The First World War As A Backdrop In New Game: Battlefield 1

Electronic Arts and DICE on Oct. 21 released the big production Battlefield 1, the most ambitious since the series appeared in 2002.

Battlefield 1 exposes a player to the horrors of World War 1, but some parts of the game are a bit silly; for instance when a British tank is easily repaired in a combat zone.

It does capture the macabre nature of war such as pitched tank battles and hand-to-hand combat down in the trenches, making death a personal affair starting in the prolog.

When your surrogate soldier dies, so do you, followed by a memorial giving the soldier’s year of death, birth date, and complete name.

The scene is the Second Battle of Cambrai in October 1918 and the use and deployment of British tanks.

The first chapter, Through Blood and Mud, simulates British tanks bulldozing through German lines.

The second chapter, Fog of War, tracks the tank, named Black Bess, into the German rear area using a road shrouded in fog. Here is where the tank is repaired.

In the third chapter, Breakdown, the hunt is on for spark plugs in a German-controlled village so Black Bess can continue the fight. War, as a trial and error experience, is best experienced in the attempt to kill an enemy soldier equipped with a flame thrower.

Bullets do not penetrate his armor, so the only logical recourse is to shoot at the gas tank. The tank seems invincible which cancels the prolog’s message: soldiers get killed, permanently.

The game is designed to generate the fear realized in war, not to give a historically accurate story of the Great War.

The final chapter, Steel on Steel, is very forceful given there are a series of battles in an effort to destroy all the German anti-tank artillery and neutralize enemy troops.

A cat-and-mouse situation develops with Black Bess darting out from buildings to fire at German tanks, reported.

While the game can represent the horror of war and the bravery of soldiers, it does have its unrealistic moments.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE