Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tech: Battlefield 1943

The more things change, the more they stay the same, as console gamers are discovering with the release of "Battlefield 1943," a downloadable game for the Xbox 360 and the PS3:

If you're a longtime PC gamer, you might get a sense of deja vu from this latest installment of the venerable "Battlefield" series. That's because 1943 is a near pitch-perfect remake of the original "Battlefield 1942." Like its predecessor, 1943 allows you to pilot planes, drive tanks, and control flak cannons. It's the U.S. Marine Corps versus the Imperial Japanese Navy across four famous battles - Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, Wake Island, and the Coral Sea.

For a $15 downloadable title, the game is pretty polished. It feels like a slimmed-down, tightened up Battlefield experience; all the core elements are there (the tank v. infantry dynamic, the fight for aerial supremacy, the brief-but-vicious close quarters gunfights) but without any of the fat. 1943 does bring some new elements to the table, though. The game uses the Frostbite engine, which allows for impressive building and foliage destruction. After a few minutes of furious fighting on Iwo Jima, what was once a lush island becomes more like the black sand abattoir people remember from grainy WWII combat footage.

Strangely enough, though, 1943 shares the weaknesses of "Battlefield 1942," too. Aside from the connection issues that plagued the game at launch, the multiplayer-only nature of the title means that your enjoyment will be singularly dependent on who you play with. Thankfully, friendly fire is disabled, so you don't have the absurdity of getting machine-gunned by your own teammates because you took the plane first, but there's still plenty of grandstanding and griefing that can be accomplished by your "teammates."

Rating: 83/100


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