What is Battlefield 1?
Battlefield 1 is a WW1 themed first person shooter that includes both a substantial single player campaign, and an expansive online mode. The single player here is divided into five "War Stories", each a mini-campaign that takes place in a different part of the globe, and focuses on the personal tales of some of the people caught up in the "Great War". Fighting in early tanks, rickety biplanes, heavily armoured trains, or taking the fight to the kaiser on foot, you'll get to play as a woman under Lawrence of Arabia's command, leading the fight against the Ottoman Empire; a rogue fighter pilot who steals his commander's plane; and a young tank driver having to quickly adjust to life inside the very first generation of tanks.
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How do you play Battlefield 1?
As a first person shooter that aims to capture every aspect of WW1, how you play Battlefield 1 depends largely on which War Story you're playing - or which you want to focus on online. In the air, you can dogfight with the best of them in biplanes and triplanes, trying to land that lucky shot that'll send your opponent down in flames. On land, you can bundle into a tank, and roll straight through anything that gets in your way, whilst blowing seven bells out of anything unfortunate enough to lift its head above land. Or, you might find yourself trapped behind enemy lines, sneaking through a trench trying your best to not be noticed, lest you find the entirety of the Boche coming after you.
How easy is Battlefield 1 to pick up and play?
Battlefield 1 is a complex game, and one that doesn't really hold your hand. As a first person shooter, you'll need to be proficient with dual analogue controls - and as you're playing as a soldier, you'll be expected to think like one, and keep your wits about you at all times.
Enemies aren't ever really flagged up on screen - instead, you have to keep your eyes peeled, watching out for the slightest hint of movement, or shadows in the distance. Often, the first time you'll realise an enemy is near is when they're shooting at you. Luckily, you can tap a button to "mark" an enemy once you've spotted them, which will put a tag above their head, helping you can keep track of them, along with showing you a handy outline if they ever hide behind cover - but of course, you'll need to have spotted them first.
Both single player missions, and the many multiplayer modes take place over large, expansive maps, and while some do still funnel you from point to point, others open up hugely, letting you approach objectives however you see fit. Adding an extra layer of freedom, this also make the game much more challenging, as you'll need to do your recon, think through your approach, and come up with a plan of how best to attack your objective.
Luckily, the game features regular checkpoints, so if you die, you won't lose too much progress. In fact, dying will often see the game restart you somewhere slightly different to where you last died - often somewhere slightly more sensible, as the game tries to put you back on the right path.
However, with nothing in the way of an adjustable difficulty level, there's no simple way to make things easier if you get stuck on Battlefield 1 - instead, you'll just have to soldier on through, and keep trying until you overcome it through persistence.
Intended for a mature audience, Battlefield 1 features strong violence and gore - although it's not as over the top as that found in some other shooters. Enemies will give off moderate splashes of blood when shot, but arguably the strongest violence here comes from the melee attacks. Depending on your weapon, these see you either bludgeon your enemy (with something like a spiked club), or stab them (with a spade, or a knife), causing a splash of blood to splatter across the screen, as your foe gurgles to themselves and falls to the ground.
Bad language is also frequent, with f**k and s**t heard during cutscenes. As the game features online play, there's also the potential to hear bad language during online chat, although the ability to use online chat can be restricted through your console's parental controls.
Format Reviewed: Xbox One