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Letters from the Front

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( Early Access, first impressions.)

I miss the days of simplicity in shooter games. Games like COD 2 and COD: UO were stripped down and didn’t have the mechanics of games like Battlefield 1 or the newest installment of Call of Duty, they relied on skill and not on time played or perks that help you to gain an advantage. The objective of Battalion 1944 is to capture the feel of classic WW2 shooters like COD 2 or COD: UO, and to a great extent they have succeeded. Battalion 1944 is a stripped-back experience, with medium to small sized maps and great and satisfying gunplay that relies on skill. At the current moment, there are some problems with the game’s launch that needs to be addressed by Bulkhead and that includes matchmaking issues, sometimes I get into a game and other timesI don’t get into a game and maybe half of the time I spend in the game, I don’t get into a game. When the game works, it’s a fine and dandy game and something that Bulkhead can build upon.

There are two modes at the current moment. Unranked which is the casual side of the game and a ranked mode which is coming soon and that includes Search and Team Elimination, while arcade is a mix-match of three different modes: TDM, CTF, and Dom. Arcade is a great way to be introduced to the game before you move onto the Unranked playlist, the Unranked playlist is something a bit more fast paced and unforgiving experience for those that are pretty great at FPS games.

I didn’t die as much in Unranked but when I did, I died alot faster then in arcade since it’s about you and not about the team as a whole. The pace is much faster similar to that of COD 2, with players around corners and alleyways. In one round, I was camping inside a building after killing one player’s teammate and three other players came inside to check out the gunshots and I killed all three but in the process, one player threw a grenade and killed me. We killed each other. When I died, the game transferred me to the spectate screen where it was fun to spectate my teammates as they went in and defused the bomb and killed the rest of the enemy team. I was ready for my next round of Battalion by the time we won.

There is also a comp mode coming soon to the game and it should be unlocked on February 8th and I’m kinda excited for the comp mode. Many of the issues that the game has would be less forgivable in comp so I hope they fix those before rolling the comp mode out to the masses.

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The maps are not an issue, they are excellent maps. They include classic french villages, a map based on Brecourt Manor, a lighthouse, and a forest one. Each map has shortcuts and tricks to exploit to your advantage as you can get a leg up to your competition, for example the map based on Brecourt Manor has trenches and a farmhouse you can exploit to your advantage. I used the farmhouse alot with the flick of my Tommy Gun, the enemy was done for as I jumped through the window and got his teammate. Another example is the Lighthouse map that allows you to use windows to sneak around and get the jump on the enemy.

The weapons are excellent, they’re all fair and no gun is better than the other like in other games like Battlefield 1 or Call of Duty. This is an area that’s been improved since the closed beta. It’s easier to get kills with SMG’s like the MP40 or the Thompson as well, in the closed beta it was kind of a struggle for automatics hence why I always used rifles in the closed beta.

The main issue for me is the server problems. When the game went into Early Access, the servers struggled to keep up with the demand, meaning that I and many others were locked out of the experience.

Bulkhead worked on a temporary fix, and managed to put it out but there are still issues getting into a game. It’s annoying and tedious, but I’m willing to give it a pass as it’s Early Access and it’s worth noting that very few studios have attempted what Bulkhead is trying to achieve here and Joe Brammer, the developer of Battalion actually took to Youtube to apologize for the server issues. The greatest thing about all of this is how transparent  they are with the players and not many studios aren’t like that.

Match balancing is an issue although I don’t really see it much but it’s annoying to see you have a full team while the other team is like 3 people. I hope they fix that.

Nevertheless, Battalion 1944 caters to those who have been ignored for almost a decade with the arrival of COD 4 back in 2007. It’s good to go back to simple mechanics and simplicity, this game has strong potential and it’s very good. Battalion 1944 reminds me heavily of my beloved COD 2 and DOD: Source, and that’s a good thing. I recommend that you play it.

Stay tuned for my first impressions of the final game whenever it releases. Battalion 1944 is out now on PC.

2 comments on “Early Access, First Impressions: Battalion 1944

  1. This looks interesting as an alternative to the AAA shooters. I might look into this.

    1. Physics says:

      If you have a capable PC, go ahead and try it. It’s pretty solid but I do have some concerns. The game is good and all, but I don’t think it will have legs in the face of upcoming shooters like Battlefield and Treyarch’s Call of Duty. It should be coming to Xbox but not right away, probably by 2020 or 2019.

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