The name Battlefield immediately makes one think of EA's ground-breaking 1942 and Vietnam games that graced gamers Computers many years ago, but since then, so much has changed in the game industry that one cannot help but wonder; is Battlefield 1943 more of the same, something new and great and is it a must have? Essentially just a remake of the most popular maps in 2002's PC release, Battlefield: 1943 isn't just more of the same. Breaking records on both the Xbox Live Arcade and the Playstation Network, this multiplayer only instalment in the popular Battlefield series managed to attain an astonishing 600,000 downloads in little less than three weeks. Read on to find out why!
Being a multiplayer only release, the only way for Battlefield: 1943 to survive would be to have rock-solid gameplay and a great community. The game features the series' world-famous drop-in/drop-out multiplayer gameplay that all gamers, from the most casual to most hardcore, can enjoy. All of the maps in Battlefield: 1943 are set on, around and above an island in the Pacific Theatre of Operations. History buffs will recognize these locations easily as they each possessed some of the largest scale World War II battles in the Pacific; Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal and Wake Island. The idea of the game is to have your team capture and defend the majority of the maps 5 flags. Each team has a Reinforcement bar at the top of the screen, and when your team possesses the majority of the flags, this is slowly depleted. Scoring kills and forcing the enemy to re-spawn also takes away slight amounts from this bar. This ensures very well balanced gameplay that allows any type of player to do well, score points and help their team win the battle.
Each map has a number bases, found around the maps flags that you must capture, along with each teams starting base, which on two of the maps is on an unsinkable Aircraft Carrier in the islands surrounding ocean, with the other being an Airfield on either side of the large island. Players start on the carriers with the ability to either take flight in one of the available one-man fighter planes, or mount up in a multi-seated boat, complete with two mountable machine guns. However, if someone would rather fly out straight away rather than take a boat, they will have to be quick about it as nearly all other players will be sure to have the same idea. If you do manage to obtain one of these planes though, be prepared for one of the games very interesting Dog Fights, which make up a large and very great amount of the gameplay. There's an untold amount of fun someone can have flying one of there aircrafts, especially if they can master the act of fighting other planes and successfully aiming one of the fighters very powerful set of bombs onto their ground stationed opponents.
Players that would prefer to keep the fight on the ground instead of the air will also find themselves in a world of enjoyment. The game features three playable classes, all of which have a unique set of weapons, which in turn makes for quite different play styles. The Rifleman possesses a standard semi-automatic rifle and as a secondary weapon, some rifle grenades. But if you want to try your hand at sniping in Battlefield: 1943, the Fighter Pilot class wields a very powerful but slow bolt-action sniper rifle and an effective handgun for closer combat. Tank Commanders are more versatile, and make use of a close range Sub-machine gun and have a mighty RPG launcher which comes in handy if up against one of the games ground vehicles; either a machine gun mounted Jeep or a heavily armoured tank. Both of which handle very well and are great fun to drive. All classes come equipped with a set of hand grenades, except the Fighter Pilot, who instead gets a set of remotely triggered C4 explosives, also very useful against the games more bulky contraptions. While you will notice a change of weapons depending on whether you spawn on the Imperial Japanese Navy or the United States Marine Corps team, know that it doesn't actually affect your weapons damage or accuracy as both teams are perfectly equal.
Battlefield: 1943's controller scheme will immediately feel familiar to anyone who's played a few first person shooters on consoles before, as they are very well laid out and easy to pick up. Right trigger to shoot, left to aim down the barrel/through the scope. (X) To reload, (A) to jump. Yes, all very generic and even those new to the genre will be able to pick it up and play in no time. But if you do have a bit of trouble getting use to the controls or need a hand learning to fly well enough to take on enemy planes, you can, at any time you choose, go to the options menu from the games main menu and select 'Tutorial'. This will take you through, step by step, how to play, shoot, fly, drive and capture your way to sure-fire victory.
Not even a week after the games release, EA's little competition for getting 43 Million Kills collectively was achieved and a 4th map was unlocked. Along with this, a new game type, accessible through the main menu. The game type is Air Superiority, and the map is Coral Sea. Air Superiority is very popular online, as it sees the two teams facing off in an all out air battle. Similar to the games standard Conquest game type, to win, a team must capture flags. Only this time, the only flag present is given to the team who has Air Superiority over the other by having more planes present in the sky than the opposing team.
Battlefield games have usually maintained an above average standard of graphics in their games, but Battlefield: 1943 really does take that one step further and gives players stunning graphics that makes the games somewhat exotic island locations come to life in an almost magical way. If one were to take a break from the ongoing battle and simply take a stroll along one of the islands beaches, or take a swim in the shinning and sometimes crystal clear water surrounding it, they would have the time not otherwise given for the constant hail of bullets and explosions to actually admire the beauty put forth in the detailed terrain. One might even be so lucky to stumble upon a sand castle whilst on the beach. It just goes to show that under all of the bloodshed and bombs going off, there is a beautiful island being destroyed. And with the games destruction engine, it just does that. Buildings crumble and trees get chopped in half by the monstrous fire from a mounted machine gun. Cover gets turned to dust and when the enemy calls in an Air Raid, you know you had better get to one of the games many indestructible bunkers less you made a very fine example of. But although the destruction level doesn't quite meet with other titles like Red Faction, it still makes any battle on the battlefield all the more intense.
From across the map you can hear the faint sounds of AA guns blasting away at enemy fighters, or a sniper getting that one perfect shot, and even though faint, they make the atmosphere tense. Knowing that just over that next hill, your team mates are battling it out with the enemy in all guns blazing scenario, makes the time when you arrive to join the carnage all the more fulfilling as you flank the enemy and unleash a clip of sub-machine gun bullets into their uncovered backs. But then, just when you think all is safe, you hear the distant cry of the engines of an enemy fighter plane as it gets louder and louder, not to mention closer and closer to your position. Then a click as the plane zooms over your head and releases its payload of two 60kg bombs that come crashing down around you, wiping your entire squad out as you wonder, what the hell just happened? It’s all these small, but detailed sounds and noises that make the battle experience feel real. It makes you feel like you're actually there, and the battle you can hear really is just a stones-throw away. However, this is just the sound of the game itself. As with any good multiplayer game, the use of voice chat with your team is a must. Such a feature is present in 1943, but it’s just doesn't seem to work that well. At times it may seem great, but when a large scale battle is going on, the voice chat can become laggy and even cut out from time to time.
Ah, the value of the game. This is what really makes this a must buy. You get all these great battles and an untold amount of play hours for just 1200 Microsoft Points. That's right, for not much more than your average hour long arcade adventure, you get one of the best multiplayer experiences on the Xbox 360. The amount of hours one can get out of Battlefield: 1943 is beyond most games multiplayer experiences and its no wonder with the game being full of so many different ways to fight your battle. There hasn't been such great value in a game since The Orange Box and its 5 little bundles of joy. Could this giant leap be the start of more developers releasing to the XBLA what could very well be the kind of game to expect from a full-priced game at a retailer?
In conclusion, Battlefield: 1943 delivers what was promised, and more. It gives players a great multiplayer experience in which they can play from many different angles and styles. It allows for squad support so you can enjoy playing with your friends and it includes Leader boards for comparing and sharing your rank and score. Again, I stress the fact that you're getting all these things for only 1200 Microsoft Points. For the quality gameplay, the great graphics and enjoyable features, mixed with the realistic sounds and amazing value, the only way EA could have improved it is if they had included a few more maps and classes to choose from.
AAG Score: 8/10
1. Stunning Graphics
2. Easy to learn controls
3. Fun and challenging vehicle combat
4. Balanced player classes
1. Only four maps
2. Only three classes
3. Tanks over powered
Reviewed & Written By John Elliott