EA’s yearly open beta has arrived and this year it takes Battlefield to World War 1. It’s not without its issues of course but overall the game looks good. The shift to WW1 is welcome, removing the sense of hyper-accuracy that lingers in modern shooters and providing a more organic, fluid pace. It still has the large set pieces of modern games - armour trains, zeppelins and dreadnoughts but it feels more in keeping with the period and is a better fit for DICE’s gunplay.
The Sinai desert map is a fantastically varied environment with sand dunes, rocky canyon passes and small hamlets all scattered across the terrain. Unlike some previous maps that were filled with tiny choke points, this one has plenty of open space to provide more slow-paced combat. There’s also a focus on tactical combat with tanks and aircraft being much more prevalent. It will take a lot of spotting and precise anti-tank grenade throwing to get through them, even more so than in most modern shooters.
The open beta is available now for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One players that have registered as a Battlefield Insider, which can be done here. It’s a great opportunity to get a feel for the game and see how it holds up on a bigger scale. The stats from the beta show that Assault is the most popular class deployed, although the Medic is conspicuously under-used. EA says that it will use the feedback to help balance the classes for the full release.