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SummaryBest $14.99 I've ever spent.
The GoodWell, first let me start off by saying that I haven't played any of the other Battlefield online games, unless you count Bad Company, but this is the first off the series that I have extensively played. Originally I was a little skeptical and haven't had much experience with first-person WWII online shooters, mostly sticking to games like GTA IV and Red Faction: Guerrilla, but after downloading the 30 minute free demo, I have to say I was immediately hooked.
First off the graphics are great, not bright but gritty almost like a real war with whizzing bullets, debris flying through the air, the pretty and scary explosions from bombs being dropped and the ever lovely smoking ruins of a building in the distance. The DICE's Frostbite engine really does the game justice, leveling buildings full of enemies and unlike Battlefield: Bad Company you can actually level buildings to the foundation unlike Bad Co. which is a huge plus to the realism of the game.
The sound is also up to par, the gun sounds are realistic plus the sounds of planes buzzing overhead, flying low for attack runs or strafing the ground is insane, these two features combined makes it feel like a real war is taking place. There is no music expect for menu music, but that only adds to the experience.
The controls are decent, a bit jerky at times almost as if the game hesitates sometimes but nothing very detrimental to the game. The class system also works in the games favor with an Infantry soldier, a mechanic and a scout (sniper) each with their own sets of weapons. It takes a bit when you first start out to get used to each ones weapons since they have their own set (Infantry as a semi-auto rifle and a grenade launcher, mechanic as a machine gun and bazooka while the scout has a sniper rifle, a hand gun and dynamite).
Leveling up is also fun, giving you points for kills, extra points for head shots, destroying vehicles and points for defending targets and saving fellow soldiers as well as avenging them. If you can find a decent room you can easily level up just by hiding high in the foliage and pick people off with a sniper rifle or use the bombing runs which appear from time to time to level the playfield along with the battlefield.
There are many good things about this game which makes it stand out and make it worth a purchase, but there are also some bad things as well....
The BadWell, there are only some things that bother me, one of which is the collision detection at times. There have been times I have been running and it seems like I would get stuck on something, like a small hill which should be easily transversed or a crate. It's a little annoying especially if you are being chased by an enemy or you can become an easy target for a perched sniper. There has also been instances in jeeps where it seemed like I would pass right through an enemy soldier without harming them.
It also seems like at times where it seems like bullets travel through an enemy without even making an impact. I've had it happen to me many times where I would have an easy head shot only to have the bullet just simply go through the enemy nearby and no indication of being hit. It happens from time to time, I'm not sure if it is a glitch or perhaps my rifle is off center, which I have noticed this as well.
Glitches are a little minor in this game, I've seen enemies float across the battlefield due to lag, but they are still easily killed and doesn't give them an advantage like many other games. There is also a weird sound glitch I have noticed as well, it seems like there are times where I could turn just a hair and everything gets quiet for a moment before picking up on the chaos below.
There are also some weird screen glitches from time to time in the bombers where it seems like the screen will turn black in some parts for a second. Again these are nothing detrimental, unless you count freeze ups which has happened twice, but again nothing that hurts the overall gameplay as a whole.
The planes I do have a problem with since they are so hard to handle, you really have to be skilled to fly these suckers and it's hard to learn experience in games when more experienced pilots will shoot learning pilots in a heartbeat. Now there is a tutorial that will help you out, but since you aren't going against any enemies you really don't get any combat training.
The points system, while a good system, also has some flaws. One I have noticed is that when you use the suicide jeep tactic (where you cover a jeep with dynamite, run at a tank and jump out before impact detonating it and destroying the tank) is that if you get hit by an enemy grenade or a plane, they will detonate the dynamite and it will count against you as a suicide and you will lose ten points. This gets very annoying if you constantly get hit by enemy grenades and truthfully I would rather give the enemy points and the kill then have it count against me. Oh, technically if you are the Japanese shouldn't you get points for suicide (or in this kamikaze) since that is what they basically did in real life? And it would also be nice to be awarded points for winning a game or finishing or being in the best squad or in the room, it's weird that they give you points for everything else instead of winning rounds.
And the last thing I see wrong is the lack of variety in maps. There are only four main maps which are nicely spaced out, but playing these maps over and over, you tend to learn the lay of the land fast and can find decent spots to set up ambushes and sniper nests. Problem is that experienced players also nkow of these spots and can easily pick you off or sneak in behind you. Hopefully soon EA will release a few more maps, but until that time you'll just have to think of new ways of surprising enemies, especially the Jihad Jeep tactic (very fun and devastating against tanks).
The Bottom LineIn the end, Battlefield 1943 is a destructive, chaotic and fun online multiplayer experience. It could stand for a few more modes or maps, but that doesn't take away from the overall experience of this wonderful game. At least give it a shot since it is free to download a 30 minute demo from your respective service.
Sadly though, it seems that the PC community will have to wait until 2010 to get a gnaw at this game, but that will be good news as well since they will have the kinks worked out and possibly new maps available by that time that hopefully will also be available to the console consumers as well. A great game and experience overall.