Battlefield 1 is the next title in the franchise from DICE, bringing a much-appreciated change of setting, taking place in The Great War (World War 1). Now I was quite excited to finally play it, but at the same time, had some reservations about the campaign considering DICE's history with them. Thankfully, the improvement curve that was witnessed from BF3 to BF4 continued.
I'll be honest, I LOVED the fact that this took place in WW1 as I don't think I have ever played a big-budget AAA game focusing on that era. And it felt like a breath of fresh air amongst the saturated futuristic focus we've been getting for the past several years.
The campaign is divided into five war-stories, each taking place in different parts of the war with characters of their own. This enhanced the feel of the war and reeled you in more. Also, each of the stories boasts great cinematic presentation, with well crafted cut-scenes and moments, giving it a more EPIC feel. It also makes you feel like war is hell, for the most part, and that is what I was hoping for.
The problem, though, is that all of the stories are far too short, not giving enough time to properly invest in the character's stories. You are always left wanting more. The campaign can be finished in like 5-6 hours, even less if you complete the missions more swiftly and not mess around a bit. Oh and lack of France and Russia was a bit annoying. They could have added two more stories to cover them as well.
The gun-play feels similar to previous titles, but that's not a bad thing. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. It's smooth, it's engaging, and it's just plain fun. Things can get chaotic good like I had blast with the pilot campaign since I was never good at controlling planes, so I died a lot, many a time just by colliding with other planes when taking a turn, sometimes allies ones too. But it never got frustrating.
The varied mission designs and approaches to tasks in the war-stories was one of my favorite things. At one moment, you'd be stealthily avoiding enemies while traversing through no man's land, and at the next, you'd be in an armored suit, gunning down enemies on the alps. The variety keeps you engaged and lets you experience the war in different ways. Whether you're in a tank, or riding a horse, or flying a plane, the controls feel responsive and smooth, and with a little bit of tweaking in the settings, I found the right rhythm.
The A.I was problematic, though. So often, they would just blindly run pass me, or suddenly acquire storm-tropper aim. It wasn't anything game breaking, and you still enjoy the combat, but it does detract you a bit from the immersion.
I was very surprised back when I played BF4's campaign to hear some amazing tracks in it, wasn't expecting it. DICE upped their game further here. The soundtrack is filled with beautiful pieces, some that tug at your heartstrings, others that let your blood pumping. It fitted perfectly with the cinematic presentation, enhancing the feel in the process.
Voice acting was surprisingly quite well-done as well. All of the characters felt real, atleast to the extent the writing allowed them.
As for the sound effects, well, there is no surprise the games sounds excellent. If there is one thing DICE can do well, it is sound effects. From the roaring sounds of tanks, to echoing bullet fire, it just immerses you in the battlefield. The only issue in this regard was the LFE (Bass) levels, it just didn't have that same oomph I had gotten accustomed to from previous battlefield titles.
Powered by Frostbite 3, the game looks beautiful. From large open landscapes scathed by war, to small details like debris falling from an explosion, the immersion is immense.
The destruction is also really well-done. Just when you think you're safe in some building, a mortar or tank fire will blow it all to kingdom come, leaving you running for more cover. And as the battle progresses, you can see the effect of it on the landscape, giving you a real sense of war.
The game is also well optimized. People with decent gaming rigs should have no problems running it, and with a plethora of graphical options, you can tweak it to your heart's desire.
This is arguably my favorite battlefield campaign so far. It's a shame that the duration of it was short, otherwise, it could have been even better. If you like FPS games, this is an easy recommendation. And yeah, this is only a campaign review, no multiplayer.