WW2 Shooters were at one point so unbelievably dominant in the market place that we damn near changed the name of the FPS genre as a result. At one point Battlefield 1942, COD, Medal of Honour and countless imitators were all scrabbling for the same contested turf and the battlefields (or Battlefields I suppose) of Western Europe became as familiar to gamers as the Mushroom Kingdom or Hyrule.
However the years since have not been kind to the setting which arguably helped propel FPS Multiplayer from the days of Quake and Unreal Tournament into the multi-headed beast it is today. Luckily one game is here to bring us back to the glory days, to reunite us with the halcyon thrill of the setting and killing eachother without the constant threat of killstreak rewards and that game is….Battalion 1944.
Oh, sorry, were you expecting something else? Something relating to a sort of shout relating to a kind of moral imperative? Well, I have played Call of Duty: WW2 this weekend too but you’ll have to wait to hear about that, because as far as recapturing the spirit of the earliest CoD games, Battalion takes home the prize by a mile.
Battalion is fast, close quartered and extremely twitchy gameplay. Firefights erupt without warning and, if you’re not extremely quick then you’ll find yourself extremely dead more times then not. There’s rarely any time to catch your breath here as more often then not the next enemy is just a step away.
Playing Battalion 1944 really does feel like you’re playing an early CoD, back before the original Modern Warfare cemented it as the goliath of gaming it is today. There aren’t any killstreak perks or special skills at work here, there’s just you and a rifle and a group of guys trying to kill you. All of this is completely intentional as a throwback, the Devs telling me that they even knew about CoDs latest title before they started development but they knew what game they wanted to make, and knew it would be different enough to find its target audience.
The game is unashamedly multiplayer focussed, possibly where it diverges from its influences the most, but it’s probably the better for it. Focus on mechanics and playtesting has produced a slick, no-nonsense online brawl which is alot of fun even when you’re dying.
Graphically it can’t stand up to the money CoD has to spend, but with gameplay this tight; it really doesn’t need to.
With some interesting mechanics and new game modes on the horizon, this is definitely one to watch going forward.
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