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Battlefield 1's final DLC, Apocalypse, thunders in next month

Battlefield 1

All good things must come to an end. Not to imply that World War 1 was good in the slightest, but the fanciful and oft-spectacular playground of historical inaccuracy that is Battlefield 1 is finally reaching the end of its extended development cycle.

Battlefield 1’s final DLC pack, Apocalypse, will launch in February. Set in the closing months of WW1, it brings the usual bundle of guns, vehicles, gimmicks and new features you’d expect from a Battlefield expansion, as well as an aerial-only playmode and five maps, although that number might seem a little cheeky if put under closer scrutiny.

While technically accurate, saying that Apocalypse expansion brings five maps is a little brazen. While there are three entirely new maps for most of the standard modes of play, Passchendaele, Caporetto and River Somme all set during the very darkest and bloodiest final months of the war, the final two maps – Razor’s Edge and London Calling – are reserved for the new dogfight-centric Air Assault playmode.

Given the high altitude nature of such engagements, the Air Assault maps probably haven’t had quite the same detail lavished on them as the infantry-level battlefields. I’m especially interested in the River Somme map, as Dice promise that what begins as lush wheat-fields will be a shattered hellscape by the end of the match. An interesting and thematically powerful workout of the Frostbite engine’s terrain deformation systems.

As standard for Battlefield expansions, there’s the usual collection of new murder-gubbins to play with. In the melee category we’ve got the especially brutal meat cleaver, and a somewhat more practical (if improvised) prybar, if you want to see if theoretical physics can bloom on the battlefields of the early 1900s. Naturally, you’ll want to be shooting people at least some of the time, and the bizarre-looking French Chauchat-Ribeyrolles 1918 SMG/heavy pistol and its 8-round magazine should allow for that, along with a handful of other firearms.

On the more gimmicky front, the Assault class is getting an anti-air rocket gun, which can do ruinous damage to aircraft, but still requires you to nail a plane from your position on the ground. If nothing else, it’ll make for some spectacular replays, but doesn’t seem like a piece of kit that the average player will get much mileage out of.

Even more gimmicky, but of significantly more interest to me is the new Afflictions system; selectable handicaps that players can apply to make multiplayer that little bit harder for bragging rights. The two examples provided are Mortality (you lose 200 score every death) and Paranoia (you wear a vision and hearing-limiting gas mask at all times), and I’m interested in seeing what the others are. Not many players are willing to put themselves at a disadvantage, so more power to those brave or foolish enough to play that way.

No firm date has been pinned down for the launch of the Apocalypse DLC, but it should be rolling out some time in February, with Premium Pass owners (or folks who picked up the Revolution edition of the game cheap during the sales) getting access to it two weeks earlier. So, who here is still hacking their way through the trenches, or planning on returning now that the game is finally approaching its final completion?

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