Battlefield 1943 has a fun philosophy that's appealing to everyone: that it's more fun to play with friends and family than it is against the computer. It's a philosophy which sits at the centre of Battlefield's intense gameplay, which pits a maximum of 24 players in the middle of a World War II Pacific Theatre conflict, where teamwork, calm wits and a smooth trigger finger are essential to survive.
Taking a shot
With a choice of the United States Marine Corps (USMC) or the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), your job is to eliminate your foes and capture control points on the map. The team-based gameplay means you truly have to work together to succeed, as each loss - whether that's territory or personnel - counts against your squad. When your team's gradually depleting respawn/territory bar goes empty, you lose.
With the game geared towards large scale battles, there are a lot of different tactics you can employ to aim for victory. Your first choice will be to select one of three classes, each with different weapons and skills. An infantryman packs a machinegun, anti-tank bazooka and the ability to repair friendly vehicles, while the rifleman comes with a rifle and rifle-grenades. The scout uses a sniper rifle, pistol and remote explosives.
Each class comes with a melee weapon, a compliment of grenades, unlimited ammunition, and the chance to use a range of vehicles littered around the map, with fighter planes, tanks, jeeps, landing boats all available to control, each with their own mounted weapons - although some require an additional gunner to fire.
Air raids and mounted gun placements also feature in the game, creating havoc and keeping the destructible environment in a constant state of change as trees topple, plants become riddled with holes and structures are set on fire or crumble from explosives. It's a dynamic environment that compliments the action as you roam each of the four maps, shooting down targets, getting into dogfights, speeding across the ocean and feeling the pressure of tank battles.
The attention to detail adds a sense of immersion to Battlefield 1943, as the sounds of war constantly ring around you - and get too close to an explosion and your hearing will temporarily be affected, leaving you vulnerable to sneak attacks. Thankfully there's also the feedback of the DUALSHOCK3 Wireless Controller which vibrates when heavy vehicles trundle nearby, for example.
Because Battlefield 1943 is all about fighting with and against other human players, it's the unexpected moments that will stick with you. You'll watch with fascination as a plane accidently crashes into trees and enemies while its pilot ejects, throwing grenades as he parachutes to safety, only to be run over by a tank when he lands. Or you'll laugh with glee when you swim to shore from a landing boat, jump into a jeep and proceed to commando assault your way through an enemy encampment.
Fire it up
If you lack people on your Friends list to play against, you can jump into a quick game with others (and make friends as a result), and also practice your skills in a tutorial which nicely introduces you to the game's basics and techniques.
All this makes for an intuitive and blistering assault of the senses from the nicely accessible backpack of PlayStation Network. Battlefield 1943 brings you an entertaining shot of online multiplayer shooting action on PlayStation 3 with no fuss. Arm yourself and prepare for a blast.