Last of the Mohicans...naah
18th July 2002
Their finest hour or is it?
DICE and Elektronic Arts some time ago released yet another map. The Battle of Britain is the third official map in line, preceded by the well-known previous ones called Coral Sea (which took place in the Pacific and focused entirely on dogfights) and Operation Aberdeen (which resolved around tankbattles in the african desert).
The Battle of Britain resolves around the airstrikes such as carried out by the german Luftwaffe (=airforce) in the period between the 10th July and 31st October 1940. The goal of these strikes was to cripple british airfields, radarstations and communicationlines and was to be followed by the campaign as designed by Hitler which was known under the codename “Seelöwe” (=Sealion). This campaign entailed the landing of german forces in the south of England followed by a rapid invasion of the rest of Great Britain.
The big question of course is: did they manage to create a better endproduct than they did with the Coral Sea-map? Read and find out ;)
To begin with the map is good looking and promising in terms of the graphics. Both Axis and Allies have a stretch of land along the coastline with a several hangars, airstrips, flakcannons and other defences such as machinepillboxes. Especially the british side of the map looks gorgeous, and, as sort of a small joke from the makers, even features a fishinghut down at the feet of the cliffs on a small beach thats runs along nearly the whole coastline.
The Axis isn’t much to look at in terms of the terrainfeatures but the Allied base is situated between by beautifully shaped hills with a river surrounding the primary target on the map: a factory.
The map features two new models that play the main part: the german Junkers two-engined bomber and a radartower, which not only allows whoever is in it to perform continous radarsweeps, but it also features a flakcannon that can be used while the gunner is still protected inside. The Junkers-bomber is modelled and skinned professionally and is a true pleasure to look at.
For the rest, as far as I was able to tell, the map has no ugly errors in terms of misaligned textures etc
Final score: 18/20. A great looking map with some very nice features, of which the destroyable factory and the large bridge with the river are the most noticable ones.
Now eyecandy is nice, and of course it does add to the overall atmosphere, but if the gameplay isn’t fun, like happened on Coral Sea according to many people, then a map won’t be played much after its initial release.
This new map does feature a number of things that make it stand out from all the original maps aswell as the two bonus maps that preceded it:
1. The jeep/kubelwagen finally, as requested by many people, has a horn. Everyone of us knows there’s nothing quite like running over an unsuspecting enemy and now you can do it even in greater style: just honk the horn a second before impact, nothing quite like it :D
2. The Junkers has 4 positions: 1 pilot and 3 gunningpositions which are located in front, on top and below the aircraft. Especially the nosegun is a nice atmospheric and useful feature and was deerly missed on the original maps when using the B-17. Especially since this map is solely aircombat 95% of the time there’s nothing quite like teaming up with some people and fully man a Junkers.
The setup of the Battle of Britain is such that the Axis continuously loose points until they have completed all objectives, after which the Allies automatically loose, even when they still have people walking/flying around.
Battle of Britain is a so called objective-based map which means one side (Axis) has to complete the objectives (bomb the four coastal and the factory in the center to dust) whereas the other side (Allies) have to try and prevent this by intercepting and shooting down the bombers before they reach their goals.
Now the strength of the map is at the same time its greatest weakness: if you have a decent group of people who know how to play the map and work together, even when it’s at the most minimum kind of level, then this map is brilliant n terms of gameplay and the odds are usually pretty much even. On the other hand, most public server will show you that many people don’t actually show this minimum level of teamplay needed and as a result the Axis win about 90% of the time because many of the flakcannons aswell as the radarstations on Allied side are un(der)manned or un(der)protected.
Final score: 35/40. If you have a decent team this map can be one of the most rewarding ones to play out of all the offical BF42-maps. If you have a group of idiots on your hands, then you had better prepare yourself for some serious occassional nailbiting due to the frustration caused.
Ease of use
The file comes as an easy to install executable and as a result doesn’t cause any problems.
Final score: 10/10. The file comes as an executable and is thus easy to use. The only downside could be that the file is a bit on the large (40 mb) but this is explained by the new models in the package.
Documentation and support
The new patch doesn’t come with any direct documentation but the map itself clearly states the objectives that need to be fulfilled by both sides.
Final score: 10/10. Nothing to complain about here, hence a full 10 out of 10 points.
The Wild Card
I have heard many people say from time to time: “One cannot complain about these free maps because DICE and EA don’t have to do it.” Partially I agree with this, these maps are a bonus of course. Nevertheless, it is no more than fair to keep things into perspective: EA and DICE also do it to create good will and to hope to bind the community to them for their next games and add-on packages. Therefore, it’s no more than fair to say that DICE has redeemed itself for their Coral Sea-map which was also solely focused on aircombat but which was significantly less in terms of overall quality.
Final score: 15/20. An excellent map by DICE and a welcome addition to the original ones in the BF42-package.
The total score comes to 18 + 35 + 10 + 10 + 15 = 88%
Suggestions and comments - No real remarks