After the hackers had their fun and the servers finally calmed down, we’ve all had a good few days to enjoy DICE’s latest adrenaline-fuelled online shooter in all its glory. Battlefield 1 lets up to 64-players loose in a very idealised version of The Great War, battling for territory using an array of land, sea and air vehicles.
For the Battlefield 1 open beta we’ve had to make do with just the Sinai Desert. A sand-filled barren land, Sinai desert has a circle of five or so checkpoints in the top half, along with a lone capture point down near the bottom.
I love what I’ve played of the beta so far but I’m not overly enamored with some of the map and mode design choices DICE has applied. Sinai Desert itself is bereft of cover between any but the ‘C’ capture point. A decent sniper can hold A while freely attacking B.
Likewise the ticketing system does Battlefield 1 no favours. The ticket count flows upwards rather than downwards, rising quicker the more capture points a team holds. The team with the most points at the end of the 20 minute matches wins. Not only is 20 minutes too short, but getting no team reward for killing a player means there is no incentive to go to a contested flag. Just circle around in a jeep hoovering up all the uncontested flags and you’ll scoop an easy victory. Fun for the first lap around, but not by the third or fourth. Sinai Desert’s design doesn’t help here either; the circular layout seems to encourage players to flow from point to point in a circle rather than encouraging strategic advantages or key choke points.
But despite all this I absolutely adore the spectacle. Every match there’s one or two moments which full like they’ve been plucked from a full-blown cinematic experience. Where that’s shooting a fighter plane out of the sky which then lands on and destroys a bomber of the way down. Or holding out an outpost almost single handedly as two tanks roll in, blitzing it to smithereens in the process.
I’ve played about 10 hours but for now I’m going to stop. I like what I see but I don’t want to burn out on the single map that’s available. An injection of variety is certainly needed, but it’s always worth bearing in mind this is just a limited beta test. I also believe Battlefield 1 will drastically change when more players get their hands on gear like the anti-tank rockets. From the start tanks are OP as hell, but there are methods to decrease their potency further down the line.
For now I think it’s a promising start, although the mish-mashing of traditional Battlefield with Star Wars: Battlefront certainly won’t be for everyone. It’s chaotic, dumb fun, and I just want more of it.
Over to you now, what have you made of the BF1 beta so far? Has it affected your decision to buy Battlefield 1 at launch or not? Anybody disappointed? Let us know!