BATTLEFIELD 1 [Beta Impressions]: Sandstorm.

GHG’s GEEK vs. NERD video game face-off is back! Check out what these two First-Person Shooters have to say about arguably the year’s most anticipated game, Battlefield 1, in its early beta stages…

Adam “The Advocate of Al’Akul” Bowers @chefadambowers XBL: Advocate05
Adam “The Advocate of Al’Akul” Bowers @chefadambowers XBL: Advocate05

GEEK – Have you ever watched an E3 trailer and said, “man, this trailer looks awesome. I hope the game looks as good”, only to play the beta or “finished” product and become let down due to downgraded graphics or options that were just plain lacking? I thought the same thing when peeping Battlefield 1 during E3 this year. “Man, they are playing on PC–surely the Xbone version will take a graphical hit!

Then, this week EA and DICE blessed geeks with their “Open” Beta. I had to download it first. That took a while. Then, I had to load in. That took longer. But, what I was greeted with was a graphical tsunami of epic proportions. Even with my cataract eyes, I witnessed pure graphical beauty before me. The game ran silky smooth and the sheer amount of battles going on blew me away.

Then, a sniper shot my head off…


No, really: a sniper was camping on a mountain across the map and shot my skull to smithereans. Then, I spawned back in. Gutted. Spawned back in. Run over by a tank. Spawned back in. Shot up as I clammored over a wall. Spawned back in. Blown up by a grenade. Basically, I died a crap-ton. I adjusted my sights, fixed the look calibration…and still died. A lot. My K/D is like .04 (working as intended), which is beyond embarrassing. Yet the beta is still amazing fun. Being able to choose squads, ride a horse, hitch a ride on a tank, plane, or truck worked all very smooth and amazing. I don’t notice lag; what I do notice is me dying. A lot. Shooting planes down, shoveling a dude–these are fun things. Being on the recieving end? Not so much.

The only map is the Sinai Peninsula with its sandstorms and desolation. The two modes are Conquest, which is essentially “Capture the Point” and hold it (think the “Control” blast on Destiny)–but with 64 players!–and Rush, where one side defends a point, and the offense tries to capture it. If the offense does, the next part of the map opens and you do it again. My preference is Conquest, since its always packed and the battles feel an actual, real war. So much is going on and you always have to watch your back. It’s intense. Happily, this little taste has this Advocate of Al’Akul salivating for more maps and modes. Love is a Battlefield.

"Saint" Patrick Obloy @OffTheGeekEnd
“Saint” Patrick Obloy

NERD – The anticipation for the beta was great, Advocate, but now the wait is over and “the GHGamers Lounge” can all can give it a run through. In this test we are transported to the lovely village in the desert you mentioned. For Conquest–also this Saint’s favorite mode as of yet–the battle stretches along a run of train tracks. The capture points are spread along this railway from one team’s base to the other, with a lone point off to the south. Players enter as a foot soldier, or can choose from planes, tanks, or even a horse to ride into battle. I mostly chose starting on foot and running into the points to help the ground units steal or hold a point.

The heavy tanks and landships are great fun and beasts on the field, easily able to hold off enemy units. The smaller tanks have their purpose, mostly to get to a point quick, but aren’t as good for defense use–more of a get in and support the troops-type vehicle. Should you choose ride into war on four legs, the horse is quite fast and maneuverable, and with it comes a rifle and sabre. As for artillery, the rifle is rather nice, and works great for mid to long range, and the sabre is great for close up melee attacks — very satisfying when you run up on a soldier and take his head off with a swift swing. The planes come in both bi-wing and tri-wing styles with configurations for attacking and bombing. When you choose these from the spawn point, you are allowed to choose from these and then put right into the sky with no runway experience needed.

Yeah, get used to it.
Yeah, get used to it.

As a soldier we are given a choice between attack, medic, support, and scout. They are pretty self explanatory, with the medic and support able to give help to their fellow team mates (i.e. support gives ammo, medic gives bandages). I thoroughly enjoyed playing the beta at E3, and the experience was not lost in this beta. The game looks amazing and performs well, with a few issues that will be resolved before launch. My game time was shared with several friends and we all experienced a good share of epic moments. Yes — even the beta has “only in battlefield” plays that have you yelling “Xbox, record that!”

Bug wise, the biggest gripe being mentioned is the menu lag on consoles. The initial menu when entering the game works fine, but once in game you should avoid using any menu buttons, as you will be stuck waiting minutes for them to load only to wait again to get back to the battle. DICE does know of the issue though and is already working on it, so it shouldn’t appear in retail (god help them if it returns). All in all, the Battlefield 1 beta is very fun and keeps me coming back every day for hours of game time. It’s going to be a long wait for release once September 8 hits.

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