Battlefield 1 Proves DICE Listened to Fans

Battlefield 1 may be a week away from release, but EA has a special treat for EA Access members on Xbox One and Origin Access members on PC. Subscribers to either service can now download the Battlefield 1 “Play First” trial, which gives players access to a sizable chunk of content for about ten hours. Is a subscription worth it to play one the biggest multiplayer games of 2016?

Battlefield fans should find the structure instantly familiar. Players can choose one of four classes: assault, medic, support and scout. Assault gets shotguns and SMGs and is charged with the majority of the anti-vehicle weaponry. The medic can use a variety of semi-automatic rifles and provides healing support. Support gets the trust LMGs and is tasked with resupplying allies. Finally, we have the scout who is all about sniping. Though each classes’ duties are altered from Battlefield 4, longtime players of the franchise will easily be able to pick their favorite and go straight into the action. There is a slight twist with the pilot and tanker classes, which players will spawn as if they spawn directly into a tank or plane. These classes come with their own pre-determined loadouts that can’t be changed.

The Play First trial truly is a sizeable chunk of the actual game. You’ll get access to five of the nine maps (Fao Fortress, St. Quentin’s Scar, Amiens, Sinai Desert and Suez), and four multiplayer modes (Conquest, Rush, Domination and Operations). The maps will need more testing, but all appear to play excellently. Dice seems to have learned their lesson from Battlefield 4, this time placing objectives in a more linear route rather than the sometimes random nature of Battlefield 4’s objectives. These are also the most destructible maps any Battlefield game has had since Bad Company 2. Walls, terrain, and even entire buildings can be destroyed. With destruction in, this means that Levolution events, first pioneered in Battlefield 4, are out. Considering how badly fans wanted actual destruction back, Levolution’s omission likely won’t bother many.

Conquest, Rush and Domination should feel familiar to Battlefield veterans. Operations, however, is a brand new mode that aims to immerse players in World War I. This is a large mode that spans across several maps based on the real battles. Attackers must take territory to push the fight forward, while the defenders try to hold their ground. Failure to hold their ground drives the fight to the next map. From the new map, players will be able to see the carnage from the previous round in the distance. Operations can take up to an hour of your time, but it is Battlefield at its finest.

Dice has been hard at work since the open beta closed over a month ago and the team has listened. Popping into Battlefield 1, it’s clear that many of the biggest changes fans have requested are there. Conquest has been tweaked to better represent what we had in Battlefield 4. Deaths matter and each kill earns points to the total score. Of course, some of Battlefield 1’s changes are still there. Playing the objective still, earns points to the total score, but not as much as in the beta. Speaking of deaths mattering, Dice has completely fixed reviving. A new, more noticeable icon will automatically appear over dead player’s heads for medic players who have the syringe equipped. No more having to press a button to request a revive, or the icon glitching out and never appearing. It feels good to have it finally working again.

The most requested change was the balancing of the tanks. Dice has completely overhauled them, making them fairer. Vehicles are slow and cumbersome to move, but they tend to last longer on the battlefield since much of the anti-tank weaponry doesn’t deal a whole lot of damage. To counter this, Dice has done two things. One, powerful anti-tank weaponry like the rocket gun are now unlocked from the get go, giving players more options on how to handle vehicles. Two, Dice has limited the number of vehicles that can spawn on the map. Not only does this make it fair from a gameplay perspective, but it also makes the game a bit more historically accurate as there weren’t many tanks manufactured during the period. So, tanks are still the powerful beasts they were always meant to be; it’s just that now infantry stands a better chance.

Finally, the trial gives players a taste of the single player campaign. Players will get the opportunity to try the tutorial mission, which they’ll be thrust into the moment the game is started, and Through Mud and Blood. This War Story follows Daniel Edwards, a British chauffeur turned tank driver. There’s plenty of different gameplay scenarios, drama and tragedy into the short scenario. It’ll be interesting to see how the other War Stories play out, but hopefully it will be a better campaign than what we got in Battlefield 4.

Battlefield 1 is out October 21 on PS4, Xbox One and PC. Those who purchase the Early Enlister Edition can begin playing on October 18. For those with EA Access or Origin Access, log in and get playing. To learn more about the game, be sure to read our interview with Lead UI/UX Designer Erik Ortman here.