• Battlefield 1943 - Header

    EA / DICE’s sublime wargaming franchise is showing absolutely no signs of slowing down. With a sequel to Battlefield: Bad Company due this year, and Battlefield: Heroes giving PC gamers a browser-based stripped down cartoon WWII experience, you’d think there couldn’t possibly be enough room for another game in the crowded marketplace. Guess again. The developers have produced something of a potted classic, released on the Xbox Live Marketplace / PSN Network as a tiny little download – but one that has seriously hidden depths.

    Battlefield 1943 returns the series to its roots, good ol’ Dubbleyew Dubbleyew Two. The original Battlefield 1942 became an instant online gaming classic when it released back in 2001. This latest version not only pays homage to the genius online gameplay and superbly crafted scenarios of its forefather, but pinches three maps from the Pacific Campaign featured in Battlefield 1942. Wake Island, Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima.

    Frustratingly, getting into a game is the hardest part of Battlefield 1943. With DICE frantically piling on the servers, and actually pulling the game from sale to try and stop huge number of players from bringing their network infrastructure to its knees, Battlefield 1943 is certainly a victim of its own success.

    Patience pays dividends. Though at the moment it might be a pointless exercise trying to set up a private match (even if you do manage to scrape together 15 of your friends), getting into a quick game is certainly possible.

    Before you start though, it’s worth playing through the tutorial to familiarise yourself with the Battlefield core gameplay, and to see how the controls have changed for the console version.

    A camera tutorial kicks things off, then you learn how to move, crouch and jump. Finally you learn how to wield your weapon of choice. Battlefield 1943 trims available unit types down to three classes (Rifleman, Infantryman and Scout). Each has its own specialities, and each takes on some of the extra roles that previous classes would’ve soaked up.

    But don’t be fooled, we’re not talking about a stripped down Battlefield game here, oh no.

    Using the Frostbite engine first seen in last year’s smash hit Battlefield: Bad Company, damage modelling has been introduced to Battlefield 1943 – and with the heavily detailed and remodelled versions of those old classic maps, you’re in for something of a visual treat. In fact it’s safe to say that Battlefield 1943 is certainly one of the best looking Xbox Live Arcade games money can buy (and well worth 1200 points).

    Once you’re done with the tutorial, you can dive into the game proper – and in some ways it’s almost a pity that from the word go, the game is absolutely frenetic and hectically paced. There’s no time for virtual tourism. You’ve got to hit the ground running and fight hard!

    One thing the series has always excelled at is the integration of vehicles into the mix. Leaping into jeeps, tanks and even planes will reap its own rewards – a good pilot can pretty much rule the roost in Battlefield 1943 but be warned, there are plenty of anti-aircraft guns to bring you down if you’re feeling too smug about the number of kills you’re getting.

    A new addition to the series is the ability to command a bomber squadron. Diving into a radar station will allow you to call in a carpet-bombing run. Your fleet of heavy bombers can lay waste to huge portions of the battlefield, so definitely use them well.

    Your first few games may result in a lot of deaths, but as you start to notch up a few kills and rank up, you’ll begin to realise just how the Battlefield franchise has become so successful and sold so many millions of games. It’s intense potted wargaming that easily surpasses experiences in games like Call of Duty: World at War with a serious amount of gameplay and polish. No two games are ever the same, and every single game is wrought with chaos, explosions, danger and a huge amount of laughter (punctuated by swearing more often than not!)

    An effective team of buddies can own the battlefield, and it’s superbly satisfying when a well-knit team work together well, cover each other’s butts and fight shoulder to shoulder to bring the enemy to its knees.

    Battlefield 1943 should be on everyone’s list once the server issues are sorted out, and the game’s back end infrastructure expands enough to incorporate more players. As a test of the sort of action you’ll find in other Battlefield games, newcomers to the series will find this a great springboard whereas veteran Battlefield players will not be disappointed in the least. It promises great things for DICE’s next game, Battlefield Bad Company 2 – and let’s hope that when the inevitable next PC version of Battlefield arrives, it takes a lot of design and gameplay cues from games like Battlefield 1943.

    Score: 9/10

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    • origamikid

      Servers are all sorted, AND on top of that we today reached the 42 million kills required to unlock the new map and mode…PS3 is still trailing, but im sure they will get it one day 😀

      What a great game, graphics are superb and this is not only probs the best arcade game i have bought, but probs the best shooter i have played in ages