I’ve never been much of one for multiplayer combat games – but I am a nut about history. That’s why I was excited when I heard that the latest iteration of the Battlefield series by Electronic Arts was going to go old-school, and take modern combat back to its birth in World War One.
I was even more excited when I heard that there was going to be a limited beta release of the game – so we could get down and dirty in WWI before buying the final game.
So in the interests of science – not to mention some good, old-fashioned curiosity – I got in on the act and downloaded the beta; and here’s my mission report:
Well, first off, Battlefield 1 continues the tradition of making entry into the game as complicated as possible. While it wasn’t as bad as some of the games I’ve complained about in the past, there were a number of (reasonable, I guess) hoops to jump through before you could sign up and download the 8gb game files.
After a couple of hours of downloading, the most frustrating part for me was running into a complete brick wall when I tried to first play the game. I have a brand-new, state-of-the-art Alienware computer and I had to go through 28 minutes of downloading updated drivers before Battlefield 1 would run.
I imagine they’ll fix that when it goes gold.
What was impressive was what that graphical hurdle resulted in. As soon as I loaded up the game I was thrown into a truly beautiful World War One battlefield in North Africa and the game ran smoothly (at 100 frames per second, even while recording) and looked fantastic.
And despite the video below, the gameplay was actually pretty intuitive. I was thrust into a conflict to conquer a number of objectives and the whole thing both captured the vivid realism of battle (“who the fuck am I meant to be shooting at?”) while giving us some Hollywood pizazz for our buck (riddling a bad guy with machine gun fire is insanely satisfying.)
I am a total noob, so my failure-upon-failure is justifiable. But it’s a pretty impressive showing for EA and there’s enough to differentiate this from other combat games to keep things interesting. I’ll be revisiting the beta a few more times before release day; and if I can stay alive for more than 30 seconds at a time, they might well have scored a new fan of the franchise.
Here is my full “Let’s Play” below: