For the last week or so I’ve been getting my hands dusty with Battlefield 1 goodness; thanks to the open beta that was made available for Battlefield Insiders (and then later for everybody else). The game in its current state is limited in scope, but it does give some insight into how the final product will most likely look, sound and feel.
The Battlefield series has solidified itself as a giant of the multiplayer FPS genre, albeit a slightly more humble giant than its loud-mouthed, younger brother: Call of Duty. I wanted to sit down with this humble giant, listen to what it has to say, dissect it to examine its innards and then paint my skin with its blood (that metaphor may have gone a little further than intended).
So what does the Battlefield 1 beta currently offer?
Good question, me! In its current format the beta is offering 7 classes playing in 2 game modes on 1 map. The classes functioned solidly and will presumably remain as the ones playable for the games full release. These classes include – Assault, Support, Medic, Scout, Tanker, Cavalier and Pilot.
- Lets cover the Tanker, Cavalier & Pilot first shall we? These classes don’t really operate similarly to the other 4, in fact they aren’t even always available to you. Essentially, each team will have a certain amount of vehicles and horses at its disposal and, if one or more is available, will give the option to a freshly spawned player to operate them. Even when disembarking out of a vehicle the player still plays as that class until they re-spawn.
- The Assault class is the standard run-and-gun infantry. They are decked out with an assault rifle, sidearm and tools to help them destroy vehicles.
- The Medic is used to heal the wounds during the war. They have a rifle, sidearm and supplies to heal / revive their allies.
- The Support class is capable of replenishing their teams ammo supplies. Their load-out includes a light machine gun, sidearm and tools to re-stock on ammo or tripwires to surprise their foes.
- The Scout is Battlefield’s sniper class. They are equipped with a sniper rifle, sidearm and equipment that can help them spot/mark enemies as well as blind them.
You mentioned 2 game modes and 1 map earlier?
I most certainly did! The two game modes on offer are Conquest and Rush and the map they are played on is called Sinai Desert. Conquest pits two teams against each other, each looking to capture and maintain as many locations as possible. Alternatively, Rush sees one team (attackers) looking to blow up certain points of interest and the other team (defenders) have to stop them. The game modes work well and offer varying play styles that both manage to scratch a different itch. Where the game starts to fall off for me though is with the map that was chosen to be the arena for the beta’s war.
I just can’t help but be unenthused by Sinai Desert. Not just because it heavily favours vehicles and sniping, but also because I wanted to look at how beautiful Battlefield could be; instead I just got desert. A really high fidelity desert with more pixels than I could count, but a desert nonetheless. Now I totally understand the historical significance of Sinai Desert’s setting and if it was one of multiple maps on offer I’d be more than happy. But as it stands, the map started to bore me. The big open playing field meant that camping snipers were a commonality and foot soldiers got mowed down by overhead planes or nearby tanks too easily. The map does offer paths with some protection and a lot of flanking potential, but the time and effort required just doesn’t seem to be worth the payoff. Having said that, a cohesive and diverse team working intelligently together can still demolish a sniper stacked team – I just don’t know where those intelligent and cooperative players are.
But what else does the game have going for it?
Currently, not much more. And I suppose that’s an issue with these limited betas. I understand that the game developers didn’t want to give everything away and weren’t ready to show all of their cards just yet; the problem is I’m not walking away from the Battlefield 1 beta eager to play more on release, I’m instead walking away after having enough.
My play time with Battlefield 1 wasn’t all bad. It has to be said the game looks great, sounds great, runs smoothly and plays perfectly. It simulates a war-zone really well and the destructible terrain functions better than ever. The variation of vehicles keeps things fun and interesting and customising your classes load-out offers personalisation and rewards to work towards. Having said that, I am probably at my Battlefield limit right now. Definitely at my Sinai Desert limit. My dreams may well be haunted by desert mounds and the sounds of an enemy tank rolling up behind me for the foreseeable future.