During EA Live at E3 2016, EA let Cody Orme and Jed Whitaker play a multiplayer match each of the highly anticipated First World War shooter, Battlefield 1. Both parties had different feelings about the game. Cody found the game downright boring. Meanwhile, as someone who doesn’t typically like the series, Jed found it to be a breath of fresh air. Here’s what both of them had to say.
Jed Whitaker: I hate the way in other Battlefield games you’re sometimes forced to walk a great distance to get to the heat of the battle, only to be sniped moments before being able to engage in combat. That isn’t the case here. As the game is based on First World War, the combat tends to consist of closer encounters due to the weaponry of the era and the layout of the map I played on. In this small village, nearly all of my kills were achieved at midrange to point blank distance. Because I was only able to play a single match, this could have been just due to lack of snipers on the other team. I can only hope it was by design, however.
Aside from the combat, players still have access to vehicles in battle. These include fighter planes to zip around in, and tanks to obliterate your enemies and buildings that stand in your way to victory. Destruction is better than ever, as explosions throw debris in every direction and most everything can be destroyed. I did, however, find one stubborn tree that refused to drop, even from direct hits from my tank. My favorite moment in a vehicle, though, was the armoured car that had unlimited amounts of annoying honking, which I spammed to annoy enemies when capturing points in the classic Conquest mode.
Another new feature is a huge zeppelin that will be automatically called in eventually for whichever team is behind. This massive blimp stretches across the battlefield, and can drop bombs decimating anything below it. The team in the lead must quickly work together to bring it down with mounted guns and planes, or the tides of war could quickly change. I helped bring one down with a mounted gun, and watching it fall to the ground was immensely satisfying, though it lacked any real impact as it clipped through the ground unceremoniously. This was supposedly a pre-alpha, although the game is supposed to release in just a few short months. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt on that.
I will say, however, that the graphics certainly don’t look anywhere close to those shown in the trailers.
Cody Orme: Battlefield 1 definitely captures the look and feel of the First World War, but I couldn’t help being disappointed in my time with the game. I felt the change of scenery to an underrepresented conflict in gaming could be that extra kick the series needs to be relevant again. However, I realized that wasn’t the case as I walked out of the EA Play building right outside of the LA Convention Center.
It’s important to note that the game is in its alpha build, but with a release date of Oct. 1 2016, I really question if this will be able to make launch without issues. I tried to be very lenient on how the game looked because of the alpha warning, but it was really hard to excuse how confusing the game was. Every soldier had a blue marker over his head, making it extremely difficult to determine who was on my side. Some characters had a green symbol over their heads, but I honestly didn’t understand why. Videogames have taught us that red equals bad and blue is good. So when everyone had the same coloured indicator, I couldn’t know who was on my side until they started shooting at me.
Despite that lack of guidance at the beginning, Jed made a good point about the vehicular combat being a blast. It was only really fun, though, if you’re in control. The vehicles shown off in the game were a tank, and an aeroplane. In the tank, players can pile in while one drives and everyone else shoots from the side. I could not, for the life of me, hit a single thing with my gun hanging out of this machine. You have almost no sense of surrounding in this mode, so when you finally hop out, you’re just a lost and confused mess. I will say that the zeppelin was pretty cool, except that as you shoot it, and the balloon part of the ship starts to chip away, the machine can still fly. It was kind of weird, but I’ll chalk that up to “pre alpha” something or another.
The combat is definitely where the game shines. That is, when you’re not confused of your location. I ended up playing as a sniper, and I found it to be too easy. Since everyone was so focused on close range combat, I could pick them off with little resistance. Weirdly enough, my character wouldn’t reload automatically with his one shot weapon. Instead, I would press the shoot button twice. I guess that can make for a sense of tension on the battlefield if you mess up, but I just found it to be an inconvenience more than anything.
Other classes I tried wound up being boring. While the Sniper was focused on strategic placement and waiting for the right moment to make an attack, every other class was bog-standard cover shooter nonsense that I’ve played before. I guess it’s a change to what we’re used to with Battlefield, but it wasn’t much different than most of the things I experienced in competitors like Call of Duty.
I don’t think Battlefield 1 is going to be bad, necessarily; it’s almost impossible to come to that conclusion from 20 minutes with a pre-alpha build. I do think, however, this game won’t live up to the expectations it created from its trailer and unique setting, though. Things have changed to accommodate this era, but sometimes change isn’t for the better.
Will Battlefield 1 meet gamers’ expectations? Let us know what you think in the comments below. For an entirely different take on this debate, read why CGM’s Brendan Quinn feels EA and DICE are misrepresenting the events of World War I with this title.