Back in 2002, Electronic Arts' Battlefield 1942 was firmly rooted in infantry and vehicle-based combat in an era before every game featured drivable tanks, planes and Jeeps.

Back in 2002, Electronic Arts' Battlefield 1942 was firmly rooted in infantry and vehicle-based combat in an era before every game featured drivable tanks, planes and Jeeps.

With its huge maps based on classic historical conflicts, it was a pioneer in the world of World War II massively multiplayer combat games. The latest conversion of the classic series, Battlefield 1943 brings the two-sided historical conflict to the consoles with some sizable changes.

The core of what made 1942 and its many sequels successful on the PC is still here, though. Players still choose between Axis and Allied sides fighting for control points on the game's arena maps, but the selection is somewhat more limited.

Rather than attempting to update the original, EA chose instead to focus on the Pacific theater maps, pitting U.S. marine corps forces against the Imperial Japanese army defender on four island hops. The result highlights some of the most intense ground fighting of the war.

Initially, the game launched with only three multiplayer maps available - Wake Island, Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal. One map, Coral Sea, is unlocked by platform when a certain number of players download and play the game. (The Xbox 360 version already has Coral Sea unlocked, currently the PS3 version is limited to just the other three maps.)

The four maps are all re-imaginings of the original PC maps, with some vehicle and capture-point changes to reflect the game's new format. This console-tailored implementation simplifies the game to three basic roles - infantry, rifleman and scout classes.

A key part of the Battlefield experience is the ability to hop into any vehicle in the game and drive or fly around, helping your allies to capture points while draining enemy reinforcements. 1943's vehicle controls work surprisingly well - even the greenest player will find the airplanes as easy to fly as the heavy-armored vehicles are to drive.

There's no single-player mode, so teamwork is key. The maps themselves are balanced, but so much of the Battlefield experience relies on the people with whom you find yourself playing. If the game has a major drawback, it's that it's all too easy to join a game that's fairly one-sided.

The things that made the original game unique are now common in first-person shooters, and the content is pretty thin, but the budget price and Battlefield 1943's sheer fun make up for those failings.

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