It’s not the cutting-edge visuals that keep thousands of players flocking back to the Battlefield series, it’s the moments and situations. If you can dream it you can probably do it, whether that’s sniping pilots out of their planes or using a satchel charge to blast an entrance into an apartment building and get the jump on an enemy squad. For a long time these moments have belonged pretty much exclusively to the Battlefield series, but now all of that - plus so, so much more - is possible in BattleBit Remastered, a low-poly military shooter complete with massive maps, vehicular warfare, and destruction.
Moments like using a sledgehammer to knock a hole through the ceiling, dropping a whole squad of unwitting snipers onto your level where you can mop them up with ease as they try to reorient themselves. Situations like sneaking into an enemy base with a friend and using fortifications to turn it into a rabbit warren, so that the two you can hold off full-scale beach landings without breaking a sweat.
And this is a lot more than an imitation of Battlefield’s scale and sandbox action. There are heaps of small features and military simulation touches that make it feel a lot deeper. For example, you can drag wounded teammates to safety before bandaging their wounds, lean left or right around cover to keep a lower profile while shooting, rappel up buildings to avoid fierce close-quarters fighting in stairwells, zero scopes for more accurate long-range shots, or even tune into enemy radio chatter to find out what they’re planning.
With great tools comes great responsibility
Naturally, all of these mechanics can also be used to goof around, which feels much more appropriate in BattleBit Remastered than it does in the realistic, high-fidelity environments of the Battlefield series. Take the ‘rappel from helicopter’ option for instance, while it’s ostensibly there for tactical insertions, most players are happy to dangle at the bottom of the rope and be swung around the map at stomach-emptying velocities like Robloxy wrecking balls. The building mechanic is mostly used to create ludicrous, Fortnite-esque ramps to unfair vantage points, consuming squad points that could otherwise be spent on remote spawn beacons or, well, actual fortifications.
The fact that there are so many complex systems buried in a game with so much surface-level approachability does create some incredibly frustrating moments. Going to the effort of zeroing a scope only to get rushed like you’re in Call of Duty feels bad. As does trying to make a strategic push with a vehicle only to find out they’ve all been stolen by rabid solo players and abandoned halfway across the map. Like in Battlefield, not everyone in BattleBit is playing with the objective in mind, but the contrast between would-be war-gamers and run-n-gunners is blinding here - it’s hard to really put your finger on which FPS crowd this is for. Even the recoil tells two stories: there’s bullet drop and a ton of visual kick, but you barely have to move your mouse to keep an AK pinpoint accurate up to and well beyond 100 metres.
And while graphical fidelity might not be an issue, audio fidelity is. Gunshots ring out with a hollow pop, bullets whisper by your ears, and tanks whir into battle sounding like drones. Rather than a cacophony you get a cough. There’s just not enough information to go on, so trying to pick out vital audio cues such as an enemy’s footsteps or which direction you’re taking sniper fire from is often pointless.
The maps could use some tweaking too, based on the amount of frighteningly obvious spawn traps I encountered, but with a dozen in the game already some inconsistency should probably be expected. The variety is excellent though, with urban settings like Eduardovo hosting near-constant firefights between tightly arranged office buildings and courtyard spaces, while more open maps like Isle provide ample space for self-made objectives.
I hope these balancing frustrations can be addressed during the Early Access period, which is estimated to last for at least two years. Still, considering how long the development road ahead of it is, BattleBit is an impressively smooth multiplayer experience. The simple look has allowed a team of just a few developers to deliver huge maps, 254-player matches, destructibility, vehicles, and building mechanics, all with system requirements that would have been friendly a decade ago and on servers with high tick rates.
If that’s the trade off then I’m in, because it’s been years since I’ve felt as free and able to mess around in a shooter of this scale. Battlefield’s ongoing infatuation with pure spectacle has resulted in some truly epic moments, but once you’ve been in one tornado you’ve been in them all. BattleBit Remastered resets the focus, giving players the space and tools to create their own set pieces. The destruction’s not flashy, but it’s very functional: point and click and you’ve got a new pathway. Similarly, the looks and lightness make serious strategy unlikely, but it’s still the most effective tactic in the game. So while BattleBit Remastered has still got a long way to go, if you ever find yourself in need of a fresh Bad Company 2 fix then look no further.
While BattleBit Remastered clearly nails all the desired elements of a multiplayer FPS title, be sure to check out our best FPS games list for more heart-racing content.
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