‘Battlefield’ great bet for summer fun
Stars and Stripes August 2, 2009
It’s good to know that fun is still the key to success in video games.
"Battlefield 1943" could be blasted as a rehash of "Battlefield 1942" that’s beset by so-so graphics, limited character options and historical inaccuracies. But it’s hard to worry about any of those things when it’s so thoroughly enjoyable.
The T-rated shooter developed by DICE for Electronic Arts is available for download on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network for $15. It focuses on online combat. There’s a tutorial but no campaign.
Players are divided into two teams — American and Japanese — that fight over control points on each island. Controlling these sites and staying alive leads to victory.
In most encounters, which are set in the Pacific during World War II, you can choose among three classes: rifleman, submachine gunner and sniper. Each offers secondary options, such as firing rifle grenades, repairing vehicles or setting explosives. The biggest difference between the American and Japanese forces is that the Japanese sniper also gets a cool samurai sword.
The selection of classes and weapons might seem meager compared to the many options offered in DICE’s "Battlefield Bad Company." However, the balance works quite well. For example, there’s no need for a medic since health regenerates.
In addition to their standard attacks, each class can fight in tanks, jeeps, aircraft and landing craft and call in air strikes, which provides plenty of fun options.
The game offers three maps — Wake Island, Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima — that focus on ground combat. A fourth map became available for Xbox 360 gamers when players on Xbox Live accumulated a total of 43 million kills in the game. At deadline, PlayStation Network gamers were still working to reach the goal. The fourth map focuses in aerial combat, re-creating the Battle of the Coral Sea, history’s first battle between carrier fleets.
Some might consider the fourth map a mixed blessing. While ground combat is pretty straightforward, fighting in the air can get very tricky. However, DICE was aware of the potential problems and offers a good tutorial that can help players learn the controls.
The controls are smooth and effective, which keeps the game fast and fun.
The graphics aren’t spectacular, but get the job done.
Being a history nut, I’m more likely to complain that the Japanese invaded Wake Island in 1941, Coral Sea was fought in 1942 and Iwo Jima’s fateful battle occurred in 1945. But, once again, the game’s too much fun to worry about historical accuracy.
While the game’s not particularly deep, players get plenty of bang for their 15 bucks. It’s no wonder "Battlefield 1943" is setting records for sales of downloadable games.