Telegram from Sniper Ridge
A lot of us PC fanatics aren’t really fans of the current FPS titles where your skill set is padded with a bunch of software assists to make the playing field more even for them console cowboys. And with modern day shooters like Battlefield and Call of Duty being synonymous with the phrase “aim assist”, my hatred for these games has been going strong for ages. However, Battlefield 1 looks like it might change that opinion. And then again, when I read what Call of Duty is doing with Infinite Warfare, it seems like that opinion might stand… *sigh* the test of time.
Battlefield 1 – Back to the stone age?
No. Battlefield 1 cranks the time machine back to World War 1, the first time the entire planet got dragged into war because one dude got shot by some other dudes. This incidentally was also the first ever instance of “that escalated quickly”.
Battlefield 1 Game modes
The open beta has one map, two game modes, four character classes and two factions – The Ottoman Empire and the British Forces. Obviously there are a lot more that’ll be added once the game launches on October 21, 2016. Of the two game modes available, Conquest was undoubtedly the more popular one with it being a 64 players per side match-up which involves the two opposing factions battling it out for control of 7 checkpoints (A-G) till the clock ran dry or hit 300 capture points.
The other game mode, Rush, involved the two factions fighting over the very same checkpoints but in a more staggered manner. You couldn’t progress to the next before taking care of the current one. Both game modes were played out on the Sinai Peninsula which I hear was quite the tourist destination back in World War 1. Why on earth were people interested in sand and fast moving balls of lead is beyond my understanding but hey, we live in a world where people pay to enjoy hair museums and bubblegum walls, so I can see why sand and lead might appeal to a certain demographic.
DICE has promised two more game modes at game launch with more to follow over the year. There’s Domination which is a more fast paced version of Conquest and then there’s Operations which is a series of interconnected battle scenarios.
Going by what we enjoyed over the course of the Open Beta, I don’t think we’ll need anything more than Conquest to keep the game afloat for at least a few months so even if DICE does roll out the game with just the two game modes, then it’s still forgivable. But if they make the other game modes into DLCs…
Battlefield 1 Maps
Everyone’s got a pretty good taste of the Sinai Desert map in the Open Beta and if that’s just a teaser of how well the other maps are designed then game should be off to a good start. Both have well guarded starter checkpoints that are a little far from the other checkpoints so if at all the enemy does capture your starter checkpoint then you’re not going to be overwhelmed by the enemy at your spawn point. So don’t worry about spawn camping, over the entire week of game play we never came across a scenario that had either faction pinned at spawn.
There are optimal spots for snipers all over the map so if at all you ever come across a tall structure you can rest assured that there’s one crafty bugger camping atop the water tank or on sniper ridge. This can be a menace, especially if the snipers are really good but then again, since these elements are all destructible, you can very well come rumbling in a tank and blow these structures to smithereens. Sniper ridge can easily be taken care of if you blow the connecting bridge which is the only way you can get atop. But that won’t stop the really really good ones who’re going to hitch a ride on a biplane and parachute right into their favourite camping spot on sniper ridge.
The full game will also feature other maps such as The St. Quentin Scar, Amiens, Monte Grappa and Empire’s Edge.
Battlefield 1 Vehicles, Tanks, Airplanes … Land ships!
Tanks are OP! They were OP when they first made their appearance in the theatres of war and it was only natural to make them so in the game as well. Huge lumbering, unappealing boxes of metal that appear like moving houses with humongous cannons on all sides. Coming face to face with one of these isn’t a pleasant experience as it’s pretty much a one way ticket back to spawn.
Going co-op on these tanks could make things even more dangerous for the enemy or for you based on how eccentric your tank mate(s) is(are). Having played plenty of World of Tanks, I was well versed with angling your tank to bounce enemy shells. It’s a pity that it doesn’t work. Then again, you can hide behind cover and repair your tank so there are ways to survive perennially on the battlefield in a tank.
Whether you are in a Renault single seater or a six seater landship tanks are immensely overpowered. As an Assault class or support class you are better equipped to take out vehicles but almost every class has access to anti-tank weapons. And with a few strategically placed anti-tank mines you can take out most vehicles with ease. We’ve even seen videos of players baiting airplanes towards mines and taking them out. However, we did notice a lot of people opting for the Assault class just to take out tanks which might end up being a balance issue in the game upon launch.
Airplanes are a lot more fun in Battlefield 1 because they’re slow to manoeuvre so it’s easy for anyone to pick up the reins and fly. But we don’t expect the level of insane moves you could pull off in the previous installments of the Battlefield franchise. However, you can exit the cockpit mid-flight, shoot someone and then get back in. So there’s still hope.
Battlefield 1 Weapons
Moving away from modern firearms with 50 different mods that ensure pin point accuracy is a much welcome change. Having to worry about shells losing velocity and dropping along an arc adds a lot more realism to weapon mechanics. Speaking of weapons, most of them aren’t 1-hit unless you happen to get a headshot. And weapons are based on the character class you pick unless of course, you happen to chance upon a weapon cache which could contain a flamethrower or a much accurate bolt action rifle.
The Assault class gets an anti tank hand cannon but you need to go prone in order to shoot it. And given that damage drops the further you are from your target, you need to get up close if you want to take out tanks and you don’t need us to tell you what happens if you get personal with a tank. Pistols and the semi-automatics are great as well but it would have been a little better if weapons jammed just as often as they did back during World War I. Throwing in a little RNG into close quarter battles.
Oh and while we’re on the subject of close quarter combat. Melee weapons… well they’re a little barbaric. Clubs, maces and bayonets – each comes with its own characteristic animation followed by a blood curdling scream from your victim. But should you spot your enemy with his back at you then you should definitely charge which makes you hurtle towards your unsuspecting victim like the hulk till you skewer him like a kebab. Much fun! However, you only sprint for a short distance after which you slow down terribly making you a ripe target for snipers. So each charge is a calculated risk which can act as a kill move, an escape mechanism or get you killed.
The fun begins when you get the Mauser 1918 T-Gewehr which is an anti-tank rifle but you don’t have to go prone. While it may be slow to load, you’re pretty much ensured a kill. Think of it like the AWP from Counter Strike. Another one hitter is the sabre which you can only use while riding a horse(sorry, we forgot to mention that earlier).
Battlefield 1 Character Classes
Most of the combat will be played out among the four primary character classes – Assault, Medic, Support and Scout(sniper). Compared to the previous installments in the series you can no longer have the Assault-Medic combo which would have been quite overpowered in Battlefield 1. Aside from the primary classes you also get to be a Pilot or a Tanker or a Cavalry horseman. You only end up as these classes if you spawn onto vehicles. If you pick one of the main infantry classes and then jump into a tank, you’ll still retain your initial pick. However, for the course of the time you maintain control, you’re temporarily a different class. For example, if you mount a horse then you get a rifle and a sabre even if you were carrying a shotgun prior to mounting.
Additionally, like the pickup classes in Battlefield 4, we have a similar feature. They’re called the Elite classes. Based on which weapon you pick up, you’ll turn into either a Flamethrower, a Tank-killer or a Sentry. Elite Classes come with armour upgrades and the Sentry looks kick-ass with full body plate armour while rocking a machine gun. The Flamethrower looks more like a chef whose cooking experiments have failed miserably. And the Tank Killer is like every other infantry class but he’s carrying the 1918 T-Gewehr that we mentioned earlier.
Battlefield 1 Bugs, Balance issues
While the primary classes might have been further broken down, not a lot of people were spotted playing the Support and Medic classes. In fact, during the entire week of the open beta, I was only resurrected once by a squad mate and that too because I was shouting my head off into the mic. Also, when injured teammates call out for medical aid the game used to have indicators on the HUD which was later removed from the game. So Medics can no longer see who’s screaming for help so unless you have a Medic in your squad whom you can mouth off to, you’re better off with a respawn. Towards the end of the Open Beta, we saw most people picking either the Assault or the Scout class. So class imbalance is a prominent issue.
Sandstorms are a pain, if you have a good graphics card.
*Game breaking bug alert.*
Please take a gander at Exhibit A – a gif comparing the same scene from two computers, one with a beefy graphics card and the other from a not so expensive one.
Sandstorms can completely turn the game around as Snipers are pretty much rendered useless owing to reduced visibility and you don’t spot tanks until it’s too late. Unless, of course, you have a not so great graphics card. In which case, your visibility isn’t that bad and you are at an advantage.
Battlefield 1 Open Beta Impressions
Despite of all the shortcomings and balance issues, Battlefield 1 is a lot of fun and just the one map made us go back to the game over and over again. The apparent lack of naval vessels might irk some but we’ll reserve our judgement till the final game comes out. We’d say that just the change in setting from a modern day battlefront to a World War 1 Battlefield makes for most of the game’s appeal. And if one map can be this fun then we simply can’t wait for the final game.
Is it pre-order worthy? Nope.
Deep in the suburban jungle roams the only member of the mystical species, Barbarianicus Ass-kick-us. This super awesome creature carries with it the answers to none of life's mysteries. Then what on earth could be so awesome about him? Being able to binge-game for countless hours and exercise remarkable restraint over his penchant for sarcasm around members of lesser species are just some of qualities that make him likeable...really likeable. xD