Returning to the Pacific in Battlefield 1943
It’s been nearly 7 years since the release of Battlefield 1942, but I often find myself looking back on the countless hours I spent playing that game with fond memories. It was not only a blast to play, but also quite influential in that it paved the way for many online conquest style games to follow. Needless to say, I was just a little excited when I caught wind of Battlefield 1943 – a pseudo remake of this classic game. Now it’s here, in our hands, and it’s bloody brilliant!
It’s hard to call Battlefield 1943 a stripped-down version of the original game, but I guess technically it is. There are only 3 maps (while a forth map, Coral Sea will be unlocked once a community goal of 43,000 kills is reached) and 3 classes. But what it’s lacking in content, it more than makes up for in gameplay.
Borrowing from Big Brother, Bad Company
Battlefield: Bad Company was one of last year’s great shooters. With destructible environments, a fun single player campaign, and awesome online play, it had a lot to offer. BF1943 borrows heavily from Bad Company and brings much of the awesomeness to the Pacific theater.
A single click from the main menu will land you in a game. Since there’s only one game type, there’s no need for a custom game option. But there a couple quick ways to bring your friends along with you. I love the “Invite Xbox Live Party”, which sends an invite to everyone you’re currently partied up with, instead of having to send them all manually yourself. Once you’re in a game, you pick one of the 3 main classes and the game will select the most appropriate spawn point for you, or you can choose yourself. Either way, it’s not long before your dodging bullets and debris.
One thing I loved about Bad Company was the award/badge system. Achievements are great, but you can only earn an Achievement once. The awards in BF1943 can be earned over-and-over-again. Just like in Bad Company, the award will fall from the top of the screen with the title and a nice little musical ditty when acquired. It’s quite satisfying!
“Holy Mother, Whoa!”
The action in BF1943 is frantic, constant, and unforgettable! I don’t recall BF1942 being so intense and incredible to witness and be a part of. I had so many “moments” while playing last night, that I didn’t know where to start when telling my wife what an awesome time I had. This is one game that warrants a spectator mode, but sadly doesn’t support one.
As you would expect from a Battlefield game, the vehicles are in tact. Flying an airplane is just as tricky as it was in BF1942, but that makes it so much more rewarding when you successfully dive-bomb a moving tank, or avoid being shot down during an intense dogfight.
There’s a new gameplay mechanic that’s been added to BF1943 that adds a level of panic and excitement like no other – air raids. There’s one air raid tower on each map, and only the team that controls the flag it’s near can make use of it. When you call an air strike, you switch to a chase camera behind 3 bombers slowly approaching the island. You can guide them to the spot you want to hit, then switch the camera mode so you’re looking straight down from the belly of the lead bomber, and pull the trigger to unleash hell. When someone has summoned an air raid, sirens go off across the island, so you know to look to the horizon for the in-coming bombers. I actually find myself getting excited when I see red, which means they’re enemy bombers, and quickly scramble to the nearest AA flak cannon or head in their direction to intercept if I’m in a plane. So. Much. Fun!
Setting a(nother) New Standard
Just as BF1942 did for WWII themed and conquest games back in the day, BF1943 has set a new standard for downloadable games. It’s not massive and feature rich, but it’s definitely carefully constructed and perfectly executed for the platform. It delivers undeniable fun at a low cost, and is a game I see myself playing for many months to come.