Game Reviews
Almost everything in the game is destructable.
Battlefield 1943 Review
There are few games in which the amount of time I spent playing sickens me to think about, Battlefield 1942 is one of them. For me it was the ultimate World War II game — the one I compared all others to. Even after all these years, I think back to that era fondly. And I’ve often wish I could find a similar game.
It was the first game that I had played which so effortlessly combined land, air, and sea battle. Each was balanced perfectly. Infantry wasn’t made complete obsolete by tanks, and yet being in a tank meant a few easy kills as long as you didn’t mind having a big target over your head.
There was a class for everyone. I often gravitated to the Engineer class. I would spend hours driving from one end of Wake Island to the other with wrench in hand. Before leader boards and the dumbing down of multiplayer made thanks by consoles, it was satisfying just knowing that you were insurmountable to your team’s victory; even if the numbers didn’t show it.
Of course, the core game was just part of the experience. The modding community was perhaps only matched at the time by Valve’s Half-Life SDK. In fact, you hadn’t truly experienced BF1942 until you played Desert Combat, the ‘modern warfare’ mod, or Eve Of Destruction, the ‘Vietnam war’ mod. They often had just as many servers running as the original. And Galactic Conquest was a must for Star Wars fans. Parts of all three mods could be seen in future expansions, sequels, or rip-offs of BF1942. BF Vietnam was so similar to Eve of Destruction that many, including myself, preferred the latter over the official release.
However, my interest in Battlefield as a franchise began to wear thin upon the release of Battlefield 2. It wasn’t quite as fun any more. Like most games in it’s generation (up to modern games), the focus seemed to push more towards flashy graphics, functionality, and having a more serious scope of gaming rather than strong level and game design which could lead directly to good, old fashion fun. If that’s what all games were going to offer, well Call of Duty always did it better.
Recently, it seems that EA and DICE have begun to look at what made the first game so popular. Battlefield Heroes is the most recent example. The browser based game, which only recently left beta, was an attempt to capture the cartoony nature of the original. It seems to embrace the ridiculousness of some game mechanics. And for a time waster, it did quite well. But it was a hollow experience. It doesn’t offer the same lasting appeal.
I’ll be honest, I rolled my eyes when I first saw the trailer for Battlefield 1943. I wrote it off as another pointless sequel taking advantage of the brand. I was genuinely surprised to see the game released on XBLA and PSN. Having read nothing about it, I downloading the demo.
1943 is about as close to a direct sequel as I think I’ll ever see. It’s not as much as update as a reimagining. And while I am grateful for the graphical overhaul, and the addition of the incredible Frostbite engine, I must say that many of the design choices are disappointing; even if they are unsurprising considering that it is being released on console first.
First, the sea section of the game has been reduced to unmovable and indestructible carriers which house six transport craft. Since naval battles and positioning was often a big factor in victory, this is quite a set back.
Another big leap back was the consolidation of the class system into three rather cliched choices: Sniper, Short Range \ Engineer, Medium Range Infantry Specialist. Since the health bar has been replaced with the latest “slow down, heart beat, timer” fad, there are no medics. I even found the engineer class to be a bit useless as vehicular battles tend to be over quickly.
But let’s face it, this isn’t the same full release as 1942. At fifteen dollars, limited content is to be expected. Three maps and three classes is screaming DLC, which could split the community. It’s typical EA practice that furthers the discrepancy between the industry in 2002 and now.
All that being said, the game is still fun. Maybe not quite as much as the original, but there is a certain quality to it. The destructible environment coupled with the superb sound design creates an eerie atmosphere. With bullets whizzing by, buildings being demolished, and explosions going off in all directions, it’s hard not to tense up.
You’ll definitely get your money’s worth, but I still can’t help but wonder what has changed over the years. Is it my fond memories of the first game that colors my opinion of it’s sequels? Or has DICE been unable to recapture the magic surrounding the development of 1942? The gaming community has certainly shifted in the last seven years, and perhaps they are simply attempting to keep up.
I think many will find 1943 to be the perfect Summer game. It has a low entry point and high replayability. If the PC version, due in September, has nice mod support (which DICE has failed to provide since the original), then it might be worth the rebuy. I just can’t help but think that something is missing.

There are few games in which the amount of time I spent playing sickens me to think about, Battlefield 1942 is one of them. For me it was the ultimate World War II game — the one I compared all others to. Even after all these years, I think back to that era fondly. And I’ve often wish I could find a similar game. Now, DICE has released a new game that will hopefully recapture the spirit of the first.

1942 was the first game that I had played which so effortlessly combined land, air, and sea battle. Each was balanced perfectly. Infantry wasn’t made complete obsolete by tanks, and yet being in a tank meant a few easy kills as long as you didn’t mind having a big target over your head.

There was a class for everyone. I often gravitated to the Engineer class. I would spend hours driving from one end of Wake Island to the other with wrench in hand. Before leader boards and the dumbing down of multiplayer made thanks by consoles, it was satisfying just knowing that you were insurmountable to your team’s victory; even if the numbers didn’t show it.

Desert Combat brought 1942 into the 21st century.

Of course, the core game was just part of the experience. The modding community was perhaps only matched at the time by Valve’s Half-Life SDK. In fact, you hadn’t truly experienced BF1942 until you played Desert Combat, the ‘modern warfare’ mod, or Eve Of Destruction, the ‘Vietnam war’ mod. They often had just as many servers running as the original. And Galactic Conquest was a must for Star Wars fans. Parts of all three mods could be seen in future expansions, sequels, or rip-offs of BF1942. BF Vietnam was so similar to Eve of Destruction that many, including myself, preferred the latter over the official release.

However, my interest in Battlefield as a franchise began to wear thin upon the release of Battlefield 2. It wasn’t quite as fun any more. Like most games in its generation (and even now), the focus seemed to push more towards flashy graphics, functionality, and having a more serious scope of gaming rather than strong level and game design which could lead directly to good, old fashion fun. If that’s what all games were going to offer, well Call of Duty always did it better.

Recently, it seems that EA and DICE have begun to look at what made the first game so popular. Battlefield Heroes is the most recent example. The browser based game, which only recently left beta, was an attempt to capture the cartoony nature of the original. It seems to embrace the ridiculousness of some game mechanics. And for a time waster, it does quite well. But it is a hollow experience. It doesn’t offer the same lasting appeal. (For more, listen to our first gaming podcast.)

Heroes provides a casual Battlefield experiance in your browser.

I’ll be honest, I rolled my eyes when I first saw the trailer for Battlefield 1943. I wrote it off as another pointless sequel taking advantage of the brand. I was genuinely surprised to see the game released on XBLA and PSN. Having read nothing about it, I downloading the demo.

1943 is about as close to a direct sequel as I think I’ll ever see. It’s not as much as update as a reimagining. And while I am grateful for the graphical overhaul, and the addition of the incredible Frostbite engine, I must say that many of the design choices are disappointing; even if they are unsurprising considering that it is being released on console first.

First, the sea section of the game has been reduced to unmovable and indestructible carriers which house six transport craft. Since naval battles and positioning was often a big factor in victory, this is quite a set back.

Another big leap back was the consolidation of the class system into three rather cliched choices: Sniper, Short Range \ Engineer, Medium Range Infantry Specialist. Since the health bar has been replaced with the latest “slow down, heart beat, timer” fad, there are no medics. I even found the engineer class to be a bit useless as vehicular battles tend to be over quickly.

But let’s face it, this isn’t the same full release as 1942. At fifteen dollars, limited content is to be expected. Three maps and three classes is screaming DLC, which could split the community. It’s typical EA practice that furthers the discrepancy between the industry in 2002 and now.

Almost everything in the game is destructable.

All that being said, the game is still fun. Maybe not quite as much as the original, but there is a certain quality to it. The destructible environment coupled with the superb sound design creates an eerie atmosphere. With bullets whizzing by, buildings being demolished, and explosions going off in all directions, it’s hard not to tense up.

You’ll definitely get your money’s worth, but I still can’t help but wonder what has changed over the years. Is it my fond memories of the first game that colors my opinion of it’s sequels? Or has DICE been unable to recapture the magic surrounding the development of 1942? The gaming community has certainly shifted in the last seven years, and perhaps they are simply attempting to keep up.

I think many will find 1943 to be the perfect Summer game. It has a low entry point and high replayability. If the PC version, due in September, has nice mod support (which DICE has failed to provide since the original), then it might be worth the rebuy. I just can’t help but think that something is missing.

A Second Opinion

by GriftGFX

Battlefield 1943 is a condensed, re-imagined, and re-engineered version of DICE’s breakthrough title, Battlefield 1942. It launched last week on Xbox Live Arcade and The Playstation Network for the cool price of $15 (1200 space-bucks). There is little doubt in my mind that the perceived value of this package will weigh heavily in your purchase, but let’s first examine how 1943’s features stack up against its older brothers, and ultimately how well it delivers on the exciting team gameplay that the franchise is best known for.

The initial release of Battlefield 1943 is set in the pacific campaign of World War II. Your download includes three maps, with a fourth to be unlocked when the community reaches a combined 42 million kills. As of the writing of this review, the Xbox version of the game has already hit that benchmark, with the Playstation 3 trailing slightly behind. These maps vary slightly in size, but are all roomy enough for the 24 players who will occupy them. Perhaps the most recognizable map, Wake Island, has been featured in nearly every Battlefield game to date. The terrain is bright and vivid, and thanks to DICE’s FrostBite Engine, very dynamic. Nearly everything in the map, from foliage to fortifications is destructible.

Yes, you can sword people.

The basics of the gameplay should appear familiar to anyone who has experience with previous Battlefield titles. Each team wrestles for control of a series of flags strewn across the map. If your team controls more than half of the flags, it causes the opposing forces to “bleed” tickets, represented here by a “life bar” at the top of the heads up display. Every time a player spawns on the map, a ticket is also drained from his teams pool, and thus when a teams ticket pool runs dry they’ve lost the skirmish. Flags can continually be re-captured, creating a variable experience where the front lines are always shifting. In the original Battlefield 1942, the number of remaining tickets was more directly represented by an actual number, this system allowed for a better evaluation of the end score, but ultimately has little impact on the actual gameplay.

The vehicles included on every level should also appear familiar. There are many omissions from the original franchise launch, but there are still mechanized transportation and combat options at your disposal. These options have been reduced to six vehicles, three for the Japanese Imperial Army, and three for the United States Marine Corp. Every map has several jeeps, tanks, and a few aircraft. The reduced number of vehicle types may seem a little jarring to some Battlefield vets, and unfortunately this sort of reduction is a theme that propagates throughout Battlefield 1943. Despite the abridged selection of vehicles in this Battlefield, they still play a key role in the action.

Perhaps the least subtle change in this adaptation of the franchise is the number of infantry “kits” or classes, which have been abbreviated from the original five down to three condensed load outs. Gone are the traditional medic and support classes form previous titles, having been replaced Halo-like regenerative health, and perhaps more surprisingly, unlimited ammunition. This results in the following three classes: Infantry, Riflemen, and Scout. The Infantry kit contains a submachine gun, an anti-vehicle bazooka, hand grenades, and a wrench to repair friendly vehicles; The Rifleman carries a “long range” semi-automatic rifle, rifle grenades, hand grenades, and a bayonet; Finally, the Scout carries a sniper rifle, a side arm, “ex pack” explosives, and a sword or bayonet depending on the army.

Either there's a UFO that hates America, or a rocket is about to disrupt this beach invasion.

The kit selection in 1943 raises my first major complaint. DICE once claimed that the sparse selection of infantry kits in 1943 was an issue of balance, yet, the kits offered up by this release seem to miss that mark completely. The Riflemen kit is the only ground-and-pound kit worth selecting. The two SMG’s feel like pellet guns compared to the Riflemen’s “M1 Garand” and its Japanese counterpart. This isn’t just an issue of damage, either, but owes many thanks to the total lack of deviation in the two rifles. When fired from the hip, they’re virtually laser beams, and it only takes a couple of shots (pew-pew) to take down an opponent. This is a major issue, especially when one of the three classes is best suited for the lone wolf. The result is a game where the only reason to ever use the “Infantry” kit is for its wrench and rocket launcher.

This is hardly the only area where this game simply comes up short. While there is a squad system in place, it’s limited to a four player cap, which puts a heavy limitation on you and your friends list. They’ve also removed the prone stance (also missing in Modern Combat and Bad Company), which is pretty frustrating when you’re trying to duck for cover behind some sandbags. These exclusions are not entirely game breaking, but as a long time fan of the franchise in question, it does make me wonder where DICE plans to take Battlefield in the future.

Wake Island returns yet again.

These types of reductions are so commonplace that it becomes difficult not to think of this game as Battlefield Jr.. The franchise arguably hit its peak with Battlefield 2 way back in 2005. With every post-BF2 release, DICE has attempted to simplify the gameplay. In doing so, they’ve opened their brand of thrilling multiplayer gameplay up to a wider audience, but have also risked alienating their core fan-base. If you have no preconceptions (or can check them at the door) about what a Battlefield game should be, than you’re more likely to enjoy Battlefield 1943. If you’re among the uninitiated, this is a great way to break into one of the best FPS franchises ever developed.

It’s also worth noting that an expanded version of this title will ship later this year (September) for Windows, and that it’s very likely that further DLC, including new maps will appear in the future. A 30 minute trial is also available on both Xbox Live and The Playstation Network.

Having contemplated Battlefield 1943’s shortcomings, it would be easy to see how I might come to a negative conclusion. The truth, however, is that I think that this is a pretty solid game and well worth your attention, especially for the asking price of $15. It may fall short of the benchmarks that the franchise has built in the past, but it also creates a faithful reproduction of the thrills that made it famous—without the learning curve that may have turned new players off.

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2 comments
Phaethon
Phaethon

I do remember someone at EA or DICE saying recently that Battlefield 3 would "blow people away", so they must at least be thinking about it.

Bill
Bill

I thought this article was a nice read and explained a few things about the game. I wonder though, how come it's such a long pre-order ahead of release for PC. Also do you know if there will be a bf3 released in the future. Bad company seems okay but there alot of flying die hards like my self who don't want to be limited just ground pounding. Thanks for the article.