Battlefield 1 May Be The Grittiest, Most Realistic War Game Yet

Entertainment
A promotional image for EA's newest first-person shooter, Battlefield 1.
Image via EA games.

It’s 1918, and a young British soldier named Arthur Morehouse is sprinting through the bombed-out remnants of a building in France. German rifle fire kicks up around him, and as he turns a corner, a gout of fire from a flamethrower consumes him. He’s 19. Cut to Hugh Steele who is manning a side gun in a British tank. When an artillery round lands a direct hit, he dies. He is 23.


Steele and Morehouse are not real, and their deaths are entirely fictitious events in EA’s newest addition to its widely acclaimed Battlefield franchise, Battlefield 1, which officially launches on Oct. 21, though early release is available now, for a price.

In the game’s single-player campaign, players step into muddy boots and grimy uniforms, taking on multiple personas of fictitious World War I soldiers, with names and backstories delivered by an inner monologue that comes after you die. It’s one of the key ways the game reminds players their character (or many over the course of a single match) are stand-ins for real people. They are minor, but nonetheless memorable figures in a massive war, and now, a genre-altering game about World War I.

The two scenes are part of the single-player campaign and set the tone for the game by doing what few (or any) other first-person shooter has ever done: It constantly reminds players that this game is based on horrific and world-changing events.

“Battlefield 1 is based on events that unfolded over 100 years ago,” read the opening credits. “More than 60 million soldiers fought in ‘the war to end all wars.’ It ended nothing. Yet it changed the world forever. What follows is frontline combat. You are not expected to survive.”

And you won’t. In fact, you're going to get a lot of guys killed, like I did when I charged a machine gun nest with a pistol, or when I tried to take on a tank with frag grenades. Sorry, fellas.

Typically, in first-person shooters, a player is dropped right into multi-player combat with no goal beyond gunning down the enemy. By giving previously unnamed soldiers a backstory, or even just a name, Battlefield 1 added a layer that actually makes the violence feel less gratuitous because it acknowledges the heavy cost of war.

Related: The 3 Best Shooter, Strategy Games, According To A Veteran »

Beyond the cut scenes of men in hospital beds, or the grisly deaths we see in the campaign, Battlefield 1’s multiplayer is in a class all its own. The gameplay unfolds on massive levels, where buildings explode as airships and biplanes plummet to the earth in fast-paced, first-person combat.

Even as Battlefield 1 seeks to raise the bar for first-person-shooter games, its attempt to humanize war while simultaneously using it for entertainment doesn’t fully balance out. In the end, players walk away feeling entertained, not guilty, which is fine. It’s a video game after all, and a damn good one that deserves credit for adding a new dimension to the genre. But, I’m not going to lose any sleep over the fact that I got a fictitious character killed. That being said, I’ll probably try to resist the urge to bayonet charge a tank, next time.

Maybe.

U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Brian Kimball

Editor's Note: This article by Oriana Pawlyk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Calling aviation geeks in New York City: The British are coming.

In their first visit to the United States since 2008, the Royal Air Force "Red Arrows" will perform an aerial demonstration next week over the Hudson River, according to an Air Force news release. F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, the Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels demonstration teams will also be part of the show.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Air National Guard/Staff Sgt. Michelle Y. Alvarez-Rea

Frances and Efrain Santiago, natives of Puerto Rico, wanted to show their support last month for protesters back home seeking to oust the island's governor.

The couple flew the flag of Puerto Rico on the garage of their Kissimmee home. It ticked off the homeowners association.

Someone from the Rolling Hills Estates Homeowners Association left a letter at their home, citing a "flag violation" and warning: "Please rectify the listed violation or you may incur a fine."

Frances Santiago, 38, an Army veteran, demanded to know why.

Read More Show Less
Todd Rosenberg/AP

A West Point graduate received a waiver from the U.S. Army to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday, and play in the NFL while serving as an active-duty soldier.

The waiver for 2nd Lt. Brett Toth was first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter, who said that Toth signed a three-year deal with the Eagles. Toth graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 2018.

Read More Show Less
Indiana National Guard

The Indiana National Guard soldier who was killed on Thursday in a training accident at Fort Hood has been identified as 29-year-old Staff Sgt. Andrew Michael St. John, of Greenwood, Indiana.

Read More Show Less

QUETTA, Pakistan/KABUL (Reuters) - The brother of the leader of the Afghan Taliban was among at least four people killed in a bomb blast at a mosque in Pakistan on Friday, two Taliban sources told Reuters, an attack that could affect efforts to end the Afghan war.

Read More Show Less