Today the open beta for Battlefield 1 was released and I had an opportunity to go in depth with the game. I have been so excited for Battlefield 1 since the first gameplay trailer was revealed, and I finally got the chance to experience it today. The game is once again, being developed by Dice and will be published by Electronic Arts and let me tell you, this new Battlefield 1 is shaping up to be an absolute thrill ride.
The Battlefield 1 beta features two multiplayer modes and only one map called "Sinai Desert". The two available modes are "Conquest" and "Rush". The goal of "Conquest" is to gain points by holding down as many of the 5 flag locations on the map for a longer period of time than the opposing team. In "Rush" mode, the defending team protects the objectives while the opposition plants bombs to destroy them. If the opposing team succeeds your team is pushed back to another location on the map while continuing to defend a new set of objectives. Both modes require heavy teamwork to earn the win but overall they are extremely fun.
The map "Sinai Desert" is expertly crafted and as you run through it, you feel like you are in a live environment. There are rich textured sand dunes, crisp rocky mountains, and beautiful environmental effects. As each match progresses the weather changes randomly making the map feel dynamic and alive. One moment it can be bright and sunny and the next a cloudy sandstorm can appear completely destroying your visibility. This constant change is implemented so well into the game that it feels natural, like this kind of event would actually happen in real life.
The Battlefield 1 beta featured 4 main classes for players to choose from which are: the Assault, Medic, Support, and Scout classes. I also noticed there were additional classes for specific vehicles like the Cavalry class which was only available if you spawned on a horse. Each class has specific weaponry like previous Battlefield games and they all feel balanced.
The Assault class features fully automatic rifles with dynamite and anti tank grenades, while the Medic features semi automatic rifles, a medical syringe (for revives) and the bandage pouch (health). The Support class features fully automatic light machine guns with the tripwire bomb (aka claymores from previous BF games) and ammo pack. And finally the Scout class features single shot sniper rifles with a flare gun and K bullets. All classes also feature standard grenades in the load outs with unique melee weapons for each as well. There are also heavy weapons littered around the map like the the MG (pictured below) and the flamethrower. When picked up your character puts on new armor along with the weapon which makes you harder to take down. There was also a weapon customization screen that you can enter but unfortunately I was unable to make any changes since this feature was disabled in the beta. The developers managed to create a whole new WWI experience with all the mechanics from the older Battlefield games while keeping the historical look and feel of the past.
Graphically the game is down right amazing and I haven't seen this level of detail in a next-gen game in a while. The beta was filled to the brim with fantastic details like the natural wood on the rifles, reflective metal surfaces on vehicles, gorgeous lighting and weather effects, shadows, tons of exploding particles and destructible environments. The beta also held a solid frame rate through most of my play through so for the most part moving the camera around felt smooth and responsive. When you start up the game, you are instantly pulled in and gripped by the visuals which is simply awesome.
Accompanying the phenomenal graphics is the equally astounding sound design. Everything you do in the Battlefield 1 beta is brought to life by the crisp lifelike sound it makes. You can hear little details like a loud echoes from gunshots fired inside a house and more spread out popping sounds when you fire weapons outside. It seems everything was taken into account while developing the Battlefield 1 experience and all that effort makes the end result feel like an experience.
Another feature worth mentioning is the vast selection of vehicles. The beta featured three different types of tanks, as well as horses, planes and a few smaller transport vehicles. The vehicle combat felt familiar to the older Battlefield games and yet more responsive. It was definitely easier to fly planes this time around but it is still a challenge to master each vehicle as they all have a slight learning curve.
Ultimately, if the Battlefield 1 beta is an accurate representation of what the final game is going to be, then I am genuinely happy with the direction the developers are going with it. The presentation is definitely one of the highlights of the beta and at times it felt like a movie was unfolding before my eyes. The frame rate was silky smooth and the quality of the gameplay was top notch for me. Playing the Battlefield 1 beta didn't feel like any regular shooter, it felt like an engaging experience and I just could not get enough. I had a great time playing it and I truly wished it was the full game. I am extremely excited for its release later this year on October 21st.