Battlefield 1: Gamescom 2016 Hands-On

Written by Jake Tucker

September 7, 2016 // 2:50 p.m.

Tags: #battlefield #battlefield-1 #dice #ea #shooter

Battlefield 1: Gamescom 2016 Hands-On

You can keep yourself amused with a solid selection of toys though. While the attachment system is gone, each weapon has three different variants that'll make it behave in different ways, and there's a cluster of different grenades ranging from the war-crime (poison gas grenades; banned by the 1899 Hague Declaration Concerning Asphyxiating Gases) to anti-tank and cluster variants. If small-arms aren't your thing, you're in luck: vehicles are easily available from spawn points. These range from the aforementioned horses all the way to jeeps with mounted machine guns, death spewing tanks and three separate types of plane. Then there's the behemoths, which are technically vehicles but feel like something else entirely.

The behemoths are game-changing vehicles that squat over the map like the elephant in the room. They're big, scary and unbalanced but, crucially, this is on purpose: on a 64-person map the behemoth is designed to change the face of the battle unless the opposing team get organised enough to take it out. Behemoths include a massive Zeppelin, a battleship and, in the case of the Sinai Desert, a gigantic train filled with absurdly explosive weaponry capable of destroying attackers in the air or on the ground.

Battlefield 1: Gamescom 2016 Hands-On

Couple this with the special classes, capable of burning people with flamethrowers or resisting sustained small arms fire, and it's fair to say this isn't the most accurate depiction of The Great War, but after realising people are tired of contemporary shooters, DICE has tried its best to have its cake and eat it, vanishing into the past but keeping many of the same trappings. Experimental weapon variants will give you long range scopes, while the three different types of plane will actually fulfil the role of helicopters, fighter jets and bombers. It still feels like the later Battlefields, but this alternate reality setting has given the team a bit of wiggle room so expect thrilling land battles rather than trench warfare and waiting around.

There are a few weird moments - getting points for killing an enemy jeep always made sense to me, but getting a similar reward for executing a horse makes me feel a bit gross every time 'HORSE KILLED +50' pops up on the screen. There's also the fact that World War 1 was, you know, a world war. It's weird to see cinematic trailers that both glamorise the deaths of 38 million people, but also set an impossibly high standard for gameplay that Battlefield 1 can never live up to itself.

Battlefield 1: Gamescom 2016 Hands-On

I liked Battlefield 1, for what it's worth, and by the time you're reading this the Open Beta will be out, giving you the chance to try it out too. It's a solid update to the formula and a worthy successor to a series that honestly, I thought had lost its way back around the time of Battlefield 4.

No bloody commander mode though. Come on DICE, sort it out.
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