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Battlefield 1 by Johan Söderqvist & Patrik Andrén (Review)

posted Dec 18, 2016, 10:06 AM by Leo Mayr

continues its annual rivalry with Call Of Duty, and while the latter has ventured into deep space, Battlefield 1 decided to go back in time for one of the most devastating wars in human history. In stark contrast to the electronic soundscapes dominating modern military shooters, Battlefield 1 relies on a more traditional orchestral approach.

The score features an abundance of heroic anthems and bold action pieces, with a handful of emotional pieces scatterd throughout. The orchestral music is loud and heroic, almost always reminding you more of a hymn than an actual score, and while this provides a generally pleasant listening experience and emphasizes the heroism of the player characters, it takes away from the gameplay itself. The music is always heroic and light hearted, so there's rarely any sense of threat. A heroic moment means nothing, if all the moments are heroic. Having the mood lacking any intensity or threat all the time just feels wrong, considering the fact, that the game is set in World War I, literally one of the most violent conflicts known to mankind. A well structured anthem-like piece of music has no room for mistakes, it never evokes threat, never advises you to be cautious. You're the hero, and you will win in the end. The only real exception here is "Metal Frenzy", an action track that actually evokes a sense of danger. While there's nothing wrong with a war game featuring heroic music, there should always be a contrast to the loud heroic moments. A battle where things go wrong, to make the times it doesn't all the more special. The ambient tracks do their part well enough, nicely underlining the game's dark atmosphere. "Sinai Desert" even adds a few cultural influences to reflect the new location. The duo of composers did a great job at emphasizing the emotional parts of the stories presented in the game, yet ultimately, an emotional scene about war veterans and the loss of friends means nothing when the very next moment, you're shooting hundreds of enemies with glorious anthems playing in the background.

While Battlefield 1 definitely isn't a bad score, it just doesn't really fit into the dark recreation of a war the game is going for. The heroic music always suggests that you'll win anyways, so at times, it takes more away from the gameplay than it adds. While the music is a great listening experience by itself, it fails to properly support the game it was composed for.