Warning: This post contains very minor spoilers for Battlefield 1, and references/links to less-than-kid-friendly poetry.
I realized that I haven’t done an honest-to-goodness video game review on this blog. This is partially because I don’t have the hardware to play any big releases. (At least, not until March, thanks to Breath of the Wild.) A lot of them have been hopes, dreams, and opinions on upcoming games. The only exceptions I can think of are on Sister Location, (but that was more a follow-up to my first post on the franchise,) and Doom 2016 (but that was shared with One Punch Man).
So, let’s take a look at Battlefield 1. The game has been hyped up since it was announced earlier this year, and the hype hasn’t subsided yet. Instead of pushing the First-Person Shooter genre’s setting further into the future, it takes a step back to World War I, and it works quite well.
(I should note that I didn’t actually play this one; I watched a friend play it.)
The campaign mode opens with two statements in white against the black screen. The first: “The following is based on accounts of an actual war that actually happened a hundred years ago.” The second: “You are expected to die.”
Me: “Well! Okay, then! Good to know!”
Ergo, I went in expecting it to be something along the lines of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s level after your character gets nuked. Instead, I was surprised to find a tutorial that managed to capture the grittiness of World War I in a way that I can only compare to Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce Et Decorum Est.” (A poem about witnessing a gas attack.)
Having watched it further, though, what do I have to say about the game? Well, from the introduction, the game continues the theme of the player dying a lot in the form of the multiplayer, where you get shot by the guy with the BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle) until you finally unlock the BAR and shoot people who don’t have the BAR. That said, it blends new forms of telling old stories with old forms of video game design.
From a historical standing, the game is fairly solid. And by “fairly,” I mean the game lets the player casually use weapons that would have been in limited supply. For example: this version of WWI frequently drops blimps into combat. I have yet to check the historical accuracy of this, but they usually did what I expected them to do in a combat situation: go up in a massive ball of fire.
In closing, I will point this out: in the story mode at least, the game does a good job of depicting the horrors of WWI as they are recorded. (Again, I compare this to the works of Wilfred Owen, who died in the trenches as I recall.) But, in a way, the game does it without mocking the events or making them something to be mocked. Dare I say it, the game and what I have seen of it does its best to respect World War I. Except the pigeon mission.