I’ve played the closed alpha of Battlefield 1 for a few hours now, and have been asked several times what I think.
I’m going to post up a much more in-depth article in a few days, but for now here are my initial reactions.
It’s fun. It’s actually a lot of fun. It feels like DICE have tried to roll up a game of BF so that it’s one, continual “only in Battlefield” moment. The single map in the alpha is quite small, with a lot of vehicles to get around. There are many static emplacements as well to help with dealing with vehicles, and they’ve introduced a lot of small things to encourage squad play.
It is still an alpha though. And although it runs on both my desktop, and laptop, it has had frame-rate slowdowns and other issues. That’s fine – it’s an alpha, and DICE should be looking for these things to happen so they can fix them. They only become an issue if they appear in the open beta and beyond. I’ve not seen any sky-rocketing vehicles like in the BF3 closed alpha when the APC would sometimes launch itself into the air if it went over a rock at the wrong angle.
The WW1 style is quite refreshing, the UI is rather delightfully simple and utilitarian, and “we have lost objective duff” is going to take a very long time before it grows old. The game needs some work, for example it’s quite hard to figure out when you’re in a CP zone, and the Q-button feels a little clunky, but that will come.
Overall it feels like DICE stripped out a lot of the useless stuff from BF3/4, worked on the areas where the game was weak, and aimed to make the player far more responsible for his/her success rather than just aim – target lock – shoot.
So yeah, if you liked BC2/BF3 or BF4 then you’ll likely like this. If you didn’t like those games, and want something created in the BF1942/BF2 mould, then sorry – you’re SOL. This game, at least in this closed alpha state, is an improvement on the BF3/4 formula rather than a re-imagining of those earlier games.
If you’re prepared to look at Battlefield 1 as its own game, rather than a descendant of BF 1942/2, then you’ll probably enjoy it.
And no, I don’t see it being a serious eSport, although Global Conflict and similar organised tournaments should be able to use it.
Here is some uncut gameplay. For comparison to the BF1 alpha, I’ve added a video from the BF3 alpha afterwards so you can see the differences.
And here is the BF3 alpha footage for comparison: