Image: DICE

Battlefield 1's developers are giving away its They Shall Not Pass expansion, originally released back in March of 2017, for all owners of the game on consoles and PC until May 14. I took this opportunity to go back and play the maps, and I still think they’re some of the best ones released for the game.

Like many people, I’m guilty of chasing expansions in Battlefield 1. I put enough time into each expansion as it was released, from In The Name Of The Tsar to Turning Tides and then Apocalypse, that I never really spent much time going back and playing previous expansions. If I was playing with friends, we might do a few games in the general map playlist, but the easiest way to get into games fastest has always been to play the most recent content.

So I haven’t dug into the maps of They Shall Not Pass, Battlefield 1’s first major expansion, since it was “current” content, and the gap in time actually does seem to matter. The Battlefield 1 of May 2018 is a different game than the Battlefield 1 of March 2017. There are more guns, maps, and vehicles, of course, but there was also a major change to the way that gun damage worked at the top of this year with the Turning Tides expansion. The way that a player interacts with other players and their weapons has changed.

Image: DICE

Despite the large number of maps that have been released for Battlefield 1 over the last year, it’s still hard to shake the feeling that Soissons, a giant hillside map with a trench system and a sleepy village hamlet, and Verdun Heights, a burning forest dotted with bunkers and a bombed out church, are some of the best maps that have been created for this game. It even feels like they are the kind of maps that the later gun stats patch was created to address, with machine gun fire, sniper rounds, and small arms fire going off (and being viable!) from lots of different places on the maps.

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The developers clearly recognize the power of the map set that released with They Shall Not Pass, and they previewed the summer’s updates for the game by making the map Rupture, a tense match that has the two teams fighting over a bridge and a difficult river crossing, free for all owners of the game last month.

Despite how much I have enjoyed Battlefield 1 over the course of its release, it really does feel like They Shall Not Pass had the maps that showed off the long, medium, and short range conflicts that the game is so good at putting players into. Some maps topped that, like Galicia or River Somme, but no expansion managed to deliver for me as effortlessly as They Shall Not Pass did.

While players with Battlefield 1's Premium Pass already have access to the expansion, players who only own the base game are going to find some great new experiences in these maps. Instructions for how to procure They Shall Not Pass are available here.