Last week, I gave into the peer pressure and bought up Battlefield 1 at full price. This isn’t necessarily a rare thing, but I am one to use caution when looking at new games. I prefer to play with my handful of gaming friends, though no one else has chosen to invest in this new Battlefield. Still, it seemed like a sound purchase given the unending shower of love it’s received.
Long story short, I’ve been barreling in solo for the past week, and I have yet to regret it. Catering to the solo crowd, every game opens by finding you a squad to join. Squads give you huge bonuses from following orders and helping your teammates, even if those teammates are terrible. However, I can count on one finger how often these random squads actually coordinate anything. That’s okay, though, since there are plenty of things to do within each match and within multiplayer as a whole.
Outside the regular objective of “Win the game,” there are also weekly rotating medals to collect. Though I see what they were going for here, they can be somewhat frustrating in that you only have the opportunity to get 5 per week, and you can only progress through one medal at a time. Also, if that weren’t enough, each medal has three goals, and you have to progress through those goals in the given order. You can’t start the next section until the first section is done.
For example, this week they had two medals for game types that weren’t Conquest or Operations. Instead, I had to go compete in Team Deathmatch and Pigeon Delivery (find the package, hold the package for a bit, score a point if they don’t shoot the pigeon). For each of these medals, the first goal was “Play 2 rounds,” with the second goal being “Win 1 round.” Naturally, I figured if I win the second round, then it will just give me credit for both. However, You have to fully finish the first to even consider doing the second. That meant I was signed up for a couple more rounds of hunting pigeons before I could close it out on the last goal of delivering 5 birdies. I wish they’d allow these to be a bit more free-form since they’re already on the weekly timer. Alas, that is the system we are given so I must cope with my frustrations.
The game is at its best in the franchise mainstay, Conquest. Teams of 30+ battling for control of a sprawling map, utilizing tanks, planes, and horses to impose dominance. It’s chaotic, which is half the appeal for me.
I’m not necessarily sure if it came about in Battlefield 1, but the improvement to team vehicles is noticeable. Rather than vehicles spawning in set positions, certain locations on the map allot your team a certain amount of each vehicle type. What’s more, they even give you the choice of any tank or any plane you’d prefer. Tired of always riding around in the Gun Jeep? Have no fear, you can just choose the heavy tank instead. This also alleviates the annoyance of people who used to charge across the map and steal your best tank. That, in turn, alleviates the amount of angry slurs that come about when someone charges across the map and steals your best tank. For those taking notes, I definitely prefer the Heavy Tank on the ground and whichever plane does the most damage when crashing. Because that’s what I use planes for. Strategic crashes into the enemy.
One thing that came as a surprise for me was the heavy reliance on automatic weapons. It’s World War 1, people. They even make note that the most commonly used weapons were bolt-action rifles, yet only the Scout class has the option to equip these. For both Assault and Support, machine guns and SMGs abound. For the medic, you get semi-auto marksman rifles. I understand that everyone running around with bolt-action guns would potentially bog the gameplay down too much, but at least give every class the option of using historically accurate weapons.
Speaking of class differences, I’m also a bit sad that no class, except the Assault, has any answer to vehicles. As anyone who’s played Battlefield proper will attest, there’s always a steady stream of vehicles coming to ruin your infantry fun. With no way for most people to stop these tanks, there have been increasingly more Assault players in my Conquest matches as time goes on. I don’t have anything against the Assault class, but they offer nothing in terms of teamwork. As a dedicated team helper, I can’t explain how many times I run to revive an Assault, only to realize they’ve found the entire enemy team.
An interesting mechanic in Battlefield 1 is the introduction of game-changing super-machines. Depending on the map and the score, one of the teams may potentially deploy a giant vehicle that can dominate the battlefield if not focused down. For this to happen, your team obviously needs to be losing by a good margin, and you must also pray that the airship doesn’t spawn. The only thing being dominated by the airship are the poor people who choose to spawn inside. Allow me to explain my hatred of the airship. So far, I’ve only seen 3 potential beasts: the armored train, the battleship, and the blimp. Of those, only the armored train has proven itself as a game-changer. The ship sucks, but at least it does its sucking from the sanctuary of the ocean.
The airship, on the other hand, is so stupidly obvious that there isn’t a point on the map where you CAN’T shoot it. It just floats around at the speed of tar, raining slightly annoying rocks on the actual fighters below. Recall how I said a lot of people are playing Assault? Well, Assault starts with a rocket launcher. Airships are allergic to rocket launchers. They start shedding people like mad once hit with rocket launchers. Anyways, airships die quickly with little effect on the outcome. I hate them, and they waste my time.
The spawning of these super-machines can get a bit wonky. Apparently, there’s a certain differential threshold between scores that needs to be met, which means sometimes they’ll spawn as the game finishes. Nothing like that damn airship spawning when the enemy already has 950 points.
All in all, it’s been a great game so far. These complaints are only minor disturbances in the grand scheme of Battlefield 1. I know this post just solely highlights the flaws, but that’s because there’s plenty of articles praising the hell out of this game. I’m one to play devil’s advocate when I get the chance.
Anyways, if you find yourself with Euphorio flying planes in Conquest, parachute immediately.