We’ve been playing Battlefield games for 14 years. The series has taken us to the past, sending us to World War II for the very first game, Battlefield 1942 . We’ve seen the future. Battlefield 4 put us in 2020. Now, we’re going all the way back. Battlefield 1 is putting us at square one: World War I. This may not feel like a big deal. Shooters take us to various time periods all the time, but it’s a momentous occasion for this series.
At EA Play, I was put into Conquest Mode with 64 other people of varying skill levels. We were all going to be at St. Quentin Scar, set in Northern France. We were divided into five player squads and sent out randomly into the world, perhaps fighting against friends.
My team took on a strategy I’d like to call the clown car. It was silly, yet effective. We were in an armored vehicle capable of carrying all five of us, each at a different station. Manning our guns, we were a force of doom. We traveled from objective to objective, swiftly securing points.
The funny thing is, it was so easy for our mismatched, ragtag team to find a Battlefield 1 ‘s Conquest strategy that worked. Objectives were clearly labeled, waiting to be captured. We could choose what role we wanted in the field, setting out to capture certain points. If our team leader, who was randomly assigned, chose an objective, we could earn additional points for achieving it.
This Battlefield 1 demo very much encouraged cooperation and, even though no one on my team knew each other and we were unable to talk, we ended up intuitively banding together in the vehicle and plowing our way to victory.
The camaraderie wasn’t the only thing I took away from the Battlefield 1 demo. It was also the sense of atmosphere it built around me. First person shooters have a certain stereotype built up around them. They’re going to be dark. Various shades of brown may be involved. While St. Quentin’s villages were dilapidated, they were far from brown. Battlefield 1 is bright and dynamic. Everything seemed as modern as a World War I game could be. By which I mean, the demo I played successfully made me feel as though I was a soldier in WWI and all this equipment and technology was new to me.
Which, for many, it will be. World War I isn’t as familiar and recent to us as World War II. Many of us have never known any family members who participated in that war. Battlefield 1 is enlightening. You can look at its planes, zeppelins, guns, cannons, and other equipment, and marvel at what people were capable of, even then. You wonder what you’ll be able to do, when placed in the campaign and multiplayer’s maps with these items.
Battlefield 1 has potential. In fact, after what I played at the EA Play event, I’m convinced it could end up being one of the best entries in the series. I don’t often get excited about FPS games. They aren’t my forte. This game felt different. It looked different. Even at this early stage, it works well as a period piece, and I’m eager to see what DICE and EA do with it this year.