This is easy for me, as I’ve been a die-hard Battlefield (or BF) fan for over 10 years. I’ve sunk thousands of hours into this franchise and I can say, with all honesty that if someone told me I could only play one game franchise for the rest of my life, this would be it. I could lose myself for hours in the battles of Bad Company 2 and then the series took a sharp left turn with Battlefield 3.
Bad Company 1&2 were more console friendly (and if I’m being honest, more fun) than the other games, and for Battlefield 3, they decided to ditch the fun, well written characters and explosive destruction. Back was the military lingo, stock characters, and a more serious tone.
Battlefield 4 would be a continuation of BF3’s seriousness, but with more bugs. So, so many bugs. A mess of a game, but still one I played over 800 hours of on 360 and PS4. After the disappointment of BF 3&4, I had hoped Dice would go back to their old ways and focus on team play, PTFO-ing and large-scale destruction. Cue Battlefield 1.
First off, the classes have had an overhaul. Not something I was crying out for but it turned out to be a welcome change. The Assault class gets the best specialised anti-armour weapon shown so far, the AT (anti-tank) rifle. This beast can knock a tank out with 4 well placed shots and a couple of AT grenades or some well-placed AT mines. This is basically your new engineer class. If it sounds overpowered, it isn’t! That’s because none of the automatic rifles can hit a target worth a damn, unless it’s right in front of you!
The Medic gets his usual items: revive gadget (this time a syringe), med-kit and now a mix of rifle grenades. The revive system was one of my bugbears here. Players now have a choice on whether they want to be revived or not, before a medic even tries. This, combined with the new ticket system in Conquest, has made the Medic class a poor fourth choice for most players (myself included). The upside is that there is a decent selection of bolt-action rifles.
The Support class has (again) remained unchanged. Ammo pouches and crates, tripwire bombs and nothing else (as of the beta, anyway). The light machine guns are a joy to use. Hit the ground and your character will automatically set up a bipod. Laying flat or standing against cover, with the bipod deployed makes firing an LMG laser accurate. I had the most fun with this class, covering my teammates from a distance as they took on objectives.
Finally, the most popular class: The Scout. Going by the 70 odd hours I played, this game will be (as Aldo Raine says) a goddam sniper’ dee-light. Roughly half of the players in each game seemed to be playing as a sniper. You get spotting and blinding flares, K-Bullets (anti-armour rounds), and a spotting scope which lights up spotted players for an extended period of time. I’m not a sniping fan in FPS’s, but even I enjoyed the rifles.
As you can see, the classes each have their advantages and disadvantages. That’s the best thing about Battlefield 1 so far: The balancing. It has made the different classes more relevant because you can’t use the same weapons for each, you have to weigh up the pros and cons of which class to choose, at what point in the game. Picking a sniper? Bad luck if someone gets close or you run into armour. Picking support? It’ll only be any use if you have cover and are a decent distance away. The firing distance “sweet spot” is a great addition. LMG’s are totally inaccurate close up but at 50-80 yards with a bipod? You’ll hit every target! Each weapon has this sliding scale of damage and accuracy that, take them either deadly or useless at certain distances.
But what about the vehicles? The jeeps (armoured and vanilla) are fast, agile, and have one or more machine gun emplacement. Tanks come in three flavours, and are something to be feared. I was racking up 20 kill streaks in the light tank, the quickest version. Planes are great fun to fly, but I still think there was a feeling of being out of the battle. My favourite new mode of transport so far was the horse. Nothing quite beats living out your Lawrence of Arabia fantasies and chopping people down with a sword from atop your horse. You also get a lever action rifle (which functions like a scope-less sniper rifle), constantly replenishing anti-tank grenades, and the ability to drop health and ammo for teammates. I spent hours riding the sand dunes, slicing up unsuspecting snipers.
The game looks amazing. The smoke and sand billowing across the dunes, views obstructed by the fog of war, changes in weather, flames. This game has no right to look this good, when so much is happening at any one time. The Frostbite engine must be working overtime to look this great. The destruction has been upped since the last game, and the collapse of buildings is a site to behold. Especially when you’re inside!
I absolutely loved my time playing the Battlefield beta. After the disappointments of BF3&4, all rights seem to have been wronged, and the emphasis has been put squarely on team play and the different roles each member of your squad can take. I regularly found myself in the top of the scoreboards, and not matter how much I played, I never got frustrated or rage quit. Unlike BF games of the past, I never got the feeling that I’d been cheated, that lag snatched my life away rather than a sniper’s bullet.
With Battlefield 1, there seems to be no input lag, bullets land where they should, and although there were some connection issues, it was a beta. When the beta ended, I tried to fill the empty space with some more BF4. I promptly deleted it. Battlefield 1 eclipses the previous 2 games to the point where they may as well not have existed.
As you can probably gather, I loved it.