Rating : 8/10
Continuing with their prestige efforts of crafting monumental and historic battles of the First World War, all while keeping in respect of the subject matter, DICE have also pushed forward beyond the battles of World War and into the history of the traitorous Russian Revolution of 1919 with their second expansion pack, In the Name of The Tsar.
Focusing on the Russian army, the latest expansion pack arrives as a somewhat revolution of DICE’s own, as with the arrival of the Russian faction, also comes fundamental changes to the whole of Battlefield 1 – which I will go into detail later on. Alongside these changes also comes a bevy of new weapons, melee weapons and six new maps: Lupkow Pass, Albion, Galicia, Brusilov Keep, Tsaritsyn, and Volga River. The DLC also introduces, for the first time, female soldiers under the Russian Red Army, an admirable addition based on the notorious Women’s Battalion of Death.
In the Name of the Tsar makes use of the established infantry and trench warfare of the previous expansion with two new Operations. Starting with the Eastern Front 1916, the first operation sees players take part in the breakthrough operation, the Brusilov Offensive. Named after General Aleksei Brusilov, the plan was to carry a large-scale offensive against the Central Powers and to try and take pressure off the French and British armies.
Either as the Russian Army or Austro-Hungarians, the Brusilov Offensive sees both sides fight on the Russian countryside in Galicia in a widescale 40 or 64-player battle. The first operation can be problematic for the Russian forces, with an open space of countryside, you’ll encounter little areas of cover, forcing players to relegate themselves to the sidelines and focus on flanking tactics. Snipers are plentiful here too, and with the inclusion of aircraft, there can be at times, no place to hide. Prevailing in the attack, the Russians can push onwards to the second-half, Brusilov Keep. This brings combat tighter with a village at the centre and railroad passing through allowing for a comeback with the train behemoth.
The second operation, Red Tide, is named rather literally as it features the fight between the communist Red Army against the tsarist White Army, during the height of the Russian Revolution. Taking place after the war in 1919, a civil war rages on as the Russian forces battle against one another, spilling blood on their motherland in the name of revolution. Starting with Volga River, in one of the largest maps so far, the Red Army faces the White Army in a snow-covered countryside with a view of the City of Tsaritsyn off in the distance, succeed and this where the Red Army pushes through to next. Tsaritsyn is by far one of most hectic maps, close-quarters with combat focused in the cathedral at the heart of the map.
Alongside the new operations and maps, comes a new game mode too. Called Supply Drop, it’s a simple mode, but a welcomed addition. Battles take place on Domination sized maps and instead of flag points, the objective is to capture and defend incoming supply drops. Two are dropped randomly on the map and you’re tasked to capture and hold. It’s another short distraction mode, which can be enjoyed in such bursts similarly to War Pigeons.
Alongside the new expansion, DICE has listened to the community closely and has entirely reworked the reward system and have brought back specialisations. Available for classes and vehicles, this was last seen in Battlefield 4. Allowing for up to three at any one time, depending on choices, you can utilise a specialisation to improve the defense, add bonuses to spotting, increased movement, and reduce suppression. Some are class specific so it’s worth unlocking and experimenting.
Rewards have also been reworked and this means more challenges are available for those itching for additional progression, something that was severely lacking previously. Aside from the medal rewards, you’ll also earn additional bonuses when meeting certain criteria during matches, which can range from multi-kills, counter-sniping, reviving, and so on.
Just like before, the real disappointment for the latest expansion is the lack any additional war stories. It’s again, a badly missed opportunity to delve further into the history of the war. It would’ve certainly been a frightful and intriguing experience to take part of one of the most historic moments in Russian history through the eyes of a Russian revolutionary.
Nonetheless, there is no doubt about it, there is a revolution happening in Battlefield 1 and it’s not just with the arrival the latest expansion pack. With reworked mechanics, more progression and rewards; It’s clear that DICE is implementing fundamental changes for the series. Unfortunately, even though the tides are turning, as of right now they are held back by the obligations of the available season pass. Fortunately, they are changes that benefit both veterans and newcomers.
There is a revolution happening in Battlefield 1 and it’s not just with the arrival the latest expansion pack. With reworked mechanics, more progression and rewards; It’s clear that DICE is implementing fundamental changes for the series. Unfortunately, even though the tides are turning, as of right now they are held back by the obligations of the available season pass.
A bearded fellow whom spends most days gaming and looking at tech he can never afford. Has a keen eye for news and owns a dog that’s a bear.