Battlefield 1943 was released on Xbox Live Arcade on 8th July for 1200 MS points and Playstation Network on 9th July for Â£9.99. The game, Released by EA, is a download only multiplayer first-person shooter set in the Pacific theatre of WWII. The game ships with three maps ( Wake Island, Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima) and supports up to 24 players yaking on the roles of either the U.S. Marines or the Imperial Japanese Navy.
Begining the game, the player will be confronted by very few options in the menu. The help section has a tutorial for anyone to play through to get to grips with the controls. Stats and awards option will let you view your current level and any awards that you have achieved in game. Create private match does what it says, join match with friends lets you hop into a game that people from your friends list are playing. Quick match finds you a game and drops you straight into the action.
Choose one of the three different troop types. These are Rifleman ( equiped with rifle, hand grenades and grenade launcher), Infantry ( equiped with submachine gun, hand grenades and bazooka) and Scout (equiped with sniper rifle, hand gun and remote detonated explosives). The player is then dropped into the game. The objective of the game is to capture certain key objectives and hold them. Each map has five objectives. At the top of the screen there are two coloured bars, one representing each team. If your team holds three or more objectives, the other teams bar starts diminishing, and vice versa. The first team who’s bar is completely emptied is the loser. Seems easy enough?
The sheer mayhem that you are exposed to in this game is incredible. Right from the off, it is a mad rush to grab as many objectives as possible before the enemy. Then comes the hard part of holding on to them. The game is filled with a number of different ways to overwhelm the enemy, beyond the usual shooting and grenades. Why not jump in a tank and blow everything up? The majority of the scenery is destructible. Grab a jeep, hurtle towards the enemy and see how amny you can run down. Find the air raid bunker and order an air raid on the enemies most fiercely held objective. Do you fancy yourself as a flyboy? Jump into one of the planes and take to the sky. At any given time all of this is happening on the map. Pure mayhem. If you get killed, which will happen a lot, it only takes a few moments to respawn and its back into the chaos for you soldier!
There is a forth map, Coral Sea, whose availability is linked to a community challenge. The map will be available once 43 million kills have been registered within both XBLA and PSN. Thats 43 million each. Quite the challenge? Surprisingly the Xbox community have already achieved this, in only 5 days, and PS3 players have already ammassed a massive 25 million kills, so it won’t be long before the map is available ther aswell.
I personally found the game to be utterly exhilerating. The absolute frustration at spending ages sneaking from one end of the map to the other and then being sniped from behind as you reach your objective is equalled only by the joy of sniping someone who has spent ages sneaking from one end of the map to the other. My only problem with the game is that perhaps it will get boring too quickly with only three maps ( or four once Coral Sea is available) but hopefully the guys at Dice will release new maps on a regular basis. Thre is no offline option, so if you are not interested with competing against your fellow gamers, do not buy this game. Everyone else should buy it though, as it is possibly the best game on XBLA and PSN at the moment. For an arcade game, I score this a 9 out of 10.