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They Shall Not Pass - A superb addition to Battlefield 1

They Shall not Pass Battlefield 1 impressions.jpg

Battlefield 1’s first expansion, They Shall Not Pass, released yesterday for Premium Pass holders on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. As soon as my 7.3 GB download was completed, I jumped straight into the battle as a French soldier sporting blue attire and screamed “Ils ne passeront pas!”

The battle cry was used by General Robert Nivelle of the French army during the Battle of Verdun in the World War 1, so obviously the first map I joined was Verdun Heights; and the experience was equal parts thrilling and terrifying.

What SA gamers need to know

Before we get to the actual gameplay, I want to share my local experience with you. Let’s face it, having local servers for Battlefield 1 is awesome, as when you connect to one you can not only play with fellow South Africans, but the latency is fantastic. That’s if you can find a match of course.

  • Tested: ADSL with 4Mbps download speed & 512kbps upload speed
  • Platform: PS4

I spent the entire night yesterday playing They Shall Not Pass maps, but I got lucky. At 18:00 I joined via Quick Match and got thrown into a 64 player Conquest pretty fast, which meant I could play all the maps as they rotated through, on a solid local server. However, after I left the server to take a break, a problem arose. Searching for the new Operations (of which there are two in the expansion) as well as the new game mode Frontlines, both through matchmaking and the server browser, didn’t bring up any results.

When I did find a match, it was 10 versus 10, but even then, the game just kept saying “waiting for other players” as there were only four to five local players in each team. Therefore, the match wouldn’t start properly and we were stuck in limbo wait for others. I tried finding another Conquest afterward, with the same result as mentioned above. Having waited for hours on end, I finally gave up on finding a local match. Instead, I had to push through some lag, which you can see at the end of the video below.

Yes, I understand that it is the first day of the expansion, but there could be another reason, maybe a lot of local players simply don’t have the Premium Pass? I will know more once I test it again and again over the next week, but I am concerned that expansions will, just like it did in the other franchise titles, segregate our relatively small Battlefield 1 community. Even so, the expansion is absolutely amazing and you should definitely play it, because even with the long queue times I can’t wait to jump back into the action.

They Shall Not Pass impressions

I enjoy playing the medic class above all else since I first started playing Battlefield: Bad Company 2, as being a medic puts you right on the frontlines of the action (and I don’t have to aim well to contribute). In Verdun Heights, and just about every other match, I was blown to pieces over and over again as the enemy destroyed my team, but I loved every second of it.

One part of the map is littered with fire, char, trenches and death, while the other is green little countryside area. The contrast, when seen from afar like my image at the start of the article, is breathtaking. In Verdun Heights, it is quite literally an uphill battle most of the time, as I found myself running up hills and ducking into trenches while the enemy opened fire from above, but it was still entertaining. With a good squad, you can make it up a hill to capture an objective, but there is definitely a big defenders advantage due to the geography of the map.

My favorite of the four new maps is definitely Fort Vaux, which offers a lot of close quarter combat. Danger and possible death lurkers around every corner, creating an exhilarating experience. The map’s atmosphere is the best in the game at the moment resulting in some shock-scare moments. Fort Vaux offers gameplay akin to that of Metro from Battlefield 4 and I am sure the map will be played to death.

At the moment though, it is new and fresh; and every single inch of the map is brilliantly constructed. Fort Vaux doesn’t produce the most tactical of teamplay elements, as you see a lot of explosive spam and groups huddling up in a specific area, but maybe that’s what makes it so much fun for me. No, I didn’t see any zombies, but in a way. the map still feels as if there is something bigger, something dark underneath it all.

Maybe there are some Easter Eggs hidden that will be discovered in the future. Fort Vaux is a map I will very likely play for years to come, it’s just that exciting and action-packed.

Rupture is, without a doubt, the most beautiful of the maps I played, due to the poppy plants growing over the wreckage of old tanks. The map itself offers various ways to approach your objective and has a wonderful feeling of freedom to it. Coupled with the fog in the map that hides your enemies, the map delivers a very atmospheric experience.  

Although I didn’t have a lot of time on the map, it felt right at home in the Battlefield 1 map pool. Even though it doesn’t bring anything new to the table, the map is refined and wonderful to play. A worthy addition to the game’s map pool. Unfortunately, I did not get to play Soissons yet, but I did experience the new Frontlines mode.

Even though the mode, if you break it down, is a combination of Rush and Conquest, the change of pace during a match makes it the most fun and exciting game mode I have played in a Battlefield title. I struggled at first to adapt to the changes in pace throughout each match, and I could see both my teammates and enemies also had the same issue. However, that is exactly what makes the Frontlines game mode so wonderfully chaotic; and in my opinion, the best mode so far in Battlefield 1.

Everything I’ve experienced so far in They Shall Not Pass is executed to perfect, polished and most important of all, exceptionally fun to play. I dare say it is the best expansion for a title in the Battlefield franchise to date, with maybe the exception of Vietnam in BFBC2. DICE did an excellent job with the first expansion, and if this is the quality we can expect going further, Battlefield 1 is here to stay for a very long time.          

Those without a Premium Pass will have to wait in the trenches until 28 March, with the DLC going on sale on 27 March. If you want to gab the Premium Pass today to reap the benefits of owning the new expansion a week before, and future content too, then the prices are listed below:

Did you have your first taste of They Shall Not Pass or will you be joining in on the action soon? Let us know in the comment section below.

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