Arguably one of the worst wars in modern history and we can’t stop revisiting it. Battlefield 1943 is a sequel to EA’s popular FPS Battlefield 1942 designed specifically for next gen consoles. The game is available for 15 dollars US on the Xbox 360, PSN right now with the PC version to be released in September, all through digital download services.
Battlefield 1943 is a relatively small version of it’s older brother. The game features three refined classes, as opposed to 1942’s 5 classes, and three maps. The game also features less people per match than 1942 at 24 at most in a match.
Now all of what I mentioned aren’t necessarily bad things. The missing classes that are in the game are either redundant or added to another class. Medics have been replaced by the standard regenerative health system seen in many multiplayer FPS. Engineers have been combined with the infantry class by giving their melee weapon the ability to repair vehicles.
The three classes in the game are extremely well balanced. Rifleman have accurate, but exclusively semi-auto rifles. Scouts have powerful, but delicate sniper rifles and remote demo charges. Infantry have powerful short range SMGs and Anti-tank guns, but are weak at further distances.
They’re all very refined and tweaked to an uncanny level of balance that goes hand in hand with different situations and preferences. With Call of Duty 4 and Call of Duty: World at War having highly customizable characters and weapons it’s a bit of a step backwards, but helps maintain a balance that keeps frustration mostly at bay.
The game features several vehicles ranging from a tank and a jeep, to controlling three bombers on an air raid. The vehicles serve a good purpose, but you’ll often find yourself better off on foot in a combat situation. Much like the classes, they all have their faults and benefits, but often don’t make for a game breaking situation.
The game’s maps are rather impressive. They mostly feature 5 bases, and two air craft carriers. The three maps are classic maps from previous Battlefield games. While it might be seen as slightly lazy to release a multiplayer game with three old maps, they hold up surprisingly well over time. While not exceptionally large, they fit the game’s base capture formula perfectly. The back and forth of the gameplay can make for a great deal of fun and surprise, often completely turning the odds over in the blink of an eye.
The maps are brightly colored, and filled with some beautiful destructive buildings and foliage. Most walls in the game offer limited cover, and even less when they’re destroyed. Trees crumble after a pummeling from a vehicle’s machine gun. Each map is unique in it’s own right, and easy to understand and remember after a few minutes.
The most promising feature of the game would have to be EA’s plans for new levels. The company has set up “challenges” for the community to accomplish to unlock new levels and features. The first of these features has been unlocked for the 360 version, unlocking a new map for a new multiplayer mode called “Air superiority” which focuses on plane fights rather than land combat. More challenges are likely to be announced in the future, with undoubtedly more maps, modes to be unlocked in the future.
Battlefield 1943 is an all around solid experience with one major exception, the matchmaking system. Partying up with friends on Xbox live is an easy prospect, making sure those friend stay with you when jumping into a game is a stroke of luck. More often than not I find myself or a friend on the other team for seemingly no reason, with no rebalance or restructuring of the parties at any point in the game. It’s a strange turn that can make for some sour exchanges of words. I can only hope it’s something that will be fixed in the future.
Battlefield 1943 is an update to a game that might not have needed and update, but does it well. The game’s roots show within the brilliantly well balanced classes and vehicles that can only come from many years of back and forth of fine tuning over many patches. For a 15 dollar price tag 1943 brings a lot to the table, especially during the gaming summer drought.