I've always been a Conquest player, when it comes to Battlefield. Pitched battles over specific capture points, working smartly with a squad, and routing the enemy are where I have traditionally found the series' biggest strength. When Battlefield 1 arrives though, I suspect I'll be giving Rush mode another look.
Battlefield 1's Rush mode refines the experience and makes the objectives truly matter. As an attacker, you're working to destroy two telegraph stations in each area. Blow them both up, wait out the enemy barrage (a chance for defenders to regroup), and push ahead to do it again.
As a defender, those telegraph stations aren't just for show. Each can be used to call in artillery strikes on any enemy that's been spotted by your squad. You've got to make a stand, and having that defensive option can make the difference between being routed and holding the line.
I spent a chunk of my time in a small, one-man tank. The tanker class isn't just about rolling up and obliterating enemy troops. There's a tactical aspect to it, with the ability to self-repair. It isn't a quick process, but if you engage intelligently, you can do huge damage to the enemy forces and live to fight another day.
While I adored the smaller land vehicle, the massive land cruiser (complete with room for your entire five-man squad) was a bit cumbersome. The Sinai Desert map we played on features a number of narrower passages that are both challenging to navigate and perfect ambush points for a crafty player to lay explosives. The design felt more directed, which hints that DICE has taken the criticism about Rush maps in past titles.
Toward the end of the game, I took the opportunity to mount up on horseback. This is going to take some time to get used to. The controls are a bit stiff at this point, and with elevated areas and barbed wire, you're going to need to think ahead lest you'll become an easy target for a sharpshooter or foot soldier with a melee weapon.
My only disappointment from the hands-on demo is that I didn't get to see one of the elite classes in action. The three elite classes introduced at Gamescom include the Firetrooper, which can incinerate enemies with a deadly flamethrower; the heavily-armored Sentry, which leaves the gas mask behind in favor of heavier plating and a large machine gun; and the Tank Hunter, a long-range scout with an enormous rifle that fires explosive shells.
The Sinai Desert map also features one of the game's new behemoth vehicles, the armored train. When activated, it can chew through buildings, tanks, planes, and soldiers. Once it appears, it needs to be the priority, lest it decimate your forces.
Battlefield 1 is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on October 21.