Title: Battalion 1944
Platform: PC (reviewed)
Developer: Bulkhead Interactive
Publisher: Square Enix Collective
Release date: Out now (Early Access)
Price: £12/$14
TL;DR: Fast paced, competitive, 5v5 shooter more suited to FPS veterans than casual players.
Family Friendly?: Click here for more information.

Battalion 1944 wants to recapture the nostalgia and get back to the roots of some of the first competitive shooters to come out on PC, such as Medal of Honor, Counterstrike, and the early Call of Duty games. With today’s FPS offerings being primarily set in the future, and with the inclusion of mech suits, rocket jumping, and wall running, Battalion 1944 strips back all of the fancy shit, hands you a gun and dumps you straight into the action.

Or, at least, that’s the idea.

Upon loading up the game, you’re given the option to hone your skills in the Training mode or jump right into a multiplayer game. The multiplayer modes are Unranked and Arcade (with Ranked mode unlocking on February 8, 2018), all with five players on each team.

I decided to go with the Arcade Mode as my first choice, as it rotates familiar game modes such as Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, and Domination. You are given the option of six loadouts which give you a choice of gun, depending on your preferred playstyle. You can also switch these out whenever you die, which if you’re like me, will be a lot.

As soon as I loaded into the game, my framerate dropped dramatically, making it incredibly difficult to move or do anything other than get shot, respawn and immediately get shot again. This was met with abuse from my teammates (<3) telling me to “go back to CoD,” and other less friendly variations. After exiting back to the main menu and dropping my graphics settings to low (I’m running higher specs than the ones recommended), I jumped back in.

While the framerate was improved, my gameplay experience was not. The maps are relatively small and I found myself dying repeatedly to enemy players who seemed to have God-like accuracy and the ability to headshot while jumping. I soon learned that everyone was using single-shot rifles as their weapon of choice, where range didn’t seem to matter and, as long as you can hit your enemy somewhere, you get the kill.

Unranked Mode, or “Wartide,” requires one team to diffuse a bomb while the other team defends. You start with default loadouts but can accumulate more by killing enemy players and picking up cards, so the team with the most kills will have an advantage as they will have access to different types of weapons.

Considering I had to turn the graphics down to their lowest setting, the game doesn’t look bad at all. The maps are relatively small, though there are a couple of larger maps that feel less confined and easier to navigate. The guns feel punchy and sound realistic when you’re firing, though there was hardly any recoil which felt… odd.

While it needs to be remembered that the game is in Early Access, there are quite a few things that need to be ironed out. Besides the graphical performance issues, the game crashed for me quite a few times mid-game for no apparent reason. Taking a screenshot in-game also caused the game to crash, and I got a fatal error after tabbing out, forcing me to relaunch the entire game.

I was lucky enough to miss the first couple of days of Early Access, so I avoided the server issues that plagued the game upon release – though it must be noted that the devs were quick to respond and keep players updated. However, matchmaking is still fairly slow and even when you get into a game, you are often waiting for others to join.

I feel that Battalion 1944 has a lot of potential, though it feels like it’s suited more to FPS veterans – or players that have mastered jumping while aiming and/or the drop-shot. The matches are incredibly fast-paced, leaving no room for error and, at the time of writing this, the weapons feel unbalanced, forcing you to play with a single-shot rifle or as a sniper if you hope to stand a chance.

The Good

  • Fast-paced
  • Guns feel punchy
  • Nice graphics, even on low settings

The Bad

  • Long load times
  • Weapons feel unbalanced
  • Frequent crashes

Family Focus

Rated: PEGI 18 (Provisional) / ESRB – Not yet rated; not suitable for children. Lots of shooting and dying. Seriously, lots of dying.

Disclaimer: This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher for the purposes of this review.