The long awaited XBLA title “Battlefield 1943” hits the marketplace on July 8th, 2009. Yes, I said its an Xbox Live Arcade title. That is a fairly substantial statement given what you are getting and the graphical presentation of the game. This has to be one of these best graphical games to date on the Arcade in my opinion, and while it may be pretty to look at you'll also get all the Battlefield action you have come to know and love. We have had the chance to play the pre release build of the game for a while now and I have to say that BF1943 is going to deliver in gameplay, sound and graphics like no arcade game has ever done before.
So if you are one of the hundreds of thousands downloading this game near its launch, you'll initially get 3 maps to play on. They are GuadalCanal, Iwo Jima, and Wake Island. EA and DICE decided to add a 4th map but that is only unlockable after 43,000,000 community kills and its a race once the game launches to see if the 360 community or the PS3 community unlocks it first. Once that goal is achieved, you'll get a 4th map named Coral Reef.
As I said, you'll get the typical Battlefield style of play you love. There are planes, tanks, and jeeps for you to commandeer and battle your enemies. You will be playing as either the USMC or the IJN. Both armies have 3 types of soldier classes for you to choose from and they are rifleman, scout, and infantry. Each class has specific functions, weapons and abilities. The USMC Rifleman carries a standard semi auto rifle which has the ability to fire rifle grenades. The USMC Sniper carries a standard scoped rifle but also has the ability, a pistol and has satchel charges that are thrown and detonated with the triggers. Finally the USMC Infantry carries an light machine gun, bazooka and has the repair ability via a wrench that can be used as a melee weapon. On the Japanese side of things the scout class wields a saber rather than a satchel charge. How satisfying when you can take someone out with that saber. Oh yeah, and collect their dog tags too!
You'll enjoy jumping into an airplane and zooming around the map getting engaged in dogfights or making bombings runs on the enemy. Or maybe you will jump into an Air Raid bunker and send in 3 bombers to carpet bomb a certain area. What is cool about the Air Raid is that you have full control of the planes in flight meaning you can direct them to where the action is and released the bombs when you are ready. But be aware, enemy planes and anti-aircraft guns can shoot your bombers out of the sky. There are tanks and jeeps to roam around in as well. The jeeps actually have a drifting mechanic built into them for easier maneuverability.
The standard territories game is played online where you must take and hold control points located across the map. The games seem to last in varying amounts of time but there is plenty to do and the entire world is destructible from what I have seen. As you play the game you'll also earn stats and postage stamps which are representations of feats you have accomplished. There are 12 achievements in the game worth a total of 200 points. You can set up private matches, join matches with your friends or just jump into a quick match. There are in global and friend leaderboards which display your rank, kills and total points earned.
I could go on an on about the stats, leaderboard, award system and the rankings but I will save all of that for the actual review. The graphics look amazing and the detail in the maps is exceptional. The sound is exactly what you would expect and you have to love the well known Battlefield musical score from the moment it fires up. You'll be ready to play. For an arcade game, this is a steal at 1200 Microsoft points. With a few extras thrown in this could easily have been a retail shelf game going for $30. Do yourself and check it out when the full version hits the marketplace on Wednesday July 8th. You won't regret it and you'll spend hours and hours playing this one. You also have to be sure to help out the Xbox 360 community get to 43 million community kills before the PS3 community!
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