ottoman troops speak Turkish — everything feels like it fits the time period perfectly.

The levels that you can play on — both in multiplayer and single player — are also very realistic. These levels include the battle of the Argonne Forest, the River Somme, Passchendaele, and even the Suez Canal. You could even go on the homefront of Russia, diving deep into the Bolshevik Revolution and the other battles fought in the Russian civil war. DICE covered everything historical about the game. And when I say everything, I really mean EVERYTHING.

As for gameplay, Battlefield 1 feels like… well, how a Battlefield game should feel like. This is the tenth installment of the Battlefield franchise and uses the Frostbite 3 engine to run it’s gameplay. Time-to-kill (The average amount of time it takes to kill an opponent in a firefight) feels just right, sniping is super satisfying when you get that perfect headshot, (I’m not a psychopath just trust me), and it’s such an amazing feeling when you rush an objective (Flags scattered on major points throughout the level) to clear it out to give your team some breathing room. Once again, it all feels like it fits the time period. 

A major staple of the battlefield franchise is their vehicles. In past battlefield games, you would have tanks, like the M1 Abrams, and jets, like the F-35 or the A-10 Warthog. Now, since the setting is during the 1914-1918 time period, clearly no one had that technology yet. In Battlefield 1, tanks like the Light Panzer, the French MK V, and the German Heavy Tank litter the warzone, limiting infantry movement. There are obviously ways to counter the tanks like the field gun or the AT rocket gun. These are very effective against tanks, but not as accurate against the agile planes of the era, such as the Sopwith Camel, or the Bristol Type 22. These planes specialize in hammering infantry and taking down bombers. These also have their counters, like the anti-aircraft guns (or “Archies” as the troops used to call them.)

Nothing compares to the massive, hulking war machines that are shown if a team is taking heavy losses. Nicknamed, “Behemoths,” these vehicles greatly turn the tide during a battle. There are multiple Behemoths that are showcased in each map, such as an airship, an armored train, a massive warship called the “Dreadnought,”  or even a super heavy tank used by the french, named the “Char 2c.” 

Two major parts of the game that make their debut in Battlefield 1 are the Elite kits and the bayonet charge mechanic. First off, the elite kits are… well, kits in crates you find scattered around the battlefield that grant the player armor and a special weapon. For example, the Sentry elite is a heavily armoured light machine gunner who specializes in going into objectives with guns blazing. Another example, which just so happens to be my favorite, the trench raider kit. Introduced in the french downloadable content, the trench raider does exactly what the name implies. Weilding a schofield revolver and a massive spiked club that will kill any enemy with a single swing , it is a heavily armoured trooper that specializes in getting behind the enemy and, once in the objective, drawing as much fire as possible away from friendly soldiers while creating as much chaos as humanly (and inhumanly) possible.

Another mechanic that is new to the battlefield series is the bayonet charge technique. This is when you fix a bayonet on your rifle and, with a mighty shout, charge at the enemy. If you miss, you get a movement penalty, disabling your ability to sprint until the technique recharges. If you hit someone, however, an animation plays that is too graphic to describe. Just know it is a one hit kill on everyone, which also includes those heavily armored sentry kits. Some players claim that it’s overpowered because of its ability to charge across long distances. Players also have a problem with the increased bullet resistance that it gives the player. I am not one of these people. 

The only problem with this game that I have is the microtransactions. As most players know, any game made in association with EA will have some buyable content that they will try to force on you, such as class shortcuts and battlepacks. This sucks for people who just want to play the game and don’t want to buy their way to victory. Microtransactions are not problems for me, however, due to my personal strict rule of not buying anything unless it is a significant improvement to the game, like adding new levels. It also doesn’t faze me because of my very high rank, a whopping 103 (I swear I didn’t write this article to boast about my rank.) I stand against microtransactions because it’s just not fair to and for newer players. This is not the first time that EA has put in pay-to-win mechanics in their games. 

Even after three years, Battlefield 1 is still an amazing game that depicts a very realistic reenactment of the first great war. It has all of the characteristics of a perfect game, which are great weapons, levels that are easy to get the hang of, vehicles that fit the time period, and an amazing player base. When the game was released, it was already an amazing experience. Now, after all of the downloadable content has come out of development, it turned out to be one of the greatest video games of 2018 and 2019. Covering all fronts, from Americans to the French to the Russians to the British Marine Corps, I honestly don’t believe that DICE could do any better than this. I would definitely recommend Battlefield 1 to anyone who enjoys a historical first person shooter, or anyone who enjoys a first person shooter in general. It is an experience that I (and about half a million players) will never forget and will happily play for years and years to come.

 While charging an objective, a friendly German soldier says hello to another British soldier… with his bayonet. This is one of the examples of the aftermath of a successful bayonet charge. (Photo courtesy of Greyson Rupert)


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