The moment you load up ‘Battlefield 1943′ and you’re hit with the main menu music that is such a dramatic-theatrical rush, you know you are in for a real adventure. Battlefield 1943 is just the type of game for any first-person-shooter fan where you can choose to storm in and kill for a quick gaming fix or choose your position wisely as you creep around the islands with a sniper rifle ready to take out the approaching enemy.
To start with, being a downloadable only arcade game immediately limits the quantity and quality of gameplay features in comparison to other retail Battlefield games, but a mere 1200 points reflects that. Other than the lack of single player campaign this does feel equally as good a multiplayer experience as Battlefield: Bad Company which also uses the Frostbite game engine for destructible gameplay environments and stunning effects. This is as good a Battlefield multiplayer experience as any other!
Before any game begins you have the immediate option to join a quick match, start a match with your friends list or create a private match. Surprisingly the option to start a tutorial is hidden within the Help & Options menu, so unless you are one of those people who have to read everything and anything before getting stuck in, you may not notice you can start a tutorial until you go nosing around. The tutorial can be accessed any time, but is best used for practising the control of provided vehicles. We are all aware how to shoot, how to throw a grenade, how to run and even take cover, but it is extremely tricky to quickly control the vehicles provided for play within this game – so getting in as much tutorial practise as possible will eventually benefit you. In fact I would recommend that no one steps foot inside an airplane without practise unless you want to be the laughing stock of the match.
The classic Battlefield multiplayer experience is always about gaining territory control of areas around the maps which are indeed considerably larger than most other fps games such as Call of Duty as a good example. This game may only be loaded with three currently playable maps out of four (because the fourth is a community challenge), but the size and detail contained within every map makes this game feel larger than it is. Without a doubt when you start a Battlefield 1943 match there is an enormous trek to the enemy controlled ground unless you can find a vehicle close by, and with up to 12 people alone in your own team there just is not enough for everyone. When you start, the game will auto assign you playing as the United States Marine Corps or the Imperial Japanese Navy, but you will get the option to decide if you want to play as a Rifleman, Infantry Soldier or Scout. It is only three options, but as previously mentioned due to this being a download only title it does have its limitations. Referring back to your choices, the Rifleman is a long range anti-infantry character, the Infantry Soldier is a short range anti-tank character, and finally the Scout is a long range sniper with demolition abilities. There is no character option better than the other; it does just depend on your personal choice of what you prefer at the time of play. I would suggest that if you wanted to get stuck into the fighting action without any tactics then choose an Infantry Soldier so you just keep running – shooting as you go! If you really want to think about racking up those kills, then become a sniper and hide in the background settings as much as possible although don’t be surprised to get bombed by an overhead enemy airplane. Teamwork does play an important part in gaining control of the maps to win the matches; it is easy to forget sometimes that every other player around plays an important part to helping you gain a win due to the sheer size of the area you are playing on.
Again going back to the limitations within this game, there are no great selections of weapons or customisation options to change your style or gameplay types. All you can literally do is solely focus on the battle that is about to commence or one you’ve just joined. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it allows you to make the best of what you’ve got – explosives and destructible environments which change various areas within the game depending how you use the two together strategically. It makes you realise that there is no hiding place since the enemy can blow away buildings with tanks, drop bombs overhead by flying through the maps in airplanes or using overhead air strikes when provided; all of which are at your own disposable in your teams defence. The benefit of such large maps does mean that you are not quickly destroyed upon respawn because the enemy can not attack all the areas at once, the number of vehicles in a map and how they seem carefully placed feels just about right too since only a certain number of players can storm the enemy ground at the same time with other players having to catch up moments later.
For 1200 MS Points, you certainly get your money’s worth as this is a fantastic multiplayer game to the same standard (if not better than some) full retail games. It could have been improved with better customisation options, but is graphically pleasing to the eye, great size and content of destructible playing areas with a solid team-based competitive feel to it. My only hope is that future maps come as downloadable content in time as over the course of a few months it is only natural to feel that three maps is not enough to last the distance.
Final Score: 8 out of 10 – Good (How do we rate games?)