Jim "txshurricane" McLaughlin
DICE- 360, PS3
To gauge a game's entertainment value by its price seems like an unfair thing to do. Yet we as gamers seem to have a knack for justifying the enjoyment of a game by mentioning its price tag. Battlefield 1943 is a victim of this justification system - is the game really worth playing, or is its review score contingent on an attractive price tag?
Fifteen dollars (or the foreign or Microsoft equivalent) is by no means that attractive of a price. Surely we've all found a bargain bin game that was once a day-one purchase for many other gamers...suppose that game only had four maps, two game modes, and was online-only? That's the case with Battlefield 1943.
Thankfully, the game's enjoyment wins out, and it is my firm opinion that fifteen dollars (or the equivalent thereof) is money well spent on this game. The core gameplay is time-tested and solid. In my experience, lag has been pretty much non-existent, with the exception of plane crashes, wherein it appears that the host server takes an extra half second to determine whether or not a plummeting 14,000-lb machine and pilot could possibly plunge into a hillside and survive.
The class system is reduced to three options for simplicity's sake. Regenerating health and ammo follow suit, and you can literally sprint the entire map a hundred times without faltering (at which point the batteries on your controller die). Friendly fire is "off", so griefers have no ground to stand on. The radar is easy to read, even more so now that the "Enemy Sighted!" tags have carried over from Battlfield Bad Company. The draw distance is decent, but the Frostbite engine seems to have trouble rendering destructible objects at a great distance, making sniping and high-speed plane piloting a bit troublesome at times. This is a minor gripe, as most of the combat takes place at shorter range anyway.
Slain soldiers and destroyed vehicles respawn fairly quickly; breathe a sigh of relief. Unless your team is comprised of super-soldiers that can last the entire match in a vehicle without chance of death, you'll get your desired jeep, plane, or boat within a reasonable amount of time. Likewise, you can jump straight back into the action, either alongside your squad leader (provided you voluntarily join a squad in-game) or at a friendly base or flag.
Battlefield 1943 isn't perfect, but it's great fun. The best part about it being a downloadable title is that you get a demo, and it's a beefy one: downloading the trial grants you full access for 30 minutes, which is plenty of time to sort out whether or not you like the price tag. (We're pretty sure you'll like it.)