Battlefield 1943 Reader Review
Battlefield 1943 is more than just a year ahead of Battlefield 1942, and sometimes more than a year behind it. Set in the flaming heart of the Pacific campaign, Battlefield 1943 is a shooter that boldly goes where every other shooter has trod the ground bare. Yet Battlefield 1943 manages to be new exciting on the downtrodden path of the World War II shooter, because anything that isn't modern is decidedly new and exciting.
Welcome to Wake Island indeed. You'll be seeing a lot of that map, that albeit addictive map. This is because Wake Island is one of three maps on one of only two modes. The first mode is the simple capture based mode that keeps players moving in their attempts to take back sometimes highly contested points on the map. There are more points to be had capturing and defending than simply killing, so new players will soon learn how to play through necessity, even if the object of the game escapes them.
Due to its early popularity there were a few connection issues with this game, but now that they're gone we're left with a pretty fast and easy to jump into game. You do so with friends, but there is no lobby from which you may peruse available games or any form of gameplay options. You simply jump into ranked online multiplayer for up to 24 players.
There are three different classes that are quite clearly defined both aesthetically and by their positive and negative traits. Whilst it is difficult to snipe out in the open without being seen, and the engineer is literally defenceless from a distance and both the sniper and rifleman classes will treat an oncoming tank as a sure sign of death, the engineer can quite easily dispose of tanks and the rifleman's all-round play style will suit many. What you're left with is a fun, well balanced array of ways to approach a battle that is open from the get go.
The vehicles in the game are, for the most part, easy to control. The planes, however, present a pretty steep learning curve that will surely put some people off at first, but are very fun and deadly once you learn how to use them. Whilst tanks can destroy most units with ease, it's good to know that an emphasis on team tactics within your squad will leave with the right man for any enemy. This draws away from the solitary angle of the game, and it's very true that it's difficult to capture a point if everyone is all over the place.
Finding your place in a team may be easier with friends, but it's simple to switch class to make up for a lack of that kind of support online with people you don't know. I've seen some clever feats of co-ordination born out of the desire to take one point, even without headsets.
Whilst the game is short on trophies and achievements that are in themselves easy to unlock, the extensive in game awards system and rankings will take you some time to complete – and each progressive unlock will be met with warm satisfaction.
Despite the lack of modes – the only other options being an Air Domination mode that'll be a lot of fun for anyone willing to invest some time in flying – there isn't anything else to do. This is good for a game so cheap, but even at the low price point, you're expecting something more. Where the game really becomes worth buying is not in the variety, but in the pure, addictive fun to be had over and over in the main multiplayer mode.
Shooting is tight and yet presented in a wide open area; ammunition is infinite, but reload times are little longer than in most games. It is also very easy to die, but very tantalising to simply jump back in straight afterwards. All this makes for a sometimes fast-paced game with explosive clashes that will require dedicated attack or defence in order to win access to all important airstrikes and airfields full of vehicles with which you can rain upon your enemy. This heavy fire will fully exploit the game's extensive destructibility, which makes the threat of enemies killing you behind that wall of yours ever-present.
The maps may be tiny in number, but they more than make up for it in scope and attention to detail from the standpoint of intense contests for capture points, quick races to get to the islands first and accommodation for every possible approach to each situation. The game is simply a lot of fun, and will last longer than most other downloadable games on the merit of the core gameplay alone.
It has been a great many months since this game came out, and I've been playing it all the way up and until now. It's fair to say that, whilst it has weakened, the spell of cheap, jump-in gameplay has not worn off. With this game on sale on Xbox Live at the moment, it's even cheaper to join the war over 60 years late.
Battlefield 1943 is exactly that: a downloadable game. The modes on offer are great value for money, and even more fun with friends; even the graphics are almost on par with what I shall call 'proper releases'. They are sometimes a little less beautiful, but they hold up well when the game really shows its true colours. The art style is even very pleasing to the eye, with lush green environments and dazzling blue seas cycling road to coffee stain skies and scenes from partially burnt postcards home. Battlefield 1943 is worth your ration coupon, even if you do like playing one-hit kills snipers only with the giant head mod on every other shooter.