Almost four months to the day following the release of Battlefield 1, EA DICE has announced the first expansion for the popular World War I shooter. The DLC, titled They Shall Not Pass, brings four new maps, a new game mode, new behemoths, and a new elite class to Battlefield 1. The expansion’s theme also creates room for a new faction: the French Army.
France’s role in the Great War finally gets its due in They Shall Not Pass. All four maps bring players to the most brutal battles of the Western Front with a variety of open and close-quarters combat scenarios. Verdun Heights pits combatants in an uphill battle through forests ablaze, while Fort Vaux is entirely an indoor engagement through wet, stone corridors. Soissons seems set to emphasize tank and infantry combat in the French countryside, and Rupture takes players to rusted, overgrown mazes of battles past. These new locations make way for some new toys in Battlefield 1’s arsenal.
Two new tanks come in the form of behemoths for They Shall Not Pass. The French, “super-heavy” Char 2C tank appears a bigger cousin to the landships already available in-game. On the other hand, the St. Chamond looks like a French super weapon. It’s going to be exciting to see what it can do on the battlefield. Hopefully with the introduction of a new stationary weapon, the Siege Howitzer, these machines of war may be repelled.
The fronts of France during the Great War were characteristically trench-based. While we’ve already had a decent representation of trench warfare with Battlefield 1, They Shall Not Pass will more than likely up the ante. Such is evidenced by the new Trench Raider elite class. Unlike the Sentry or Flame Trooper kits already available, the Trench Raider is armed with a club and grenades. It’s not tough to imagine this kit being incredible in a place like Fort Vaux, where tight corners make for intense melee encounters.
All of these elements can hopefully create an impact in the new game mode coming along with the DLC: Frontlines. As DICE describes, Frontlines takes elements from both Conquest and Rush—turning it into a momentum, tug-of-war affair. One point is up for grabs at a time as teams push back and forth for total control. Once a team is pushed back to their HQ control point, it turns into a Rush game with the need to defend or attack telegraph posts.
Given the style and pace of gameplay experienced thus far with Battlefield 1, They Shall Not Pass is shaping up to be a great addition. Given EA DICE’s emphasis on historical value in this title specifically, the fronts of Western France offer a myriad of opportunities to tell new stories and impart new knowledge of how The Great War was fought. Simultaneously, this expansion’s announcement is lacking in a couple areas of concern.
While other changes may be announced closer to the release, slated March 2017, there has yet to be word of any new infantry weapons. In comparison with previous Battlefield titles, Battlefield 1 lacks in the primary weapons department across all classes. This lack of variety coupled with lack of progression for primary weapons creates an overall progression that’s rather stale. Also, the Battlepack system could use a major facelift in relation to unlocks and progression. They Shall Not Pass aims to enrich the Battlefield 1 experience, but hopefully EA DICE doesn’t neglect factors of the base game that may deter players from returning for more.