Battlefield 1942 – PC – Preview

masterpiece David began as a slab of amorphous marble.  Through diligent
carving, chipping, and chafing, Old Mike was able to create one of the most
recognizable pieces of art the world has ever known.  It looked similar to other
contemporary statues, but refined.  Other statues became mere dolls, and
Michelangelo once again set a new standard.  Where am I going with this? 
Electronic Arts has taken the worn-thin genre of first-person shooters, chiseled
away the excess, and created another masterpiece in Battlefield 1942 for the PC.
Among the flurry of first-person World War Two titles available to consumers
this year, Battlefield stands out above the rest.


Taking place in
1942 and including all the famous battles of WWII, maps range from islands in
the South Pacific, to cities in Eastern Europe, to the sandy Northern African
plains, to the famed beaches of Normandy.  Each landscape is richly detailed and
large enough to accommodate sixty-four online players.  Any good general knows
that war is not just won on the ground.  Airspace and coastal waters are also
large enough to provide ample space for aerial dogfights and maritime mayhem. 
There are four theaters, Northern Africa, Eastern Europe, Europe, and Pacific
Islands, each with four maps for a total of sixteen playable maps, each based on
pivotal WWII battles. 


Producer Ken
Balthaser stressed the attention to detail for authenticity.  “All members of
the Axis and Allies wear their country’s authentic uniform, speak their native
language, and use real hand gestures.”  The players do look splendid, and
shouting things in Japanese quickly becomes a guilty pleasure.  All vehicles are
precise replications if their real-life counterparts.  The overall detail of the
scenarios looks so authentic, gamers will probably find themselves needing
treatment for post-traumatic syndrome. 


Picking a side to
fight for isn’t the only choice recruits will have.  In addition to choosing to
fight for the Axis and Allies, players will have the ability to start off as one
of five classes of infantry in addition to being behind the wheel of several
vehicles.  Infantry classes include medics, anti-tank, scout, assault, and
engineer.  Each role has its place in war, and is vital for success.  Medics
heal soldiers, engineers repair vehicles, and anti-tank soldiers wield the
mighty bazooka to take down vehicles or inflict a little overkill on
unsuspecting foot soldiers.  Nothing like a little overkill. 


Vehicles can be
piloted immediately from spawning into the game, or by encountering them on the
battlefield.  Each country has a number of unique vehicles at their disposal,
each in different classes.  Ground vehicles include tanks, jeeps, and
anti-aircraft cannons are controllable by any player, and can be exited and
entered at will.  The flying machines include single-prop fighters and bombers
that carry belly gunners, bombardiers, tail gunners, and a pilot.  The titans of
the sea include submarines, destroyers, and battleships, each with multiple
stations for an ultimate cooperative experience.  Whether you want to bombard
the shores with a battleship, sink the battleships with a bomber, or shoot down
a bomber with an anti-aircraft gun, it’s all here in brilliant explosive glory. 


The real selling
point of Battlefield is its multiplayer capabilities.  Multiplayer mode can hold
64 human-controlled players without a problem on broadband connections.  Servers
will be hosted by Homeland and EA and hope to provide excellent connection
speeds even for players with 56k modems.  Battlefield 1942 should be THE game to
play online this summer. 


Battlefield will
be available for the PC this Fall and for the Xbox in the Winter.