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Review: Battlefield 1943 - Xbox 360, PS3

by Steven Williamson on 15 July 2009, 20:42

Tags: Battlefield 1943 Xbox, Battlefield 1943 PS, Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA), Xbox 360, PS3, FPS

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Gameplay Impressions

What do we like?
The three impressively designed maps offer a broad range of tactical opportunities. The U-shaped design of Wake Island, for instance, offers an expansive area of sea, ideal for providing aerial support for your squad, but it also has numerous hilly climbs that make it ideal for snipers. On the other hand, the smaller club-shaped island of Iwo Jima, with its hilly terrain, trenches and scattered machine-gun emplacements, is a much tighter map, so you experience much more action in terms of close-quarter fighting. The three maps look fantastic with glistening coastlines and impressively detailed strongholds, but more importantly they've been cleverly designed to make the most of the various classes and vehicles.

The various strengths of the three classes also ensure that there's plenty of tactical variety in combat. There’s plenty of fun to be had out of setting the Scout’s satchel charges, standing back and watching the carnage unfold; mowing through a group of Japanese soldiers with the Infantry man’s sub-machine gun; or heading to the top of a hill to take up a sniping position. There's enough variety in the weapon choice for you to be able to adapt tactics swiftly and they handle extremely well. Furthermore, the fact that there’s unlimited ammo on offer ensures that the action remains fast-paced and flowing - there's no need to hunt around for weapon crates.

Equally entertaining are the vehicles. Jumping into a tank, rolling into an enemy stronghold and causing carnage is a lot of fun, whereas hopping into a landing craft and speeding across the water with other craft by your side captures the camaraderie of war. Vehicles play an essential part in the battle and using them often gives you a tactical edge over your opponent. One of the highlights of our time using vehicles is when we stepped into the cockpit of a fighter plane and then bailed out as we sent it careering into a group of enemies. Despite the low retail price of £10, Battlefield 1943 has an epic feel to it; it looks and plays like a big budget game.

There’s so much variety to the gameplay that no Battlefield game ever feels identical, despite just the one game mode; therefore replay value is high. Furthermore, it’s an incredibly smooth online experience. Despite 24 players fighting frantically doing battle on land, sea and air, the dedicated servers ensure that there’s no lag.

Battlefield 1943 is a unique title. Though the formula will be instantly familiar to fans of the series, no other downloadable console title has delivered a game of this quality.

What don't we like?
There's not much for us to really complain about, especially when taking into consideration Battlefield 1943's low price point. The fact that you can only speak to your three other team-mates when you're locked into the four-player squad system is certainly a small niggle of ours - we'd have liked to be able to switch between talking privately and to the whole team. There's also a problem that needs to be addressed with the PS3 voice-chat. You can talk fine to people in the lobby, but as soon as the game starts squad mates cut out or it doesn't work at all. Some people will also probably be disappointed at the lack of content. With only three maps and three classes and a limited number of weapons it's possible that gamers will be yearning for more variety sooner rather than later.

Final Thoughts
If you're a fan of the genre, then Battlefield 1943 is probably going to be the best £10 that you'll ever spend on a videogame. It boasts great maps, well-balanced classes and weapon-sets, plus some enjoyable vehicle-based and exciting team-based gameplay. With its online community already thriving, we've no doubt that the Battlefield servers will be busy for a long time.

Final Score : 9/10

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