Julian Rizzo-Smith will see you on the beach
Battalion 1944 is a first-person shooter that aims to recapture classic World War II competitive multiplayer experiences. The developers at Bulkhead Interactive draw their game and level design inspirations from growing up playing Medal of Honour and Call of Duty 2. Consisting of former AAA developers, modders, and esports professionals, they are designing the game with both the hardcore competitive and modding communities in mind.
There is a great sense of authenticity in Battalion 1944’s weapon design. Unlike other military shooters, Battalion 1944 is exclusively infantry-based. Weapons have a sluggish and heavy feel to them, reminiscent of WWII weaponry. From the hollow sound of your Thompson submachine gun running out of ammunition to the numbing boom of exploding grenades nearby, everything about Battalion feels real.
Map design stresses an emphasis on player skill over casual fun. Environments are based on real WWII locations and have a rich level of authentic detail. The developers travelled on-site to various famous warfronts and cities significantly affected by conflict. Maps are designed for competitive play, too, and take advantage of the infantry gameplay with environments used as cover. Fans of modern European history will appreciate the rich attention to detail.
Motion capture and DirectX 12 allow for richer environments, as well. Despite the historic map design, the game’s modern graphics distance it from earlier choppy WWII multiplayer experiences. The few framerate issues and texture-popping is easy to overlook when compared to the breathtakingly realistic foliage and particle effects that bring environments to life. An emphasis on vibrant colour and lighting further sets it apart as a more visually expressive WWII shooter.
The global Battle Rank system also encourages team-based competitions. Joining a battalion-styled clan, you fight for your team in multiplayer matches. You can compete in seasonal matches fighting for your battalion, and later be rewarded with experience points that can be used to unlock new costumes and emblems. Other regular seasonal challenges such as capture the flag, and getting the most knife kills in 24 hours, give objective-based matches an interesting dynamism, too.
To keep the game balanced and fair, there’s no weapon unlocking system in Battalion 1944. Rather, you use your experience points to unlock cosmetic changes for your character, allowing you to engrave your gun or customise and embroider your clan insignia. In this way, you can not only personalise your equipment but do so in a way that doesn’t give you or other players a competitive advantage, ensuring you rely on skill instead of add-on gear.
Battalion 1944 feels like a call back to classic WWII shooters but plays with all the advanced technology us modern gamers have come to appreciate. Like most competitive games, winning requires skill, practice and an understanding of each map and their respective strategies. With dedicated servers, anti-cheat software, balanced weapons and asymmetric map design, Battalion 1944 has the potential to make it big in the esports scene, bringing the classic military shooter genre back into the competitive scene once and for all.