Battlefield:1943 is not only the best downloadable title I’ve ever played in terms of its quality as a game, taken on its own with no consideration of any other contexts, but when considered in light of those other contexts only shines all the brighter.
As a first person shooter, Battlefield:1943 is one of the most balanced games I’ve ever played. No one class is entirely outmatched by another. Vehicles respawn quickly enough to keep them in play for both sides throughout every match. The maps allow for plenty of strategic movement to prevent the game from bogging down into pure body counts, and rather make matches with tight teams of cooperating players true tactical engagements. The fact that it is still easy to find full 12 on 12 matches when the game was released in July of 2009 is a powerful testament to how good a game this is.
As a sequel to Battlefield:1942, there’s a reasonable argument to be made that the design of 1943 isn’t nearly the same sort of technical marvel that other downloadable titles represent, some of them being produced for very small budgets by tiny development studios, but if we consider all the downloadable titles on Xbox Live that have been produced since the 360 was released, and look at them solely as games, we would be hard pressed to name a title that has had the same durability of appeal, value of purchase, and solid game design as Battlefield:1943.
The fact that such an experience is available for only $15 is amazing, and highlights the potential of both DLC and tiered pricing, which are going to be pivotal talking points in the future of video game production and distribution. After a fashion, Battlefield:1943 and its million-plus downloads will stand as an extremely important benchmark in terms of the development of downloadable content and its potential both in terms of quality of titles and profitability of the model.