The final DLC sticks to the formula that made the Battlefield series so popular in the first place.
Battlefield 1: Apocalypse should be thought of mostly as a map pack, with two especially strong and great-looking ground battles leading the charge back into the fray. The pair of simple air battles, on the other hand, aren’t much more than a distraction from the real war.
Apocalypse’s River Somme, Caporetto, and Passchendaele are standard Battlefield maps meant to be played in modes like Conquest. They all bring the brutality the same way: they’re relatively open and less directed, with limited cover options. That’s a contrast to Battlefield 1’s previous maps, which have emphasized high cover and defined flanking routes. It’s easy to make a beeline for the next objective, especially on Passchendaele, though this still leaves you vulnerable to sniper fire.
Passchendaele already appears to be the community favorite, and it’s not hard to understand why: It’s one of the best-looking maps in the entire Battlefield series. A ghastly green poisonous fog rises up on one side of the map, while the other is bathed in flame. You get to battle it out between the two, in a muddy and ruined No Man’s Land. It might be the best-looking map in Battlefield history, and the art goes a long way toward selling Passchendaele as the quintessential World War I battle.
Passchendaele might be the best-looking map in Battlefield history.
One of my favorite moments was a juicy triple kill I pulled off by flanking the enemies at Objective Duff. Another allied squad had the enemy team pinned down from the opposite direction, and they were dug in pretty deep, but I came in from behind and laid waste to the survivors, allowing us to capture the point. I was unceremoniously killed a few minutes later by some fresh enemies who spawned from the opposite direction. Passchendaele feels like a meat grinder; even when I died, getting back into the action was so quick that I was always having fun.
Caporetto is also gorgeous, but seems to be the least-balanced map of the three. It’s too easy for defenders in Conquest Assault to hold their ground and win, thanks to the narrow entry area for the attackers, which results in a bottleneck. It’s still enjoyable thanks to the prevalence of the new Livens Projectors. These let you or the enemy drench the map in poison gas, which encourages you to be aware of your surroundings at all times. Finding Livens Projectors can be a bit difficult for first-time players, but once you figure out where they are, you can use them to devastating effect against entrenched enemy teams.
River Somme, set in French wheat fields at the peak of The Great War, is a respectable addition to Battlefield 1’s excellent roster, though it doesn’t make as much of an impression as its companions. That’s in part thanks to its comparatively bright color scheme.
As with the other expansions, Apocalypse offers plenty of new unlocks and assignments for players to complete. There are a handful of new weapons as well, though none of them change the game in a meaningful way; Support still plays like Support and Assault still plays like Assault. Getting that new revolver or meat cleaver isn’t going to transform your Battlefield experience, but having more to unlock is always a welcome addition.
The other half of Apocalypse is the unimpressive new Air Assault mode, which recycles two maps from Battlefield 1’s Friends in High Places campaign mission for airplane combat. The main issues are that plane control in Battlefield 1 was never great, and Air Assault only rewards you for kills or damage. That makes this mode both extremely straightforward and simple, but frustrating because of how difficult it is to zero in on a target.
The Razor’s Edge map is a simple dogfight deathmatch. London Calling is more complex because of the airships in play as additional objectives. That’s a fun twist on traditional dogfighting, but the airships have so much health that it’s far easier to shoot down other planes. That makes Air Assault a fun little diversion, but not much more than that. The added variety of the beautiful ground maps is the big reason to join in on Apocalypse.