Game Rant goes hands-on with Battlefield 1 multiplayer to see if the new World War I setting can erase some of the struggles the series has had in the past.
Sitting down to play Battlefield 1 most gamers will know what to expect. Yes, the setting has moved to the oft-requested World War 1, but the central DNA of Battlefield is still present in this year’s entry. However, that new wrapper for Battlefield 1, which strips down the combat to simpler weapons and vehicles, has a strong appeal, and taking on 32 opponents is more fun than it has ever been.
In the most basic sense, Battlefield 1 is still a Battlefield game. Players pick from one of four classes (assault, support, medic, or scout), which each come with a selection of weapons. As players progress they will have access to more weapons, but for our E3 2016 demo the options were somewhat limited. The assault brandishes an assault rifle, the support uses a heavy machine gun, the medic uses a bolt-action rifle or marksman rifle, and the scout has long-range weapons like sniper rifles.
Whereas past Battlefield games have featured modern tanks, jets, and helicopters, Battlefield 1 uses bulkier tanks and assault vehicles, as well as propeller planes and bombers. And in true DICE fashion, the sights and sounds of these vehicles create a sense of immersion while battling foes in WWI Paris.
Picking up and playing in the world of Battlefield 1 should prove easy for longtime fans. For our demo, the DICE developers hosted a 64-player Conquest match, which saw two, 32-player teams jockeying for control of 6 points on the map.
However, what gives Conquest a little extra flair in Battlefield 1 is that the losing team gets some added support in the form of a massive airship. It’s the Hindenburg looking, zeppelin-esque vehicle seen in all of the Battlefield 1 marketing thus far. The airship seats up to 6 players and can reign down major firepower from its lofty heights. It can even turn the tide of battle should the enemy team ignore it.
With the airship overhead, biplanes zipping by, tanks stomping through buildings, and ground troops at all angles, Battlefield 1 is at its best when the player immerses themselves in the experience. It’s a good thing then that developer DICE has carefully brought the World War 1 era to life, and packaged it around their battle-tested multiplayer formula.
Even the little touches, like the instant kill bayonet charge or the way the medics revive teammates with a shot, help give a clear sense of time and place to Battlefield 1. For all intents and purposes this is exactly what the fans were asking for: a Battlefield game set during World War 1. Whether or not the developers will be able to flesh things out beyond the basics, and if they can polish the product in alpha and beta testing, is yet to be seen. But for a first hands-on experience, Battlefield 1 leaves quite an impression.
Battlefield 1 releases October 21, 2016 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.