Here's a quick test to establish just how old-school you are. When you think of the Battlefield series, what imagery pops into your head? Perhaps it's the gritty realism of BF: Bad Company. Or if you're a bit more of a veteran, it may be the zoomy player-switching of BF2: Modern Combat.
The main fact of the matter is that the Battlefield format was originally designed for Battlefield 1942, a PC game with WWII vehicles and weaponry, rather than the surgical strikes of modern warfare.
And we're actually inclined to think that the more antiquated kit suits the game better. None of this fire and forget nonsense - if you want to kill your foe, you're going to have to ruddy well plug him yourself.
This return to the classic pacing makes Battlefield 1943: Pacific an enormously satisfying shooter. DICE has selected three of the most popular maps from the original game, including our personal favourite Wake Island, and has added the destructible buildings and graphical polish of its Frostbite engine.
The result is a gorgeous tropical paradise ripe for ruination and easily the prettiest XBLA game around.
Wherever you fit into Battlefield 1943's war machine, you're guaranteed a good time. Take the air combat - there's no denying that planes can be tough to control initially (we swapped the sticks around in the menu almost instantly), but once you've managed to learn the art of keeping them in the air, there are thrilling low-tech dogfights and near-kamikaze bombing runs to be had.
However, if you don't like jumping into the cockpit, even just sitting on a flak cannon and attempting to skeet-shoot enemy bombers out of the sky is a pleasing contribution to the cause.
On foot, the combat is similarly solid and satisfying. This isn't a realistic shooter, so players are able to absorb a chunk of machine gun fire before they drop to the deck. The anti-tank rocket launcher is a fiddle, but when you judge the arc perfectly and take out a vehicle or emplacement from miles away you'll be punching the air with glee.
We do have one minor niggle, though, and that's with the grenades - it's possible to hurl them into a low orbit, as if your soldier has a Popeye-sized throwing arm.
The only thing lacking in Battlefield 1943: Pacific is AI infantry to fill any empty spots. Okay, it's supposed to be a purely multiplayer game, but AI would allow you to play with a squad - just a few mates of a similar skill level - while still enjoying a full-scale battle.
Battlefield 1943: Pacific is slimmed down where necessary and expanded in all the right places to haul the mechanics of Battlefield 1942 up to the standard of modern shooters.
It may only have three maps (with an extra one appearing when players total 43 million kills), but they are among the best in the entire series. If you're looking for a great multiplayer shooter with all the flab trimmed away, Battlefield 1943 is going to have you gripped this summer.
Battlefield action polished until sparkling
- Prettiest XBLA title around
- Weapons and vehicles are great
- Wake Island
- No AI bots
- Helium-filled grenades