That’s it. That’s all. All good things must come to an end. Battlefield 1’s development and lifecycle has come to an end. Battlefield 1 for the first time in the history of gaming has gone to a place that no other videogame in the military genre has gone before and that is the First World War. Before Battlefield 1, the First World War was a mystery and it’s battles were never before seen in a videogame unlike the Allied landings in Normandy and the struggle for Stalingrad during The Second World War.
Battlefield 1 has brought the First World War out of the shadows and into the mainstream, for the first time battles like the Somme and the Argonne Forest are brought to life in a videogame, for the first time the weapons of the First World War are finally in a videogame. For all the work put into Battlefield 1 and all the expansions, this particular game is a major accomplishment for doing exactly that although not being particularly historically accurate, it’s still a major accomplishment. I keep going back to the memories of the first time I got hands on with the game and the journey that this game has gone through. Battlefield 1 brought something to me that I had no knowledge in, it taught me a history lesson much like the games of yesteryear. Not alot of videogames can say that.
Apocalypse shares alot in common with Turning Tides, the third expansion pack to Battlefield 1. Turning Tides kinda let me down but this expansion really did let me down, it felt rushed and it felt like DICE just scrambled something up and put it out in an expansion pack that doesn’t feel meaty like They Shall Not Pass and In The Name of the Tsar , it didn’t feel as complete as those two and it disappointed me that this was the last expansion pack to a game that I enjoyed and it didn’t feel like a big sendoff to a game that broke records. Apocalypse was the only expansion to the game that sounded interesting but it only has only three infantry maps, no new factions, a new game mode that doesn’t really feel that complete. It’s a complete shame that DICE decided to end the game’s lifecycle with a disappointing expansion pack.
Apocalypse doesn’t really offer the same kind of content that the previous expansions offered and that’s due to how rushed this expansion is. The three infantry maps are shameful while the two maps set above the Vosges and London don’t offer much and come off as a distraction.
River Somme, Caporetto, and Passchendale are standard maps that you often see in a Battlefield game. They bring the brutality of World War I to life, especially Passchendale and there’s a contrast to previous maps, which have emphasized large open spaces and basically no cover at all and defined flanking routes. It’s easy to rush the objectives but other then that, maps like Caporetto and River Somme don’t offer much while Passchendale is the fan-favorite and the only good map in this entire expansion.
Passchendale is the fan-favorite and one of my personal favorites because it brings World War I to life with trench warfare and brutal combat that can only be seen on the Western Front. It’s the kind of map that Battlefield 1 should’ve had in the very beginning when the game originally launched, it’s the kind of map that ultimately defined the Western Front during World War I. It’s one of the best looking maps in the whole entire game, gas rises up on one side while the other is engulfed in flames and you get to battle it out for the fate of Passchendale in the middle, in a muddy No Man’s Land with heavily defended emplacements. It’s like a meat grinder.
The River Somme, set at the height of the stalemate on the Western Front, is a respectable and honorable addition to the roster of maps, although it doesn’t make as much of impact or lasting impression as maps like Argonne or Passchendale and that’s due to the bright color scheme and the gamemode. Conquest Assault limits it and it hasn’t much as fun as regular Conquest.
Caporetto, much like Passchendale, is also a gorgeous map and leaves a lasting impression. Caporetto is the least balanced of the entire 3 infantry map roster, it’s too easy to curb stomp the enemy team and finish them off this is in due part because of how the map design is set up: The Italians spawn on the bottom of the hill while the Austrians spawn at the top and the Italians can see the enemy from the bottom and spawntrap them and it becomes a bottleneck and grindfest. This is in due part to Conquest Assault, the enemy spawns with all the flags and it’s easy to spawn on one flag next to the Austrian spawnpoint and hammer them. Conquest Assault is just not a fun game mode and it has never worked so I’m not sure why DICE keeps trying to force a game mode to work when it’s just never been implemented right since Battlefield 2.
The other half of the Apocalypse expansion is as much as disappointing as the three infantry maps. Air Assault is an unimpressive mode, which recycles two maps from the Battlefield 1 campaign which are: Razor’s Edge and London Calling, Razor’s Edge is set above the French Alps in the Vosges while London Calling is set above the skies of London during one of the bombing raids over the city. The main issue is that Battlefield 1’s air mechanics has been wonky since the bet although to me they feel right but it has been wonky and hard to control the biplanes, and Air Assault just falls flat because I think it’s due part thanks to the modes that are available. The modes are Team Deathmatch and an Objective based mode.
It becomes frustrating because Air Assault could’ve been so much more and that it could’ve really mimicked the air battles of World War I. Massive air combat and a mix of engaging modes that is not just an oversimplified and reskinned TDM and a gamemode that’s about destroying each other’s behemoths, it’s the first time that we as gamers have gotten to play with World War I era planes, it could’ve been fun if DICE made an effort to mimic the air war of World War I while pulling some ideas from 1942: In 1942, you could’ve dropped bombs on London during the Blitz and have players try to intercept you. That could’ve been great here in Battlefield 1.
As with the other expansions, Apocalypse brings a tide of new weapons to play with. There are handful of weapons that can be unlocked such as the RSC SMG 1917, that SMG is a massive skill cannon but once you master it, it becomes quite powerful. Also, the Webley Mk. VI revolver finally makes it’s appearance here and it packs quite a punch while the Scout class gets the American Enfield 1917 which was the American standard issue rifle during World War I, you have to put some work in it to make the Enfield 1917 a good weapon to use otherwise it’s just a reskinned Springfield Infantry. There’s more to unlock and that’s welcome addition.
On the final note, Apocalypse is just overall disappointing expansion to one of the most successful games of 2016. It felt rushed and it didn’t feel complete or as meaty as the other expansions did, a lack of infantry maps and a disappointing Air Superiority mode makes this expansion keep it from living up to it’s potential.
I wonder in due course if we’ll ever see another World War I game again. This was the end of the end. It’s time to close the book on this chapter of the Battlefield franchise and move on to greener pastures.