Where to start……Dear me, what happened EA?
I’m assuming by that first line you know what I’m referring to, but for those who need some enlightening let me shed the light. Wednesday 8th July saw the release of Battlefield 1943 on XBLA, an event that has been widely hyped in preview sections and on many podcasts. Falling onto our dashboards priced at 1200 points, people across Europe and the world were ensuring that they had enough points in their balance and getting ready for war.
As a big fan of the Battlefield series I was armed with the points and ready to download it as soon as it was up. Then it appeared, kind of. The first problem of the endless list was that the game would only download from XBOX.com or the spotlight section on the dashboard, not a huge problem, I grabbed it XBOX.com and it started downloading. With my new game settling in it’s new home I hit the A button and launched it for the first time. I was greeted by a fantastic menu system with triumphant music, this was before I entered my first match and experienced horrendous lag.
Bullet lag, characters that seemed animated by Aardman (stop motion style) and walking forward five steps only to lag backwards four steps, the game was unplayable. It was broken, for an online only game to not work online is a big problem and I wasn’t happy. After a few measly attempts at getting a few games on my new purchase I gave up for a while. After posting my thoughts on Twitter I gave it one more go and, Success! There I was standing on Wake island, no lag, no issues, time to fight.
And what a great fight it is, with stunning graphics for an arcade title and epic gameplay usually reserved for retail games, Battlefield 1943 is a fantastic edition to XBLA. A capture the flag mixed with territories style game is the only mode to play at the moment, but there’s no issue there. It’s a great game mode that always seems to keep the scores close and the games finish with only a small margin between teams. Choosing one of three classes to fight as, scout (sniper) infantry (gunner) and rifleman (name says it all) you will rank up your profile as you capture flags, kill the other team and blow up planes and tanks. With destructible scenery too, everything is here for a great game.
However, the problems came back, the lag struck again. According to the Twitter account of the developers it was an issue with packet data and would be finished within a few hours…..and it was. Then the servers failed. It seems, despite what EA and DICE say, the interest in Battlefield 1943 was underestimated and there weren’t enough servers to cope with demand. Games couldn’t be found in the search function, friends couldn’t play together and if you managed to get into a game you were kicked from it swiftly. This continued for some time and the Twitter feed of the Devs kept spitting out excuse after excuse.
We are now some five days after the launch of the game and despite most problems being fixed, there are still a few left behind.
Arthur Gies from Eat.Sleep.Game and Rebel FM said this on Twitter just yesterday; Battlefield 1943 is completely fucked. we couldn’t even do a private game without a hitch.
After trying to arrange a community game yesterday, former 1up writer Nick Suttner said this; Wow, that was a massive failure. Sorry everyone. We had a full room, too! Back to the fully-functioning PS3 version…alone…
This really isn’t good enough on EA’s part, releasing a game on XBLA that is quite obviously broken and in need of removal. But what really gets my goat is how we, the gamer, have received no apology on the situation. Surely under consumer law EA should at least part refund these games as people have paid for them in in worst cases have lost five days of their purchase. I’m utterly speechless that a game that was so hyped can have been so underestimated by it’s own developers and publishers. When Battlefield 1943 works, it’s a beautiful combination of gunplay and teamwork that plays amazingly, But it doesn’t work and that’s just sad.