Battalion 1944 – Preview

Here is a love letter to a certain type of first-person shooter, one long abandoned by an industry so abhorrently focused on trampling all over its roots in an effort to seize control of the future of warfare. Bulkhead, however, is eager to move away from the exosuits, perks and parkour that dominate the genre today, opting to focus on the same design tenets that made Call Of Duty 2, Day Of Defeat and Medal Of Honor so enjoyable over a decade ago.

A year on from the completion of its successful Kickstarter campaign – with 10,000 backers pledging over $450,000 to the multiplayer shooter – and Battalion 1944 has secured itself a publisher, with Bulkhead teaming back up with  Square Enix’s Collective  division following a successful partnership in 2016 for The Turing Test. The FPS is aiming to capture what Bulkhead calls, “The core of classic multiplayer shooters,” whilst utilising advanced industry technology, such as Unreal Engine 4, motion-captured animations and physically-based rendering – tools that just weren’t available during the heyday of World War II shooters – to create a classic shooter for the modern era.

Ultimately, Battalion 1944 will live and die by its “down-the-barrel” feel – as Bulkhead likes to call it, drawing heavily from Call Of Duty 2 for inspiration – though that will be no easy task. While the classic WWII shooters are remembered  for their incredibly-tight asymmetrical map design and large array of authentic weaponry, it’s the feel of those weapons that often gets overlooked or forgotten. Between weapons like the Thompson, Kar98 and the M1 Garand, each and every SMG and single-shot rifle in those genre games handled uniquely and demanded skill to appropriately wield; capturing that spirit will be the most difficult task in front of Bulkhead, plenty have tried to echo the gun-feel and handling of an  Infinity Ward shooter and many have failed.

Battalion 1944 is a throwback to a type of FPS long forgotten by modern development,
where the focus is on skill and speed in intricate asymmetrical maps. This is one for
fans of Day Of Defeat and Call Of Duty 2.

But then there is something appealing in the raw ambition alone. Battalion 1944 knows its niche and seems to be slipping into it perfectly. With the last Call Of Duty game to be set in WWII being 2008’s World At War, there’s a huge appetite for this type of experience from certain corners of the community. Battalion 1944 is going to launch later in 2017 with dedicated servers and will employ anti-cheat measures in an effort to create a fair field of  combat – something Call Of Duty 2 always struggled with – while initial QA tests are being opened to the public as Bulkhead tries to lock its game balance and netcode down. Any players lamenting the lack of skill-based, old-school multiplayer shooters – the type of which were in abundance around the launch of the Xbox 360 – will surely feel at home in the antiquated battlegrounds of Battalion 1944.

Format: PS4, PC, Xbox One
Origin: UK
Publisher: Square Enix Collective
Developer: Bulkhead Interactive
Release: 2017

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