Battlefield 1 Campaign Review – The Great War Gets a Great Game


Developer Dice and publisher EA have taken us back to the Great War from the early 1900’s. Is it a journey worth taking, or should we leave the past in the past?

World War I. The Great War. The war to end all wars.

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The first modern war is known by many names and brought with it a new era of weaponry to the battlefield that was the most deadliest in known history at the time. Humans have long been known for their ingenuity and this war saw them applying that genius to the vast array of killing tools that were used to slaughter their fellow humans. Single shot and slow loading muskets gave way to fast loading bolt action rifles and semi-automatic carbines, followed by fully automatic rifles and mounted machine guns.

The weaponry grew with leaps and bounds and turned soldiers into killing machines the likes of which the world had never known. Two soldiers in a covered bunker, with a mounted .30 caliber machine gun, could turn a simple field into an unassailable position with a kill zone that no one could survive. The use of cannons turned into the use of artillery that could reach distances never thought possible before. Cannons were mounted onto moving behemoths of machines and tanks were born.  While not exactly the war to end all wars, it was the war that ended the old ways of war.

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All of the well known war based video games skipped WWI and went straight to WWII. Honestly, gamers probably didn’t think too much about what they thought was the archaic weaponry of The Great War. Maybe they’ve seen the movie “All Quiet on the Western Front” or even “The Water Diviner“, both of which are great movies and are worth the time to watch, with the latter actually having a tie in to the game we are currently writing about as it is based on the assault of Gallipoli. Both use weaponry that are fairly simple but not all that sexy, like say an MP5 with a holographic sight and laser dot. While a bolt action Mauser or Enfield might not be sexy, they’ll still kill an enemy just the same, and that really is the bottom line. Developer DICE seems to have understood this and did an incredible job on recreating the weaponry of The Great War.

The Battlefield 1 campaign is spread out across Europe and has six unique stories about six different main characters. Honestly, it’s probably the only way to tell a story about WWI. The war covered so many areas that just following one soldier through an entire campaign would be impossible if you want to cover more than one theater of operations. From the trenches of Germany, to a tank blasting through the French countryside, to the air over Europe, to Italy and then Gallipoli, and then finally onto the desert of the Ottoman Empire and Sir T. E. Lawrence. There are so many great stories compiled into one campaign and that makes the game a must-play title for any war video game enthusiast.

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Each of the six stories center on a different soldier, with each of these soldiers getting a depth of character that isn’t easy to pull off. The life like animations and facial expressions achieved with the gaming engine helped DICE pull this off well, as you can see the determination, sorrow, confusion, or anger clearly on the faces of these folks. Whether they are in a trench bashing a head in with a shovel, or sneaking through the desert around a train crash, you feel for these folks and your relationship with them seems real.

The graphics for this game are some of the best yet for the current generation. Using the Frostbite engine, DICE not only created characters that look and feel real, but they also created a world around them that is living and breathing as well. Driving through the fields and cities of France in a tank leaves them in rubble and ruin, with a destructible environment taken to the next level where even the largest trees aren’t safe from your mountain of steel.

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It’s not easy to impress these days with the wide range of video games on the market, but EA and DICE have taken what was never really a popular video game war and created an incredible adventure and journey through the lives of six unique soldiers.

We would love to see more DLC stories in the future DICE. Hint, hint…