Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: October 21, 2016
Platform: Xbox One (Reviewed), PS4, PC
Genre: FPS, Shooter
"Only the dead have seen the end of war."
While multiplayer is the star of the show for Battlefield 1, the War Stories single-player campaign is a delicious appetizer to whet your appetite for carnage. The campaign itself takes players across a world torn and ravaged by destruction, depicting a unique story line for each chapter.
The War Stories campaign is broken into one semi-mission intro and five main missions. Each of the five missions features a different theater of war across World War I, taking place in various regions of the world. The missions themselves are separated into chapters and sections, with some being as long as four chapters, and others being as short as two.
Each mission tells its own story and has its own unique and dynamic objectives and moments, so you don't ever get the feeling you're playing the same thing twice.
While it does show different perspectives, the basic tenants of FPS campaigns are still in play: you don't switch characters throughout the mission, and you're empowered to the point where it feels like a basic campaign mission from any shooter; i.e., you'll gun down dozens of baddies, planes, and tanks... making you feel like a superhuman.
When you first start War Stories, the perspectives shift from each character when you die, giving you the feeling of a kind of shifting battle. I thought the entire campaign would be like this, but it's not; you'll play as the person you start at the beginning of the campaign till the end.
At the same time, however, the missions still smash you down with a visceral iron fist; the gameplay isn't tight, and really reflects the era's firearms and weaponry. Often you'll use shovels, picks, and bayonets to dispatch your foes or toss a lucky grenade to take out a gunner outpost.
War Stories shows DICE's masterful prowess for visuals and visceral style, with every single scene outlined in pure glorious havoc and rather impressive graphics. Even on Xbox One, Battlefield 1 looks impeccable in terms of raw footage, but the actual War Stories' cut scenes are shown in a weird grainy style.
Gameplay is purely enthralling, with explosions, gunfire, and total annihilation breaking out every turn, making the campaign genuinely feel like an immersive arcade-style experience.
Gameplay is supercharged and feels like a modern FPS, but the actual mechanics are brutal and sloppy; there's no high-tech HUD tech here. Instead, there's violent authenticity that rings out with every kickback of an assault rifle, every booming tank blast, and every ripping of airplane machine gun fire.
It's gritty, it's cruel, it's raw and brutal, and it really does exemplify what I'd imagine the Great War to be like.
You feel as if you've entered the Great War itself with two goals: gun down everyone in sight, and stay alive. The chapters themselves can be quite short at times, but they are quite sweet, offering a fantastic pace and basic linear style.
Now, should you buy Battlefield 1 for its campaign alone? Absolutely not.
The War Stories are obviously meant to be supplementary fare, something you play when you're tired of multiplayer but still want your WW1 carnage. If you're the type of gamer who likes to play FPS campaigns, then rent it from Redbox or GameFly; you won't want to spend $64 to play a 5-8 hour campaign.
That being said, War Stories does offer a nice chunk of gameplay. Each mission can last anywhere from 1 to 2 hours, depending on difficulty and skill. The missions last even longer if you complete all of the optional side objectives, and go in for all the hidden field manuals. Plus, you could go achievement hunting to prolong the missions, too.
The campaign has legs and stands quite proudly, but it's still very short. The time you do spend with it though is almost always quality, so there's a very real battle between quantity and quality going on here.
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