Battlefield 1 review

In recent years, undoubtedly, the shooter genre has neglected its more classic settings, those typical of the scenarios of the Second World War, to shift the emphasis on the wars of the future, especially given the playful possibilities that scenarios of this type allow to set up. . DICE ed Electronic Arts however, this year, they finally return to the classic and indeed, they go even further back with Battlefield 1: for jetpacks, stunts and robots turn to Titanfall 2 (out on October 28), here you immerse yourself in the Great War, where the sights have no laser pointers and the expression "cavalry arrives" has a very literal meaning.

Version tested: PlayStation 4

Battlefield 1, none and a hundred thousand
The Battlefield 1 campaign is the best seen in the series in several years

The single offer, the offline campaign of the game, is divided into what are in fact five sub-campaigns that include, each, from two to four missions, to which we must add Storm of Steel (in fact, the tutorial) where the player plays, transition after transition, the role of some soldiers pushed to death on the battlefield, learning the name of their alter ego from the black screen that acts as a "break" between one situation and another. Already playing Tempesta d'Acciaio it is clear how DICE has chosen to focus, while laying everything on some historical truths, on the emotional component, painting for each of the sub-campaigns a precise and well-told picture of the events and sensations experienced by the soldiers of whom you go to dress in uniform and tell different stories, using, among other things, different narrative devices (flashbacks, first-person narration and in one case even deception, making the player fall into the same "trap" used against the enemy) and ultimately going to package what it is as a whole a successful single-player package like no one has seen in years within the series (but also by the parties of direct competition). One cannot remain indifferent to the flow of events that are witnessed on the screen, especially with regard to the controversial mission set in Italy on Monte Grappa, Forward Savoy, which despite being the shortest of the sequences proposed by DICE manages to reach intensity peaks that hardly leave indifferent who is holding the pad in their hands, giving prestige to one of the specialties of the Italian Royal Army of the First World War, that of the Arditi (known for fighting using a dagger and hand grenades).


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Battlefield 1, the Alpini protest for a game map


On a playful level, the AI ​​of the enemies in Battlefield 1 is a little too naive in the stealth phases

The choice to divide the offer in this way, however, is not free from defects: it is true that in doing so DICE was able to concentrate in, on average, an hour what it wanted to be able to show (because each of the campaigns in fact goes to draw on some aspects of the multiplayer, allowing you to test some mechanics and presenting the maps that are then found online) and tell, but on the other hand the total duration of the whole goes to settle on five hours, albeit well managed and with a practically tight pace. You recover something by playing on the highest difficulties and dedicating yourself to 100% completion of the challenges (and to the collection of the diaries hidden on the maps, the collectibles of the game), but it is an operation in which collectors of trophies and objectives will probably try their hand (perhaps enticed by putting on the bulletin board the trophy linked to the completion of these aspects in Avanti Savoia, which SAYS in a burst of irony he christened Italia Amore Mio). The biggest flaw, however, touches the more directly playful aspects, where complicit an opposing Artificial Intelligence a little too soft and naive the level of challenge is likely to fail, especially if you decide to tackle (where possible) all in stealth mode. Given the exaggerated reaction times of the various guards on the field it is in fact easy to approach them, even if they are in the company of an ally, and eliminate both soldiers in close combat, or use the bayonet charge in hand by eliminating the German, the Austro-Hungarian or the Ottoman on duty before he raises the alarm. But, above all, it is how these react to sounds and diversions that is perplexing; the developers have included in-game the possibility, using the Dualshock 4 touchpad, to launch a hand bullet in order to attract the attention of an enemy. Attention that will be drawn exactly to the letter, with the guard who will go to go exactly to the point where the bullet touched the ground and will remain perplexed, often even from behind, for several moments in the vicinity of the area. At that point, unless it is some special unit immune to melee (such as flammieri), elimination is guaranteed. Particularly at the expense of the campaign set in the Arabian desert, which bases its initial and central sections on the need to advance and eliminate specific targets, and where therefore acting in stealth mode (and perhaps using binoculars to mark enemies on the map) becomes almost a formality.

Above a German missile prototype
Battlefield 1 is a full-fledged Battlefield: there are some simplifications, but it remains a very different product from Arcade FPS and playing reasoning is a must, if you don't want to end up killed

Before going to dissect what is historically the main offer in a title of the genre, or the online multiplayer component, it is necessary to address the discourse concerning the raw and raw game mechanics. From this point of view Battlefield 1 fits, almost contrary to initial expectations, into the trench that the series traditionally occupies: the motto is "unity is strength" and playing as a team plays a practically key role, also because the classes present are decidedly specialized. L'Assault essentially has the task of acting as an anti-tank, being able to count on explosives (for launching, but also more static such as dynamite and magnetic mines) capable of inflicting heavy damage on armored vehicles, while rifle in hand finds its raison d'etre in the close combat, making use of light machine guns and, if necessary, charging with the bayonet of the weapon. The class Support dispenses, in fact, support, supplying allies with ammunition (both individually and leaving crates with supplies around the map) and supporting the allied maneuvers, thanks to weapons with an average larger loader and capable of having their say, up to a certain point, even on the medium distance. The Medical deals with treating and reviving the wounded in the field, and generally uses rifles capable of inflicting more damage on a single shot but not automated (or in any case with a reduced rate). The base classes are complemented by the Scout, the classic lethal long-range sniper (but more vulnerable when these are shortened), and probably more influenced by the modification of some game mechanics: the physics concerning the ballistics of the bullets has in fact been further streamlined compared to what had already happened with Battlefield 4 (we also find here the possibility to select, in spans, the distance from the target being framed, in order to adjust the aim accordingly), making the use of sniper rifles more immediate, even if this simplification will probably not appeal to the hard core of fans of the series (forget in short having to "compensate" for the effect of the earth's curvature with which we found ourselves having to deal with in Bad Company 2).



The other big change concerns the reduction of the damage that bullets can cause on average, which has the effect of making the opponents (and themselves) more resistant to offensive attempts by the rival army; the effect at the end of the fair is to make everything less frustrating as far as we are concerned: it still happens that a particularly skilled shooter, aiming for the head, manages to take out the player faster, but it is more difficult to be killed suddenly without the possibility of appeal and, usually, one manages to survive long enough to at least organize a decent attempt at a fire response. Maybe then you die anyway, since you go to the fight anyway without having recovered the health lost with the first smash, but at least you can have your say and, in some cases, even make your ability count. Part of the credit, however, it must be said, is to be attributed to what is instead a problem that we hope the developers will solve with the next patches, which sees some hits that should hit the card, do not produce effects on the enemy that is hit: nothing tragic, but definitely a nuisance which partially spoils the party, in the light of this newfound mobility. In any case, the elite classes that can be used temporarily in the game must be added to the base classes (when a voice warns that a class containing the equipment has been located nearby), which in any case do not make the player who wear armor or use the flamethrower a kind of deity who has descended on the battlefield but they only give some bonuses. Finally, there are the classes linked to the pilots of the vehicles (chariots and, taking some licenses from what is the historical truth of the Great War, airplanes) and to the cavalry, whose equipment adapts to their needs. On the back of a steed, for example, you are equipped with a saber to mow down enemies on the ground (as long as they are not overwhelmed by the mount) and you have some anti-tank grenades, particularly useful (albeit in very limited numbers, only two ) in combination with the agility of the unit because they allow hit and run assaults on what are the means by which the control of an area is mainly going to be subverted.

Level Design to applause: “only” 9 Maps, but all inspired and fun to play

All changes that, purists of the series or not, in the end one cannot fail to recognize as apt and capable of increasing the fun that each game offers, especially since these are adjustments that, while simplifying some aspects, do not change the direction of the franchise towards more arcade and immediate shores. Battlefield 1 is a full-fledged Battlefield, and battlefield tactics are still paramount, especially considering that as for the campaign, also in terms of the available maps, DICE has favored quality over quantity: there are only nine battle scenarios available, but each of these is studied in detail and has unique characteristics, from the trenches and from the natural gradients of Monte Grappa (particularly fun to play, also thanks to the gallery positioned in the center of the map which is well designed both for those who have to storm it and for the defenders, who can isolate a part of it by closing the doors and blocking the locks ) to the armored train that can peep into the Arabian desert, interfering with the maneuvers of the opposing team on the parts of the map closest to the railroad tracks. In conclusion, a good choice on this front too, since then as we will see shortly different modes have fun playing with the dimensions of the maps and prepare some kind of playlists of situations that alternate some following a common track, encouraging the player to understand what role to play on the battlefield not by looking at the big picture, but by reading the situation.

Crucchi de m *** a, 2-0 at your home!
The multiplayer does not betray: between news and confirmations Battlefield 1 is up to the DICE curriculum

The multiplayer component offers classics of the genre (and of the series) and adds some news that, let's say, we undoubtedly found interesting. Team deathmatch, as usual, is probably the least "stimulating" part of the offer, since the pad in the hand is the one where the importance of the tactic described in the previous paragraph is felt least. Conquista, together with Dominio, is instead the most suitable way to get an idea of ​​what the online offer is (not surprisingly, it is usually the one proposed by default in the main menu under Quick Match, where "quick game" is still to be understood in the style of Battlefield since you can easily arrive at half an hour per session), and requires you to conquer together with your allies the various areas scattered on the map, then maintaining control while the opponents try to regain possession. Corsa puts the attack team under defense artillery fire, making telegraphs play a key role; used to communicate the areas in which to concentrate the fire, the attackers will have the purpose of destroying them in order to advance, while those who play in defense must be able to get close enough to them to send the communication and open fire. War Pigeons instead is proposed as a sort of variant of Capture the Flag, where you have to retrieve the pigeon, reach your base and free it so that it transmits the coordinates to hit (exactly like the flag in Capture the Flag), but being careful that after releasing the bird it is not shot down in flight; in short, an addition of value and capable of guaranteeing a certain fun, adapting a great classic of the genre to the context of the First World War. But the most significant addition, also as regards the length of the games, is Operations: always dividing the two sides in attack and defense, a series of battles are started (which will progressively use the whole map, then change it at the end. of the turn) which traces some of the key moments experienced at the front, allowing for example to free the area of ​​Monte Grappa from the Austro-Hungarian forces first and then moving to the Adriatic front to definitively defeat the occupants. Mode that, as mentioned, has the great advantage of showcasing both the splendid level design work that characterizes this year's offer of DICE and the reasoned gameplay of Battlefield 1, then mixing the cards during the various stages of battle . The attackers after a certain number of phases see the arrival of some reinforcements, but find themselves having to deal with the number of re-entry tickets in exhaustion, while the defenders retreat to areas of the map further inside their lines and better protected. In short, it is not the slow war of attrition that was fought from 1914 (1915 for Italy) to 1918, but while taking the necessary licenses, the final result can only be described as: in a word, very successful.


More controversial than Lawrence of Arabia
There are some technical defects, but diluted in so much substance

From a technical point of view, in addition to the aforementioned "hitbox" problem, some minor problems we ran into should be highlighted: In fact, DICE's work is not always finished to the best, and it happens to see some polygonal interpenetration too many (with the obstacles that are crossed by corpses and elements of the scene) and some somewhat anomalous physics behavior when driving vehicles, especially as regards the lighter ones. On the other hand, however, visually the Electronic Arts team is worked in a more than excellent way, and the title is visually able to return excellent views and to keep up with the level design when it comes to painting on the screen the splendid environments on which the game rests, then doing a great job with regard to the direction and the shots of the campaign cutscene. Campaign which among other things also benefits from a level dubbing (you also come across some voices known to the general public, such as Ivo de Palma, historical voice of Pegasus in The Knights of the Zodiac but not new to some outings in the videogame field) and, like the rest of the production, benefits from a soundtrack always punctual in capturing the mood and the emotional climate of what is happening on the screen.


Verdict 9/10 The drama of having to fight for the Austro-Hungarian Empire Commentary Battlefield 1 did not miss a beat, as far as the important aspects of the title are concerned: despite some simplifications that could probably displease purists, there is the formula and the usual, tried and tested used by the previous chapters of the series, polished given the commendable work done on the level design front (with nine maps that define sumptuous is little) and, above all, as regards the story (or rather, the stories) told in the campaign. It had been years since DICE hadn't offered such inspired single content and this new "episodic" setting could be the definitive solution, giving players emotion and letting the developers concentrate everything they want to show and tell in a matter of hours. For the rest, most of the small defects present in-game are nothing irremediable, and already the next patches will probably make our complaints obsolete. In practice, what does this mean? Simply that if you want to dedicate yourself to a shooter that goes to resume the classic settings of the Battlefield 1 genre it does this and even goes a little further, with some licenses but in the end giving great satisfaction. Pros and cons It's Battlefield, in all its key aspects
Convincing news
Visually successful
Top-notch campaign ... x ... But not very long-lived
x Naive enemy AI
x Some technical defects
x Simplified ballistics that won't appeal to purists

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