I must admit, I've never been a huge fan of the Battlefield franchise. It may even be fair to say that in my younger years, I was blindly loyal to the Call of Duty releases, wearing my blinkers firmly and refusing to even give another first-person-shooter a look-in.
Now though I'm older and (a little bit) wiser, priding myself on not being so bloody ignorant and giving opportunity to everybody and everything I haven't come across before. So, when the hype game for Battlefield 1 began, I was immediately drawn in by the beautiful teaser trailers and ground-breaking game promises. Now that the game is officially out and I've been playing for just under two weeks, let's get into what makes it so bleeding brilliant…
Single player action
Battlefield 1 is clever in the way it presents its campaign. Utilising DICE's impeccable writing team's ability to draw real emotion from the players who take part in a series of extremely human stories taking place in the destruction of World War I, it really delivers. In the past I've only ever played FPS campaigns where your sole aim is to take down a big bad or a corrupt organisation, so DICE here really inject a breath of fresh air and immense realism into what could have been a very boring and grind-of-a-mode.
Through five unique stories, players have to take on a variety of different and distinct characters, each with their own goals and aims. As you progress from story to story, the quality and ambition grows. There is quite a bit of restraint shown when it comes to really doubling down on these stories, likely due to the fact that you're not only changing characters but moving to different parts of the world, but that doesn't take away from the incredible storytelling. This is an honest and sombre look at one of the most earth-shattering moments in history.
Accuracy is vital and specific minor battles that occurred during the first World War are zoned in on here, so for any history buff this really is a must-play. The types of weapons used and people involved are all presented perfectly from the point of view of allies. It would however have been interesting to see what things were like for those battling on 'the other side'. The war wasn't good for anybody involved with boots on the ground, so it would have been nice to see a point of view from both sides.
It would be fair to say that the entirety of Battlefield 1's single-player campaign serves as an entertaining mega-tutorial for the real meat around the bones of the game - the multiplayer action.
Moving into multiplayer…
There's something magical about running round a multiplayer map with 63 other online players. With huge airships falling from the sky around you, leaving destruction in their wake and giving you the opportunity to witness some of the most gorgeous and realistic graphics a video game has ever been able to present, you'll have to learn very quickly to pick your jaw up off the floor, or face the consequences when an opportunistic opponent snipes the helmet straight from your head.
With your usual quick play options available and all the usual modes such as Team Deathmatch, it's the Operations mode that will have you most intrigued. Allowing you to become a part of some of the largest scale wars based on true battles throughout history, you'll be popped right in the midst of action and be hard-pressed to get through a game without falling victim to your opponents time and time again. This is a game you're going to have to put some heavy hours into mastering before you get the most out of your multiplayer game play, but the payoff is tremendous when you're able to run around the huge maps taking other players out and jumping into vehicles and onto horses to reign supreme. It's a lot of fun.
Earning Battlepacks through your multiplayer journey, it's easy to get lost in exactly what they're for and what the little packages contain. Don't be fooled - you're not going to pick up better guns for your loadout with these suckers, but instead will be simply able to change the appearance of your weapons with skins ranging from 'special' to 'legendary'. When you get skins you're not bothered about keeping, you're able to trade them in for scrap - something I've done with pretty much all of my skins to-date. With the scrap you collect, you can go on to buy more Battlepacks, leading to an endless cycle of grinding that's necessary for those in the market of wanting skins.
Other items that can appear in Battlepacks are puzzle pieces - new to the Battlefield series. If you're able to collect five of a certain puzzle, you'll score one of two different melee weapon skins that are on offer. The pieces have a small chance of appearing in place of a weapon skin and of course, the pricier the Battlepack you buy, the more likely you are to find them. A nice addition for completists, but for everybody else, this is a feature that can largely be ignored.
If there was one thing that's a little confusing about Battlefield 1, it would be the clunky menu system that becomes even more confusing in-between multiplayer games. Once you've finished a multiplayer game it's honestly very hard to exit. I've found myself having to quit my entire game and reload just to get out of having to play another 30-minute Conquest. Improvements are being made to the interface however, with a recent patch making sure you can see each and every member of your party in the bottom right corner of your screen.
There's no easier way of saying it - Battlefield 1 is without a doubt the best first-person-shooter game I've ever had the pleasure of playing.
Battlefield 1 is available now for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.