Boy, it’s been a while since Battlefield 1 did anything interesting. I’ve been poking it with a stick for months now, but aside from the occasional free map there’s been very little to show for my efforts. Good thing, then, that the brand new DLC, In the Name of the Tsar, is out now for Premium players such as myself. And there I was, thinking I’d wasted money on that upgrade…
Plenty of new maps are arriving with the In the Name of the Tsar DLC. In fact, some have already made an appearance: if you’re a Premium member, or have signed up to the CTE, you’ve been able to play Lupkow Pass and Tsaritsyn since mid-August. The former offers snow-covered ravines and an emphasis on more vertical gameplay, but expect to spend your time with sniper rifle in hand because those sight lines are endless. The latter is another densely-packed city map, bringing the same frantic gameplay as Amiens or Prise de Tahure without vehicle support.
Tsaritsyn, courtesy of me.
Volga River kicks off the remaining four In the Name of the Tsar DLC maps. This huge, slightly desolate environment offers very little cover and even less elevation – the classic Battlefield formula of quiet no-man’s-land and hectic objectives means that I felt distinctly nostalgic as I was shelled from across the map by a landship tank.
Volga River, courtesy of me.
Then there’s Brusilov Keep, which might have just knocked Verdun Heights from the top of the ‘most intense maps’ list. Bringing more vertical gameplay in a close quarters town environment, expect to find yourself in a constant state of flank as the gunfights rage from buildings on either side of the river. It was chaos, and I loved it.
Brusilov Keep, courtesy of– you get the idea.
Next up is Galicia. Another massive open map reminiscent of the Battlefield of old, the objectives are scattered across a vast, contour-less Russian countryside. The focus here is on massive infantry assaults supported by the large number of light vehicles, cavalry, and planes.
And last, but by no means least, is Albion. Set in the Baltic peninsula on a snowy archipelago, the map is something to behold, bringing the ocean back to Battlefield with plenty of smaller boats that can travel through the channels between islands. As huge as the others, this map is for finding a hilltop and pointing the barrel of a rifle at the enemy.
And finally… Albion.
In the Name of the Tsar adds another 2 Operations to the already-sizable roster, as well as introducing a brand new mode. Brusilov Offensive brings together Galicia and Brusilov Keep to reenact the war on the Eastern Front in 1916; at the other end of Mother Russia lies Red Tide, combining Tsaritsyn and Volga River during the Russian Revolution of 1919. The new mode, Supply Drop, sees each team fighting for control of periodic crate drops that hold the key to victory. The team with the most captured supplies wins.
Me, using our supplies as cover.
There are 11 new weapons to unlock as part of the In the Name of the Tsar update. That’s two from each class, plus 2 secondary weapons – the Nagant Revolver and Obrez Pistol – and a Cossack Dagger. 2 challenges must be completed to unlock each of the 8 class-specific weapons, and I’ll warn you now: one or two of them are dangerously tough.
From the assault class, we’ve got the Model 1900, a shotgun that comes with a factory and slug variant depending on how much of a pain you want to be at range. Then there’s the SMG 08/18, which boasts an 80-round magazine and an optical variant in case the factory weapon is too inaccurate.
Yup – I haven’t unlocked any yet. Sorry…
Medics can unlock the Fedorov Avtomat in both trench and optical variants, and finally run around with an automatic weapon just like they’d always wanted. They can also get their hands on the General Liu Rifle, a pretty standard semi-automatic rifle, offering a storm variant equipped with a vertical fore grip.
Great. An assault rifle.
In the Support class, the Parabellum MG14/17 and Perino Model 1908 win the award for the longest weapon labels so far. Offering low weight and suppressive variants, the former offers a high rate of fire at the cost of accuracy and range. The latter is more accurate, and offers a single-shot setting for support players who wish they were scouts.
That says: “Destroy 2 airplanes with LMGs.” Excuse me?
The Scout class receives the Mosin-Nagant M91 in both infantry and marksman variants, as well as the Vetterli-Vitali M1870/87 (what was that about long labels?); the latter comes in a carbine variant as well as the standard infantry, so suffer the lack of scope for the sake of magnificent damage and mid-range engagement ability.
I am SO close to this one.
New vehicles abound In the Name of the Tsar. Aside from a new Hussar cavalry class that puts the rush back into Russian with a lance, we’ve also got the Ilya-Muromets heavy bomber and the Putilov-Garford Heavy Armored Car. A new landing craft, the Y-Lighter, has been introduced to make Albion a more accessible map; you’ll need it, too, given that your aircraft will be shot out of the sky by the new coastal gun batteries.
The new Heavy Armored Car, squatting on a hillside.
Of course, In the Name of the Tsar introduces the Russian army. But it ain’t that simple. Aside from the standard Russian Empire troops fighting on the Eastern Front, we’re also introduced to both sides of the Revolution: the Bolsheviks in red, and the White Army in, well… white. You’ll also remember that this update introduces the Women’s Battalion of Death, represented by the scout class.
The new home menu AI includes this neat section.
Also introduced through the In the Name of the Tsar DLC pack is the Specializations feature; complete the new set of Service Assignment challenges to unlock all of these class-specific perks. Of course, there are also a ton of new medals, dog tags, and codex entries to unlock, as well as the usual bug fixes, balancing adjustments, and UI changes: for full patch notes, take a look at this webpage.
See the Specializations in action…
Phew. Several hundred words later, I’m just about done. All that remains is for me to say that the official In the Name of the Tsar webpage can be found here; the DLC will be released on September 29th for non-Premium players, on console and PC. The last DLC for Battlefield 1 came in at £11.99, so expect something to a similar tune.