Saturday, July 11, 2009

REVIEW: Battlefield 1943 for the Xbox 360

Battlefield 1943 is a sort of remake to Battlefield 1942's Pacific Theater. Redesigned maps and gameplay are letting console gamers get in on the multiplayer action that PC gamers have been enjoying for years. This new iteration takes controls, engine, and gameplay from DICE's Bad Company series (the second of which is coming out soon). This means that gameplay will have players running, driving, and flying around these maps. Plus the new game engine allows for the destruction of buildings and trees so if you see an enemy slink in through a door, just blow a whole through the wall and take them out.

I haven't played a Battlefield Game since Battlefield 2, and even then I wasn't playing that much. Messing around on the maps now has me brimming with nostalgia. The theme music is there and so is the action. While most of my kills have been coming from shooting the other team, there's something extremely satisfying to the vehicular action. Flying a plane (and being successful at it) is extremely rewarding and fun because of the sense of speed and the idea that you're scaring the crap out of the other team. Tank to tank battles are even, so you'll need skill to stand come out victorious. Of course if you have a pair of infantrymen with you, the other tank won't really stand a chance.

I guess what I'm getting around to is that Battlefield 1943 is an extremely well balanced game. I don't think I'd be having as much fun at it if it weren't. After playing all sides of the battle, I can say that when I take down a tank on foot, its not because the tank is underpowered, in fact I'll have died three times against three other tanks before taking this one down, but when I do its because I was better than the other player. Take for example my current situation with planes. I can score multiple kills with the bomber, but I can't really fly at all. I'll go up into the air, navigate a little, but my piloting gets squirrelly, or I'm shot at, and I come down. But like I said, BF 1943 is all about balance, so I find myself fairly decent at bringing planes down with anti-air guns.

The three classes are also pretty well balanced. The rifleman has accuracy without distance, middle of the road power, and mid reload speed. The infantry has a speedy reload, and a tank busting bazooka, but very little accuracy and distance. The scout has a sniper rifle with high accuracy and damage to other soldiers, but that's about it.

I've been playing the rifleman the most. Its the most well rounded and easy to learn. The nuances of balance have to be learned in order for a player to recognize what they're facing, and then take the most appropriate action. How's that work? After playing a little bit you'll recognize just how far a class's gun will shoot, how to approach a capture point as a certain class, and whether or not you should run from the tank coming over the hill or stand and fight.

After that, its just up to you to have fun with the game. Battlefield 1943 is easy to get into, easy to dedicate a lot of hours to, and easy to play. Most importantly, its fun. I'd recommend it to anyone who can get it.


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