This wide-ranging shooter draws mature players into a conflict they probably haven't played with an emotionally heavy, gripping plot. Most military shooters have evolved over time, moving from the past through the present and into the future. For the latest Battlefield game, though, EA decided to buck the trend and roll back the clock to one of the most intense theaters of wars in human history: World War I. As a result, Battlefield 1, with its attention to detail and its gritty take on the global conflict, is one of the most epic shooter experiences to come along in recent memory. Take the single-player campaign. Rather than try to force one view on the player and condense everything into a single person's experience, the game opts to showcase the war through multiple eyes. These "War Stories" put the player in the role of everything from the legendary members of the 369th Infantry Regiment (aka the "Harlem Hellfighters") to an Italian flame trooper seeking out his brother behind enemy lines to an Australian message runner in the Gallipoli Peninsula to a soldier under the charge of none other than Lawrence of Arabia. Each of the characters in the single-player campaign has a unique and distinct story to tell, showing the war from various perspectives. Make no mistake about it, this is a game whose presentation of war, especially through the eyes of those who were there, makes a significant emotional impact that lasts long after the controller is put away.
As amazing as the single-player campaign is, the Battlefield franchise is also known for its large-scale multiplayer battles, and Battlefield 1 delivers here as well. Handling up to 64 players at once can be a massive undertaking from a technical standpoint, but the game seems able to manage the chaos fairly well. This says a lot considering the huge open areas where most of the action takes place. At any given time, you'll have planes dogfighting above you, tanks blasting trains besides you, and horses galloping past you, all while you're surrounded by ground troops from both your allies and opposition. Then there's the weather, which can shift at a moment's notice, forcing you and your teammates to change strategies on the fly. One minute you're charging headlong into enemy encampments, while the next you're blinded by a sudden sandstorm. Or maybe you'll be forced to abandon that armored vehicle or air support you've been tearing through the ranks with because a heavy storm has set in, making an infantry push your best option. In fact, "option" is probably one of the best words to use when describing Battlefield 1. There are so many ways to play the game and so many ways to make the Battlefield experience unique to you, you'll always get out of it at least as much as you're willing to put into it.