Battlefield 1943 is a WWII style first person shooter, released on July 8th (XBLA) and July 9th (PSN), downloadable for the Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network. It is also due for release on Microsoft Windows in September 2009.
It is developed by Dice, published by Electronic Arts and is priced at 1200 Microsoft ponts or £9.99 ($14.99) on PSN.
If you are not familiar with the Battlefield franchise, then you need to know that there has been various BF titles, all hits, and all following the same style of play; class based FPS with the addition of vehicles and a destructable element. BF 1943 is no different, and keeps to the true nature of the BF series.
BF 1943 is set in the middle of the Pacific Campaign, yet does not bear a specific story-line or single player mode; it is strictly an online game. It allows you to fight on land, sea or in the air!
When you first play the game you may like to try the tutorial, which can be played offline.
Tutorial lets the player explore one of the 4 maps that the game comes with and all the features for an unlimited time. This is great as it allows the player to get used to the sometimes complicated control scheme and the updated ways of playing BF, like the use of vehicles. The tutorial will eventually start to bore, as the player will feel a longing to shoot people instead of just wooden targets.
BF 1943 ships with four main vehicles: Tank, plane, jeep and landing boat. I found that each vehicle has its own perks and are very well balance leaving no one soldier with a sure advantage over the other. This comes together to give a fantastic feeling of war and a hectic frenzy for the main objective of the competitive mode.
The four maps are all based on real world locations in the pacific. They are Iwo Jima, Wake Island, Guadalcanal and Coral sea. Coral sea is the community challnge map, which to be unlocked each community (PSN and XBLA) must have amounted 43 million kills. This map is different as it shall be a plane only battlefield. Each map is varied and has its own unique differences. There many different ways to play on each battlefield and so you will find yourselt spendind numerous hours enjoying them.
There are two factions, the Japanese Imperial Army and the US Marine Corps.Only 3 classes to play with, and no customization. This could be seen as a negative factor however i found that once you start playing, you soon realise how much depth there is to each class.
Infantry: Short-range with a wrench to melee soldiers and repair vehicles, and rocket launcher.
Riflemen: Mid-range with an attachable bayonet and attchable grenade launcher.
Scout: Long-range with a long knife, pistol and explosive charges.
There is a class suitable for any situation, each carry the ability of taking out soldiers or a vehicle. There is also unlimited ammo and health regeneration at your disposal, this is new for the BF series, but i think makes the game much easier for newcomers to get used to and will attract a wider audience.
The one mode for online play so far is the BF classic, conquest. Which see's all 24 Players battle for a number of flag capture points. This may sound a little bland or limited, however the variation between one fight to the next is unbelieveable and will always leave you wanting more.
Other key features of BF 1943 include the Air raid bunker, which allows the player to call in 3 bombers and choose a target area to strike down on. This can be a fun way of getting your kill count up and clearing out an enemy flag, however if you're the one on the ground constantly hearing the peircing siren and getting blown to kingdom come every minute then the air raids may lose thier novelty and quickly become an annoyance.
An other feature being the new fighter planes, which surprisingly require alot of skill and practise to get to grips with flying. The planes ingeniously use both analogue sticks to control two aspects of the flying, which once understood can cause for some gripping dog fight action, however if never got used to will be the cause of anger and a hatred for the vehicle.
The plane has two weapons, guns and the ability to drop bombs, i find that the bombs dont seem to cause much damage, but i am sure this is in the interest of keeping things fair; Something that comes up alot when playing this game, which i think Dice have nailed.
The graphics are not exactly ground breaking, but for what you would expect from any arcade (downloadable) title they are way above par. With beautiful locations and effects, really vibrant colours and quirky character models and vehicle, BF 1943 bears a great unique look, unrivaled by any previous downloadable title and is refreshingly different to your usual WWII gritty style.
Accompanying this is the addition of the Dice invented Frostbite engine. Anyone familiar with BF Bad Company will know of the Frostbite engines realism and shear power. It allows for a destructable environment second to none of any other game. Nearly everything can be destroyed which allows for strategies and a battle like no other. You can use the destruction element to your advantage, by blowing a nice new door in a building or destroying a bridge, stopping enemy an enemy tanks progress, the possibilities are endless!
Lastly, as with any BF game, the sound is amazing. Title Screen music is great (i found myself listening to the score for a long while). Guns are so loud that you may find youself turning down the tv, not only that but they are very realistic in the way the shot sounds and the reloading. Every explosion creats a loud realistic noise and if your soldier is close enough he will experience a shudder and be deafened for a short period. All the vehicles sound true to thier real life counterparts and in this, create a great atmosphere which you would not find in any other game. The noise of the planes swooping over above is enough to make anyone go weak at the knees, it just feels that real, as if you were there!
Overall, Battlefield 1943 really does keep up the Battlefield franchise's good name, it stays true to all the good points of the previous titles, and includes new ones sure to set the benchmark for the next. With the option to fight on land, sea or air, there barely is anything going wrong for this title. It is a fair point to say that there are only 3 classes, 1 game mode and 4 maps, but you should remind yourself that you are not paying for a full game, and yet you are getting much more than any other downloadable title, presented in a much better way! With the different possibilities of fighting, the amazing sound and its brilliant,vibrant look, Battelfield 1943 is definately a winner in my book.
If you cant fork out the points, you can download the trial which comes with a 30 minute period of online play!