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Nov 19

Battlefield 1 Is Finally Here!

Battlefield 1 is finally here, for those who have EA/Origin Access. Some people were lucky enough to start playing even earlier on October 12, because they checked for the download and got it going.

I wasn’t so lucky. It still showed as “coming soon” on the morning of the 13th. Restarting Origin fixed that, but I didn’t have time to do that before I left for work. When I got home, I was looking at a 6-7 hour download, which meant that I wouldn’t be able to play until the next day. So finally, October 14, I got to play for less than an hour.

It was glorious. The game started windowed on my PC, and I quickly switched it to full screen and set up my usual quick key bindings and options. Not everything, just the basics for how I run it (didn’t do mouse settings yet). Started up the campaign, which looked and felt great, a nice war story. Then I played one conquest match on Suez Desert, the same map as the Beta.

The atmosphere of the game is much, much better than the Beta. The sounds, music, and the appearance of the game is so much nicer, more immersive, than the already most excellent play during the Beta. I picked a medal — the one for taking out vehicles — and went to work as an Assault class. Jumped in a plane a few times, rode the train to destruction, and shot a lot of people. Did a nice mid-distance tap fire kill with the basic MP18. Long range snipers are still very powerful on this map, but good use of cover as usual can help.

A very nice first game, but sadly, no more time to play because I needed sleep in order to work. I love my job, most of the time, but it gets in the way of gaming. On the bright side, I have money to buy games to play, if only I have the time to play them. I have BF1 already preordered, and according to Origin the preload is complete — the First Trial seems to be the same install load as the full game, just restricted in features. My Battlepacks worked — got a skin for a gun, will have to see the other stuff later. I didn’t find my Deluxe Edition content yet, but that might be locked until the full release on October 18 (Early Enlister). (Note: all the stuff is available and unlocked, just have to find where it is in the customization menus).

The price for the First Trial access is more than made up for in the savings on the full game, and it gives me some time yet to play this first weekend that the game is available. I expect that I will cancel my Origin Access for now. It is not a bad deal for the games unlocked by it, but I don’t expect to have time to play them.

Time vs Money

There are many new games coming out or even released now, but even though I have money to buy them, I don’t have enough free time to enjoy them all. Battlefield is one of my favorites, and I’ve put in a fair amount of time playing it in the last two weeks. The basic kit unlocks are pretty easy to earn — only need class rank 3 for them — but there is a special unlock at rank 10. That rank also gives you extras for the vehicle classes, earned using them. That part is quite nice, as I’m not really disadvantaged compared to players with more time to play. The rank 10 items are good, but by no means overpowered.

Operations is a great game mode, with a very nice historical timeline tie in. You need to have enough free time to enjoy it, as it can take a couple hours to complete. It plays like a mix of conquest and rush, across three maps, and is delightfully intense.

A quick note, I’ll want to check into it more: the song that plays at the start sounds like Kate Smith’s “Dream A Little Dream Of Me” from 1931. That makes it anachronistic, unless of course the scene is a dream flashback sequence from after the war. It is a delightful song, and sets the mood and scene so well, I wouldn’t care about that, it is a great song. Note 2: Margot Bingham is the singer, according to the soundtrack credits. In any case, the campaign is immersive and fun, which is excellent.

So what else have I been up to?

While waiting for the BF1 Trial to download, i played Star Wars Battlefront. Got a nice game in with me as MVP, always fun. Some people were disappointed with Battlefront, but I like it. For a Star Wars fan, there is much to like. People who missed out on the Alpha, Beta, and didn’t check any reviews don’t have a good excuse for not realizing that it isn’t, and was never intended to be, Battlefield Star Wars, but instead, a more classic arena action shooter set in the Star Wars universe. In this, it actually does share more with its predecessor Star Wars Battlefront II than with the Battfield series, especially from BF4 on. Battlefield 1 (and now Battlefield 4) may share some style elements in the menus and HUD, but the game play is very different.

Rockstar has done some amazing things with GTA V Online. I got my GTA$ 500,000 bonus from daily objectives, just as I got the chance to play Battlefield 1Trial. Playing daily is a good way to both have fun and collect money (resources) in any online game like GTA. But my time is limited, so for now, I’m taking a break and focusing on Battlefield 1.

I’m waiting on Civilization VI, a sure buy for me, for the same reason. I could have preordered it anyway, but if I did, I’m sure I’d find some time to play it. No guarantees, though, because many other good games have new stuff out and I haven’t put much time into them either. Elite Dangerous — a tough but exciting space flight combat simulator — has loads of new content, but it is hard to get good at using it without more time to play. That’s true of lots of games. Titanfall 2 is another example. Sure, i liked the original and it looks much improved, but BF1 is my current obsession, so when will I play it?

I collected the Babylon 5 remastered collection online. This series from the 1990s was groundbreaking for its use of CGI graphics in a TV show at the time, but my DVD set doesn’t show the details as nicely as they could be for the HD era. More important than its Emmy winning effects (for makeup, not the CGI), though, is the great storyline. A five season serial story arc, memorable characters, and some great science fiction story writing make it worth watching again and again. 123 episodes, including the short-lived spinoff Crusade, plus several movies, gives me a lot to watch.

Real Life Gets In The Way Of Gaming

I intended to finish this as soon as BF1 was released. I did get some time to actually play the game, and the tradeoff there is not enough time to write about it. Add in being busy at work and other real life activity, and i find it hard to give up any of my limited game playing time to do anything other than just play the game.

On the positive side, the first BF1 patch came out, and it is pretty much all good improvements to the game. That does nothing to change my obsession with playing it when I can, of course.

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