EGX Rezzed, as a general rule, is far less busy than its Birmingham-based big brother. Lines are significantly smaller if they exist at all, and people seem to be more willing to try out a wider variety of games, rather than crowding around the bigger titles. However, Battalion 1944 was one game that enjoyed a consistently busy queue, despite flying way under the radar.
Having played a round of team deathmatch, it's easy to understand why. Battalion 1944 is an online multiplayer first person shooter set in World War 2 – but it's not looking to directly compete with the genre heavyweights. Instead, it's a game made for players who miss the no-nonsense, classic shooters of yesteryear, such as Call of Duty 2 and Medal of Honor. The good news? At this early stage, the dev's nailed it.
Bulkhead Interactive has clearly gone to a lot of effort to recapture the feel of old-school shooters, back before Modern Warfare changed everything with its XP bars and its weapon loadouts. We were playing the PC version on a mouse and keyboard, and it felt extremely faithful to its inspiration. It has the intensity and pace of Call of Duty without any superfluous systems to bog you down: it's just one team against another, with weapon pick-ups and tight maps, just as you remember. After years of complex online shooters throwing as much at players as possible, Battalion's back-to-basics approach is a breath of fresh air.
After our match, we spoke with some of the development team about the game and where it fits within today's market. They seemed confident that, despite the current AAA trend towards historic settings, Battalion would find an audience among players nostalgic for the old, more immediate multiplayer shooters. They also told us that the game is still in a pre-alpha state, which surprised us – it's already looking good and plays excellently, so we can't wait to see it at launch.
Speaking of which, the game is coming to PS4, but there's no concrete date in place right now. The team's aiming for a closed alpha on PC next month, so it's still very much in the midst of development. At least we know Bulkhead is heading in the right direction; it has a rock solid gameplay foundation on which to build. Battalion may be an underdog, but it's well placed to provide a great alternative to the bloated FPS behemoths we expect these days.
Will you enlist with Battalion: 1944? Do you miss the skill-based firefights of old? March into the comments section below.