First person shooters are not a rare commodity, and the majority that do exist, don’t derserve the $60 price tag publishers slap on there. You’ve got your Conflict: Denied Ops, Quantum of Solace, Haze, The Darkness (decent, but not $60), Call of Juarez, Perfect Dark: Zero…I could go on. However, now that companies are starting to test the limits of downloadable gaming we are starting to see original, and higher budget, titles creeping onto each system.
Last week, PSN released their new FPS The Punisher: No Mercy, which hasn’t fared too well critically, and now both sides are getting a taste of DICE and EA’s Battlefield 1943. So, hit the jump and report in, soldier!
I am extremely skeptical towards downloadable shooters. A 3-D FPS needs a lot of production value, whether creative or monetary, to garner critical success. The Punisher: No Mercy didn’t receive high scores from critics because it had neither of these qualities, and it came with a lot of technical issues. The opposite could be said for the popular Zeno Clash, because it was an extremely creative endeavor even with it’s faults. Now, we have a downloadable FPS that looks and feels like a retail title. Battlefield 1943 doesn’t bring anything new or unique to the first person shooter genre, but it has more polish than some third-party retail titles (it is EA) and it’s one of the best bargains you will find on the market.
First off, the game makes no qualms about being anything other than a multiplayer title. It doesn’t offer any half-baked story or bait you in with tournaments or badges. Instead, you can either start your own private match, create a squad, or jump straight into the action. EA and DICE have put a lot of effort into making the game as simple, and enjoyable, as possible. There are only three maps and one game type currently available, however, EA is implementing the Coral Sea Community Challenge which is a contest that will unlock a new map and a new game mode once everyone records 43 million kills. It’s a fantastic motivational tool, because frankly, the game is already worth the $15 dollars you pay for.
Each time you load up a new match, or spawn, you are given the choice of playing as one of three classes. Each class specializes in two different areas of expertise. It’s up to you to choose which class you think will benefit your sides current position as you race to capture the enemy flags. Like other titles in the series, there are multiple vehicles to choose from when exploring the HUGE maps. You can command jeeps, tanks, water landing craft, call in air raids, or even fight the enemy on land and in the air with fighter planes. There are so many different choices to make on each map, and each time you play, you could develop an entirely new strategy.
Alas, gamers are a notoriously greedy bunch. Instead of stopping there, DICE implemented even more incentive to play than the Coral Sea Community Challenge. There is a ranking system, akin to Call of Duty, and as you rank up, you earn accolades depending on the actions you take in each mission and what class you are. And, for playing Battlefield 1943, players will be given two in-game weapons if they purchase Battlefield: Bad Company 2.
What’s more impressive than the entertaining gameplay, is the production value in the technical departments. The graphics are better than smaller third-party titles with most of its power focused on building destruction. Bullet holes and bombs will decimate any buildings and trees they come into contact with. It looks choppy when tanks and jeeps are running foliage over, and I did have a few major popping issues, but that didn’t plunder the overall experience. I figured that EA might have cut corners somewhere, and I figured the sound to be the victim, but I was pleasantly surprised when I loaded up my first match. The gunfire in the distance, screaming bombs, and shouts of troops is all captured with finesse. Honestly, I am stumped out how they fit all of this into a mere 560 MB title.
This is the best thing EA has done since they acquired Bioware. Instead of pumping out games that bring everything to the table, and only really offer a few things, they put out a title that offers one thing, and plenty of it. Hopefully, the virtual market will become like the value menu of a fast food store. Instead of ordering the combo #5 to get the cheeseburger, you just order the cheeseburger at a discounted price and get exactly what you want. Players looking for a pure multiplayer title that offers entertaining, deep, and fast-paced action won’t have to look any further. Battlefield 1943 is here to stay.
Reviewer’s note: The XBLA version was tested for this review
Even with some major graphical hiccups, its one of the best looking titles on the virtual market.
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Simple, yet deep, gameplay gives multiplayer gamers and casual shooters an extremely entertaining experience.
The sound of soldiers crying out, echoes of machine gun fire, and the whistle of bombs in the air are woven together with care.
The vehicle and class section, coupled with a ranking system, generate more replay value than you can shake a stick at.
High production values, simple gameplay, and a high replay value make Battlefield 1943 the consummate multiplayer title on the marketplace/network