Feeling Recharged From Playing The Battlefield 1 Beta

As someone who fell in love with the original Battlefield Bad Company, I haven’t had the best of times with some of DICE’s more recent games in the series. Battlefield 3’s campaign left the whole thing feeling pretty lifeless and its sequel did little to stir my growing indifference towards the franchise. Alongside a complete change in scenery, Battlefield 1 feels as though it’s genuinely pushing the series back on track, even if only by a little.

Bar the thematic overhaul, multiplayer is still centred around massive objective-based encounters and team play. Being able to jump into a squad and cooperatively work towards a common goal without the need for verbal communication gives Battlefield 1 a superb tactical edge over its contemporaries. Although online multiplayer continues to dominate part of my daily routine, I haven’t strapped on a headset and talked shop with random teammates since the glory days of Uncharted 2.

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The more time I’ve spent with the open beta, the more I’ve come to appreciate many of the design changes over previous instalments. One thing that irked me about Battlefield 4 and Hardline was the mass of information crammed onto the screen at one time. Even when shrunk down to the smallest setting, icons and name tags would constantly get in the way, disrupting the action.

Although it needs to convey a similar amount of information, Battlefield 1 seems to have found a happier balance. Not only that, DICE has managed to work in some nice added features such as cavalry units, vehicle-specific classes, and versatile player loadouts.

Battlefield1-BetaIL

Tanks and armoured vehicles have always been a core part of the Battlefield experience, though often feel overpowered and overused. Instead of simply stripping them out entirely, each infantry class now has something in their arsenal to help take down these units, whether it’s the assault’s ridiculously styled grenades or the sniper’s armour piercing rounds. However, there’s no universal solution to a tank assault and you have to work together and use your abilities smartly to take one out.

One thing that hasn’t changed – and quite rightly shouldn’t have – are the modes themselves. Although there’s bound to be a more fleshed out selection in the full game, Conquest and Rush are signature scenarios for this much-loved franchise. As such they’ve been left unmolested and now find themselves encased in a series of WWI-themed stages.

Destructible terrain has played an equally important role in recent Battlefield and here it returns once again. Whether demolishing a sniper’s nest or making an impromptu tank trail through a building, walls and structures fall apart in a familiar fashion, deforming the battlefield and altering how open or closed the fight is.

Once I had experienced most of the new bells and whistles, I felt myself sagging into that same old groove. Battlefield 1 is an excitingly gorgeous shooter though one that still has some problems. Strange spawning patterns and a paradoxical focus on somewhat more authentic gunplay – though not overly realistic – make it hard to adjust to, especially if you’ve been gorging yourself on Titanfall, Call of Duty, and Overwatch.

Still, walking away from the beta, I feel as though my batteries and enthusiasm for the series have been recharged. If DICE has a similarly impressive campaign in tow then there may be some real competition for the other hot shooter about to deploy.

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Written by
Senior Editor bursting with lukewarm takes and useless gaming trivia. May as well surgically attach my DualSense at this point.

11 Comments

  1. Doesn’t feel great. The environment isn’t that destructible and it feels like it’s lacking the all out warfare feeling BF games have. The map and lack of weapons probably don’t help. Hopefully the other maps will be better along with the conquest point layout.

    I genuinely think hardcore will be where it’s at, with the more archaic weaponry and such.

  2. I found the beta to be disappointing. I was expecting a more gritty take on WW1, but instead it’s very Michael Bay. Overall it doesn’t really feel like an improvement, it’s just Battlefield in a different skin which I don’t find to be that much fun.

    • I’d go as far as to say Battlefront in a different skin, in some respects.

  3. I played a bit more over the weekend but I’m still not happy with the feel of it too. I’m hoping its more to do with the map which I’m really not a fan of.
    There seems to be far too many people sniping too. I did actually rage quit yesterday whilst playing Rush. Wherever I spawned I was being taken out by a sniper in a matter of 2 seconds or less – I didn’t even have chance to run or even If I did make it to cover, I was being killed by snipers immediately, this tells me there’s a severe flaw with the level design.

  4. It seems to be going in a slightly simplified direction like Star Wars Battlefront was. A much faster pace and quicker respawning once you’ve been shot, probably unexpectedly by someone sniping from miles away.

    But they forgot to make it fun like Battlefront. Instead they made something that looks all nice and shiny and is a perfectly competent game but just does the same thing again in a mildly pointless way. (Kind of like that last Star Wars film then, really ;)

    On the plus side, it all fell over on the second day, and then Sky decided that internet wasn’t something I needed for 24 hours, so I had a good excuse not to bother with it again.

    Then again, it might just be that the map in the beta is just crap and the rest of the game is actually fun. But probably not.

  5. Played it and felt it was missing something. Think Fish & Chips without the salt and vinegar.

    I see what they’re trying to achieve but it felt wooden and hollow as a game. I genuinely like Battlefield and still think BF4 is the best game if it’s kind. Without doubt.

    To me, at present, its a no and as a result it raises a question.

    Battlefield 4 is immense, so why do the developers seem hell bent on getting as far away from it as they possibly can?

    Hardline, 1? When what we all actually want is Battlefield 5?

    I just find it odd that instead of honing, fine tuning and tweaking the model to make an incredible BF5, we keep being offered something completely different….

  6. Dear DICE,

    Please, please, please remaster the BF Bad Company 2 Multiplayer maps with upgraded visuals etc. Maybe throw in the Bad Company 1 maps too for good measure. Everything else (game mechanics, load outs etc) can remain exactly the same. Thats all I ask… Pretty please, with hundreds and thousands on top! Those maps were absolutely spot-on for Rush.

    Thank you & regards,
    double-o-dave

    • Absolutely! I’d buy that in a heartbeat, esp. if they threw in Vietnam too!

      Apparently though EA don’t do remasters, so I wouldn’t hold my breath…

  7. I played it for an hour or two yesterday.

    For some reason I was made squad leader (must be random, I’m terrible). This boost to my ego made the game incredibly fun for me as I ordered my teammates around and got points for doing so. Never ranked up so quickly in my life!

    It’s still Battlefield though. Unless I’m safely ensconced in a tank, I’ll die very quickly. Or I’ll spawn at a base miles away from everyone, take a ten minute hike and die to the first person I see. Why are the maps always so annoyingly huge?

    It was fun though. One to keep an eye on.

  8. I think overall I just find it different compared to BF4. Sure I miss the all out chaos and modern gunfire of BF4 battles, but the slightly slower pace here is quite refreshing, and it can still be almost as chaotic at times. But it’s still recognisably Battlefield, right down to the running forever only to get shot at your destination, OP tanks and snipers everywhere on far too open maps.

    Whether this translates into a sale I don’t know. I enjoyed the concept and gameplay of the Hardline beta too, but didn’t pick that up until it was on offer for £4.

    But then I have only just gotten back into BF4 having finally tweaked my network etc to give an acceptable, mostly lag free performance, so I’m enjoying that enough not to need another BF experience right now.

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