|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA DICE||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: July 9, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 2-24 (Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Because Battlefield 1943 is made by DICE, it implements the Frostbite engine used in Battlefield: Bad Company. That means persistent destructibility of environments is an important tactic. Blowing out building walls to remove cover, laying vegetation low for a better view, and destroying fuel dumps to take out squads of enemies are important aspects to winning the game. Unfortunately, it is painfully apparent and strange that many objects are unable to be destroyed.
Many times, player tactics will be frustrated by structures that simply won't collapse and weapon types that can't cut into objects they probably should be able to. That being said, if everything was made to be destructible, eventually the maps would break down to such a point mid-battle that they wouldn't be fun. As such, I respect the decision by DICE to limit destructibility. Still, the inconsistencies are apparent and often maddening.
A few more problems I encountered are also worth mentioning. For starters, forming squads of friends to head online and connecting to servers is often impossible; getting frequently kicked from games seems to be part of the experience. A ticker at the bottom of the title screen addresses these issues, claiming that new servers are being added and that daily maintenance at 2 AM PST are fixing the problems. Still, since there is no single-player component, not being able to play due to bad coding is a real bone of contention. Also, there seems to be a glitch with the auto-save feature. Every time I exit out of the game, all of my ranks accrued during play are lost. While this has no bearing on gameplay, it does frustrate my ability to collect certain in-game accolades. It should be noted that this issue has not cropped up for other players I know (I'll try re-downloading the title to see if that solves the issue).
It is also difficult to kill players. I would like to see more one-shot kills implemented. Too often, it takes three to four shots to bring down a player even with a high-powered rifle. This takes out some of the core appeal, but it by no means breaks the game. In fact, novice players will probably enjoy the "Juggernaut"-like ability to withstand damage. Finally, while vehicles are awesome, ghost-riding jeeps into buildings is an exploit that bucks the balanced trend. Players are charging enemy positions with these vehicles only to abandon them at the last second. This allows them to send an explosive, high-speed weapon at entrenched players, while keeping them on their feet unscathed, ready to mop up any survivors. I would like to see some kind of penalty for diving off a speeding vehicle introduced. If players were knocked prone and dazed for employing such a tactic, it might help balance out the exploit.
Despite a lack of depth found in other full-fledged FPS offerings (even from what's found in the Battlefield franchise itself) and a number of initial coding missteps, Battlefield 1943 is an arcade offering you really shouldn't miss. The $15 price tag and the overall quality make this a great purchase for anyone interested in shooters.
CCC Editor / News Director