In a day and age that seems to be exasperated with first person shooter (FPS) military oriented video games, there are several ways that Battlefield 1 managed to separate itself from competing franchises such as Call of Duty. Battlefield 1’s success comes from not only reverting back to its’ roots retelling the tales of historic warfare accounts (this one in particular analyzing World War I) rather than futuristic warfare schemes of late by Call of Duty or by their stunning graphics and attention to detail. What truly sets it apart is how the designed their campaign to not merely be entertaining but rather captivating. Rather than following the story of a single soldier and their role in the war throughout chapters, Battlefield opens its campaign introducing what they call “War Stories” following what the creators refer to as “anthology format; a set of characters with their own more focused stories”.
Each War Story begins with a cinematic episode introducing the protagonists and offering a glance of who they are and what their role is. Each episode is narrated by the protagonists, almost appearing as if they were diary entries written in recollection of the events you are walking through in real time. Each story is highly unique, “Through Mud and Blood” takes place late in the war focusing on a British mark V Tank crew driven by Danny Edwards who has no experience with tanks and has to slowly earn the trust of his crew members, creating a more social dynamic and making the events more personal. The next War Story “Friends in High Places” follows the story of a less than honorable American aviator Clyde Blackburn who steals the “aeroplane” of a British Officer and then masquerades himself as a Royal Air Force pilot, only to be caught in the middle of a dog fight over the Alps. Blackburn’s dishonest tendencies put him at odds with his Wingman (Wilson), but Blackburn’s redemption comes after their vessel is shot down behind enemy lines and he is forced to decide between saving himself or to risk his life and carry his injured partner across “No Man’s Land” back into friendly territory.
Aside from the intricate details that bring each character to life, the creators of the game put equal effort into the breathtaking landscapes in which these stories transpire. Whether it’s the twonky steering of the motorcycles with sidecars (seriously, how did anyone drive those things?) or the whistling of bombs being dropped from the “aeroplanes” above or the blood curdling scream the enemy soldiers make when charging towards you, the environment of the game is designed to be as immersive and captivating as any cinematic film to date. From the dirt smeared, blood stained uniforms to the attention to detail behind the characters voices such as accurately capturing accents and even including a variety of foreign languages in the appropriate war zones entices the gamer to feel submerged in the conflict. All of this paired with a plethora of vehicles and weapons to wreak havoc with make for one chaotic good time.
Each story is narrated by a different character who brings a unique perspective to the table, and the game frequently cuts back and forth from first person camera angles to third person shots (particularly when entering vehicles) assist the gamer in navigating the intricate landscapes efficiently, while at the same time emphasizing the singularity of your characters role surrounded by an army of others contributing their own. Wide shots are used to depict the magnitude of the battlefields and what modern warfare was really like following the turn of the 20th century, capturing picturesque images of aeroplanes on the horizon and of tanks rampaging across barren wastelands. These cinematic qualities further entice gamers to analyze every detail the game has to offer while keeping them thoroughly entertained no merely because of high action scenes and explosions but rather because of personal attachment and eagerness to see the story unfold.
In conclusion, Battlefield excels in its ability to entice the audience with breathtaking graphics as well as captivating plot/character development and its’ utilization of cinematic cut scenes further give the impression of this being more than your standard FPS. The main problem is the lack of content, although there is an unfathomable amount of detail crammed into these six War Stories, there is still only six of them. Perhaps more time should have been devoted to expanding the game to cover more than merely 6 battles.