Bat­tal­ion 1944

Ju­lian Rizzo-Smith will see you on the beach

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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.

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