I Played The Battlefield 1 Beta And Got Run Over By A Horse

Battlefield 1 is having a beta on the Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC. For now, it's available to Battlefield Insider members before opening to everyone else tomorrow morning, August 31th. I was very sceptical heading into things; the entire series feels tired and the World War One setting didn't interest me. But after getting some time with the game, I'm cautiously optimistic.

On a raw gameplay level, Battlefield 1 doesn't function too differently from recent titles. My time in the beta focused on the traditional Conquest mode, where two teams of thirty two players compete to hold control points. It's the usual series fare but Battlefield 1's presentation reinvigorates the gameplay by placing itself in an unconventional setting.

I won't lie; it's strange to see World War One in this context. It's a particularly gross low point in history, bloody and vicious. But Battlefield 1 embraces those trappings, offering a brutal experience. From bayonet charges to chemical warfare, Battlefield 1 doesn't hold back. This direct approach makes each match feel personal and honestly a bit scary. The first time I had to toss on a gas mask in order to survive, I was terrified.

Embracing the loud, percussive weapons of World War One and moving away from the more tactical tools of modern war, Battlefield 1 feels incredibly bombastic. Biplanes dogfight overhead, tanks blow buildings apart, and infantry battles are swift and cruel. There's a terrible feeling that comes from sneaking behind an enemy and clubbing them to death. It's all there, with astounding sound design and visuals that really drive it all home. Death can come from anywhere. This all came to a head in a glorious moment where I was trampled by a horse.

Some things do work better than others. I've never really enjoyed how the Battlefield series handles respawning and it's far too common that you'll leap right into the fray only to be shot death within moments if you spawn on a teammate. If not that, you'll spend an inordinate amount of time traversing large maps to reach objectives. It creates an inconsistent play experience and leaves you with a lot of time where you're either dead or just way too far away from the action.

Vehicles are a prominent feature within the series but feel difficult to deal with here. A single tank can clear out a control point with little effort. Battlefield 1's strong infantry game actually begins to suffer when you toss these deadly machines into the field. Which is a genuine shame because moment to moment gunfights here offer some of the best in the series since Battlefield Vietnam.

Look at that majestic steed!

Battlefield 1 feels far more technical than an entry like Bad Company 2 or Battlefield 4. Guns are more temperamental and require you to focus a lot more on controlling recoil. Loadouts strictly define roles while still offering a lot of potential personal affectations. I felt limited when I first tried to play as a medic until I switched out my gear and found a great mid-ranged carbine. Finding the right kit feels more important here than ever.

The ominous spectre of EA's homogenisation isn't completely gone. Loading up Battlefield 1 felt oddly similar to launching Star Wars Battlefront. It gives me pause and makes me seriously doubt that EA will break away from their model of DLC or confusing online clubs and services.

Playing Battlefield 1 gives me a lot more confidence though. If anything else, it seems a nice change of tone from previous entries. There's something with character here; Battlefield 1 actually feels like a distinct title and not another throwaway entry to the series. I really hope the game continues in this direction. Before playing, I was merely curious. Now? Battlefield 1 has my attention.


Comments

    Early days but I didn't seem to die as often from tanks or planes compared to Battlefield 4 (maybe because there's less on offer?). It was exhilarating riding a horse as a Turkish soldier, using my sword to cut soldiers down. Two thumbs from me at this stage!

      You're keeping the thumbs of all the people you cut down?

        Escalation, innit.

        Battlefield Vietnam was ears... Battlefield 1 is thumbs.

      I am glad there aren't quite as many tanks in the game but they still hid the anti-tank rocket behind a level cap. Why? This has always been my biggest critique of Battlefield in that you're often put in an uwinnable situation against vehicles.

    Could not put C4 on horse and suicide charge into tank. Deleted game.

    Ugh still waiting on a code despite friends i know getting them 15+ hours ago. Frick i just want to play it so bad and today is my day off!

    I'll wait a couple of years, maybe three this time around, for the netcode to be up to spec and I can buy the game as a complete package for a decent price.

    Big meh from this camp.

    Had a great surprise checking me Emails on the way home from work yesterday - an veen greater surprise was how good the action felt! Long time Battlefield fan I just found this rich and close quarters feels a bit more raw! Bayonet charge?! Fuck yeah!!!

    Only got a few games in until i couldnt connect to EA servers but I had more fun than i expected last night so cant complain!

    Any possible way of getting a code this late if i literally only signed up to BF Insider a few hours ago?

    Game needs a trench game mode (two ditches 100 metres from each other, each team sits in their respective hole and fires at the other. No tanks, horses, unnecessary movement. Except, every 7 minutes each team takes a turn running at the other sides dugout).

    And, have General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett VC DSO as a multiplayer announcer.

    This game is way better than i was expecting, it plays and feels different to BF4 in a refreshing way, combat is raw and brutal and the visuals are absolutely stunning,first time dogfighting and gunning in an old biplane is an epic experience

    I'm liking it. After getting back into the franchise with SW Battlefront, I've not enjoy anything like this since the first Battefield (ww2 one). The best part and the greatest thing lacking from SW Battlefront is a slow pace. I love the slow reload, the non-precise rapid fire and the insta-death from close quarters combat. The modern warfare versions simply speeds thing up too fast and turns the game into Quake.
    One of the tings SW Battlefield suffers from is that skill and tactic have no impact in a match when compared to reaction time, which is a shame for a game who's biggest supporters are 40YO's but are not engaged/time free as the quicker 14YO's.
    This is a good step in the right direction, Battlefieds biggest draw for me is the team play tactical battle, slowing the pace down seams to help that. If I want arcade shooter I'd play COD, Quake, or Doom. I hope the team takes the great things about this into their next title too.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now