Battlefield 1943 Hands-On Preview

If you're going to play a prerelease build of Battlefield 1943, you may as well have the game's developers on your side. We managed just that in a recent hands-on with the game.Things move fast in the world of online gaming. It was only back in February that GameSpot first revealed...

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If you're going to play a prerelease build of Battlefield 1943, you may as well have the game's developers on your side. We managed just that in a recent hands-on with the game.

Things move fast in the world of online gaming. It was only back in February that GameSpot first revealed Battlefield 1943, and now, four months later, we've played the finished game online. Not only that, but we managed to team up with the developer of the game, who taught us all about the game's advanced tactics as we took on journalists and EA staffers around the world.

By now, people who have been following the game should know the basics--there are 24 players, two teams in the form of US and Japan, and three classic Battlefield maps called Wake Island, Guadalcanal, and Iwo Jima. Shaun McInnis covered off plenty of details about the game in his preview this week, so be sure to check it out if you're new to the series. Our preview, however, throws more light on some of the game's subtleties, such as joining squads, issuing orders, and choosing the right class.

If you want to win in Battlefield 1943, it's pretty clear that you need to join a squad. You can create a squad and invite up to three other friends into the fray. The main benefit of this is that you can communicate with them directly via voice, which allows you to come up with your own tactics--essential to playing at the highest level. Joining squads also allows you to set waypoints on any of the flags, allowing other squadmates to see at a glance where you want to focus your efforts. You set waypoints by highlighting any of the flags with your aiming reticle and then pressing the back button to select. If it's a flag that you already control, then a defend icon will appear to your squadmates once it's selected, and if it's one that you don't control, then your squad will know to attack.

While we're sure the guys at DICE were probably handicapped by having us in their squad, we were able to see some glorious moments thanks to their leadership. For example, when our squad leader indicated a flag to head toward, he flew over in a jet performing a bombing run, clearing the way for us to capture the flag. Once you've created a squad, it's important that the players in the team each fill different roles using the class system. There are three classes to choose from--infantry, rifleman and scout--and while their primary weapons all cater to different needs, so too do their secondary weapons and skills. The infantryman carries a wrench that he can use to repair vehicles, while the scout's remote detonation explosives are the best way to take out enemy tanks. Playing regularly with the same class will also earn you in-game medals, which will show up in your profile.

Battlefield 1943 is now technically finished and is being approved by Sony and Microsoft for release on their respective consoles. It will also be released on the PC later in the year. We really enjoyed our time with the game, so be sure to check out our full video preview to see our play test in action.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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