Chris’s Top Ten Videogames of 2016: #9
Developer: EA DICE
Publisher: Electronic Arts
PS4, Xbox One, PC
World War 1 isn’t a conflict that tends to feature heavily in modern gaming. World War 2 on the other hand has had loads of games and maybe the reason for this is because the definition of “good vs evil” was more clearly defined. World War 1 on the other hand was a lot more complicated.
Gaming seemed to fall out of love with historical first person shooters and the likes of Battlefield and Call of Duty have favoured a modern or futuristic setting of late. When EA announced that Battlefield 1 would be set in World War 1, a few eyebrows were raised and the pressure was on for them to deliver not only an entertaining game but, something that was respectful to the subject matter. I’m pleased to say that for the most part they succeeded.
Let’s be clear, although Battlefield 1 is set in World War 1, it does take some liberties with the time period and some of the missions you play are pure fantasy. This isn’t necessarily a criticism, more a recognition that they are making a video game, so it must be fun despite the horrific setting.
The single player features 6 levels which can last anything from 45 minutes to an hour. Each level tells an individual story with different aspects of combat including tanks, planes, horses and traditional first person shooting. One of the newer elements of the game introduces a surprising amount of stealth. In one mission you must escort a tank, taking out gun emplacements and enemies quietly before they spot you.
As I mentioned, the tone of the levels range from a sombre depiction of a futile battle where you face total annihilation, to a boys own romp fighting on top of an enemy zeppelin. I enjoyed all the missions and felt there was a good balance between being fun and making you think about the terrible events the soldiers faced.
Battlefield 1 looks absolutely gorgeous and my jaw hit the floor a number of times. Each level looked more stunning than the last and as awful as it sounds, walking through trenches filled with death and destruction never looked so good.
I haven’t really played much of the multiplayer but, based on the single player alone Battlefield 1 comes highly recommended. If I could suggest another WW1 game, then please check out the excellent Valiant Hearts: The Great War.
Also, if you have any interest in World War 1, I would highly recommend you check out Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History podcast titled Blueprint for Armageddon. Dan is not only extremely engaging but, listening to this epic show gave me a huge appreciation for the often futile sacrifice of the people who fought in this conflict.