Battlefield 1943 Review

By Mr Sark - Posted Jul 08, 2009

All in all, Battlefield 1943 is a steal.  Great sound, great graphics, great fun, and great price.  That about sums up what we're all after, right?  It inherits some minor ticks from its big brother, but it's tough to beat the price.

The Pros
  • Looks & sounds great
  • Refined Battlefield gameplay
  • Cheap, cheap, cheap
The Cons
  • Squad system still not perfect

Battlefield 1943Odds are if you’re playing a shooter regularly right now, you’re playing one that came out several months ago...
 
That’s partly due to lots of good stuff coming out last winter, and partly due to the beatdown video games put on your bank account these days.
 
Well, those fun-loving Scandinavians at DICE have decided to give you a little break this summer.  Battlefield 1943 is landing on Xbox Live and PSN, and costs less than lunch at Marie Callender’s.
 
I mention this first, because it’s technically the first thing you notice about the game.  It’s going to run you 15 bucks!  That would be 1200 Microsoft Points for those of you who (understandably) don’t like to do the Microsoft Math.
 
You Get What You Pay For?
 
Battlefield 1943This axiom is true here, but how true it is depends on your perspective.  When compared to Battlefield: Bad Company, yes, this is a much smaller game.  It comes with three classic Battlefield maps, and is a multiplayer-only experience.  However, unless you’re an old-timey PC Gamer and are used to downloading wonderful things through Steam, or whatever, you’ll be amazed at how great Battlefield 1943 looks, and at the scale of the maps.  If you put a gun to my head and told my to describe Battlefield 1943 in a sentence it would be:  Battlefield 1942 dressed up in Bad Company fatigues.
 
1943 also uses DICE’s Frostbite engine.  If that means nothing to you, that’s totally cool.  Let me put it this way.  It looks great.  It sounds great.  You can drive stuff.  And you can blow up buildings.  In fact everything that Bad Company brought to the table, multiplayer-wise, 1943 sees, and in some case, raises.

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What You’ll Be Driving
 
The first thing you’re going to take the wheel of, is your soldier.  You have 3 choices...
 
Battlefield 1943Rifleman:  Carries a semi-auto M1 which is accurate at decent ranges.  It can also fire a Rifle Grenade, and can be fitted with a bayonet.  And when things get desperate, you’ve got your standard-issue grenades.  Which, by the way, you can literally throw a mile.  These guys are like John Elway, back when he could, you know, throw stuff a long ways.
 
Infantry:  Runs with the M1A1 SMG.  Good up close, but not so effective beyond spitting distance.  He also carries a bazooka and some frags.  The infantryman’s melee weapon is a wrench.  It’s fun for melee kills, and can be used to repair friendly vehicles.
 
Scout:  As usual, expect to see a lot of these guys running around.  Why?  Because their gun has a scope on it.  The Scout does double duty as a team Sniper, plus he carries packs of C4 and a sidearm.
 
There’s no medics this time around, but I didn’t really miss them, since the overall pace of battle in 1943 has been stepped up slightly over Bad Company.  And you are still able to pick up dropped weapons, so if you want an SMG, but just love wearing palm fronds on your shoulders, you can still make that happen...
 
The vehicles in the game are your standard tanks, jeeps, and planes.  But there is one new game element that adds a little vehicular twist.  Take over the Air Field, enter the bunker with the radar on it, and bam, air strike!  Strikes take the form of a group of bombers (with extremely limited maneuverability) that can be steered to the target of choice, and then through a bomb’s-eye-view camera, unload a large amount of boom onto the little ants below.
 
Get Off My Lawn
 
Battlefield 1943The primary game mode is a 12 vs 12 territories tug-of-war that will be familiar to Battlefield vets.  If you’re confused by the ticket system used to determine the winner, let me oversimplify it.
 
You fight the other team until they have no more respawn ‘tickets’, which are repsresented by a bar at the top of your screen.  Murdering them obviously burns these respawns up, but so does controlling flags.  By controlling points, you are essentially draining the other team’s respawns.  There you have it.  You’re welcome.
 
There is an extra mode called ‘Air Superiority’, which is plane-only dogfights.  This mode isn’t as exciting to me since my personal favorite part of flying the planes is bailing out of them, and raining fire down from under my parachute, but hey, if you love flying the planes it’s there for you.
 
A few extra details for you shooter connoisseurs...  Health replenishes.  As does ammo.  Toss all your grenades, then wait till the little ammo gauge fills up for some new ones.  The process is slow enough to keep an unending cascade of grenades or rockets from being slung around, but quick enough so that you don’t feel like you’re always out of ammo.
 
Where My Dawgs At?
 
Now, for many fans of Bad Company, there was one major problem with the online experience: the squad system.  The same system exists in Battlefield 1943, but it has been improved slightly.  It still isn’t perfect, but it is a bit better than its predecessor.  Here’s the catch.
 
*inhale*
 
Battlefield 1943Squads are still made up of four players.  At the start of the game you have the option to join an ‘open squad’.  You also can start an open squad, or a private squad.  When you are in a squad, you are in Squad Chat, meaning you can have a private line of communication with your squad members.  The downside is that you can’t communicate with the rest of your team.  If you don’t join a squad, you remain in Team Chat, and can talk to all non-squadded players.
 
*inhale*
 
The downside to running solo is that you lose some of the other perks you receive from squad membership, like the ability to spawn on your squad leader.  These maps are large, and this can make for some nice surprise attacks.  Squads can also visually mark objectives so that they all know where to defend or attack.  It ends up being give or take.  If you have more than 3 friends you want to play with, you can either talk to the entire team or you can take advantage of the squad perks and everyone else gets the silent treatment.
 
*whew*
 
Go Download This Now
 
Battlefield 1943All in all, Battlefield 1943 is a steal.  Great sound, great graphics, great fun, and great price.  That about sums up what we’re all after, right?  It inherits some minor ticks from its big brother, but it’s tough to beat the price.
 
And don’t forget, when the community racks up a cumulative 43 million kills, there will be a new map added for your murdering pleasure, the Coral Sea.  This is a dogfight-only map (again, my least favorite mode), but who doesn’t love free stuff? Let’s open it up.
 
Go download this, I’ll see you in there!  Good hunting, maggots.