Everything I Learned from 10 Hours of Battlefield 1

Like many others I just couldn’t take the wait any longer. Battlefield 1 is coming this week, but that just wasn’t soon enough for me. I finally decided to join the Origin Access program and take advantage of the 10 hour free trial of Battlefield 1. Sure it comes with other benefits such as access to a library of other games you can play and a 10% discount, I really just wanted to get my Battlefield 1 fix now. Besides, I had planned on getting the season pass anyway, and the discount made it essentially a push on the price.

So after taking the plunge I headed straight into game to try out the single player campaign. Kudos to the marketing department here, I normally would not have been interested in even trying it out, but countless previews of it got my attention. The opening battle really drives home the hopelessness many of these soldiers faced; ultimately getting overwhelmed and doomed to die on the battlefield, each time the soldier’s death is shown with his name with birth and death year. Which is a good touch in that if you have any sort of humanity, you don’t want to lose these guys at all.

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After losing man after man in your squad, you jump into the seat of a tank.  Laying waste to everyone around you and finally feeling like you accomplished something, your guy survived! Wrong, right at the very end the tank gets hit and explodes, it’s hopeless, just as it was for those other soldiers. The unfortunate part is this is really just an opening scene, your first campaign takes you into the world of the unreliable tanks of WWI. While still well done, it does not have the same feel as the beginning mission. If your character does die, you still get the same virtual tombstone heading; however, you will respawn as the same guy.

Only having 10 hours I wanted to make sure to get into some multiplayer games and pad my ranking a bit before launch. I had heard that the new Operations were a lot of fun, so that’s where I went. I did not regret that decision at all. The mode is divided into several sections, attackers need to capture all the points in a sector, and once done the map progresses to the next area. Defenders need to eliminate a set number of attackers. There are 3 chances to win the map, and after the defenders wipe out enough attackers, the map restarts, but all previous gains remain. If you manage to take the map as the attackers, then the operation will move to a second map.

Operations are extremely fun. Yes, the mode is a bit of a meat grinder, but so was the war. Sure, vehicles tear things to shreds easily, but these new machines of war did just that, and most soldiers weren’t exactly equipped to deal with them. A noticeable change from the beta, however, is that it does seem far easier to disable the vehicles, which helps in simulating their main issue, reliability. Those who spent time in tanks in the beta test will most likely change their play-style in short order as they can no longer just charge headfirst into danger with little consequence.

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The variety of vehicles offers a lot. Ranging from horses and motorcycles to tanks and armored trains. If the ground isn’t your place, then there are always, of course, planes and even zeppelins. Just to cover all the bases, there are boats as well. It’s a shame that with all these vehicles there aren’t more people playing the Support class. The only time there ever seemed to be one in a vehicle I was in was when I was the one playing the class.

When my boots were on the ground, I spent the majority of the time playing the Assault class, another class that I didn’t see very many others playing. Again, just as in the beta, there were Scouts (Snipers) crawling out of every corner.  However, unlike with the beta I wasn’t bothered as much by them, but if you’re looking for some, just throw a gas grenade anywhere near the edge of the map and you’ll see a pack of them go scurrying around like cockroaches. Maybe next time around I’ll have to bring the incendiary grenades.

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Now, I’ve only previously been a dabbler in the Battlefield series. I’ve owned Battlefield 3, but it has seen little use. Battlefield 4 and Hardline didn’t really interest me, and I was unfortunately late to the game and missed out on the time when the series was set in WWII. So, while I’m no “pro” at the series, there are some things I think it does really well, particularly the fact that your K/D ratio pretty much means very little. Sure, it helps your overall score, but not as much as following orders or supporting other players does.

The best games I’ve had, according to the scoreboard, were the ones with a squad leader actively marking orders and updating them once they have been achieved. Oh, and playing at the “grunt” class, I followed everyone. Yes, sir!  Now, typically I hover somewhere around even when it comes to dealing deaths along with taking them. This never really puts me at the top of a leaderboard but not at the bottom either. Although, one of the things I like about the game is that my absolute worst performance on the K/D scale also happened to be the one where I topped the leaderboard for a winning side. So, if the reflexes aren’t what they use to be, don’t worry because you can still be plenty effective and have the scoreboard reflect that as well.

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So what’s been the biggest issue I’ve had so far? I only have a little over an hour left on my trial and 4 more days till launch. That time will disappear way too quickly, and I’ll be left twiddling my thumbs till the game fully releases. If you’re on the fence or have been scared off by past iterations of the Battlefield series, I would recommend putting up the $5 for EA or Origin Access (depending on your gaming platform of choice), the 10 hours is a good primer, and if you get it, then the money you spent is made up for with a discounted purchase. If not, there are other perks as well to get that money back. After having spent $130 on the Star Wars: Battlefront game up front and ultimately feeling extremely burned by doing so, I had every intention of playing it cool with this game. Then I played it, and frankly I can’t wait to play more.

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Grew up gaming, worked in gaming, now writing about gaming. Even though I've been around it all my life I still try to take a sane and reasonable approach when it comes to talking about games. When not reviewing games here I can be found wasting my day on Twitter.