The Tamarai club in Convent Garden has the most inconspicuous entrance of anywhere you have ever seen. It’s a tiny little door hidden amidst various restaurants, clubs, shops and so forth. Today, there is a woman stood outside with a clipboard – the prettiest looking gatekeeper you could ask for. She is standing directly between me and the treasures that the club is holding. Luckily though, on her clipboard is my name so getting into the club on this uncomfortably warm Thursday is as easy as asking her; no Hitman like infiltration for me today…maybe that’s a shame. The reason I want to get in here? Well, apart from the delicious cocktails that I later learned they offer, some people inside are from EA, and they are showing off Battlefield 1943.
For those who don’t really know what Battlefield 1943 is, well it’s a pseudo-sequel to BF1942 – the first Battlefield title that was obviously set in the second world war. The thing that was great about Battlefield was it’s new gameplay type – conquest. It means basically that each team has focused, dynamic objectives making everyone work together and push in the same direction with massive multiplayer maps. If you are yet to break into the battlefield series you really are missing out, and if you want to get a taste you could do worse than to go take a look at the free to play BF Heroes. It’s also worth noting that 1943 is download only no matter what platform and costs £10 or 1200 Microsoft mega-funbux.
I had about 30 minutes disjointed action with 1943, and that was on one of them playstation things (they’ll never take off) but I tell you, it was a complete and utter joy. Firstly, it looks really pretty. I mean, it almost looks as good as Far Cry 2. The only let down was basically a lack of anti-aliasing on the PS3 version making everything look a little jaggy, and I must say that looking at the 360 version, this was much less apparent. To hell with dancing around actually, I’m going to come out and say just it: the 360 version looked generally better in every area.
As with Heroes there are just three classes for you to choose from here, but unlike in Heroes your weapons choices are fixed. So there is The Sniper (sniper rifle, pistol, sword) The Rifleman (rifle, grenade launcher, bayonet) and The Gunner (sub-machine gun, cant remember (sorry), wrench), and those weapons are fixed. You can’t unlock more or change them in any way. To add into these though you get grenades which actually infinite. Yeah, you get infinite grenades. There is a cool down timer in replenishment though so you can’t just grenade spam, and the same goes for your ammo and health. This really is Battlefield like we never have seen before, and the changes are welcome in my book. I’m probably not selling it very well, but trust me, these changes are a good idea and they work.
Now, there is one thing I need to say, but let’s keep it on the quiet eh? Just between you and me? Ok, so EA keep banging on about the destructible environments in 1943. “Buildings get destroyed right down to their basic framework” they tell me, “you can pretty much blow anything up apart from rocks” they say, enthusiastically shooting down a tree. Ok, well trees have been being shot down since 2007 and well, the rest of it is pretty much lies or just crap. Examples include us shooting a building directly with a tank and nothing happening, then shooting a rickety watch tower with a tank and again, barely anything happening. So yeah, stuff can get blown up (including bridges which is actually rather cool), but it’s not crysis type blowing up, which is what they are trying to sell it as.
Just like the Tamarai club, 1943 is a rather inconspicuous setup; it’s just a little download available on the cheap and one that hasn’t had that much attention – but when you actually get into it, it’s full of surprises and lovelyness. 1943 looks excellent and after my short time with it, I’m really looking forward to the PC release. It’s a solid multiplayer shooter and really pretty to boot, then when you say it’s £10 or thereabouts – it’s an utter steal. What’s that though lassie? People like getting games for free? They might want 1943 for free? Well I’ll tell you what, stick around here and maybe, in say, a week or so, I”ll be giving away some serial keys to you lovely people. It’s the least I can do for not bringing you along no?