Since 2010, EA and Battlefield developer DICE have seemed determined to take their multiplayer-driven large-scale shooter in the direction of its competitors. With Battlefield: Bad Company 2, the series embraced the progression and unlock system of more popular games. With Battlefield 3 and 4, the series structure resembled the systems and goals of its rival more and more, even as it tried to find the thing that would set it apart. As the console generation transitioned over, DICE struggled to find a happy balance in Battlefield 4 between the destruction Bad Company introduced and the big play spaces and high player counts the series started with.

Then, of course, DICE struggled to make the game actually work.

Subsequently, DICE took some extra time with Battlefield 1 and took it somewhere the series hasn’t been: World War I. And with that distance from modern warfare — rhetorical or otherwise — it seems the series has not only found something it’s been missing, it found stories worth telling.