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Why We're Not Reviewing Battlefield 1943 Yet

A cautionary tale.


Great fun, when it works. 
With only three maps and three player classes, you wouldn't think it would take us long to play Battlefield 1943 and deliver a full review. Under normal circumstances, you'd be right, but the two days since 1943's launch have been anything but normal.

In case you haven't heard, the online situation for EA and DICE's new downloadable shooter on Xbox Live is a bit of a mess right now. The problems seem to be mostly focused on server capacity and the inability to join games, so far. EA says it's doubled the number of servers in use since the game launched on Wednesday, but I've still spent more time looking at "unable to join game" error messages than I have actually playing. A separate issue is making it all but impossible to join games with your friends.  

It's worth pointing out that, anecdotally at least, it sounds like no such problems exist with the PlayStation Network version so far. The game has quite honestly been fun as heck when it's worked right, so if you're dying to play the game this weekend and have a choice of platform, you ought to consider the PSN game. Though, since '43 is built around small squads and friend-invite options, the biggest factor in your decision should really be which console most of your friends are playing on, and for me, that's the Xbox.

DICE is running a Twitter feed with frequent updates on the team's progress stabilizing the game, and a forum post over on the game's official forums features more in-depth info about what's being fixed, as well as some interesting trivia about the troubled launch.

Server Locations

Xbox 360: Amsterdam, Miami, Fremont CA, and Tokyo. We are adding more locations as we to spread the load of players.
PS3: Amsterdam, Virginia, L.A., and Tokyo. We are adding more locations as we to spread the load of players. 

Fun Facts

I need to share something fun and cheery now. And even though many can't get in, many have and played a lot of games already.
  • On Day 1 there were 29.45 years of gameplay completed on Xbox 360
  • Over 5 millions kills in the first day!

Amusingly, DICE has ratcheted up the console wars with an Xbox-versus-PlayStation race to 43 million kills. The first platform to hit that number will be the first to unlock the fourth map, Coral Sea, and a new plane-specific Air Superiority mode. The devs are just throwing fuel on the fire by posting the actual kill statistics as they rack up in what seems like real time. The Xbox is ahead by roughly 1.5 to 1, so it's actually a closer race than I thought it would be.


Way to go, DICE. You're part of the problem.

We'll be back early next week with a real review of the game--provided EA gets everything ironed out over the weekend and we can play without problems--but for now, here's what Battlefield 1943 might look like if you were to play it...

 
Brad Shoemaker on Google+
206 Comments
Posted by Brad

Great fun, when it works. 
With only three maps and three player classes, you wouldn't think it would take us long to play Battlefield 1943 and deliver a full review. Under normal circumstances, you'd be right, but the two days since 1943's launch have been anything but normal.

In case you haven't heard, the online situation for EA and DICE's new downloadable shooter on Xbox Live is a bit of a mess right now. The problems seem to be mostly focused on server capacity and the inability to join games, so far. EA says it's doubled the number of servers in use since the game launched on Wednesday, but I've still spent more time looking at "unable to join game" error messages than I have actually playing. A separate issue is making it all but impossible to join games with your friends.  

It's worth pointing out that, anecdotally at least, it sounds like no such problems exist with the PlayStation Network version so far. The game has quite honestly been fun as heck when it's worked right, so if you're dying to play the game this weekend and have a choice of platform, you ought to consider the PSN game. Though, since '43 is built around small squads and friend-invite options, the biggest factor in your decision should really be which console most of your friends are playing on, and for me, that's the Xbox.

DICE is running a Twitter feed with frequent updates on the team's progress stabilizing the game, and a forum post over on the game's official forums features more in-depth info about what's being fixed, as well as some interesting trivia about the troubled launch.

Server Locations

Xbox 360: Amsterdam, Miami, Fremont CA, and Tokyo. We are adding more locations as we to spread the load of players.
PS3: Amsterdam, Virginia, L.A., and Tokyo. We are adding more locations as we to spread the load of players. 

Fun Facts

I need to share something fun and cheery now. And even though many can't get in, many have and played a lot of games already.
  • On Day 1 there were 29.45 years of gameplay completed on Xbox 360
  • Over 5 millions kills in the first day!

Amusingly, DICE has ratcheted up the console wars with an Xbox-versus-PlayStation race to 43 million kills. The first platform to hit that number will be the first to unlock the fourth map, Coral Sea, and a new plane-specific Air Superiority mode. The devs are just throwing fuel on the fire by posting the actual kill statistics as they rack up in what seems like real time. The Xbox is ahead by roughly 1.5 to 1, so it's actually a closer race than I thought it would be.


Way to go, DICE. You're part of the problem.

We'll be back early next week with a real review of the game--provided EA gets everything ironed out over the weekend and we can play without problems--but for now, here's what Battlefield 1943 might look like if you were to play it...

 
Staff
Posted by mussbus999
I actually have had no more problems since...yesterday
Posted by Jayzilla

yeah that is bad. i dont like the idea of that being what gets you a new level.

Posted by mubress

I thought as much. However, The PSN version isn't without it's problems

Posted by Bennyishere

I'm sure these problems will be fixed by the time I get home from vacation. Can't wait to try some sniping.

Posted by EpicSteve

It's been better today. It typically takes about 5 tries for me to get into a game, and once you get into a game you can just stay there until you're done playing. 

Posted by jakob187

I figured this would be more of a problem with Xbox Live than it was with 1943 itself.

Posted by AURON570

i pretty much quit Battlefield 2 for Team Fortress 2... maybe i'll pick this up for my ps3 though, *shrugs* looks like more of the same really.

Posted by Double0hFor

not like this

Posted by VicRattlehead

i cant get onto the game at all ...keep getting cannot connect to ea or somthing.....ea's support told me to download the facebreaker demo and upload a boxer to resync my psn id to ea but that didnt work.....fantastic game :|

Posted by TomA

Poop on Battlefield 1943, why do i wnat to play yet another WW2 game focused around American efforts?

Posted by lacke

I got this game as soon as it was up on XBLA but only recently been able to join a game. Played 3 maps (Wake Island + 2x Guadal Canal). The game went smoothly. Didn't notice any major lag or hickups. It took me 5 min though before I could join a game.

I was a bit reluctant about getting this because I've played Wake Island (in various forms) to death but man.. it seems you can never get tired of that map.

Posted by Babble

It can take a while to get into a game (and it seems impossible to join a friend's game), but once you get in things seem to be working well. I haven't had much lag at all.

Posted by Ouroboros

I've gotten in after multiple tries and its fun but there are a lot of times (or servers) where the maps dont rotate.  I understand that you play one time as the allies and then once as Japan but I dont want to play Wake Island 3 times in a row (which is actually 6).  It's pretty fun but I still feel uneasy about the purchase because its only 3 or 4 maps.  I hope they plan on expanding the game later to prevent it from going stale.

Posted by jakob187
@Keyser_Soze said:
" Just review the PS3 version Brad. It's not often you see this kind of gracious attitude being shown to a buggy game on an alternative platform. M$ Bias anyone? Are you now taking Microsoft IOU'S? Have Japanese businessmen been smuggling some "fake" treasury bonds into the GB offices "
Yet again, people bashing the Bomb because they like to play games with their friends...which Brad points out are mostly on Xbox Live.  tsk tsk
Posted by sirchode

I dare someone to name a DICE launch that has gone without issue

Posted by Oriental_Jams

Well, after the serious issues of the last few days, I'll get into a lag-free game after a couple of tries, but I've oft encountered a lack of sound from turret guns.

Edited by Keyser_Soze
@jakob187 said:
" @Keyser_Soze said:
" Just review the PS3 version Brad. It's not often you see this kind of gracious attitude being shown to a buggy game on an alternative platform. M$ Bias anyone? Are you now taking Microsoft IOU'S? Have Japanese businessmen been smuggling some "fake" treasury bonds into the GB offices "
Yet again, people bashing the Bomb because they like to play games with their friends...which Brad points out are mostly on Xbox Live.  tsk tsk
"
Reviewing a game should have very little to do with what friends consoles they prefer, what Brad and his friends do in the privacy of their own home is for them, but this is a professional matter. They would have to play it on the PS3 version anyway just to test it, so buy, play with random people and see how it is. I'm sure they can do this.
Posted by TheHBK

I think this kind of stuff should be considered in the review.  Its part of the game and what makes it possible.  The fucking menus and wait that came with joining games and retarded game search function of GRAW was so frustrating that I believe it should affect the review, even though your not actually "playing".

Posted by UncleBuck

OMG Brad you are such a PS3 fanboy.  Please, cut it out.

Posted by borgmaster

besides some balancing issues, the game is good and has a good bit of, yet progressively decreasing, playability issues. boom, there's your review, done.

Posted by AngryKraut

I had a lot of problems Wednesday and Thursday, but today is fine. Over at the EA forums people were freaking out LOL I mean relax, its DICE.

Posted by ezdude

I haven't had any problems at all with the ps3 version of the game connection wise, I started playing it within the hour of its release on the PSN store.

Posted by Godlovesugly

Yep, me and my friends have been playing the ps3 version and it's A-Okay.

Posted by _Horde

I give five stars for the beautiful "Cannot Join" pop-up.

Edited by ChrisTaran

The game should be reviewed as-is on the day of it's launch.  If it is so buggy as to not be playable, then it should get an appropriate score.  Most likely 1 star or below.

Edited by Reverseface

You gotta love EA servers. With all EA's money you'd think they could have fucking nice servers.

Posted by raikoh05
@ChrisTaran: how is that gonna serve people who read it once its fixed?
Posted by zander1123

i dont know about anyone else, but i find the sole reason that a review of this game isnt coming is because it isn't working on the 360 a major problem. I feel like there are 2 reasons behind that. First because you should always review a game day one, no matter how buggy it is. Second because the sole reason the team wont review the PS3 verison is because they dont have many friends on PSN, a review should be done alone, and not with friends, so again why cant you just review the PS3 one? I understand you like your xbox more than your PS3 but i thought you guys all broke away from gamespot to be allowed to review everything correctly? Not to just wait till the game is ready on your system of choice.


Sorry but its just my two cents  
Posted by Oriental_Jams
@zander1123 said:
" i dont know about anyone else, but i find the sole reason that a review of this game isnt coming is because it isn't working on the 360 a major problem. I feel like there are 2 reasons behind that. First because you should always review a game day one, no matter how buggy it is. Second because the sole reason the team wont review the PS3 verison is because they dont have many friends on PSN, a review should be done alone, and not with friends, so again why cant you just review the PS3 one? I understand you like your xbox more than your PS3 but i thought you guys all broke away from gamespot to be allowed to review everything correctly? Not to just wait till the game is ready on your system of choice.

Sorry but its just my two cents  
"
If it's an online game, wouldn't friends be a part of the experience? Whilst the mechanics of the game wouldn't be affected drastically, the squad system it has is going to be far better when playing with friends surely?
Posted by zityz

Theres also graphical glitches and kill count glitch. The kill count only happend to me once or twice since Ive played. Which I find to be annoying. Aside from that the game is fun as hell. Much more enjoyable I found then Heros was.

Posted by Branthog

I've had a great time playing this game so far, but it really is plagued with problems. Some that I don't think they are ever going to fix.

For one, the squad stuff is garbage and it prevents communication. As a result NOBODY is talking in-game and NOBODY is coordinating. With only twelve people per team, there is NO NEED TO LIMIT COMMUNICATION TO A SQUAD. Especially for an XBLA game where you are going to have mostly pick-up quick-join games than arranged clan play.

For another, THE GAME IS TOO MOTHER FUCKING DARK. I am playing this on a 60" Sony SXRD and no matter how bright I turn the screen or the in-game settings, it is DARK. So dark that you can't even read the action updates / communications in the upper left. In an already dark game, the messages are also dark - written in dark blue and dark red. What the fuck, guys?!

Then there are the obvious things: Sometimes the entire network is down. Sometimes the servers are down. Sometimes they go down in the middle of a game. Sometimes the lag makes it impossible to hit the planes. Sometimes the game will just drop connection in the middle of the game. Sometimes the XBOX will simply FREEZE while in the middle of the game and you'll have to power-cycle it.

That said... once you're in... and going... it's pretty damn fun. Makes me long for a full BF3 on console with no "dumb it down" limitations. Hell, I guess I don't *have* to play it on the PC. Certainly more relaxing on the console now that I'm getting the hang of it.

Posted by PercyChuggs

Another game that looks incredibly SDTV unfriendly with the tiny ass player summary boxes. Oh well.

Posted by FCKSNAP
@Oriental_Jams said:
" If it's an online game, wouldn't friends be a part of the experience? Whilst the mechanics of the game wouldn't be affected drastically, the squad system it has is going to be far better when playing with friends surely? "
That's the thing, don't they know other people with PS3s? There are more than four people in the office to play with, and playing with friends limits you to four man squads for communication; which probably shouldn't be the crux of a review in the first place, it should be gameplay.

I'm just baffled this is the stance they are taking with this.
Posted by phlegms

Im am going to get addicted to this game, I can tell..

Edited by Jeff
@zander1123: A review that says "GAME BROKEN, ONE STAR" doesn't do anyone any good when it's fixed a week later. We're better off holding off and reviewing both versions at the same time and mentioning the rough launch than trying to deal with two wildly different experiences at this time. It has zero to do with one platform over another, it has everything to do with making sure our time is spent meaningfully when reviewing products so we only have to review things once, rather than write one review, then go back and edit that review to account for another platform.

If they can't fix the issue in a timely fashion, then it becomes a wildly different story. This is essentially the same thing we did when we reviewed Demigod.
Staff
Posted by zander1123
@Jeff: Thanks jeff for speak back, that is kind of what i was looking for. You guys to review both verison if you were going to take this stance. I wasn't trying to sound really angry though i can see how it comes across that way i just found it odd that you would wait for one while the other works....most of the time. So again thanks for answering i really hope they fix the bugs with this game, because even the PS3 verison is a little messed up. 
Posted by hyperslug

I have played it all day on PS3 and have had no problems what so ever :)

highly recommended

Posted by Jimbo

This Kill Race is exactly why we can't have nice things.

Posted by Bubahula
@Jeff:
yay! jefff puts his foot down as the voice of reason, to stop an epic battle, between blue and green, on the harsh plains of the console wars! :D
Posted by InsanePotato

Yeah this is totally fine. Give em a week till after launch, if problems persist review accordingly.

Posted by Atomic_Tangerine

Yeah, whenever this game works, I sit back and think, "Dude, I just DOWNLOADED THIS GAME IN 10 MINUTES!  We may not have jetpacks, but 2009 is REAL!"  And then I spend a half-hour joining staring at the menu...

My advice is to try to get in games seperately from your friends, and then try to join the game of whoever gets in one first.  It sorta works sometimes, and is really the only way to have a reasonable chance of playing your buddies online.

Posted by MetalGearSunny

I live in Virginia so ha!

Posted by Guardian

Having a good time with the PS3. Why not just review it on that system?

Edited by MrKlorox

The 360 version seems to be working fine now. Instead of hitting join 10 times before you join, it's twice max now. However joining friends is still messed up, and that's not a capacity issue.

@Branthog "THE GAME IS TOO MOTHER FUCKING DARK"

I think it's too bright. Gotta be your screen. Too bad one can't apply a custom gamma curve to their console. This monitor (used for both PC and 360 gaming) looks too bright on the upper scale and the standard brightness/gamma options tend to overcorrect the wrong part of the scale. Are you using HDMI? If so, what color profile? 360 darkness settings?

Also the squad communication is FINE. You can talk to the whole team now as long as you're not in a squad. Coordination is just fine, if you're playing with competent people. You really only need 3 of them to completely own a map.

Posted by demonbear

I got only one question about that game. I have Warhawk on the ps3 and i never play it because, well, i suck too much. Is this basically the exact same experience but with a different setting? Because i'd like to like these games, but getting your ass kicked is not very fun after a while....

Posted by Gearhead

I'd also like them to fix the achievement glitch occurring with the Best Squad Achievement. I want my S Rating EA.

Edited by TwoOneFive

uhh....


I've been playing on PSN and its working ABSOLUTELY FINE. Quick match works like a snap and the game play is smooth and the frame rate never drops. its just been  a breeze. 

Maybe you guys should try reviewing the PS3 version instead?

holding a review simply because the 360 isnt up to par is pretty lame. it never stopped anyone when its the other way around!

Also, most of my friends play on PS3 and thats the main reason I play it the most.



To put it bluntly, this is the LAMEST excuse for not reviewing a game I have ever seen. 

The game is working absolutely fine on PSN but you guys are practically REFUSING to play just because you know more people are desperately trying, and failing, to get a game going on XBL. I mean, who are your friends? Other developers? You mean to tell me they don't have PS3's?

How about you guys all play on PSN instead?! ZOMG!?! WHAT AN IDEA?! 

seriously. 
This.
Is. 
Lame. 
Posted by TwoOneFive
@demonbear said:
" I got only one question about that game. I have Warhawk on the ps3 and i never play it because, well, i suck too much. Is this basically the exact same experience but with a different setting? Because i'd like to like these games, but getting your ass kicked is not very fun after a while.... "
absolutely- and to tell you the truth. i think Warhawk is a much better game- way, way, WAY more features. 
Posted by Branthog
@PercyChuggs said:
" Another game that looks incredibly SDTV unfriendly with the tiny ass player summary boxes. Oh well. "
They have a "TV" option in the settings, so maybe that's what it's for?

Anyway, it's HDTV unfriendly, too, so don't worry. I'm playing on my 60" Sony SXRD LCD and it is SO FUCKING DARK that you can barely play sometimes. Certain maps are better than others, but in ALL of them it is very difficult to read any of the text anywhere. Especially the updates in the upper left that tell you who just did what to whom. It's like they never actually played their game even once with someone who wasn't blind already.