Battlefield 1 Hands-On Preview [E3 2016]

Battlefield 1 feels like the series is returning to its origins, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Unusual naming conventions aside, DICE’s newest entry in their long-running line of shooters feels oddly refreshing, despite a return to the roots and core mechanics that propelled the series to the top all those years ago.

Turning the clock all the way back to World War I might make some think that Battlefield 1 is going for a slower-paced approach to warfare, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The same Battlefield formula that you know and love is still here, albeit with a fresh coat of paint. Developer DICE has really leveraged the power of both consoles and PCs, and the end result is a wonderful looking game. War-torn battlefields look excellent in action, with artillery shots showering debris left and right. The darker, grittier tone shown off in the game’s debut trailer carries over to the multiplayer, and it lends well to the change in setting.

Dynamic weather also lends more variety to each map, and the alpha and particle effects that accompany explosions really stand out compared to previous iterations. As has been true for the last few years, destructible environments are still present, though it’s hard to discern just how destructible the world is considering most maps are war-torn areas to begin with, rather than pristine locales.


The most notable design philosophy that Battlefield 1 has going for it is the emphasis on class-based gameplay. While classes have been a staple of the series since its inception, Battlefield 1 retools and rethinks some of the core mechanics and nuances that each class brings to the table. The end result might look similar to those who are less invested in the series, though these changes are bound to be appreciated by series veterans.

The assault class has undergone the most radical change, though it is arguably a more focused and defined class as a result. As the name suggests, assault players can still expect to focus on offense, with powerful rifles working well in mid-range situations.

However, rather than being able to heal and revive players, the assault class now has a few tools at its disposal, which come in the form of heavy weaponry designed to take out enemy vehicles. Absorbing these abilities from the typical ‘engineer’ class provides the assault class with more reason to stay on the front lines and make a play for key points on the map.