At E3 2009, EA & DICE revealed they were going to give their beloved Battlefield franchise a bit of an upgrade by going back to the game’s roots: the 1940s. With the Frostbite Engine running the game’s mechanics, which offers a high level of destructible environments, it seems Battlefield 1943 would actually be the kind of sequel we were all hoping for. Throw in the fact that it’s a game that can be downloaded, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a great title.
Battlefield 1943 takes place across three multiplayer maps that took their influence from Battlefield 1942 maps. You play as one of two factions: The United States Marine Corps or the Imperial Japanese Navy. Both teams have similar classes that behave in a similar manner. In fact, the only difference between both teams are the skins of the players to reflect the team they’re fighting for. There are only three classes available to play as: Infantryman, rifleman, and scout. Even though there aren’t as many packs or multiple ways to customize your character to how you play, all of the classes are balanced fairly and require players to depend on their skill, rather than their arms.
What’s a good war game without some vehicles, eh? When it comes to vehicles, Battlefield 1943 keeps it relatively simple. There are tanks, jeeps, fighter planes, and boats. There aren’t multiple types of those vehicles, those are pretty much what you get. Each vehicle has it’s own pros & cons (ex: The Jeep is quick and agile to get you to a capture point quickly, while the Tank is slower, but it’s a nearly unstoppable force). Most of the vehicles allow players to bring a couple of buddies along for the ride, which can benefit everyone involved as an army of one doesn’t do as well as an army of 3+. Across all of the maps, there are also air raid bunkers where you can call in an air raid. The player takes control of three planes and guide them to wherever you’d like them to strike. During the air raid view, icons show up over the map to indicate where the enemy is located.
There’s only one gametype playable and that’s Conquest Mode. The main focus of this particular gametype is to capture as many points on the map as possible in order to deplete the enemy’s “tickets”. Killing enemy players also reduce tickets as well. When one team’s tickets reach 0, the other team is the victor. As much fun as deathmatch or team deathmatch gametypes are, the Battlefield franchise has always favored the Conquest Mode gametype and I’ve always had a blast playing it. The overall game design is also much more accessible to players with the inclusion of regenerative health, as well as unlimited ammo. You still need to reload your weapons and specific weapons require a cool-down in order for players to be able to access them again.
For an online multiplayer game, I was surprised to find there weren’t any pre-game / post-game lobbies. You can invite friends to play in your current match, but matches often tend to be full, which can make it rather difficult to play with anyone you actually know. During matches, players can choose to be a part of a squad. Being in a squad allows you to respawn near other squad members located on the battlefield. You can also gain additional experience points for working together with squad-mates during matches.
The majority of your actions while playing will earn you experience points. These points don’t unlock anything special, but act as a way to pit players up against those with similar rankings. You are also presented with awards if you are able to complete a required feat (such as killing 4 enemies with your semi-automatic rifle will award you a “Rifle Efficiency” award). The achievements / trophies that can be achieved don’t require too much work either and can be unlocked within a couple of days.
FINAL THOUGHT: With Battlefield 1943’s $15 price point, it’s definitely a game that should not be overlooked. It gives a complete Battlefield experience in a smaller, easier to handle form. Beginners and veterans of FPS genre alike will equally enjoy Battlefield 1943 as it will provide hours of entertainment for a fraction of a full-retail game.