Battlefield 1 is DICE’s latest entry in the popular Battlefield series and marks a return to World War I, an era which we haven’t seen explored in the major first person shooters in quite some time. The decision to base the game around the time of WWI was a controversial one, with shooters seemingly going in the other direction in recent times. The big question is: did the game do the era any justice?

The quick answer is: yes! Battlefield 1 delivers a powerful, compelling campaign which can be genuinely moving at times. The opening section of gameplay stands out as particularly chilling, presenting several scenes of unwinnable gameplay. When you die, the segment ends and you are presented with a name and a lifespan of your character; a real person who died in the war. This continues throughout the extremely enjoyable and well-crafted set of “War Stories”, comprising the single player part of Battlefield 1. My only complaint is that it ends too soon.

The game features five full War Stories, each with a range of sub-missions. Each War Story is a masterpiece of storytelling and focuses on a different set of soldiers in varying locations around the world. The quality of voice acting and the cut-scenes which flesh out the story in-between the gameplay are truly stunning. DICE have managed to bring the story to life in a way which we haven’t seen in a first-person shooter campaign in quite some time. Battlefield 1 is realistic and powerful portrayal of the sad reality of war; normal, brave people fighting with passion for their country; often dying in the process. It was a genuinely captivating experience, I just wish it didn’t end so soon!

Each story introduces a unique style of gameplay, different from the last. The first mission tasks you with moving a tank through France alongside a British squadron. During this mission, not only must you pilot the tank and use it to destroy enemy artillery, but you must ensure that the tank does not get destroyed. You can repair the tank slowly from within, or, you can leave the tank to repair it very quickly, but at the risk of being killed. The second story then features a US Air-Force pilot who must do battle in the skies above the mountains. This great variety keeps the campaign feeling extremely fresh and fleshed out across its course.

Graphically, each War Story looks phenomenal and has been outfitted with a striking level of detail. DICE have captured the reality of the landscapes accurately; burning fires left by flamethrowers, corpses littered on the battleground, wounded soldiers attempting to flee trenches and abandoned, destroyed artillery all give a sense of the state of the environment at the time. All of these things, alongside character models and other assets look crisp, vivid and sharp across all platforms. This game is one of the best looking that I have seen this year so far.

Battlefield 1 also supports higher resolution rendering on the PS4 Pro which I tested. I noticed a considerable improvement in the graphics when played on a 4K TV which manage to bring out even more from the already stunning visuals of the game. If you have a 4K TV you will certainly notice the difference that the PS4 Pro makes; I was very impressed by the visuals produced.

DICE is no stranger when it comes to sound design either; they’ve pulled it out of the bag yet again for Battlefield 1. As previously mentioned, the voice acting in the campaign is stunning but the sound effects climb to equal heights. Small subtleties such a distance cries of soldiers in pain and the squelch of water-logged dirt as you run through the war trenches add to the immersion of the experience. The music selected also fits well with the campaign, era and aesthetics.

DICE also has managed to deliver an extremely fun multiplayer experience which is completely different from that offered by Call of Duty; there are room for both types in the world of gaming as both are so fundamentally different. Battlefield 1 offers slow-paced, large-scale warfare across massive maps which are expertly crafted with exceptional design quality. Each map has its own unique design and the level of detail with which each map has been crafted is sensational: from the large, destructible buildings right down to the foliage.

The multiplayer also includes a variety of the planes, tanks and other vehicles seen in the single player campaign, all of which assist in traversing the gigantic maps. When the game comes together and your team are working well together, the game shines, reproducing a large scale piece of warfare which simulates crazy moments of action you would only expect in a movie. As you spread across the map, this will happen a little less, however, the multiplayer is extremely fun to play overall and is something I will certainly be coming back to for quite some time!

Some of the usual popular Battlefield game modes return to Battlefield 1, however, the format does feature a couple of changes. First up is Conquest of course, however, the change in setting required a few minor tweaks. For the most part however, the large-scale sixty-four game mode remains unchanged, allowing you to work with your team to control a number of sparsely placed objectives.

Domination also returns, offering a more fast-paced version of Conquest, featuring smaller map areas and less objectives, focusing the combat in smaller areas with increased strategy required. Operations is a huge game mode which takes place across different maps in both attacking and defending rounds. After fighting on one map, your team will move on to the next and fighting in another location. This is DICE’s attempt to add a little more story to the multiplayer experience. This mode is one which requires the most teamwork of all.

Another mode which has been added is Rush, which tasks the attacking forces with seeking and destroying the defending team’s Telegraph Posts, which allow them to call in air strikes. When a Telegraph Post is destroyed, the defenders must fall back to the previous sector. This gamemode is focused on tactical play. War Pigeons is another new mode, themed around the Great War, in which you must stop the enemy from sending messenger pigeons which call an air strike upon the enemies.

Finally, Team Deathmatch returns and is exactly what the name suggests; each team battles and the team with the most kills wins. Overall, the mix of modes is good and will allow you to freshen up the multiplayer experience with a change after you’ve had enough Conquest for a while!

The only complaint I have about the game, particularly in the multiplayer, is the UI. It is difficult to quit the game in between matches as the quit option disappears rather quickly. You must then wait until the match begins in order to quit out (at least on the PS4). The UI feels a little clumsy at times and a more intuitive design would be useful. However, it is certainly not enough to stop me from recommending this excellent title!

DICE has created an extremely powerful and compelling single-player campaign which is well fleshed-out and the only criticism I have is that it ends too soon! The multiplayer aspect is also incredible, offering something new and fresh due to the era which hasn’t been explored in such a long time. If you are looking for a captivating campaign alongside gorgeous, large-scale, tactical multiplayer warfare, then Battlefield 1 is perfect for you!