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Parents' Guide to Battlefield 1 (PEGI 18)

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In collaboration with the Games Rating Authority, here’s our parent’s guide to Battlefield 1, PEGI 18.

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1. Genre

Battlefield 1 is a shooting game set in World War I in which the player battles enemies using period weapons and vehicles.

The game is played from a first person perspective, with a short single player campaign and a more substantial online multiplayer component, with various multiplayer gameplay modes and up to 64 players in a single game.

Battlefield 1 is a far more bombastic take on the idea of a World War I game than fellow shooter Verdun, and considerably more so than the cartoonish and emotionally complex Valiant Hearts.

2. PEGI Rating

In the UK and Europe, PEGI rates Battlefield 1 PEGI 18, suitable for adults only, for Extreme Violence and Strong Language.

The Games Rating Authority expands on its PEGI details by saying that the violence in Battlefield 1 is ‘typical of war time first person shooters’ and that ‘ Players are armed with a variety of firearms, blades, explosives and vehicles such as tanks and aircraft.’ The GRA describes the worst violence as ‘characters being beaten about the face with shovels, having their throats slit or being impaled on bayonets [and that] During cut scenes these events are shown in graphic detail with the use of blood and gore effects.’ The word ‘fuck’ and its derivatives are used throughout.

3. Story

Battlefield 1’s short single player campaign tells an anthology of stories from World War I. Opening with a striking prologue in which the player dies multiple times, respawning as a new, doomed soldier each time, the episodes move around in time and theatres of war to showcase diverse combatants including an African American soldier and a Bedouin fighting alongside TE Lawrence.

4. Developer

EA DICE are the main developers of the Battlefield series as well as the Mirror’s Edge games.

5. Format

Battlefield 1 is available for PS4, XBox One and PC for around £40 or $60.

6. Duration and Difficulty

Battlefield 1’s singleplayer campaign can take as little as six hours to complete. However, it’s the online multiplayer options that form the bulk of the game.

7. Themes

World War I was a horrific conflict, and developer EA DICE strike a balance in Battlefield 1 of honouring the dead and mining the conflict for gameplay excitement. From the haunting prologue in which the names of dead soldiers appear on screen every time you are killed onwards, the short singleplayer campaign aims to highlight the suffering and massive death toll of the war, and how instead of being ‘the war to end all wars’, it was in fact the dawn of modern mechanised conflict and the precursor to a bloody twentieth century.

With appropriate respect given in the singleplayer campaign, the player can then jump into online multiplayer, forget all that and enjoy the brutal novelty of abandoning the usual high-tech weaponry of military shooters in favour of rifles, biplanes and mustard gas. Wrestling with old technology adds an extra level of challenge to the gameplay, and the various classes allow the player to explore different parts of the conflict as well as taking on different gameplay roles.

8. Why people play

While this year’s Call of Duty lurches towards the final frontier of warfare, Battlefield has gone back to the beginning, to the conflict where modern warfare was forged, to the debut of tanks and planes and automatic weapons on the battlefield.

The single player campaign provides a surprisingly tasteful element of context to the horrors of World War I, and once that context is established even the excesses of the military shooter genre, the shock and gore of fast-paced combat, can be seen in the light of that period detail, as an insight into the crudity and horror of the conflict.

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Andrew Robertson
Andy Robertson is the editor of AskAboutGames and has written for national press and broadcast about video games and families for over 15 years. He has just published the Taming Gaming book with its Family Video Game Database.