The game provides two factions (Japan vs. USA) and three maps set in the pacific. A fourth map will be unlocked when Playstation 3 owners garner 43 million kills co-operatively, a neat little challenge for us all to participate in.
There's currently only one game mode available in Battlefield 1943, a capture-and-hold type objectives game where each team must try and seize a series of bases. It costs £9.99 from the Playstation Store.
Battlefield 1943 is brilliantly poised. You can play as one of three soldier types - a sniper, a rifleman and an infantry. Each soldier is equally tuned to have strengths and weaknesses. The infantry is great in close quarters, the rifleman at mid-range and the sniper at long range. In addition to the standard issue weapons of each soldier, the maps are littered with vehicles. These are perfectly balanced too. Jeeps move fast but are easily wiped out, tanks are aggressive but are open to plane and rocket fire, planes are powerful but can easily be shot down by Gatling guns. You get the idea. No one will ever feel at an advantage in Battlefield 1943. It's perfectly tuned meaning matches are won on teamwork and skill alone.
Whether you're using the jeep's Gatling gun or your standard issue rifle, the weapons in Battlefield have a great feel to them. They might not be "Modern Warfare" but the guns pack a real kick which is emphasised by some excellent sound design. The reload animations are sharp too.
There are a range of vehicles to aid your missions in Battlefield 1943. They can be a challenge to control, but once you've gotten the hang of them (the plane is especially difficult to master) they make combat so much more exciting. Storming bases by sea, wiping out cover with the tank, making a quick escape with the jeep... Brilliant.
Despite the excellent gameplay, Battlefield 1943 really excels by providing a really visceral sense of war. The excellent destruction engine means trees will fall in front of you, buildings will collapse around you and by the end of a particular hard fought match the game world will be utterly ruined. That destruction adds so much. You really feel like you're part of a war, perhaps more so than in any other game.
We're hoping people will be able disregard this point pretty soon. The Battlefield team are said to be working 24/7 to get connections stable. Problem is, despite spending the day playing this game, we just went on to check a few things for our review and well, we can't connect at the moment. We couldn't play last night either. Sigh. Our best advice is to follow the Official Battlefield Twitter. Hopefully any problems will be ironed out by next week.
It's nothing you can't get used to but there are a few issues with Battlefield's default control setup. Acceleration with L1? Melee with Triangle? Weapon switch with R2? It feels a bit weird at first. After about an hour with the game you'll be comfortable with the controls but those first few minutes can cause some untimely deaths.
It's safe to assume Battlefield 1943 will get some additional content in the future but just how much is the question. Of the maps included with the standard £9.99 package we presume there's about 10 hours of gameplay before people start to tire of them. The gameplay certainly warrants more content, but it's going to have to be fairly regular to keep the game interesting.
A masterclass in balanced gameplay, deep competitive action and modern distribution. Battlefield 1943 is a visceral online multiplayer romp that should be experienced by all.