Battlefield 1943 is an interesting experiment coming from longtime Battlefield developer DICE, with the backing of EA. The game has had a rocky launch with just about everything possible going wrong. Servers crashing, players not connecting, party system not working, people dying, MASS HYSTERIA. Despite its launch problems, Battlefield 1943 manages to be a stellar game built upon the groundwork of Battlefield Bad Company.
Gameplay in Battlefield 1943 is as one could expect. Bear with me if you’ve heard of it before, but it’s a First Person Shooter set in the bloody battlefield of World War II. Yes, 1943 is as its namesake suggests, a WWII FPS. This is not a hindrance however, as it manages to break away from the mold and reinvent what WWII multiplayer games should be; fast, fun, and varied. This time, Battlefield is set in the Pacific Campaign of the war, so it’s nothing but Americans taking on the Japanese.
The only game mode in 1943 is Conquest, which pits teams against each other over territory marked by either team’s flag. The points become spawn areas, making a push for the next flag easier. This can lead to some very competitive gameplay when players work together to capture the points. There is another game mode on the way with the unlock of the Coral Sea map called “Air Superiority” which I imagine allows for some awesome dogfights.
One of the mainstays of the famed Battlefield series is vehicles. 1943 is no different, having four different types to choose from. There are tanks to blow away buildings and other vehicles. The jeep is mainly good for quick transport, but can be deadly as well with a few passengers. You’ll also have airplanes at your disposal for dropping bombs as well as fast transport from one island to another. Boats serve only one purpose, to get from the aircraft carriers to the islands.
Now, what really makes or breaks a FPS is its control. While some will always find the mouse and keyboard superior, I find that point to be lessening with each shooter released. Battlefield 1943 controls just fine with the Xbox 360 controller. Controlling the airplane takes only a few moments of practice before you’re dropping bombs on the enemies with ease. Jeeps are controlled with some of the finest controls I have yet to see in a FPS. Tanks are very difficult to control, but once mastered are deadly. Guns each have their own weak and strong points, but each is controlled just as well as the other. An air raid also allows for an air assault on a specific area that’s guaranteed to wipe out any enemies in the vicinity.
Battlefield 1943 boasts a class system containing three separate types. The rifleman holds a standard rifle with iron sights to pop off both close range and long range targets (which easily makes this class the superior among the rest) along with grenades and a grenade launcher for some anti-vehicle action. The scout class dons a sniper rifle and pistol (also a weak satchel charge), and is mainly only good against long range targets. This is fine due to the large scale of the maps, though. The infantry class is the weakest mainly due to its short range limitations that don’t mesh well with any of the current maps. This class only dons a Thompson, a bazooka and grenades; it also carries a wrench for vehicle repair but is rarely used. Of course, each class depends on player preference, but this is my opinion after about five or six hours of play.
Graphics in 1943 are not the best, but excellent for what it is; a downloadable multiplayer game boasting 24 players in online play. Each map is very detailed, showing off the tropical setting of the Japanese islands featured. There are quite a bit of jaggies present, but it’s not too important.
In the end, Battlefield 1943 is an excellent downlodable title that is well worth the small price tag of $15. Whether you happen to bleed Battlefield or are just a casual FPS player, this game works well in all cases. The connection problems are mostly fixed as of review time, but all of the kinks will be worked out eventually. Once you can connect to the game though, you’re in for a very fun ride. Don’t let the Live Arcade or PSN branding fool you, 1943 shows us that downloadable games, as a business model are viable and are the future.