Battlefield 1 is almost here and is shaping up to be the biggest Battlefield game yet. Among these new features is the Operation mode, an epic experience that seems to combine Conquest, Rush, and a little bit of story. We had some hands on time with Operation Kaiserschlacht, which is now available in Play First for members of EA access. Does it live up to the hype?
A Multiplayer Story
The Operation mode in Battlefield 1 blurs the line between campaign and multiplayer. Instead of simply loading into a multiplayer match, a scene will play that gives context to the battle about to be fought. During Operation Kaiserschlacht, a German soldier explains his excitement in finding food in an abandoned supply depot, and how he wants to send some back home to his family. It isn’t much, and it can easily be skipped once the match is loaded in the background, but it goes a long way in making Battlefield 1’s grand scale battles feel that much more cinematic.
What follows is fairly standard objective based Battlefield combat, two points will appear that must be attacked or defended depending on team. Once those are captured, more points will open further down the map, and so on until you reach the end. What makes Operation stand out, however, is that one map is not a victory for the attackers. While playing Kaiserschlacht, if the attackers capture everything on St. Quentin Scar, the Amien map will open up for battle!
The feeling of capturing and holding territory, a crucial aspect of World War 1, is captured perfectly in Battlefield 1. Most multiplayer shooters have generic capture spots. Simply run to the glowing letter and wait for the dial to fill all the way up. Operation puts a meaning to all of this. Capturing an objective in Kaiserschlacht is advancing a story, helping that soldier send food and supplies back to his family - even if that story is only playing out in your head. The beautiful part of Operation is you can ignore all of the story, or fully immerse yourself in it. The choice is yours.
A Really, Really Big Blimp
“Only in Battlefield” is more than buzzwords from the EA marketing team, Battlefield is the best place to experience massive scale battles, and Operation raised the stakes even higher with gigantic war machines capable of swinging a match. Operation Kaiserschlacht features a Giant Blimp of Death. No that is not the official term for it (DICE calls it the Behemoth Airship L30), but Giant Blimp of Death is much more appropriate. The L30 has 6 seats - a pilot, 3 gunners with turrets, and 2 mounted turrets on the top to fight off pesky enemy fighter pilots.
Planes are the best way to take down the Airship L30, but if the planes are shooting the ship, they aren’t shooting your soldiers on the ground. Well organized teams will have to find ways to deal with these Behemoths while still preventing the enemy team from holding every zone. The depth of Battlefield 1 is really shown off in these situations. Will you jump into a vehicle and take it down, or maybe switch to a CQC loadout and head indoors while your teammates lead the attack in the skies? Individual parts of the Airship, like each gunner position, can be shot off, slowly decreasing its effectiveness, or the entire thing can be shot to the ground in a Hindenberg-style explosion that will destroy everything it crashes down upon. Watching the Giant Blimp of Death crash and explode on the formerly quiet village of St. Quentin Scar is a true “Only in Battlefield” moment.
Operation Is For Everyone
At the end of the Operation mode, a voice over will either explain what happened during the actual war, or how things could have changed in the real world based on that outcome of that battle - depending on which team won the match. Die hard multiplayer fans, who aren’t even sure what the word campaign means, will find enjoyment with Operation alongside the cranky single player people who just finally bought an Xbox Live subscription.
This is not a quick game mode that will allow you to sneak in a few matches before work, school, or dinner. A hotly contested Operation battle that goes the distance could easily last around an hour, so clear your schedule or save this for your weekend gaming marathon. While it might not be quick, Operation is what the Battlefield series does best and we can not wait to play more.