Battlefield 1943 is a downloadable multiplayer, set in the Pacific Theater of World War II. When details of the game dropped, I simply didn't pay much attention, as I was skeptical any downloadable title would deliver the type of experience you could get on a full $60 game.
Battlefield surprised me, and hopefully other developers will follow its formula. A quick $15 download has provided hours of fun and variety - without cutting too many corners. There are two aspects to the title which other developers and publishers can learn from:
1. Great demo. Rather than providing a handicapped version of the title, the trial is simply 30 minutes of the actual game. By the time your 30 minutes is up, Battlefield has sucked you in and has you wanting more.
2. Great pace. The game doesn't have too much downtime, and players aren't forced to wait for 4 minutes in between games. The action is quick and immediate, always pulling you into "one more game".
As far as the game design itself, the graphics are beautiful. Battlefield absolutely sets the visual bar for downloadable titles. Four maps are varied enough, yet balanced. Each map has different features that make for slight changes in strategy. One complaint is that games often tend to replay the same map 3 or 4 times in a row, which can get tedious when playing with the same party of players.
Gameplay keeps it simple, as the main objective is to capture and defend bases. An added "Air Superiority" game pits two teams of planes against each other at sea. Vehicles, tanks, planes, boats and a variety of mounted guns allow for teams to work together to battle over an island. Air raids can be achieved to bomb enemy players, but only if your teammates can fend off opposing fighter planes long enough to drop the bombs.
Weapons are fairly standard for a multiplayer shooter...Three main category of soldiers keeps it simple and easy. It would have been nice to see some unlockable weapons, but for $15 the game delivers the basics. A player can rank up, but rankings are fairly meaningless since no perks or benefits are unlocked.
An issue I did run into was some "glitches" in the graphics at times. While gameplay was never seriously affected, my screen would become filled with black fuzzy walls and unwanted elements at times. It doesn't happen often, and EA has stated that they are working out a couple bugs still.
Overall, Battlefield 1943 is a great game that delivers a lot of punch for the price. Many hours of fun can be had for a downloadable title - Let's hope other companies begin to develop games with a similar strategy.