Like in every other team-based game, the key to victory in Battlefield 1943 is teamwork. Everyone on both teams starts out by choosing a unique class and their own method of death and destruction. You can attack or defend from air, land, or sea...if your team wins, you either coordinated properly or just got the luck of the draw. Granted, one team out of two wins every time, so your odds are already pretty decent; but if you practice cooperative teamwork, you can dominate. This is serious business, folks.
I read an interesting airplane guide on the official EA forums today, one that took the time to remind everyone that airplanes are not just machine gun turrets with wings; my favorite eye-opening tip favored the bail-out approach, encouraging aviators to ditch their plane for a direct vertical access to unoccupied control points. While this may seem like a waste of a perfectly good airplane, the value of a captured flag is far greater. Planes respawn; control points do not. It's this mentality that puts the co-op back into team-based games.
And let's face it: airplanes are the star of the show this time around. Easy to learn and difficult to master, aerial fighters play a pivotal role in Battlefield 1943. However: just because you can't shoot down the enemy's air support before parachuting in to capture a flag doesn't mean you can't dish out for the team. If you're a sharpshooter by nature and you're going to climb to a sniper perch, use your scope to mark enemies on the radar in between targets. A distant, well-placed tank may not capture the control point, but may be able to provide some good 6-pound-shell cover fire. Let a couple of buddies jump into your Jeep before you take off; you'll never know how handy a vehicle-mounted .50-caliber machine gun can be if you don't bring one along. I played a few rounds of the recently-unlocked Air Superiority mode on Coral Sea, a map designed for airplane standoffs. Of course, everyone who joins these matches expects to see how many enemy planes they can shoot down, but in order to win the round I found myself manning our aircraft carrier's port side flak cannon. Another teammate got the bright idea to do the same on the starboard side, and we soon frustrated enemy pilots to the point that they were lining up in our sights just for one chance to avenge their sudden losses; a chance that they never got, thanks to two random teammates who decided to trade in their wings for some ingenuity and a spirit of teamwork. After that round, I received three friend requests -- do you know why? Because everyone likes a cooperative team player.
All of these are examples of what should have stuck when Battlefield 1942 first took off in 2002, but unfortunately games these days too often reward the Love Wolves of the internet, expecting co-op to be contained within a specific genre. With Co-Optimus and its passionate following, we may be able to break that trend yet. See you on the Battlefield!
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 -- we're hoping for a co-op campaign!