Battlefield 1’s “They Shall Not Pass” DLC Review

Adding even more fun content to an already fantastic game, “They Shall Not Pass” is the first instalment of DLC to be released for Battlefield 1. With three other expansions expected to drop this year, it introduces the French Army into the mix as a playable faction, along with new weapons, vehicles, maps and more.

DICE has used the last five months to update existing maps, but to be honest, things were really starting to become stale. Four new maps have helped to revitalise this portion of the game: Rapture, Verdun Heights, Fort De Vaux and Soissons. Out of those, Fort De Vaux is the most unique in relation to the previous locations we’ve seen in Battlefield 1. The majority of the map takes place indoors, with close quarter skirmishes frequent throughout a series of tunnels and capture points. It’s reminiscent of Battlefield 4’s Operation Locker map, though Fort De Vaux’s interconnection corridors and square design differs from Operations Locker’s more linear layout.

Rapture, Verdun Heights and Soissons all feel very familiar; while they are fun to run around and play in, it’s clear that a lot of their assets and buildings have been reused from the other maps, already seen. Considering “They Shall Not Pass” is paid content, this just feels like it cheapens the experience.

Players also get Frontlines, a new mode that combines the gameplay seen in Conquest and Rush. Two teams start off the map in Conquest, where they have to capture a point, while also defending their own. If a team manages to capture the first point, they then must move on to try and capture a second. This creates a tug-of-war effect within the game because the opposing team can push them back by taking over the point they are tasked with.

If a team can successfully capture the two points they require in a row, this then transforms the game over into Rush mode. The successful team is now trying to attack and destroy two objectives with a limited number of respawn tickets. It’s possible for a team to only destroy one, or even none, of the objectives in their attempt. In this case the game then reverts back to Conquest, where they again must try to control both the points on the map. Only once both objectives are destroyed will the game end, which can result in some really intense battles that can take over an hour to complete.

While this mode can create some epic clashes, the games do tend to drag on and this means it’s more likely you’ll have players leaving due to other commitments or simply because they’re just fed up with the game going on for so long. Because of this, the lengthier games can result in a winning team that has been determined almost solely by how many players have given up and left the match; which can be super disappointing after an hour long war.

While the new maps and Frontlines mode within “They Shall Not Pass” would be the biggest highlights of the expansion, DICE has also added extra weapons and vehicles. One such vehicle is a new Behemoth, the Char 2C – a slow, but heavily armoured tank that can be driven all around the map. To also round things out a new elite class has been introduced, as well as a number of medals and ranks for players to acquire.

While all of these new additions are great, these expansion sets end up segregating the community between the haves and the have-nots. This is done even further by having a Premium Pass that allows players access to the content two weeks before its official release date. This is only going to get worse as the rest of the DLC becomes available over the next few months. I think this is a model that needs to disappear, and quickly. Other games have incorporated downloadable content without dividing their community; the very popular Rainbow Six: Siege allows everyone to play their new maps and characters without having to spend more money.

Battlefield 1 is a brilliant fast-paced military shooter that I spent a lot of time playing, especially over the recent Christmas holidays. The additional content in “They Shall Not Pass” is fun to play, but it does leave you a bit sour when you look deeper into it and see so many assets which have been reused. On top of that this content also splits the community, and pressuring players to purchase the DLC or be left behind. There are much better ways to handle delivering extra content to players, unfortunately this isn’t one of them.

6 out of 10

The good

  • Increases the longevity of Battlefield 1.
  • New maps, weapons, vehicles, medals and ranks.

The bad

  • Reused assets.
  • Only one map feels unique.
  • Paid DLC splits the community.

Battlefield 1: They Shall Not Pass was reviewed using a promotional code on PC, as provided by the publisher. Click here to learn more about Stevivor’s scoring scale.

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About the author

Luke Lawrie

Writing and producing content about video games for over a decade. Host of Australia's longest running video game podcast The GAP found at Find me on Twitter at @lukelawrie