WORDS BY: Ryan McCaffrey
Though it’s technically an Xbox Live Arcade game, Battlefield 1943 is really more like a digitally distributed big-budget product, complete with modern tech, robust online features, and endless replay value. A remake of the classic Battlefield 1942 that uses Bad Company’s Frostbite engine, 1943 ships with four beloved maps: Iwo Jima, Wake Island, Guadalcanal, and the unlockable Coral Sea. (The latter is a special aerial dogfighting level that will be opened “by the community,” EA tells us. Mysterious! But we did play it for this review.)
What you get, really, is Battlefield at its most pure. After choosing your class (engineer, sniper, and so on), you’ll try to capture all five control points from the enemy team. It’s 12-on-12 on dedicated servers (yay!), and you’ll find boats, jeeps, tanks, air raids, and the aforementioned planes all at your disposal. The ability to create squads within your team is a welcome one, and the feeling of piling into a jeep with two allies, barreling into an enemy control point, and wiping everyone out is pure bliss. On top of that, we can’t think of another game where sniping is more enjoyable. With a little leading, you can literally kill someone from halfway across these massive maps!
Since it was created as a focused, $15 slice of classic Battlefield heaven, though, 1943 has one inherent flaw: it features no offline play whatsoever. It lacks single-player (aside from the tutorial), split-screen, bots, and even System Link. It’s Xbox Live or bust. And given the size of the levels, the game suffers mightily with fewer than eight players per side, so you’d better hope enough people are always online. Also, are four maps sufficient? One or two more would’ve gone a long way. Here’s hoping EA prices the inevitable downloadable maps at a reasonable rate.
+ Large-scale, class-based combat on dedicated servers!
+ Sniping has never been such a blast.
- No offline playâ€¦not even System Link.
? How much will the inevitable DLC maps cost?