The new maps have injected life into a game that was starting to feel stale. Battlefield 1 came out October last year and has gone the longest of any Battlefield game without new content. However, the wait was worth it. They Shall Not Pass dropped two weeks ago for premium members and is now available to the public. Two new Operations, several new guns, a new game mode, and four new maps make up the content of They Shall Not Pass. If you want early access to any future DLC, you can buy the Premium pass. So after put around 20 hours playing the DLC, I give my review of it.

 

The Maps

Fourth map in They Shall not pass
The familiar Poppy flower used to commemorate fallen soldiers. Photo Courtesy: Battlefield.com

Rupture – This is the map with all the lovely red flowers. Rupture is well balanced with five objectives with a river that flows between four of the objectives. The central goal is the bridge which becomes the focal point of the battle in Conquest. Each side of the river has two objectives for each team to capture and defend. Rupture is well designed and favors many playstyles. Snipers can use the valley leading to the river to pick off easy targets, tanks have plenty of room for battle, and infantry has trenches to avoid snipers and tanks.

New map from They Shall Not Pass
(Soissons) I have a feeling these homes will make great fixer-uppers soon. Photo Courtesy: Battlefield.com

Soissons – Feels the most generic of the new maps. There is no raging fire like Verdun Heights or intense close quarters battle like Fort Devaux, but it is a great tank warfare map. There are plenty of trenches for infantry to stay out of the view of patrolling tanks unlike some of the vanilla maps that had vast spaces of no man’s land.

New map for They Shall Not Pass.
(Fort Vaux) Nightmares of Operation Locker and Metro! Courtesy: Battlefield.com

Fort DeVaux – This madhouse of grenade spam is -I’m sure you’ve heard by now – the new Operation Metro or Locker. It deserves the comparison considering the close quarter’s combat and claustrophobic environment. It’s a maze of halls with an outer perimeter that allows for flanking and avoiding the tunnels of death set up by support and snipers. This is a good Conquest map.

Verdun Heights
(Verdun Heights) Smokey the Bear is not happy! Courtesy: Battlefield.com

Verdun Heights – This map is great on Frontlines and Operations. The infantry only map is a dream for the slayers that can run up their kill/death ratios. Verdun Heights features a low valley that has trenches dug into the hills on each side. The central part of the map has a torn down building with a basement that becomes a focal point of many matches. There are underground forts with sniper and machine gunner pillboxes that poke out of the ground giving players a good vantage spot. The land is charred and scarred just like the St. Quentin Scar.


 

The New Weapons

The new Assault weapons are good and okay. The Ribeyrolles 1918 is an excellent gun that competes with the Automatico and Hellriegel. The new shotgun, the Sjogren Inertial, does not hold a candle to the Model 10-A Hunter.

The Medic RSC 1917 variants are both great. You have a guaranteed two shot kill in close and medium range encounters. Whether you like this gun or not depends on your playstyle, I prefer a faster fire rate, so I’m not a big fan of this gun myself.

The new Support class gun, the Chauchat is historically one of the worst guns ever made, but in Battlefield 1 the Chauchat is one of my new favorite weapons. There is no clear consensus on what gun is best for the Support class. I argue the Bar M1918 Storm is the best followed by the MG15 Storm or Madsen Storm. The Chauchat offers a bit more range and power at the expense of a slow fire rate. It’s better than the BAR in every statistic except fire rate. I find the Chauchat and BAR are both great guns. I find myself bouncing back and forth between each. I mainly play the Support class, so I am inclined to like their guns more than the other classes.

Chauchat Battlefield 1
The new Chauchat gun. Image Courtesy: battlefield.wikia.com

The Scout class is my least favorite class, and I would be surprised if I had a service star with any rifle outside of the experimental 1906. The Lebel Model 1886 is the new sniper rifle for scouts, and per my friend’s experience with the new rifle, the Lebel is good but not good enough to replace the SMLE or Gewehr.

There is also a new stationary weapon, the Howitzer. It functions like a mortar but with a much more devastating effect. You can find them in each game mode on the new maps.

The new tank, the Saint Chamond, is a French designed tank that has a unique mortar strike feature. If you’re surrounded by enemies, you can send a pigeon with artillery coordinates to strike the area immediately around the tank. It can be used to clear out objectives with great efficiency.

The New Game Mode: Frontlines

Frontlines is a fantastic addition to the Battlefield franchise, but it can be frustrating. This game mode pits each team against each other on a symmetrical map. Each team fights to control one objective at a time forcing each team to converge on one point. The team that captures the objective pushes the enemy team back towards another objective close to the enemy’s base. If the team pushes the enemies all the way back to their base, Frontlines turns into a game of rush. The attacking team has 40 tickets (lives) to take out two telegraph stations. If they fail, the defending gets another opportunity to capture the objective and potentially push the attacking team all the way back to their base and arm their telegraph stations.

If the teams are balanced, this battle can stretch out to ridiculous lengths. I like this and hate it at the same time. The sense of accomplishment from winning a battle after slugging it out with the other team for 70-90 minutes is palpable. Never in my Battlefield experience have I heard everyone in my party cheer with such enthusiasm after snatching victory from the jaws of defeat 80 minutes into a match. Whether those cheers are from winning or just being thankful the match is over, I’m not sure. I don’t think Dice should add a timer to the mode; I think having one game mode that is won with skill and tactics over an arbitrary timer or tickets is what makes Frontlines unique.

New Operations

Beyond the Marne – This Operation is all about tank warfare. Several tanks can be on the map at once. Both maps, Rupture and Soissons, offer plenty of trenches to sneak up on these tanks. This Operation can be quite hectic because of the tanks, and you get to see Frostbite 2’s destruction in full force. The maps quickly become scarred with craters from the explosions. Beyond the Marne also features the new behemoth, a large tank, which usually decimates the defending team. I haven’t had a chance to get in the Char 2C, but I have died from it plenty.

The Devil’s Anvil – This infantry only Operation is my favorite of all Operations now. The intensity of 32 vs. 32 on an infantry focused map void of any trolling tanks, annoying artillery trucks, or pesky planes is a gunner’s dream. The opportunity to get crazy kill numbers is ripe in The Devil’s Anvil. Underground bunkers, great flanking paths, and lots of cover in certain areas offer lots of options for tactics.

Unfortunately, grenade spam rears its ugly head on these maps. Gas grenades, anti-tank grenades, rifle grenades, crossbow launcher grenades, mortars, you name it, and it’s probably going to land at your feet in the next couple of seconds. On Verdun Heights, it’s not so bad. But once the battle switches to Fort Devaux, good luck, you’re going to need it.

Overall Impressions

As a fan of the franchise, I am happy with the content, and it has rekindled my desire to play Battlefield 1 every day. Looking at this DLC objectively I would have liked to see the content come out earlier. The long periods of time between each DLC pack is going to put a strain on the player base. You will lose players in that time, and some may not come back because they have found a new game to pour their time into.

Content-wise I think Dice knocked it out of the park. With four great maps, weapons for every playstyle, a new unique game mode, and new Operations –  a game mode that has attracted several new Battlefield players – Dice has delivered on their promise for great content.

 

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