Multiplayer mayhem on the cheap
I've had a somewhat up and down experience with the Battlefield franchise- I enjoy the basic Battlefield formula, but the games' extreme focus on online multiplayer have always made them feel a bit overpriced to me. However, when Battlefield 1943 burst onto the scene as a small downloadable title, I was instantly sold. It may not contain the quantity of goodies that a full scale game would have, but that doesn't stop Battlefield 1943 from being one of the absolute best multiplayer experiences you'll ever get for $15.
At its core, this is the same Battlefield game we've known since the original Battlefield 1942 hit the PC back in 2002. The game is centered around large-scale battles based on holding a handful of key control points scattered across the maps. Said maps are littered with varying types of terrain, buildings, vehicles, and so on. It's a mostly chaotic experience, and the idea of holding control points beckons a refreshingly different style of play when compared to the standard "deathmatch" scenario of most shooters. At the same time, this style of game does have its drawbacks. Vehicles can be a bit wonky in their controls, you'll occasionally have to spend time hoofing it across a large map on foot, and perhaps worst of all, it's really easy for those annoying snipers to train their scopes on a spawn point- it sucks to die before you can even make a move. But even with its quirks, the Battlefield formula holds up really well in 1943, and is just as addictive as always.
Being a downloadable title, you would think some corners would have to be cut to accommodate the game's smaller size. And while that's certainly true on the surface, the resulting omissions feel like they've actually made the game more streamlined. Battles have been reduced in size to 12 on 12 affairs, and the corresponding maps are smartly designed to take that player limit into account. This reduces the amount of craziness going on, making for a more steady, sensible experience. There are also less classes and weapons than you may be used to from the franchise, but the important stuff is all present and accounted for. In fact, this reduction makes it seem as if all that other stuff didn't really matter anyway. This actually turns out to be a pretty defining theme in Battlefield 1943. There isn't really anything in the game that feels unnecessary, yet everything you'd want from a good Battlefield game rears its head in one way or another. The result is a super tight package that manages to be an absolute blast in all the ways you'd want a Battlefield game to be.
While I feel that the game's smaller size doesn't hinder the experience in any way, that didn't stop EA and DICE from posting it with a smaller $15 price tag. This is an absolutely fantastic move for the franchise, as the standard $50-$60 price point always felt a bit steep for what is essentially a strict online multiplayer shooter. It still won't appeal to those who don't care for online only games (or previous Battlefield games), but Battlefield 1943 is easily one of the best possible purchases for any fan of online shooters with a spare 15 bones lying around.
For additional information on my review style and scoring system, click here.