The annual showdown of first-person shooters is upon us with Infinite Warfare, Titanfall 2 and of course, Battlefield 1 all in the mix. The Battlefield 1 beta started yesterday and I’ve already put some significant time into it. Fans of the franchise, and the genre as a whole, should be paying close attention to this epic October release, and here’s five reasons why:

Battlefield-1Battlefield is synonymous with 64-player chaos. Vehicles, both on land and air, explosives and destruction enjoy all-out carnage and absolute mayhem, with the map constantly evolving. One minute a wall might be there, the next it might not. A building you were using as conveniently using as cover, may be a pile of rubble by the time you respawn.

Sinai Desert, the beta’s playable map is Battlefield’s biggest map yet. It has certain areas lending themselves to various play styles; holes and cliffs for snipers, alleys and buildings for infantry, vast desert for land vehicles and open skies for planes.

The losing team can spawn an armoured train, affectionately named the Behemoth, which, if used correctly, can turn the tides in battle. Weather affects also shake things up. As the match progresses, the wind which somewhat beautifully, gently kicks up sand throughout most of the match, develops into a storm which vastly reduces visibility.

These are staples of the Battlefield franchise and have not changed dramatically, but they’re made particularly immersive thanks to the game’s historical context and level design.

Battlefield 1 Historically AccurateBattlefield 1 represents the first AAA shooter in a while to return to a historical setting. This obviously makes for some different weaponry and vehicles which in all honesty is refreshing having played so many futuristic shooters in recent years.

There’s insane attention to detail in some of the historically accurate features of the game which contribute greatly to BF1’s high level of immersion but the game deviates in a way that doesn’t seem totally ludicrous. Obviously, an armoured train rampaging around the desert, or the absence of trench warfare seem a little far-fetched, but weirdly realistic in the context of the game’s world.

Battlefield 1 Horses

I was once told that any game you could ride horses in was a good game, and if you think about it, it’s strangely true. Think about it.

You can ride horses in Red Dead Redemption, Skyrim, Metal Gear Solid V, The Last of Us and the Witcher, and they were all pretty damn good games.

Battlefield 1 is no exception. Horse encounters are incredibly epic. Whether you’re riding one, or taking somebody down whilst they’re making a quick getaway on a horse, it’s equally satisfying.

Battlefield 1 Map DesignMap design has often varied in quality substantially across Battlefield games. Often one or two emerge as the far superior maps. Obviously, there is only one in the beta but it bodes exceptionally well.

Buildings typically have three levels of verticality and the streets between buildings are undulating as the township spills down a slope. Rocky outcrops create heaps of nooks and crannies. Wave-like sand dunes add complexity to tank battles. A canyon surrounding a couple of flags in conquest create tense gunfights.

I’ve not yet noticed any bottlenecks that existed in previous titles. Buildings often had two or three entry ways which combat camping and prevent people from holding any strategically advantageous spot for too long.

Battlefield 1 Realistic Animations

The fluidity of the game’s animations is impressive. If you’re concerned you’re not going to get your parkour fix from Mirror’s Edge or Watch Dogs 2, consider the battlefield. Leaping between seats in a vehicle, clambering through windows or vaulting over fences is graceful and lifelike, and contributes to perhaps the most fast paced Battlefield game to date.

Character models respond to gun shots as you riddle enemies with bullets and bodies will ragdoll into the wall if a grenades is to detonate in their vicinity.

Explosions or gunfire with cause an abandoned horse to rear up in fright. The horses were a little too lifelike to be honest. I was half tempted to come to their rescue when I saw one left in the middle of battle and I’d always shoot the rider to avoid hurting the horse.