World War I isn’t supposed to be interesting. It was a largely static conflict, after all, and one that’s never lent itself to the sort of zippy, frenetic skirmishes games like the Battlefield series epitomize. Who wants to sit in trenches, hunkered under a helmet, lobbing explosives for hours on end?
Battlefield 1‘s answer is to invoke the period’s spirit—of battles waged with slower, less sophisticated weapons and vehicles. Slower is better because it lets you appreciate the tactical interplay of each encounter’s moving parts.
As I noted in my review:
“Juxtaposed with photos, Battlefield 1‘s weapons are virtual analogues of their archetypes, though having hefted none in real life, all I can tell you is that wielding them efficiently requires adaptation to slower fire and reload rates. That, scant battlefield ammunition and fully destructible environments reward more cautious, methodical gunplay that’s nothing like the boisterous lethality on casual loan in so many modern shooters. DICE could have skinned a bunch of contemporary weapons to resemble The Great War’s bolt-action rifles and snail drum SMGs and called it a day. Instead, they’ve embraced the early 20th century’s technological idiosyncrasies, finessing everything just enough to keep it all as brisk and ballistically persuasive as anything with homing rockets or a laser sight.”