Normally, I’d start this review with some crazy story about how I dropped from an airplane behind enemy lines so I could scatter the enemy’s defenses only to hop on a motorbike and make my escape. Or perhaps it would be about how I was storming the front line with sniper bullets screeching past my head while simultaneously doing my best to dodge the fire that a zeppelin was raining down from above. Maybe it would be watching that same zeppelin burning in the sky and dropping like a…well…led balloon. There are many stories I have during my times playing Battlefield 1, but the most important thing is that Battlefield is giving me these memorable stories in what could arguably be the best Battlefield yet.

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While other shooters are going farther and farther into the future, DICE decided to go the opposite route. Battlefield I takes place during The Great War. It’s not usually the war video games focus on, so this already makes Battlefield I stand out among today’s shooters.

The campaign is broken up into smaller, individual stories to highlight different areas of the war. You’re a tank driver in one, a pilot in another, and one even has you working for Lawrence of Arabia. The game tries hard to make you feel for these characters in a very short time. It doesn’t always work, but the overall context of a horrifying war is definitely present.

Nothing makes this clearer than the opening. It’s a brilliant way to have a tutorial. Simple and easy to pick up, but it lands a hard punch right to your gut. Every time you die you don’t restart at a checkpoint, but instead, take control of another character. A neat tutorial tool, but more importantly, showcases the horror of trench warfare.

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I was let down by the lack of levels with the Harlem Hellfighters. I was looking forward to seeing their story and EA made it seem their story would carry the narrative. Sadly, they are the opening level and then you move onto the other stories.

There was also a strange reliance and pressure to stealth through a lot of levels. Not all of them, but on multiple occasions I was given instruction to sneak around. There isn’t anything necessarily wrong with this, but it caught me off guard. My favorite levels were filled with explosions and chaos. The sheer intensity of some situations left my heart pounding in my ears. The game excels at combat, not stealth, which makes the focus on sneaky sections a strange choice.

I’ve always love Battlefield games for their rich visuals, deep landscapes, and ear shattering sound design. I set the audio for my headset and kept it on through the whole campaign. The crackling of bullets, deafening explosions, engines roaring, and even the mechanical clicks involved with reloading are a murderous symphony to my ears. It really drives the immersion to the next level and I can never commend the Battlefield series enough for their wonderful sound design.

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Naturally, everything good about the campaign carries over into the multiplayer where it shines even brighter. Last year’s iteration of Hardline had some entertainment, but it can’t compete to the sheer scales that Battlefield I brings to the table.

I used to always float between the big two: Rush and Conquest. Rush has smaller teams and puts more of a focus on the pushing and pulling of both sides. It’s a game mode where you can feel like you’re making a big difference by planting a bomb or guarding one. Conquest is arguably what Battlefield is famous for. Massive 32v32 battles about capturing points with plenty of ground and air vehicles. The sides are constantly switching and you can often feel lost in the mix with everything going on. 


The newest addition is quickly becoming my favorite game mode. Operations is a combination of Rush and Conquest. They even have brief intros to give historical significance to the battle, which I thoroughly enjoyed along with other history lovers. Operations is simple in theory: the Attackers needs to capture the Defenders’ objectives simultaneously. But, that’s a lot more difficult than planting one bomb before moving onto the next. The Defenders have an unlimited number of troops while the Attackers only have a limited amount.

Once the objectives are captured, the next round begins after a short retreat period. Any Defenders killed during this time will add tickets to the Attacker’s total troop allotment (so make sure you retreat). If the Defenders can stop the Attackers, the first round is over. The attackers get two more chances to try and push through the defenses. They are even given a bonus warship, armored train, or zeppelin to help their odds. Once the Attackers manage to win the level, the game doesn’t stop yet. You go one more time on a new map. 

This means an Operation could easily take close to an hour so devote some time before you start one. Even such a little mechanic as playing across different maps invokes the feeling of a massive war. When you invest an hour into this game mode you feel a true accomplishment when you succeed, or utter loss when you fail. The only real issue is how heavy the odds are tipped in favor for the of the Defenders. I’ve never once won as an Attacker, but maybe some day.

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The real beauty of the multiplayer is how unique the WWI setting is. There are various weapons for each class with their own strength and weaknesses. I loved seeing the different types of guns. How some were fed with individual bullets, some had a circular round chamber on the side, and others even had a horizontal magazine across the top. WWI was a time when many weapons were being invented as the war carried on, and seeing all these variations on what I normally consider a standard firearm intrigued me greatly.

There are still four different classes that have their purposes on the battlefield. I tended to lean towards the Medic. My ability to heal my squad and myself gave us more longevity on the uncontrolled battlefield. I loved running into dangerous territory to try and revive a fallen teammate. Sometimes it was enough to swing the push on the objective.

The destructibility is higher than ever to the point where the ground itself can change after various bombings and explosions. I constantly found myself hiding in recesses that were only formed moments earlier. Buildings can be torn to pieces by heavy fire. There has been more than one occasion when I kept being killed by a particularly annoying sniper nest. Instead of trying to have a risky sniper duel. I got my hands on a tank and tore apart the entire house so they couldn’t hide anymore.

It’s these moments that always make Battlefield standout for me. The individual fighting is definitely fun, and I have my heroic moments of taking out three people to capture an objective as well. However, nothing beats getting all your friends in a tank and bursting past the enemy lines. I’ll never get tired of storming into an objective on foot while my friend is in a plane above me dropping bombs for cover.

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Battlefield I has the same core fun that caused me to fall in love with the series in the first place, and then everything else is cranked up. The dynamic weather can make battles more intense and chaotic. The ability to equip a flamethrower and march into a building makes you a terror to the enemy. The losing team given a zepplin, armored train, or battleship is a good way to even the odds, while once again, adding more chaos.

The biggest issues that current hold Battlefield down is the horrendous menu system. Aside from the menus looking like a mess. There are some major features are missing. You cannot customize your soldier outside of a game and there are no statistics to view from the menu either.  I foresee the proper features being added, but right now it’s more than just an annoyance.

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Battlefield excels at doing exactly what it’s named for. It’s a massive war that makes you feel like a small nameless soldier during the chaos. Operations is a great way to keep these larger battles focused while still encompassing a massive feel. The true thrill comes from working with others, combining class abilities, and using the necessary strategies to overcome your enemy. That is what makes Battlefield I a chaotic, but amazingly rewarding experience.

This review is based off a retail copy of the Playstation 4 version of Battlefield 1 developed by DICE and distributed by Electronic Arts.

The Great War | Battlefield 1 Review
Overall Score9
  • Beauty Visuals and Sound
  • World War I Settings Feels Great
  • Intense and Chaotic Multiplayer
  • Short Campaign
  • Menu Systems Awful
9Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)

About The Author

Neil has had a passion for video games ever since the Atari entered his life so many years ago. He's been writing about them for over two years and sees no end in sight. Reach out to him on twitter @nconnors13