Battalion 1944 was released on the first of February and was immediately overloaded with players who completely failed to join a game due to the servers being unable to handle the massive load. However, after over six hours of trying across two different days, I finally managed to play the game for a few hours. This Battalion 1944 Early Access Review will help you decide whether you should buy the game or not.
Having played the game that Battalion sort of pays tribute to, it was only fair that I review the game to see how it stacks up against the old competitive shooters.
Battalion 1944 Early Access Review
Loading up Battalion 1944, the first thing that you notice is that it takes ridiculously long to load up the game. Not to load up the map and start playing but rather to just load up the application with the Server Browser and all. If you have an SSD, it is almost instant but an HDD can take up to 60 seconds to start the game sometimes.
Loading into the game, we are greeted by a bare-bones menu which is obviously only there to do its job. The presentation of the game is quite clunky and has a lot of inconsistency issues.
For example, the Server Browser has no filters of any sort. There is no indicator of the ping of any individual server and lastly, if you try to join a server which is full, you are returned to the Main Menu rather than the Server Browser.
All of this continues whenever we try to join a server. Even though the PC used to play the game was close to the Recommended Settings posted by Bulkhead Interactive, the Main Menu seemed to lag quite a bit. Only between 5-15 percent of the CPU was being used at this time. Furthermore, the longer the client was left on, the more RAM it was consuming.
Before we start looking at the game, it is important to know that this game is envisioned to be the natural successor to Call of Duty 2 and Call of Duty 4: ProMod. The developers have tried to include mechanics such as Strafe Jumping even though the game is in Unreal Engine 4 and it was probably extremely hard to replicate Strafe Jumping since it was a bug in the Quake Engine.
Movement and Gameplay
Getting into the game, the first thing you notice is the movement. It is quite smooth and seems to embody the spirits of the classic shooters. However, the Strafe Jump does not seem similar to the earlier Call of Duty titles. The crouch mechanic does not work the same and it seems to be a lot clunkier than it should be.
The worst thing is that there often seems to be clipping when you try to jump on surfaces which are at a different height than you. The higher your ping, the more clipping you will experience. This means that a lot of players who hail from Asia and if they want to play the game, they will probably not have the best possible experience due to there being no servers for them to play in other than Europe.
Apart from that, the gameplay seems quite nice. The gun mechanics are amazing and quick-scoping someone with the Kar98k or Springfield seems as satisfying as it did back in the day. The rifles work quite well and it will be amazing to see what the competitive meta turns out to be once the Competitive Mode is unlocked on Feb. 08.
Moving on to the maps, the maps seem quite inconsistent in terms of quality. On one side, we have Coastal which seems like an amazing map. The two Bomb Sites are quite different from one another. One of them is quite easy to defend since it is right in front of the Defense Spawn but the other one is right in the middle with a statue right beside it.
The statue seems to be reminiscent of the statue in Strike from Call of Duty 4. This bombsite is quite amazing since it gives both teams a lot of cover to have medium-ranged engagements.
Other good maps which would be perfect for competitive play are Liberation and Manorhouse. They seem to have the balance aspect of the maps nailed down and there are multiple ways for all classes to be able to be effective.
Apart from that, the other maps do not seem to be quite good enough. Granted some of them are not really made for competitive play and many of them including Manorhouse seem to be quite small but the maps definitely need some work in order to be ready for competitive tournaments.
Moving on to the Game Modes, we have four of them at the start of Early Access. The first one is Wartide which is essentially Search and Destroy with a brand new and unique Economy System.
You have cards which you can pick up to have more classes of a certain weapon. These cards are dropped when you die and they can be picked up by both your teammates and your enemies. Wartide seems to work well but it can only be tested in a proper competitive environment and there will surely be many tweaks to balance this mode.
Apart from Wartide, we have the Team Death Match which works similar to the TDM found in almost every single FPS game in the modern era. You go into teams and then you try to kill one another and rack up the score.
We also have access to Domination and Capture the Flag. These modes are added in the game to have some sort of for fun mode which people can have fun in and they are mentioned as ‘Arcade’ in matchmaking quite rightly.
However, these two do not seem to work at all. The randomized spawn and the fact that there are a maximum of 6 players on a team mean that these modes are just a random cluster of people trying to kill each other and somehow luck out by capturing a flag when no one is looking.
Domination is just a game mode where you try to capture sites alone as the rest of your team is on the other ones, and then you get shot in the back.
The modes in Battalion 1944 could definitely use some work. From the ones that we have, Wartide seems to be the only functional one. TDM will always be what it is, so there is no need to comment on that.
For now, I can easily see Wartide being both the competitive and the casual mode of the game since people will soon figure out the pointlessness of Domination and Capture the Flag in their current state.
Graphics and Performance
Even though the game was not meant to be graphically superb, and its spirit lies in its gameplay, the graphics could definitely be better. The graphics are quite cartoony and in my personal opinion, even the original COD 4 had better graphics than Battalion 1944.
The visibility also seems to be quite bad, especially when you are walking in the trenches. Peering down your scope in certain areas can leave you completely in the dark due to the absence of light.
Even though this would be a good feature in a military simulation game, it is quite terrible for a competitive shooter as it takes away the skill aspect and adds an element of luck to the engagements.
The performance is another part where the game seems to suffer. Having a PC which is around the Recommended Requirements, I was quite surprised to see some occasional FPS drops despite playing the game at low-med settings. The FPS would usually be at 200, which is the maximum cap, but more often than not I would see it bottleneck and drop all the way down to 80.
Considering the fact that my PC can run PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and ARMA 3 quite comfortably with no noticeable lag spikes and those games render entire cities at once, Battalion definitely needs to optimize the game further to ensure that people who have low-end PCs can better handle the game.
Most of the popular competitive games such as Rainbow Six: Siege and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive are able to run quite well on low-end PCs, and Battalion is bound to suffer if it continues to have performance issues.
In conclusion, the idea of the game is great, and the basics of the game have almost been nailed down. However, the developers have a long way to go in Early Access as there seem to be many issues with the game at this moment. We will definitely need more maps, better performance, and better netcode if we want to play Battalion 1944 in a competitive environment.
Of course, the game is Early Access and the developers have outlined their vision of the game extensively so chances are that these issues will eventually resolve themselves. But as of right now, Battalion 1944 is probably only enjoyable if you liked the classic shooters and newer players may find themselves gravitating towards other games rather than this one.