BattleBit Remastered - First Impressions
As I sat in a virtual helicopter waiting for a 127v127 match of BattleBit Remastered to start, someone played Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son” over their microphone. Around me, players joked about their make believe families, chatted about how the make believe war was going, and told one another how they had make believe post-traumatic stress disorder. They prated about how they hoped they would make it home to see their makebelieve dogs, how they were make believe SEALs with 300 confirmed kills, and one even made a few snide remarks about our make believe enemies. But as soon as our chopper spooled up and headed towards our objective, all the wisecracks stopped and were replaced with discussions about quasi-serious squad-based strategy. Comments about the depressing nature of warfare were replaced with orders, and whoever was playing CCR’s iconic track opted to play “Ride of the Valkyries” instead. Just when my squad was about to reenact the interesting parts of Apocalypse Now, however, our helicopter was shot out of the air. When we crashed, a group of our enemy combatants t-bagged our corpses and said the word dab over and over again for some reason. BattleBit Remastered is Hell.
Well, actually, BattleBit Remastered is the latest and easily the greatest Battlefield clone on Steam. In the (currently) Early Access title, you don the combat boots of a soldier in a fictional conflict in an online-only first-person shooter. Like in the titles that clearly inspired it, your objective in each 30-minute match is to kill enemy players, capture objectives, and level up to unlock the latest and greatest pieces of military technology. There are vehicles to drive and fly, a variety of maps to play on, the ability to lean left and right, and you can even prestige your character when you reach level 200.
The catch, however, is that there is no catch; BattleBit Remastered is just a good game. With pacing that’s somewhere in between Call of Duty and Squad, it uses the mechanics of well-established titles and removes all of the things that make those games so annoying to play. There is no battlepass to grind, and there aren’t any cosmetics to buy save for a single pack that costs $20/£17. There are 20-odd maps to play on, 50-odd guns to use, 200 character levels to progress through, and 100-odd attachments to earn. You kill players, players kill you, and that’s all there is to it.
The gameplay does have more than “it”, to be clear. BattleBit Remastered takes the fully destructible environments of the old Bad Company games, combines them with the healing mechanics of Hell Let Loose and sprinkles in just enough of Black Ops: Cold War to make the experience enjoyable and unique. The title plays, then, like what you’d expect from a modern first-person shooter. If you’re willing to overlook its pixel-based graphics, which you absolutely should, it’s one of the most fun FPS games on the market, even setting aside its lack of pay-to-play mechanics. You will die a lot, but each death is accompanied by the sounds of the enemy team’s local voice chat and the realisation that you’ll respawn and be able to run over to the enemy who schwacked you in a matter of minutes with stupidly satisfying movement mechanics.
To say this is refreshing is a bit of an understatement. In an industry that seems more interested in extracting money from your wallet than it does making fun, BattleBit Remastered is a reminiscence to the golden age of first person shooters. Its core mechanics aren’t necessarily unique, but they are refined and enjoyable in a way that those in modern games rarely are. By using a core gameplay loop that’s long since been perfected by AAA titles and adding a few elements from the aforementioned Squad and the now-forgotten about Battle Cry of Freedom, the small development team behind BattleBit Remastered has created something that’s actually good and doesn’t come with any monetary strings attached.
This isn’t to say that BattleBit Remastered is perfect, though. At the time of writing, there are some passively serious balancing issues with its classes and firearms, and the audio mechanics do leave a bit to be desired. It also takes way too long to unlock any of the game’s interesting weapons, and its map voting system is in desperate need of some fine-tuning. These things, and the few other annoying aspects of the game, are nitpicks, however. For the first time in recent memory, I honestly can’t think of anything in the title that’s a dealbreaker besides its subjectively good Roblox-esque visuals. It doesn’t have any major bugs worth writing about, it can be played on a literal laptop, and killing enemies or levelling the buildings they’re hiding in is fun.
Purely for the sake of objectivity, I wish I could criticise BattleBit Remastered more, but I honestly can’t. It’s a bloody great game, and unlike in Modern Warfare II or Battlefield 2042, there aren’t any asterisks attached to that statement. Its core gameplay loop, and its non-core gameplay elements, simply work. There are a few features that need to be worked on, but given that the game is going to be in Early Access for about two years, I’m almost positive that by the time it does launch, it will be far and away the best first-person shooter on the market. If you’re sick of grinding post launch content in modern FPS games, or are just looking for a quasi-realistic game to play on your dated PC, there is no good reason not to buy the title. It’s currently priced at $15/£13, and for that paltry sum, you get to be transported back to a time when the gaming industry was actually fun.
BattleBit Remastered is currently in Early Access. Check back on Jump Dash Roll for our full review when it fully releases!
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