Game Review: Battlefield 1943
Release: July 8th, 09
Genre: First Person Shooter
Available Platforms: PSN, XBLA
Players: Multiplayer only, 2-24
ESRB Rating: T
Price: $15, 1200MSP
Battlefield 1943 is the newest game in the Battlefield series and the 2nd game to use the FrostByte engine that allows full destruction of the buildings and environments in the game. It is available for download on PSN and XBLA and is a multiplayer only shooter.
Set in the Pacific theatre of WW2 you play as an American or Japanese troop fighting over one of four maps in the game in Conquest or Air Superiority mode.
In Conquest mode players capture and defend different bases. As they hold these bases and kill enemies the tickets of the opposing team are drained. Once the tickets of one side reach 0 the game ends.
Air Superiority mode, and the accompanying Coral Sea map, are unlocked when a combined total of 43 million kills is reached on each console (360 has already unlocked this). In this mode players are only given planes and dog fight.
Like other Battlefield games you have classes and a wide variety of vehicles to get you around the large maps. In Battlefield 1943 there are three classes; “Rifleman”, “Infantry” and “Scout” each with their own class specific weapons and abilities. But unlike other Battlefield games a few modifications have been made to make this game easier for a more casual audience. Players have unlimited ammo for all weapons and each sides vehicles and weapons are identical besides some changes in the skins.
The game is essentially “Battlefield Lite” with its small selection of classes, maps and modes which help it fit into the tight $15 package.
With the smaller selection of classes and weapons some depth to the game is lost but at the same time EA has added some. Certain bases grant teams with extra tanks, planes, machine gun bunkers and Anti-Aircraft installations. There is also a radio station that lets players call in and fly their own bombing raids.
When everything comes together the game is amazingly fun. Nothing is better than when you kill a enemy right as he’s about to capture your base or take out a tank with a bombing run.
But there are a series of problems with the game. The squad system has been improved from Bad Company it’s still a bit lacking. If you don’t set up a squad before joining a game getting everyone together on a team is challenging.
The only option to join games is hitting “Quick Play” which just throws you into a game with no way to pick a map or mode. Along with that the game has some problems balancing teams. Once a player joins a game he is assigned to a team and once that has happened the game will not switch you even if it’s to make teams even.
Then there’s the problem with voice chat. The one time I did hear another person speak he was too busy screaming at my team for losing to answer me. Which is also a good point to make; it amazes me to see how others play. Most of the players have absolutely no concept of strategy and team work, often running off to jump in a tank or plane first ignoring enemies capturing the very base they spawned from.
While the game attempts to encourage strategic play by giving bonus points for defending an area or helping a teammate it clearly isn’t enough as most everyone ignores the big picture of helping the team win just so they can get more points for themselves.
The game also has some serious balance issues. You would think with only three classes balance would be easy but the “Infantry Class” which has a SMG, rocket launcher and wrench to repair vehicles, is near useless in combat even at close distances where its gun is strongest.
Many on the forums are complaining about overpowered Anti-Aircraft guns. But it’s not that they are too strong but that once again the game fails to communicate to the player properly. You would think huge bombs exploding less than 20ft from you would make a pretty big noise but when you’re in a plane you can barely hear the shells. This combined with the fact that you don’t have free 360-degree view available in a plane makes it hard for players to figure out when, and from where they are being shot at.
On top of this the game still has some bugs left over from Bad Company. Inexplicably hitting a fence or leaf on a palm tree will turn a plane into fiery wreckage but smashing head on into a watch tower somehow leaves it unharmed and when you go to run over a enemy in a jeep or tank they can jump at the last minute and survive. While these bugs are fixable Bad Company was released over a year ago and are still present there so it is unlikely a patch will address these.
Even with these problems the game is overall a great experience for its price. If you haven’t picked up Bad Company yet that might be a better choice for you as it is just $5-$10 more and offers significantly more depth and content.