Siobhan Keogh is the NZ Herald's gaming blogger.

You will not survive Battlefield 1

Battlefield 1 will test your survival skills.
Battlefield 1 will test your survival skills.

You begin Battlefield 1 with a grim warning: "You are not expected to survive".

Battlefield's single-player modes have never been especially well-received, but Battlefield 1 has a different feel to it. For the first time in many years, we have a blockbuster military shooter that's trying to make a real point.

You don't play as one character throughout the whole campaign, with a mission to mow down hundreds of people alone and save the world.

Instead, you play as soldiers in real battles in the Great War, Gallipoli included. And like many of those soldiers, you will die.

Yet it's still, for the most part, enjoyable to play. Despite the setting, the characters often have a sense of humour. There's even a grizzled Aussie soldier who pokes fun at us Kiwis.

Feels historically accurate, eh?

There are occasional difficulty spikes, which can be frustrating. But when you're dying over and over, the game is pounding two things into your skull. First, that you need to try another tactic. Second, that this is what happens all the time in real war. Suck it up and keep trying.

If you're a Battlefield fan, though, chances are you'll skip most of the campaign, at least at first. The series has always been about multiplayer mode, and about creating large-scale battlefields which feel terrifyingly real.

In each game in the main Battlefield series, developers DICE have upped the ante. In Battlefield 1, you can play in epic, multi-map matches of up to 64 players in the Operations game mode. These matches are incredible: challenging, huge, and high-stakes. They also re-enact real battles from World War I, and if the victorious side didn't actually win back in the 1910s, a voiceover speculates on how a different outcome may have changed history. You'd be surprised at how much you can learn about the Great War just through Operations.

The familiar game modes are still there - capture-and-hold games like Domination and Conquest, and of course you'll find Team Deathmatch on the list. There's also a new mode called War Pigeons, where you'll find homing pigeons and send them to home base with a message to rain hell on your enemies. Though not on the same scale as Operations, which can take an hour or more to play through, these modes offer some quick fun when you have 10 minutes or so to play.

An image from Battlefield 1.
An image from Battlefield 1.

One of the biggest surprises of Battlefield 1 is that it seems to be relatively bug-free. The past few games have all been plagued by bugs and connectivity issues from launch, but in probably 20 hours of game time I had very few issues.

In a time where military shooters have gone sci-fi, Battlefield 1 has taken a step back to great effect. It may be frustrating at times, but it's the best Battlefield game in many years - maybe the best ever.

Battlefield 1


Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Rating: R16
Stars: 4.5/5
Verdict: Believe the hype, because Battlefield 1 is all-out war

- NZ Herald

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