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The Best new multiplayer experience since half-life?
Battlefield 1942 (PC)
Member Name: bigbloomie1
Battlefield 1942 (PC)
Date: 09/04/03, updated on 09/04/03 (514 review reads)
Advantages: Vehicles, Much variety and great maps, Unlike any other game ever made
Disadvantages: Rubbish infantry combat, Basic graphics, Very demanding on computers
Battlefield is a title that EA kept under wraps well- when it came out everyone expected unreal torunament 2003 to completly demolish everything in the multiplayer stakes. It turns out the new kid on the block has completly demolished everything else in the multiplayer stakes.
Battlefield 1942 is a high specification monster:
The minimum specifications quoted by EA: Pentium 3 or equivalent 500 MHz, 32MB graphics card and so on are a little bit wishful, and at these specs you will experience bad graphics, long loading times, slowdown and so on. Indeed, at only 500Mhz i am told the game is almost totally unplayable.
Since there is no specified recommended system specifications and the minimum ones are quite ridiculous, I will provide some of my own :)
You will want a 1Ghz and upwards machine to run BF1942 well. Below 1GHz is probably wishful, and I would certainly pass this one up at below 800MHz.
For your graphics card you will want a 64MB upwards card, you might get away with a 32MB card but you will feel the repurcussions of having less than a 64MB graphics card.
You will want at least 128MB of RAM. You could do with 128MB of RAM, the game will run fine but it might crash on you every so often and it will take awhile to load maps.
You need 1.2GB of disk space and a 4x CD/DVD drive at least.
So Battlefield 1942 is a fairly demanding monster- with a low end machine dont even think about it, and at least try a multiplayer or singleplayer demo of this by downloading or from a PC games disc that has it on.
Once you are in game there is not much slowdown to be felt as the game never has any moments of grahical showing off more than the rest. Loading the maps takes 20-30 seconds on a superb machine, and up to a couple of minutes on a lower end machine, but once you have bypassed this the in game playing works great. On my monster PC, I havent experienced any slowdown or major technical problems, althoug
h I have heard of constant crashes on lower end machines particularly those with little RAM.
Online the game runs relativly well. Lag (time it takes to do stuff, time it takes for data from your computer to reach the server) is very variable- it seems to increase a lot depending on the server you are playing on. A lot of lag is felt on those with 56k- if you do not have a broadband connection, then that is a serious handicap and since the singleplayer game is naff you might want to pass this game over. However on broadband it is not common to find lag figures of under 50 ms, so for a broadband user online this game is ideal.
so- High end machines are required
Broadband connection is required
I would advise against buying this is you dont have a high end machine with a broadband connection. With a BB connection and a good machine it works great.
Is it any good?
Everything in battlefield is a multiplayer map- either with people or bots. I should start out by saying there is no story mode at all in this- singleplayer mode is a bit naff whichever way you look at it and is merely multiplayer maps with bots in, nothing else. If you do not have a good connection to the internet, I would advise you to pass this game over as I have said.
Graphically the game is a bit naff to be honest- whilst everything is clear and the faces are superbly animated (not that you see them anyway) the overall player models are only just OK, the buildings look pretty rubbish and some of the vehicles are a bit basic. The textures are only just OK too. There is nothing "bad" about the graphics in BF1942 as such- they just arent great and at no point will you go wow! like you might in the much more flashy unreal tournament 2003. The graphics are clear but the wow factor is 0.
But there is compensation for the perhaps poor graphics- the maps are huge. And i mean humoungous- the scale of these things is enourmous. The enlarged map shows ar
ound 16 grid referenced squares on it- just one of these is far bigger then any map in any other game there is. It would take a absolute age to try and cross a map by foot. This leads to massive maps with a command point or flag (only common methods of playing maps are capture the flag and conquest where teams fight for control of various command points). This is why vehicles are so important in battlefield 1942- vehicles are completly dominating and essential for travelling around. Still, travelling in a light tank to the enemy base can still take blimmin ages. Occasionally the sheer scale of the maps can get annoying- and especially on servers with a lower number of players some maps can feel extremly empty. Going to that capture point to take control of it is just not so much fun when there is noone there on the other team who can be bothered to defend it.
Nearly all servers run maps in conquest mode- there are around 5 or 6 capture points around the maps. Each team has a certain number of "tickets". These diminish over time depending on how many capture points the opponent has in relation to them. If the other team has all 4 capture points in a map, the tickets of your team will go down pretty quickly. The first team to reach 0 tickets, loses. This is the dominant method of play in BF1942, and can be an exciting one. Teamwork is encouraged, as your team will want to know that there is a heavy tank in that point so artillery and other tanks are needed, or there is simply a lousy infantry camper at that point so march in and destory him. A team that has all its players simply charge one capture point is through already. However the maps often are not balanced in this mode- often certain capture points are far far harder to get to, leading to all the combat in one particular place and some capture point atop that hill just left there with no defence at all, making a easy capture for the more astute player. Because of the maps scale, this mode can feel
too easy with less players as most of the capture points will not be fought over, and it the whole map can just feel extremly empty. With more players there is combat over the hard to get to points which is great, giving them real life as the terrain is much more interesting. However it can get a bit ridiculous when there are just loads of players at a certain point, all the routes of entry are covered and there are so many tanks there it makes it nigh impossible to assault succesfully without teamwork. But teamwork on public servers? Youll be lucky. So it can get pretty frustrating in some parts- the maps are not balanced very well- but they are certainly interesting and varied to play in because of their sheer size.
There is a large collection of maps, and the maps themselves are very varied indeed- they meant it when they said a WORLD war 2 game- BF1942 encompasses every theatre of battle not just the western front like many war games choose too. The basic theatres of war are desert african maps- the landscape is flat except for canyons, and the roads are clear and winding. Obviously no sea combat, a lot of barbed wire in these maps.
There are city maps- the fighting is not super close with loads of buildings to enter as you might imagine from other games like medal of honour and day of defeat. You cannot go into more than one or two buildings in each map, and fighting mainly involves big open streets, green areas outside a church with machine gun emplacements and so on- there is no fighting in small enclosed areas taking any big part in any map. It is also worth noting that all the city maps do have a large open areas and the option to use vehicles is kept- there is always a area of country side, a large area surronding a church, a massive courtyard etc. There is no inner-city fighting in the true sense of the word.
There are a few maps based on the western and eastern fronts when not near a city, which are pretty similar. There are quite a few hill
s in these maps and often certain places such as a windmill, bridges etc. to fight over. There is nothing too unusual about these maps.
My personal favourites are the maps set in the pacific, which have america fighting Japan. These are the only maps to include naval activity- and indeed they are very important. There are one or two maps where one side is assaulting a island with various points of entry to be defended and there are also maps where both sides have a good navy and there is a island in the middle to fight over as well as sea control points. Having ships really does add a extra dimension to the game. There are so many options for attacking here- you can attack the enemy navy with a battleship, although you risk being vulnerable to aircraft and subs. You can take a sub and attack the enemy ships although you risk vulnerability to destroyers depth charges. You can take a destroyer although you risk vulnerability to battlecruisers and aircraft- the options are astounding- there are so many tactics in these maps. Navies typically consist of a aircraft carrier which spawns planes and has various flak cannons on it, a battlecruiser with two super powerful cannons for attacking land and sea, 2 destoryers (or none in some maps) which are a smaller version of the battlecruiser equipped with depth charges and a submarine (which is unfortunately restricted to just 2 maps). All the boats (except the submarine) spawn landing boats which you can use to beach on the island. Obviously there is litte space on some points in the island, and the reliefs are sharp so there is much fierce fighting.
Obviously each whole style of map develops a completly different style of play keeping the game fresh.
The most essential part of playing battlefield 1942 is vehicles- this is what sets it completly apart from every other shooting game ever. No similar first person shooter game has had vehicles as a essential part, except renegade but that game is played in a com
pletly different way. There is simply no other game to use vehicles in the way battlefield does. So many options are open to you- take the super fast jeep, fly a plane, use a tank, use artillery, use a apc and so on. And they arent just tanks of varying degrees of strength. They all handle in a completly different way with different tactics. Control for these vehicles is excellent, and anyone who used the APC or jeeps on counter-strike need not fear. The control really is superb, you go exactly where you want in the jeeps, the tanks feel like tanks- you can alter the direction of the tanks turret and control its movement independently- the sounds, the handling the movement all make you feel like you really are driving a tank in the 2nd world war. The artillery handles like artillery- it has a extreme long distance cannon that is enormously powerful- but one good hit from a tank will take it out so you simply cant use it in close combat. The APCs feel clunky, just like you would expect a vehicle like that to handle and the way the drivers compartment is all the vehicles is crafted is absolutly exquisite- in every single vehicle you feel like you really are driving it.
There are two totally different theatres of war too with the air and the sea. They are not extensions of the land- they require totally separate tactics.
Aircraft are done properly in this game- you have a machine gun and bombs to drop as standard. You must taxi along the runway, take off then there is a world open to you. Depending on your aircraft you might take different options. If you have a fighter you can use your limited firepower to kill infantry and lighter vehicles and other planes and are ideal for risky missions speeding past flak cannons. There are the sligtly larger slower and beefier dive bombers, with a decent gun and decent bombs for dropping on the enemy- ideal for quick attacks on enemy tanks- there is also room for a back seat machine gunner to fire at aircraft tailing you.
The undisuputed king of the sky is the allied B17 bomber- a massive bomber with no driver machine gun but two back seats for both a enemy aircraft gunner and enemy infantry gunner. It can drop a devastating payload of 8 bombs at a time before reloading and can completly decimate a area of enemy with good bomb dropping ability. Of course it is vulnerable because of its size. You can even drop behind enemy lines using a parachute.
Naval combat is another dimension- the ships are very powerful but vulnerable in their own ways (see above for a explanation of the different kind of ships). As i have already said, the options using ships are absolutly huge, and the possibilities to engage in naval combat and use landing boats are huge.
The way vehicles are handled is excellent- ships slowly sink, planes catch on fire and vehicles get pushed of course and blown up. There is no other game in which you can take the last remaining plane and take off just as your teams carrier sinks, maniaclly laughing at your teammates as they struggle to reach a boat in time.
There are even extensive options outside of vehicles and infantry combat- you can choose to man a machinegun, a large off-shore cannon, anti-aircraft flak cannons and you can dive in a bush or behind sandbags hoping the enemy heavy tank doesnt notice you.
Overall Battlefield is a superb game- the option and variety available to you is absolutly off the chart. You can do something completly new just about every time you respawn. Whilst the maps can feel a little empty or overcrowded in certain places, the overall design is excellent- you really feel like you are driving a tank down a winding african road being careful not to fall into the canyon on the left or to bump into the hill on the right. The environment is exquisite, with hills, canyons, rivers, bridges and every feature of a real life area. With the exquisite vehicles you really could be fighting in world war 2.
The only area where t
he game is lacking is the infantry combat- there are limited cubby holes for infantry and you cant go inside buildings, even totally charred ones are limited. So much of the maps is just open grass with reliefs and trees the maps are sometimes too open. There are limited options for infantry- anti-tank troopers can find themselves cut off and have limited places to work in. Playing assault against enemy infantry is just a little too easy- there is no exquisite working of recoil as there is in games such as counter-strike. The sniper class is quite rubbish to be honest and the sniper rifle is so inaccurate you might as well be a assault class and simply shoot over a longer distance. The final class, engineer does what it says on the can- it repairs tanks. Its a little bit rubbish in combat, but can lay mines (which are extremly cheap and annoying/completly rubbish depending on which way you look at it) and explosive packs. Sometimes the infantry combat can just seem a little too "cheap". It is hardly balanced well, and there is no machine gunner option or a good take on the K98 and M1 garand rifles, which are an integral part of other WW2 games. This is more than made up for with the vehicles.
Overall BF1942 is the greatest breath of multiplayer fresh air and variety there has been since some genius came up with the idea of half-life.