by Keaton Arksey
previewed on PC
For a game in a series that gained prominence on the PC, Battlefield 1943 certainly has avoided it for quite some time. Released last summer on Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network, PC gamers were promised their version would be coming “soon”. So while PS3 and Xbox 360 gamers have played (and sadly moved on for the most part), PC players have patiently awaited the return of one of gaming’s greatest multiplayer franchises.
The most important question one can ask is why the developers have taken this long to release the game for the PC. Since the first Battlefield: Bad Company game was never released on the PC, this will be the first PC game to use DICE’s powerful Frostbite Engine. For those who may guffaw at an almost one year delay for a simple engine, remember that Frostbite makes everything destructible, from trees to bridges to buildings. In the end, everything blows up, and boy does it blow up good.
The Pacific War
Battlefield 1943 is a sequel to the 2002 classic Battlefield 1942. Since Battlefield 1943 is a downloadable title, the scale is considerably smaller than its predecessor’s. Rather than taking part in the European theatre of World War II, Battlefield 1943 takes place in the Pacific theatre. There are two playable factions, the United States Marine Corp and the Imperial Japanese army. There are no real differences between the two sides, apart from aesthetic differences. There are only four maps in Battlefield 1943; Wake Island, Guadalcanal, and Iwo Jima. The fourth map, the dog fighting Coral Sea, was unlocked on consoles when players reached a kill count of 43 million collectively. For PC players the map will be unlocked from the get go.
The maps have various features throughout. Anti-air guns just sit and wait to take down those pesky flyers, while sniper towers provide excellent vantage points. There is one point on every map where an air raid can be called in. Players enter a building and take control of a group of three planes. While aerial tricks like barrel rolls can’t be done during an air raid, you can move slightly so you can drop your payload just about anywhere on the map. Of course, any enemy planes can take down your bombers, so the quicker the bombs fall the better.
Reduced Number of Classes
Whereas Battlefield 1942 had five classes Battlefield 1943 only has three, though they have inherited traits from the missing two classes. Infantry carry submachine guns, recoilless rifles and wrenches used for repairing vehicles. Rifle men carry rifles, rifle grenades and have a bayonet. Scouts use sniper rifles, pistols and a sword/knife. Depending on which side you’re on you will use different weapons, though the difference is purely aesthetic. They have the same reload speed, damage, and magazine count. The same goes for vehicles. Planes, boats, jeeps and tanks are spread throughout the map ready to be commandeered and used to your advantage.
Like the console game, Battlefield 1943 for the PC will have the classic Conquest game mode. Teams fight over control points on maps. Capturing a point allows you to respawn at that point. It is at these points where vehicles are usually located. At the beginning of matches, teams will start at their base ship and fly/boat/swim to the battlefield. The more control points you control, the faster the opponent’s respawn gauge will fall. Coral Sea will be playable only on the Air Superiority mode. With no control points, Air Superiority is a plane-only deathmatch mode.
The Long Wait is Finally Over
For a downloadable only game, Battlefield 1943 achieved rave reviews on the Xbox 360 and the PS3. For the same price ($15), PC gamers will finally be able to play the sequel to one of the most beloved multiplayer games of all time. While DICE has kept quiet on any potential improvements or upgrades, PC gamers will still be treated to one of the most addictive multiplayer experiences of 2009. Too bad they’ve had to wait this long to try it out.