Battlefield 1943 review

  • Get in planes, tanks and more
  • Well balanced multiplayer
  • Brilliant value for money
  • No single-player
  • If you're a camper you'll have a tough time
  • Slightly limited in scope

Sorry, solo gamers, Battlefield 1943 can only be bought and played online. There’s no single player campaign, no option to fight bots – there isn’t even the option to run around the maps on your own (unless you’re playing the tutorial). It’s all about human vs human FPS combat; a game so perfectly balanced to accommodate and encourage the randomness of online play that it simply wouldn’t work with AI. Its predecessor, Battlefield 1942, had a single-player campaign, but it was the multiplayer that really put the series on the map.

Why? An AI player simply wouldn’t think to take control of a plane and aim it at an enemy tank in a kamikaze dive-bomb maneuver to save a spawn-point from capture or co-ordinate an attack on an enemy base by using landing craft to circle around the back and men parachuting out of planes to attack from above. No, Battlefield 1943’s main strength is in the way it offers up a balanced set of boy’s toys and encourages its 24 players to experiment with them. Lone soldiers can easily take out tanks, and one man in an AA gun can dominate the skies like a squadron of fighters.

Sure, getting to grips with the flight controls can be a pain, but once you get the hang of it, the planes in particular open up a wealth of new attacking options and add a real richness to the gameplay. You know you’ve arrived in Battlefield when you’re in the gunner’s seat of a tank, trundling towards an enemy spawn point, watching a dogfight overhead.

These big, unscripted moments encourage a sense of camaraderie that few other multiplayer games manage. The maps too, seem to have been designed to promote a sense of parity between attacker and defender, man and machine. Although there are only three locations included in the download (with a fourth, free ‘aircraft only’ stage becoming available shortly after launch) each area should be large and varied enough to hold your attention for months. Almost everything on each map can be levelled or destroyed, even stout buildings and trees, so there are few safe places to hide and camp with a sniper-rifle. On top of this, essential items like tanks, planes and AA emplacements regularly respawn, so there’s never a permanent advantage handed to any specific type of warfare or tactics.

If you find yourself feeling bored of ‘the same old maps’ in Battlefield, you’re not being creative enough with what you’ve been given. You need to think in three dimensions; you need to think about using the skies and the seas to your advantage instead of just running around the islands, treating the game as just another, bog-standard FPS. That said we do hope that EA continues to support the game in the future with fresh maps and gameplay tweaks. Even during our time with the pre-release version of the game, we encountered spawn-camping, although efforts have been made to prevent it becoming a valid tactic (kills in ‘non-griefing’ areas of the map won’t award points).

Camping snipers will also find it tough to dominate – bomb raids are lethal and widespread. It’s a pity that there’s only one mode on offer though; Conquest is a hybrid between team deathmatch and territories, where the aim is capturing spawn points across the map while scoring kills. The Coral Sea map, which will be available soon, introduces Air Superiority (team deathmatch in planes) so we’re hopeful later DLC will bring more modes.

When a game relies entirely on human interaction, there are always going to be highs and lows, and even with the odd dirty tactic, the thrills of Battlefield 1943 outweigh the frustrations. The super-reasonable price helps too. It’s almost an impulse buy, but despite being roughly a quarter of the price, the value and production values eclipse most full-price games. A great way to save cash and experience multiplayer gaming at its purest, most unpredictable best.

Jul 8, 2009

More Info

Release date: Jul 07 2009 - Xbox 360, PS3, PC (US)
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Genre: Shooter
Published by: Electronic Arts
Developed by: DICE
Franchise: Battlefield
ESRB Rating:
Rating Pending
PEGI Rating:
Rating Pending


  • Dexsus - July 9, 2009 1:07 a.m.

    Too bad EA's having such a horrible launch with this, although no one should really be too surprised......I mean its EA!
  • Gotxxrock - July 9, 2009 1:19 a.m.

    I bought this sucker at 5 a.m. this morning and had a blast the minute I started playing. While the game is undoubtedly a dumbed down 1942 with less weapons and maps, the frostbite engine makes up for this by adding limitless possibilities for tactics and fucking about. The sniping is much more responsive than the Bad Company sniping, with more feel and easiness to it, and the planes are a fun variable within the equation of madness. And its only 15 bucks!! Why are you still reading this!?
  • IslanderSwagg - July 9, 2009 1:26 a.m.

    I thaught this was going to be garbage because it was sold in XBLA. I hope the multiplayer is like BF Bad Company
  • r3ap3r - July 9, 2009 3:26 a.m.

    is anybody here gettin major fuckin connection problems. ive only played like 5 games and i got this at 7 this morning. the few times i played it i loved it but i still cant get into a game becuz of the server problem.
  • RedOutlive10 - July 9, 2009 1:27 p.m.

    If by "EA continues to support the game" you mean "endless DLCs", you're right.
  • bschroth - July 9, 2009 6:06 p.m.

    it's kinda crappy that there have been such widespread server problems. isn't that a microsoft misstep and not EA's like everyone's saying? i'm sure it'll be fixed soon. it has for me because i've been able to play a few matches this morning already.
  • Daywalkr - July 13, 2009 5:57 p.m.

    This game owns. The only problem so far is that the servers are being updated right now and i suck with planes. The game has great graphics for a XBLA game. I have a Turtle Beach headset and the sound quality in this game is far superior to Call of Duty sound. My only complaint is your soldier throws grenades EXTREMELY hard. It is sometimes annoying because they go so far that it is difficult to use them efficiently. I love the feel of storming the beach with the boats, it feels really intense. If you dont buy this, youre missing out.
  • GamingDude571 - July 9, 2009 2:16 a.m.

    Next 1200 MS i get, this game is fracking MINE!!sorry, got a little excited. but seriously, most people only play games for the MP anyway so hopefully it should sell well. I tried to get the demo today but I couldn't get it to download :'-(
  • squidhead442 - July 10, 2009 1:13 a.m.

    Thanks, I didn't even know this came out already! I'm glad to hear it did what it was supposed to do.
  • Rhesus - July 11, 2009 1:44 a.m.

    It's Battlefield 1942 setting with Battlefield:Bad Company gameplay
  • HankVenture - March 12, 2011 2:10 p.m.

    I Loved this game, I really wish it had gotten more coverage so they would update it and give it some more DLC..:\ Bought to go see if it has a community still

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