War is dreadful. But also: exciting! We’ve already had a look at Dice’s next romp through War 1, by diving into the multiplayer beta of Battlefield 1 [official site] held earlier this month. But what of the story mode? This is normally where Battlefield games tend to stumble and fall on their own grenade. This new trailer showing off some of the campaign is here to convince you that it won’t be like that this time. It features lots of sad men saying brave things and then killing everybody with a gun. Come and see.
The campaign aims to create an “anthology of war stories”, say the developers, following a range of characters in different locations. That’s why you’ll meet Laurence of Arabia and the Red Baron, as shown in the trailer. But you’ll also be plonked into the shoes of punters, like this former chauffeur who finds himself driving a tank.
One example is the War Story Through Mud and Blood. It takes place late in the war and centers on a British Mark V Tank crew. The story focuses on a young soldier assigned to the crew as the tank’s driver. However, our protagonist has no experience of these modern war vehicles and need to learn – and learn fast. Our hero is also struggling with earning the trust of his fellow crew members, so there’s a social dynamic in the story, making the whole thing something personal. Danny Edwards, our driver character, is not an ace sniper. He’s not a crack pilot. He’s not a demo expert. He’s a former chauffeur – a volunteer new to the war. He can drive and he can fix things. That’s where we start.
Another story sees you playing as Laurence’s right hand soldier – a rebel arab who has to bound through the desert on her horse and scout out enemy camps before luring out an armoured train.
What do you think? It feels to me like a concession to the old story-telling of Call of Duty, but a sensible one. In those games you swapped between characters in global conflicts and were never even sure if the game was about to kill you off in a nuclear blast, or shoot you in the face at the end of a level. I’ve found past Battlefield campaign modes underwhelming in the past, so it’ll be interesting to see if the historically-influenced tales can win some pride back for the series.
Battlefield is released on October 21.