By: Gentleman Jeb
The first DLC for Battlefield 1 is titled They Shall Not Pass, and it became available for everyone who bought the Season Pass on March 14. While thousands of people have been playing the new content since it dropped, it doesn’t become available to gamers who plan to purchase it by itself until March 28. This means the most asked question from BF1 fans is: “is the DLC worth the purchase?” Read on for a break-down of the maps, weapons, and other features to help you make up your mind.
At a recent DICE event, I asked Johannes Fors, who is the art director for They Shall Not Pass, why the first DLC focuses on the French Army. His response was: “a lot of people were asking for the French, and we all wanted to include the French from the very beginning. The main game is about the untold stories and battles of the war, and the French is such an important aspect that we decided to bring them in for the first expansion pack and give them a proper treatment.”
Four new maps come with the French-themed DLC that offer a new look on an old war. Verdun Heights is an infantry-only map that features the most brutal fighting of all the new maps. It centers on the outskirts of Verdun, where over a million artillery shells landed in a 24-hour period at the beginning of WWI. As a result, the map has a small batch of houses on one end, but the rest of the layout showcases a bombed out hellscape filled with broken concrete, barbed wire, and small fires. With such an open layout, I don’t feel safe anywhere because enemies come at me from all sides.
Fort De Vaux is another infantry-only map, but it’s the polar opposite of Verdun Heights. This tight map features a giant fort in the middle with various corridors and holes blown in the walls that offer alternative routes. Of all the new maps, this one has the most bottlenecks, so fighting tends to include groups of soldiers using grenade spam to push through to the next room. Scouts tend to camp in the small outdoor areas looking for shots, but they’re pretty useless on this map. In contrast, the assault and support classes excel here, and medics are needed for constant revives.
Soissons is a large, open map with vehicles and a small town in the center. Tanks and scouts rule the roost on this map due to it’s open nature and lack of obstacles to block the player’s view. In contrast, the assault class is at a disadvantage due to the short range of their SMGs. I really like the layout of this map, as the river running through the middle can provide cover, and the small hill offers a decent challenge when taking the flag from the enemy. This is the only new map with airplanes, which is kind of disappointing as I’ve been an avid pilot ever since playing the original Battlefield 1942.
The fourth map, titled Rupture, has land vehicles and is even more open than Soissons. However, there are plenty of rolling hills and obstacles to obstruct the player’s view, so cross-map sniper shots aren’t common. One of the most noticeable features are the numerous flower beds that offer an unusual dichotomy between natural beauty and man-made carnage. I also like the train bridge that offers new combat strategies both on top and underneath the bridge. In addition, small bunkers littered throughout the map provide a safe space for long-distance shots.
BF1: They Shall Not Pass introduces a new online multiplayer mode called Frontlines to the retro-combat mix. It combines the flag-taking nature of Conquest with the telegraph stations of Rush to create a tug-of-war-style mode with constant back-and-forth battles. In this mode, players strive to take three flags set up in a row, with only one flag being contestable at a time. When all three flags are taken by one side, the other side is pushed back to their home base where they must defend two telegraph stations that have called in artillery. The match ends when both telegraph stations are destroyed, but if they aren’t destroyed, then the attackers are pushed back to the closest flag and the battle for it begins anew.
New Weapons and Elite Class
Six new weapons are available in the DLC, which includes two assault weapons, two variants of the medic, support, and scout weapons, and one weapon for tankers/pilots. After extensive playtesting, I found both the assault class shotgun and SMG to be my favorites. The shotgun is extremely powerful with a fast firing rate, which makes it the best shotgun available, and the SMG has a great combination of accuracy, damage, and fire rate.
As for the medic rifle, it’s high damage can take out enemies with two shots, which is why it has a small clip. This is a great all-around weapon that will surely become the favorite of those who prefer the medic class. Both variants of the new scout rifle are extremely effective in their own right. The sniper version is great at a distance, and the infantry version makes quick work of enemies in mid-range. The only new weapon that I don’t like is the support MG because it’s slow rate of fire makes it hard to lead enemies and/or take them down at close ranges.
Several new melee weapons are available, including three new puzzles, that seem to offer little more than a new skin on the same old weapons. On the other…err…hand, the new elite class has a raider club that does massive damage! This melee elite class is called the Trench Raider, and he’s equipped with extra armor, the trench raider club, and extra grenades. The deadly Trench Raider is best suited to fighting in trenches and indoor areas because he’s vulnerable at a distance. However, he’s extremely lethal and goes on killing sprees in close quarters.
Two new tanks have made their way to the Eastern Front, and both pack quite a wallop! The St. Chamond assault tank can fit an entire squad and has a lethal cannon on the front with machine gunes on the sides and back. One cool feature is the addition of a fourth machine gun on the front of the tank, which lets one person cover the driver as he peruses the battlefield looking for victims. This tank is handy for defense, but it excels at breaking through the frontlines and taking flags. Another cool feature is that players with the DLC can use the St. Chamond assault tank on any map that features tanks.
Even more powerful is the heavy metal beast called the Char 2C. While it’s technically a tank, the Char 2C is the behemoth on both Soissons and Rupture. It comes heavily armed on all sides and excels in attack and defense. Unlike other behemoths, the Char 2C can be driven freely on these maps, which makes it unpredictable and extremely deadly! Fighting this tank can be frustrating, but a well-coordinated effort with teammates can turn it into a flaming heap of scrap metal.
So is all of this content worth the asking price of $15. That depends on whether players prefer single-player or online multiplayer. Those who prefer the former will be disappointed to discover that there is no single-player content for BF1: They Shall Not Pass. However, those who prefer online multiplayer will surely love playing through the new content for the next several months. I, for one, think that $15 is a small price to pay for hours and hours of fun.