After Rainbow Six Siege, and more recently PUBG, Battalion 1944 tries to become the latest e-sports phenomenon. The game promises to endow raw skill-based gameplay experience and is aspiring to enter the competitive arena and be incorporated within the clutches of professional e-sports organisations like ESL. All of this inside a neatly trimmed skin of World War 2. After a month or so with the game, and some back and forth within the entire team, do we think it delivers on its promises? Read the preview to find out.
Battalion 1944 is a multiplayer first-person shooter video game published by Square Enix and released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, possibly Linux, and Xbox One. The game was announced via a Kickstarter campaign on February 3, 2016. The game is set during World War II and runs on Unreal Engine 4. The game is one of the first from studio Bulkhead Interactive, a studio composed of former AAA developers.
The game is a multiplayer focused game that offers little to no single-player aspect worth exploring. Yup, no boring campaign that required trudging through. The developers decided that since multiplayer was the focus of the last gen FPS’s, that should be at the core of Battalion 1944 – providing a different multiplayer experience.
In Multiplayer, you have the Unranked mode, for trying out 5v5 matches without being afraid of the consequences of loss, or more importantly, of a possible disconnect. However, a disconnect won’t earn you the XP you truly need to gain access to the competitive mode, and the sweet, sweet lootboxes that unlock skins to give you a sense of pride and accomplishment. Despite Unranked focusing on 5v5 as the combat mode, the number of players on both teams are often unbalanced, leading to an unfair fight. Also, why is it that more than 5 players are allowed in a team after the team already has 5 players? This truly needs to be addressed.
The Arcade mode has a large number of old-school game modes like Capture The Flag, where you have to capture the opponent’s flag and drop it back into your base, with the team scoring the most number of captures winning the game, or Team Deathmatch, which is a battle to the death between two teams, each trying to score more kills than the other.
Gameplay & Mechanics
Battalion 1944 is a game that tries to stay true to the old run’n’gun simulators. Inspired by the likes of Call of Duty 2 and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, the game is a re-imagining of the classic FPS’s on PC. Combine that with the lack of total accuracy in gun shooting while moving or recoil patterns when firing weapons for a continued period of time. Surely, for hardcore lay-down FPS lovers like us, who prefer games like Counter Strike : Global Offensive over Call of Duty, it was a bit difficult to get into the game, and we still continue to have problems while utilizing the game’s mechanics to our advantage. Regardless of that, the game does a brilliant job of “re-inventing the wheel” by bringing back the old shooter vibes.
When you’re sprinting, your accuracy decreases, which is apparent from the increase in size of the reticle. After you stop, your reticle takes a few seconds to decrease back to the same size. Bullets don’t travel straight in streams, which lays an emphasis on either burst-firing or learning to control the recoil. If automatic weapons have recoil, burst fire weapons do too. The sprinting mechanic implies that people do need to sprint, but need to have the reflexes to counter enemy fire when they are spotted. This lays a subtle amount of focus on reflexes, much like the old-school shooters preferred.
Guns are historically accurate. We also have realistic gun models in the game, which were used in the actual “Big War”. Each gun has a characteristic of its own. The automatic rifles have a recoil issue, which matters while attacking long ranged targets. Heavy rifles have a huge delay in between firing of two bullets, so while they are some of the most accurate guns in the game, if your first bullet does not land on the foe, you’re pretty much a goner. Scoped rifles are ideal for long ranged foes, but at close range, they are pretty weak, unless one knows how to no-scope enemies at gunpoint. Sub-machine guns have the least range in the game, but are more accurate than rifles at close range, with the biggest advantage being that they are automatic. Shotguns have no trouble in disposing a close range target, but at long range, you’ll be lucky to hit the broad side of a barn.
However, despite the historic accuracy, there still are gun balance issues in the game. Shotguns have a much greater damage output at medium range than they should have, while the mid range heavy guns and the automatic rifles have extremely high damage output for the reloading time or recoil offered respectively, making other guns rarely being seen while playing the game. Gun changes should be part of a competitive meta, so that players don’t feel bored playing the same guns over and over again.
Strafing in the game is a thing to get a peak from corners. The leaning mechanics, especially the animation, lacks fluidity. Don’t expect stuff like Rainbow Six : Siege, but the strafing is better than most other modern FPS’s. Maybe in future patches, the player can act less fidgety while leaning around corners.
Graphics & Performance
The game was run in a PC with the following specifications:
Processor: Core i5 4440 3.10 Ghz
GPU: Nvidia GTX 750Ti
RAM: 8 GB
The game stuttered and lagged through out the first few days after launch. There were quite a bit of abrupt crash issues too. The message “Battalion has crashed” popped up on screen without any rhyme or reason, WHILE THE GAME WAS RUNNING.
Shortly after however, a new patch was released which addressed the issue of crashes, as well as improved the overall performance. After that, no such errors occurred and the game ran quite smoothly. Devs are quite serious about issues like bugs and optimization, and do engage actively with the players, which is a good thing for the development of the game.
When it comes to multiplayer games, graphics and aesthetics is something that follows performance. There isn’t much ground to cover here anyway, but none the less, Battalion 1944, since it is made in the Unreal Engine, is pretty to look at. The environment design isn’t the best, but it certainly isn’t all that lack-luster either. Some time, you are left wondering at the detailed map design, until a sniper head-shots you and puts you back into your senses. It stands out pretty well for a modern multiplayer game aspiring to be an e-sports.
The game is an extremely decent one, with extreme esports potential. The performance improves with every patch, and it runs smoothly on even the average 90’s PC. Definitely worth a look at, if you’re interested to get back a feel of the 90’s shooters.