I think the first item that needs to be approached here is that this game is about a horrifically brutal and deadly war, fraught with suffering and death on a monumental scale. World war one precipitated from the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand after years of tension in the European region. Ultimately the war involved countries fighting for territories and political interests, with little definition between a side that was particularly good or evil. Although it does have to be noted that the assassination gave Austria-Hungary an excuse to declare war on Serbia and Germany gave Austria-Hungary a blank cheque promising support. I don’t think it was ever really realised though what kind of war it would turn out to be. Developments in weaponry featured in the game led to horrific ways of ending human life, considering the timescale WWI is still in living memory. This is why it can be difficult to portray situations/scenarios without either offending or upsetting large groups of people.
Now that we understand that, lets talk about the game!
Its good, but a bit unrealistic.
Lets start with the story/campaign, the game sets off with a short 2 level story that acts as the prologue. A gruelling situation where you battle with the 369th infantry regiment, known as the Harlem Hellfighters. The Harlem Hellfighters were pawned off by the Americans to the French army due to mostly racial issues, but they fought well and were gladly accepted by the French and British forces. Sorry I delved back into history there, but it is a bit sad to be honest that you only play a very short stint, Dice could have made a big statement here about the way African-Americans were treated at the time. Ultimately though it plays well, and ends dramatically but surprisingly calmly, I won’t ruin it for you.
In one particular campaign (The Runner) a young man not of age signs up and is sent to Galipoli. In a scene after you have seemingly just murdered half the ottoman empire on your own, the kid turns up and Bishop (Campaigns main character) grabs him by the scruff of the neck and shouts “You just wanted a statue of yourself in the town square” which I thought really spoke depths about the naivety of the boys actions.
Ill shorten this bit about the rest of the story, its decent, but rather unrealistic, it seems that you are constantly thrown into situations where you are a lone soldier having to deal with an onslaught of enemy soldiers. Now in my opinion it is actually quite fun, rather challenging in places and well constructed maps allow you to approach the scenarios in different ways. Being able to attack situations stealthily, usually being the best option, gives a fun alternative to the ol’ run and gun of the old battlefield games.
The cutscenes are also quite the spectacle, most of the story lines are quite enticing and you will find yourself becoming quite attached to some of the characters. Again in The Runner campaign I found myself in tears at the end of it so prepare your tissues! If your weird and emotional like myself.
The single player campaigns are enjoyable, albeit a bit short and the AI is a bit dumb and a little bit annoying as once you have been seen by one then everyone in a 5 mile radius knows your pinpoint location but that makes playing stealthily a little more challenging.
Online multiplayer has become such a large part of gaming, there are games that are made simply to be played in the online multiplayer format. Games like Rainbow Six Siege and Overwatch rely heavily on the online format to be the pinnacle of the gaming experience. Battlefield in the past has not done this, whilst still relying on that, they did put together a pretty decent story with believable characters.
In this game the single player does feel like a big fat tutorial for online play. Forcing you into vehicles with specific campaigns and teaching you how to control them and make the best use of them.
The online for this game is great fun, it is a bit spawn – die – repeat but that is kind of expected from a first person shooter. I have though found myself running around for 3 minutes and you might not see anyone but teammates frantically trying to get into a good position or to where the battle is happening. If battlefield didn’t have the squad setup it would be really annoying as you would have to do that every spawn, but with the squad setup you can spawn on teammates right in the action.
Im not too fond of the vehicles in the game, but if you use them properly they can be very effective. They are also fairly easy to control, so there isn’t too much of a learning curve in getting used to them. The game is a bit rife with snipers though on most maps that can get a little annoying, as occasionally you will get picked off from nowhere the more annoying part of that is if you are in a squad and the rest of your teammates are playing as snipers thats really annoying. If you spend some time with each class though you can really find some powerful setups. I initially did the sniper thing but have now created good setups with all of the other classes, setting up a LMG behind a wall or at a bottlenecked area of a map can be really effective and the accuracy when a LMG is used with a tripod is pretty ridiculous, you will find yourself able to pick off snipers or atleast supress them from halfway across the maps.
There are various different game modes, theres battlefields classics like rush, conquest and domination but there have been a couple of new additions. Those being War Pigeons, and Operations. War pigeons involves you having to literally catch a pigeon, then hold onto it so that you can set it off for an artillery strike sounds a bit ridiculous and it is. Definitely not my preffered game type. Operations on the other hand puts you into a staged assault and it will cover a few maps each game. Similar to Rush and domination, there are a couple of points that you have to hold simutaneously and once you have done that your team can progress, it is also narrated at the begginning of each round/map change that adds a little bit more immersion and gives a little insight to the historical nature of the battles. Operations is really good for allout conquest like warfare, and I find rush really enjoyable for the smaller closer combat games, there is a bit of everything for everyone and Battlefield has been doing it well for a long time now.
Ultimately I think you do have to look past the games problems, mostly being historical inaccuracies. It is important for modern media and entertainment to portray something so significant as WWI properly, as you can’t just put shit in peoples heads and make them think its true, its not right. So Dice and EA had a duty to do this and there are places where it wasn’t done, but in some fairness the game may not have been as enjoyable to play. When it comes to the online play and you are battling with other players etc. there are occasionally moments that really do make you feel the tenseness and the impossibility of getting out a situation alive and I think it probably does visually resonate with how a battle in a field would have been.
If I were giving this game a rating out of 10 I think it gets an 8, it could have done with a little more in the way of realistic war like situations and a couple of places where Dice and EA could have made some pretty big statements about issues going on at the time but seem to have politely sidestepped this. Maybe some dlc will bump my view on the game, but we will have to see for now.