What’s great about these byte sized War Stories is that they have all the production value you would expect from Battlefield, but are also heavy on action, therefore while you’ll still get to learn of the protagonists backgrounds thanks to some fantastic cutscenes which glue together the story, most of the time you’ll be in the heat of the action, trying your best to cause as much damage as possible.
There are certainly some interesting stories told, all of which can be played in any order you see fit. I personally started off with “Through the Mud and Blood.” Here, you take control of a Mark V tank nicknamed Bess by its crew. Throughout this story you’re aim is to get Bess from one end of the battlefield to the other and there’s certainly plenty of obstacles in your way as you attempt this, be that other tanks, huge guns or loads of foot soldiers. You’ll also be required to get out of the tank at points, either to perform repairs, as this is the fastest way, or to go on a hunt for spark plugs, since poor Bess breaks down at one point and you need to get her going again. At one point there’s too much fog too, so out you go again, leading the way and taking out any anti-tank weapons that you find along the way.
Another story sees you play as Luca Vincenzo Cocchiola, an armoured Italian soldier keen to back up his brother, who has been sent out onto the field. Luca follows after him, heavily armoured up, which is an interesting way to play as no matter what the enemy throw at him, it's hard to cut him down. Later, you’ll lose the armour and then things become really challenging thanks to the sheer amount and variety of enemies, armed with the like of flamethrowers and more. The story ends with Luca finding the fate of his brother, although you’ll likely want to play to find out that for yourself.
One of the stories I enjoyed the most was that of Clyde Blackburn, a gambler and thief who gets muddled up in the war. Taking the role of a pilot after ‘acquiring an aircraft’, Clyde’s adventure is quite exciting, as you dogfight through the skies and try to avoid being shot down. It all starts off simply enough as you are eased into flying and learn how to take out both aircraft and ground targets using your gun and missiles. Things soon step up later on and you’ll find yourself in all manner of situations, even being on the ground at one point as you attempt to save both your life and that of your flying partner.
Another story focuses on Fredrick Bishop, the playable protagonist within a mission known as The Runner. Here, he and Jack Foster are assigned as message runners for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at the Gallipoli landings. Again this story is a pretty tense affair, with most of the action taking place on foot against the enemy.
No matter what Story mission you play in Battlefield 1, it’s fair to say that it looks absolutely stunning. Each of the stories offer a different take on the war and different environments, but each are a joy to behold. Whether you are in the muddy grounds of No Man’s Land, flying through the skies or riding horseback across the desert, the level of detail is mind blowing.
Battlefield 1’s War Stories will likely take you around 5-7 hours to complete and then that’ll be about it, however thanks to the wide variation and the focus more on action than story telling, it’s a pretty action packed time that you’ll be spending with the game. That’s not to say that the story isn’t there, as you will get some pretty heart breaking and sometimes heart warming moments that may even make you smile.
Of course, the main meat of Battlefield 1 was always going to be the multiplayer and we’ll have plenty more on that soon. But just know that the War Stories campaign is well worth playing, especially since it now comes some pretty impressive byte sizes chunks that help capture the feel of what it must have been like to be involved in a truly global conflict.
Words by Joe Anderson
Twitter: @_wotta | PSN/XBLA: wotta
(Version Tested: PS4)
+ Captures the feel of a truly global conflict
+ Great action, interesting story telling
- Some of the stories are weaker than others