Battlefield 1943 Updated Hands-On - Running, Gunning, and Dogfighting

We see everything there is to see in this downloadable first-person shooter from DICE.

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Since its inception in 2002, the Battlefield series has undergone a number of fairly dramatic evolutions. It has made wide jumps from historical to futuristic settings, while adding a heavy emphasis on storytelling to a franchise that once boasted AI-controlled bots as its sole single-player offering. The next entry in the series is Battlefield 1943, a game that will circle back to those early roots as you return to World War II in a fight between US Marines and Imperial Japanese. The action is classic Battlefield through and through, but a number of departures from previous games make for a fresh take on that familiar formula. With the game's release right around the corner, we played several online matches on all the maps to see everything there was left to see in this upcoming first-person shooter.

Guadalcanal feels like the most expansive of the traditional maps.

Battlefield 1943 feels like a hybrid of the original Battlefield 1942 and the series' most recent entry, Bad Company. The retro feeling comes from the setting and overall style of gameplay: you go at it by land, air, and sea with WWII-era weapons and vehicles on a number of famous islands from that war's Pacific theater. However, 1943 will first be released on consoles in the form of a $15 downloadable title available on both Xbox Live Marketplace and PlayStation Network. With that console focus, it shares an important trait with Bad Company, the first game in the series developed exclusively for consoles. But they also share the Frostbite game engine, so all the destruction (collapsing buildings, trees, and so on) that Bad Company was known for will also be present in 1943.

1943's $15 price tag will get you a pretty robust overall package, with matches that offer support for up to 24 players. The game comes with four island-themed maps--three that offer the traditional Conquest gameplay mode and one that does something altogether different. The three standard maps are Wake Island, Iwo Jima, and Guadalcanal. Wake Island is the most straightforward of the bunch, with relatively flat terrain and short distances between each of the five flags that teams fight over. On the other side of the spectrum is Guadalcanal, which feels much more expansive. The main island in Guadalcanal is filled with winding roads, steep hills, and some dense wilderness areas, making it a very sniper-friendly map that requires careful movement and a heavy dependence on vehicles.

The fourth map is something of an added treat that a lone DICE developer managed to create on his own time. The team liked it so much that they wound up keeping it in the game as an unlockable bonus. It's called Coral Sea and it's strictly for dogfighting in airplanes. There are enough fighter planes for all 24 players--as opposed to the small handful on the standard maps--and the challenge is to chase other players in the sky and shoot them down with your machine guns. It's a huge map with a bunch of exotic islands that offer the opportunity to fly through rock rings like a stunt pilot (and it definitely makes you scratch your head that DICE managed to make such a nice-looking game that only clocks in at a 560-meg download). Coral Sea will be locked until the total number of kills on either platform reaches 43 million, at which point the map becomes unlocked for everyone to play.

You are given a choice of three classes, each with its own primary, alternate, and melee weapons. There's the rifleman, who comes equipped with a rifle, a grenade launcher attachment, and a bayonet; the infantry soldier, who has a submachine gun, a bazooka, and a wrench; and the scout, who uses a sniper rifle, a pistol, and a sword. The latter class also forgoes grenades in favor of remote charges, which come in handy against tanks or as makeshift roadside bombs on the enemy's favorite jeep routes.

The maps are expansive, but you generally won't be wandering around looking for stuff to do because there's always a turret gun, vehicle, or sniper hideout nearby. Options for violent mayhem include .50-cal machine guns, antiaircraft guns, air-raid stations that let you call in and control an airstrike, and just hitching a ride on a jeep and getting on the turret. The only time we did much wandering was when we played as a sniper and went exploring the thick foliage in search of the best hiding spot.

We had a great time with Battlefield 1943. The overall package seems like a rock-solid value at $15. The game should be released very shortly, though no official date has been given by EA. Similarly up in the air is the PC version, which is slated to arrive in September but has yet to be given a price. Stay tuned for more on that front.

Discussion

217 comments
PhonziWun
PhonziWun

tloew - hahahahahah, what man?

linkman3
linkman3

if i had an xbox 360 it would totally be on the collection list Im still getting for the ps3

Nick277
Nick277

@stuarthanley If EA had made a singleplayer campaign for this it'd have a 2010 release date.. lol.. But after playing Battlefield Heroes, which is free (but only on pc), I think this may be a wasted opportunity as BF Heroes has a reward system that kicks butt compared to other BF games. This game has no rewards other than badges and Achievements/Trophies..

DooM_MerchanT
DooM_MerchanT

Gamespot please come back to revisit and re-review soon as they are working very hard to resolve all the issues you raised, that would then raise it's score as it deserves!

EQShaman
EQShaman

@ tloew WTF are you saying?

gamescottsman
gamescottsman

@ walbk - same reason it happens the otherway round...it's called "tough sh@t."

stuarthanley
stuarthanley

@tloew: The words "English", "punctuation", "grammar" and "sentencing" spring to mind. If you are going to post something that is meaningful and that you think other people may want to know, at least do it in a way we can understand. Further to this, the game is good. Very easy. The bombing run is a cool addition but only 3 maps is rubbish. EA should have released this as a complete game like BF:BC and included a single player experience too.

Gamerzombie
Gamerzombie

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

walbk
walbk

I don't understand why PS3 owners can't download this yet...

tloew
tloew

k i got both systems i downloaded for 360..ya no callduty but.......verry verry cool (probs server...we know what joke...come on u guys) what makes me mad is 360 users are going to be step up on ps3 when they release game..in july lol another joke ..but heres what im thinking ps3 let 360 be prob child ps3 will run smooth as always...so when will they go to work at ps3 store 4 update ..who knows...thanks

drknessfeeds
drknessfeeds

The games cool and alot of fun but I can't really justify the purchase at the price when I have Call of Duty WAW and 4.

Ne_rome
Ne_rome

why the HELL CANT WE DOWNLOAD IT?!?!

Dervel-
Dervel-

Why cant i download it yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Imakuleus
Imakuleus

Open the gates psn store post haste

rando22
rando22

i think the servers are down

qaasq
qaasq

this is prob the wrong place to ask but are they makin a GRAW 3?

qaasq
qaasq

woa woa woaaa....i used to have this old battlefield game for the xbox where you could press Y to switch any other soldier on your team, was that part of the franchise?

Praviux
Praviux

This kinda looks ALOT like the Battlefield Heros Game EA has coming out... lol @ EA ...

CHAOS100
CHAOS100

terrible. typical EA model. release no content, make you pay for more. I would have payed for a remake of BF1942, too bad they will never do it.

HellsKing
HellsKing

$15 now, in a few months there will be a map pack, for another $10. Easy money for EA. Looks like they just put this game together in their spare time if you ask me. Oh well, it'll sell and I'll be a sucker to buy it.

Ne_rome
Ne_rome

@ rich19913 its on playstation network too. @ almto3 its only like 550mb

rich19913
rich19913

it is a downloadable game and it will be available in the Xbox Live Arcade Marketplace.

almto3
almto3

excusme but i didnt understand is this game downloadable and thats it no need for discs?? the game looks big!!

Dominicobaggio
Dominicobaggio

This looks good, always wanted to play the old battlefield games and i enjoyed bad company so for £10 should be good! When is this slated for release anyone know?

Dreadedsniper
Dreadedsniper

nice and its only 14.99, I will definitely have to consider buying it.

100starz
100starz

Yo burning i can't get it for xbox since i don't have xbox live So the only way i can get it is PC. And i don't have a credit card w/e for PC so...

Ne_rome
Ne_rome

im addicted to this game. i literally can't wait till it comes out, and i know i won't be disappointed, and neither will anyone else who buys this magnificent game. :D

ABurningBush
ABurningBush

100starz, you can by Microsoft points at a store you don't have to get them off of Xbox live...

Ne_rome
Ne_rome

can't believe this is only 15 bucks! cant wait to buy it and help to the 43million kills :D

VXLbeast
VXLbeast

Man, this looks sweet! I hope my computer will run it. Anybody know if a duo-core 1.73ghz processor is 1.73ghz, or 1.73ghz times 2? Please PM me if you know, thanks.

HellsKing
HellsKing

$15, can't beat that. Looks better than most $60 games. Battlefield games always impress. 43 million kills for the Coral map will go to the xbox first, hand down.

100starz
100starz

I would so buy this if it was found in stores. But seeing as i lack a credit card and my mother is paranoid about getting scammed ever since the newegg incident of '03...

TryDaBeardON
TryDaBeardON

SicklySun, I think a post is removed from view not by mods, but rather by the thumbs down count. Though why that's done is beyond me. So as not to upset the frail and neurotic, I imagine. The game looks decent, though. A shame PC gamers are going to have to wait again.

SicklySunStorm
SicklySunStorm

This will be way better than any CoD game, but alas, it's sales figures won't reflect it sadly... Whilst I don't agree with phoenixbear1234's views, I have to say, I think having his post removed for "not meeting display criteria" was a bit much... the mods are far too over zealous on here sometimes. His message was clear and abuse free and he was entitled to express what he said... removing it from general view is incredibly sad. @ jimreda - as far as I know, this will be multiplayer only like the original BF games.... @ cilayin - you're spot on there... I used to work on a shooting range for clay pigeons and the like, and even weaker sporting shotguns can be very precise for several hundred yards.... it's only a short barreled or sawn-off shotgun that's designed to spread at close range.

wrednajasobaka
wrednajasobaka

Hehehehe...I got an idea how to reach that 43 million kills in no time. Release the game on all three platforms at the same time and let PS3, Xbox360 and PC players play on the same servers. However, make sure that players from each platform are on the same team. PC players will deliver those 43 million kills very quickly.

jimreda
jimreda

Is this game meant (only for---mostly for) multi-players ? I only play "single Player" wargames . Sorry re my lack of understanding this. jim

TheClown24
TheClown24

4 maps? why can they include all the ones from the original :( but i guess for £8 or so i cant complain. Ill probably be picking this one up but it dosent seem to have the content of the other battlefields with only 24 players and 4 maps

stewarty77
stewarty77

Hope its easier to kill people than Bad Company!

NicAgent
NicAgent

Looks like a good game - I hope it plays more like Call of Duty though.

cilayin
cilayin

also.. phoenixbear1234. you can hit something from 50 yards with a shotgun. Trust me, I have - especially if you're firing slugs. People hunt elephants that are more than 50 yards away with that. Sorry to burst your bubble. Also 100 yards isnt that far. I shoot that far just to warm up when I'm at the range and anyone in the military can tell you that hitting a target (Yes, even a moving one) at 100 yards isn't as difficult as you make it sound. Now 1200 yards...... :|

cilayin
cilayin

I think djpetitte said it best. haha I can't wait to be playing this with my friends and family! I miss doing tricks and flying under bridges in 1942 :(

djpetitte
djpetitte

@phoenixbear1234 You are a staight Newbie! You obviously have no knowledge when it comes to battlefield. If you don't like it why are you here posting comments anyways? Seems like a waste of time to me. Many people that enjoyed playing the first 1942 will be shelling the small amount of 15 dollars the day 1943 is released. I know I am, I cant wait to play an updated version of 1942 with destructable enviroments. BF2 is also releasing the long awaited version 1.50 patch, with support for wide screens as well as more support for vista. It's a great game series possibly one of the best FPS war series ever. yes, I already know I'm a fan-boy, so don't waste threads posting that unless you have something useful to say.

phoenixbear1234
phoenixbear1234

yeah... that's a great idea, let's praise EA/DICE to put out another frustrating game that fails to solve the basic stuff like structure mass and how it affects bullet physics. Why is the "magic shotgun" able to kill from 50 yards away? how in the world is a sniper going to snipe me from 100 yards away while running? Ugh! Yep. They make more money off a bad game engine, and you'll fall for it.

The_Fat_Zebra
The_Fat_Zebra

Good way for them to make some easy money, and you all fall for it. ha!

patsy-cline
patsy-cline

it will be prob part demo, part beta, with limited time to play it. Like COD 5, which may I say is very boring now, but this game won't! :-)

nyranasaurus
nyranasaurus

Bring back the days when games were released with 16 huge maps right away.