This game is on my must get list for anyone considering a serious Xbox Live Arcade game. It stands out from the crowd in terms of value in my book despite the pricey 1200 points tag. 1943 is a remake of a few classic Battlefield 1942 levels that were popular on the PC version: Wake Island, Guadalcanal, and Iwo Jima. It is built on the Frostbite Engine used by DICE on the Battlefield Bad Company game available as a retail title for the 360.
Here we have a straightforward multiplayer FPS with vehicles and planes. You get three types of characters to choose from: Close Range Trooper, Long Range Trooper and Sniper. You get a gun, a few grenades and good old fashioned gameplay. Vehicles are varied and the different planes are pretty tricky to fly at first but that makes effective strikes with them all the more satisfying. The Jeeps are great fun to nip around in with your pal in the back on a 50 cal. but watch out for a guy with dynamite. There are tanks that you can park on a hill and shell the beach. It’s all here, down to the anti aircraft guns.
There is only online play available so no story mode, no bots just multiplayer tactics and skill. This is an unusual route to take for console FPS games. Online only suits me just fine and EA have proved that there a lot of gamers out there who feel the same. The game was so oversubscribed when it launched that the servers really struggled to host the amount of games needed. These issues have all been fixed now.
So far the gametypes available are all strategy based using battlefields tried and tested Conquest game type. You have to capture key points on the map by getting close to a flag and then waiting for the capture. Once you've captured a flag you can choose to spawn from that point. This keeps the action balanced and focused.
A great 4 man squad spawn feature allows you to get right back into the action with your mates rather than at a conquered point if you wish. It's a great feature.
The limited maps available is no problem for me. Even on the most popular full retail FPS games you often end up only playing a few maps anyway. EA are able to update the game as well, adding new content as we go on. The players on 360 have already been rewarded for reaching a community kill count of 43,000,000! (Way before the PS3 crowd.) EA unlocked access to a planes only dogfight level called Coral Sea. There may be more content to come. At present the maps are fresh enough to be entertaining and are all set in lush tropical surrounds. However the beautiful vista is about to be shattered as 1943 allows you to destroy all of the buildings and scenery with your explosives.
The controls are all pretty much what you would expect them to be on an FPS so you really can just jump in to the action and get on with it. That's the good thing about this little game, you pretty much know what to expect and it delivers with no frills. The grenades take a little getting used to and the single shot rifle requires a lot of patience when lining up a shot but that all adds to the charm. The simplicity of Battlefield 1943 is it's strongpoint. Providing all that is needed for a good old battle and the results can be spectacular.
This review is based on a retail copy of the 360 version of Battlefield 1943.