Battlefield 1 Xbox One Review: The Cavalry's Here

Battlefield 1 Xbox One Review: The Cavalry's Here

Does a new setting elevate DICE's venerable shooter?

Jump to: Page 1 Page 2 Page 3

Final Thoughts

Battlefield wasn't in the best place going into Battlefield 1. Public perception of the series definitely took a hit with Battlefield 4, which struggled with a variety of issues, and DICE a whole was coming off the disappointing Star Wars Battlefront. For that reason, Battlefield 1 kind of needed to hit the reset button a bit; and in that regard, I think it's succeeded.

Although it cheats in some ways, Battlefield 1 does enough to capture the flavor of World War I that it doesn't feel like a reskinned World War II shooter. The Operations mode works particularly well in this regard, concentrating the action in a way that brings out the sheer chaos of World War I. Whether you're attacking or defending, you'll find yourself diving for cover and praying as your position is bombed to hell by zepplins, artillery, and grenades. It's intense, exciting, and very Battlefield.

It's aided by some pretty strong maps, each of which requires a very different style of play to succeed. The Argonne Forest is rugged and unforgiving, with much of the action concentrated around a main bridge separating either side, while St. Quentin's Scar slowly turns the once idyllic French countryside into a burning hellscape. My personal favorite, though, is Empire's Edge: a map set alongside the Adriatic coastline that manages to work in a huge number of vehicles. All of them feature interesting terrain, a wide variety of places to attack, and the kind of layered design that makes for a good multiplayer map.

In the meantime, the single-player draws from a variety of sources: World War I literature, historic battles, and even adventure films. It can be a little hit or miss—I was put off by "Friends in High Places" and its X-wing-like fighter plane—but each story has at least once memorable moment. And they can even be pretty emotional, as in the case of one story where an old soldier remembers his brother. These stories aren't exactly All Quiet on the Western Front, but they are more thoughtful than I was expecting, certainly more than I'm used to seeing from a military shooter.

Through it all, Battlefield remains faithful to its identity as a sprawling shooter—a massive playground loaded with tanks, planes, and blimps. You can argue that it takes way too long to get into games—load times are pretty long in Battlefield 1—and that matches take far too long (around 30 minutes minimum); but once you're on the field, you can't deny the power of hunkering through an artillery barrage while tanks roll past you. Just last night, I yelled at the top of my lungs when I shot down a passing attack plane in my tank. You're just not going to get that in another mainstream shooter.

In that vein, you could argue that Battlefield 1 is an acquired taste. At the end of the day, there will be plenty of people who prefer the faster pace of Call of Duty or Halo, or the beautifully balanced squad play of Overwatch. But as a history fan and someone who just delights in driving around in tanks, Battlefield is very much my shooter, and this is the most fun I've had with the series in ages. In bringing the action back to the World War I, they've recaptured a large part of what was missing from the previous games. You can tell people are still adjusting, as tanks have been allowed to run amok among through the field because no one seems to know how to kill them just yet. Take away the fancy gadgets, and suddenly everyone flounders.

At the end of the day, I can point to plenty of little things that annoy me about Battlefield 1: the over-reliance on experimental weapons, the load times, the fact that Operations are just too big. But at the end of the day, this is the freshest, most focused, and flatout different that the series has felt in ages. For once, DICE seems content to do their own thing and not worry too much about the competition, and the result is an excellent game.

Interface
Battlefield 1 is hampered by long load times and menus that suffer from significant input delay. If you're too slow to back out of a competed battle, you will have to sit and wait several minutes for the next battle to load. It could use a lot of work.

Sound
Outstanding audio remains a hallmark of the series, and that is once again the case for Battlefield 1. Playing with a high-quality surround sound system is a mind-blowing experience.

Visuals
Battlefield 1 is probably the best-looking shooter on the market today. Its vistas are simply awe-inspiring, and sometimes you just have to sit and marvel as bombs explode around you and planes roar overhead. Once again, DICE has outdone themselves.

I went in to Battlefield 1 with admittedly low expectations. I was excited about the setting, but I had my doubts that DICE could execute on it given their recent track record. Thankfully, DICE not only does justice to World War I, but refocuses the series as well. Battlefield 1 does a great job of getting back to basics, and it's aided by some fantastic map design. Overall, this is the most fun that I've had with the series since Battlefield Bad Company 2, making it one of 2016's best shooters.

4.5/5

Jump to: Page 1 Page 2 Page 3

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Kat Bailey

Editor in Chief

Kat Bailey is a former freelance writer and contributor to publications including 1UP, IGN, GameSpot, GamesRadar, and EGM. Her fondest memories as a journalist are at GamePro, where she hosted RolePlayer's Realm and had legal access to the term "Protip." She is USgamer's resident mecha enthusiast, Pokemon Master, and Minnesota Vikings nut (skol).

Other reviews

Apex Legends 2020 Review: Still in the Ring

With cross-play and a Switch launch looming, now feels like a fine time for a reevaluation.

Valorant Review: A Compelling Counter Strike

Riot Games' foray into FPS territory is solid, even if it's slim at the moment.

Disintegration Review: Tin Men in Search of Heart

V1 Interactive's debut is solid, but the result is still a bit hollow.

Predator: Hunting Grounds Review: It's Okay to Miss This Chopper

Predator's latest video game outing is rough around the edges.

Need help?

Call of Duty Modern Warfare Weapons Tier List

Here's our guide compiling the Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2019 weapons list, including all weapon unlock levels, and more.

Borderlands 3 Shift Codes List (August 2020)

All the info you need on getting and redeeming SHiFT Codes in Borderlands 3, plus how to get Golden Keys to earn loot.

Destiny 2 Xenophage Quest - How to Get the New Xenophage Machine Gun

This is how to complete the Destiny 2 Xenophage quest, including all puzzles, and more.

Apex Legends Wattson - Abilities, Skins, How to Win With Wattson Apex Legends

This is our guide to Wattson in Apex Legends, featuring all her legendary skins, new abilities, tips, and more.