If I didn't know any better I'd have wagered a fat stack of cash that Battlefield 1943 was sold on real-life shelves in a real-life box. Instead, this Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network download boasts the quality of a full-blown retail game at an affordable price.
Of course, since this is DLC, some sacrifices had to be made - this means no solo campaign and the lack of AI bots. But that just allowed DICE to focus on what the series is known for: kickass competitive multiplayer and balls-to-the-wall action.
Battlefield 1943: The Spice of Life (and Death)
With just one game variant, your objective in Battlefield 1943 is simple: kill the enemy and capture control points to reduce their reinforcements.
When you have an untimely accident with a tank shell you'll revive yourself at one of your control points and get back to the fight. Once a team has spent all of their respawn tickets they lose the war on Wake Island, Iwo Jima or Guadalcanal. If this all sounds a bit familiar, it's because 1943 adds nothing to the standard that was set by its PC predecessor seven years ago.
Even in the face of the limitations, the brilliance of Battlefield 1943 is its variety. The tug-of-war for control is fast-paced and fun, made all the more enjoyable by the spreading pandemonium. How you inflict that unbridled mayhem is up to you.
Access to airplanes, tanks and turret-mounted trucks offers an alternative to hoofing it behind enemy lines with guns blazing while the sprawling, wide-open maps are cleverly designed to encourage the use of the three soldier classes.
Riflemen have no distinctive qualities but acts as all-around assault units; scouts can snipe while blending with bushes and plant remote bombs; and infantry can take out tanks while tucked in a trench when they're not shredding through soldiers with a machine gun. And if your chosen class doesn't suit a certain situation, pick up the pack of a fallen enemy and inherit his gear. You can also hop on mounted machine guns in the top of a tower, take a seat in the anti-air artillery, or call in an air raid to carpet bomb a control point.
Battlefield 1943: Symphony of Destruction
The delicately designed islands are dense with foliage, abandoned buildings, sentry towers, barbed-wire fences and sandbag barriers. But the expressive environments quickly succumb to the chaos of 24 players vying for total control.
Still, thanks to the obliterated buildings and busted bridges the battlefield becomes completely chaotic in the best way. Battlefield 1943 also constantly rewards you with points that go toward commemorative badges and new ranks, which gives you tons of incentive to keep on playing.
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