BattleBit Remastered Early Access Review - IGN (2024)

2010 was an important year for the multiplayer first-person shooter genre. And, if you were like me, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 likely remained the top game on your Steam playlist for the duration of that year. It’s a safe bet that the developers behind BattleBit Remastered were right there with me. Take Bad Company 2’s commitment to class balance, open-ended and highly destructible map design, and delightfully over-the-top squad-based shootouts, put all of that into a Minecraft-like world where everything is made out of blocks, and what you get is this crazy game. It’s still in early access, and it could certainly use some fine-tuning. But if you’re into the flavor of multiplayer chaos wherein everything explodes like you’re in the middle of a Transformers movie, its insanely large 127vs127-player skirmishes easily satisfy the craving for a return to those glory days. Not to mention: there are zero microtransactions, and it doesn’t feel like a grind to get the coolest gear either.

Just to clear it up, this isn’t actually a remaster of an existing game - it’s more like an in-joke for how many times the developers started over. There’s technically no single-player campaign to serve as an introduction to its blocky world, save for a shooting range where you can play with every class kit, gun, and attachment to your heart’s desire. That mode seems well-designed in that it gives a comprehensive overview of BattleBit’s mechanics, but I’m glad it’s entirely optional if you want to skip directly into the fray of battle, and I didn’t waste much time there before jumping into a proper online match.

Anyway, Battlebit’s all-too-familiar primary mode, Conquest, pits two factions against one another for a tug-of-literal war over a number of capturable control points scattered across a large battlefield. You can’t have a Battlefield-style game without it, and it works as well as ever.

There are a few other modes, like Rush and Frontlines, which also come straight out of the Battlefield playbook. That said, it doesn’t seem like there’s a simple Deathmatch mode without all the strategic stuff, but it is pretty neat that you can choose between 32vs32, 64vs64, or the absolutely bonkers 127 vs. 127-player skirmishes, depending on how intimate - or not - you like your battles.

Things truly heated up once I jumped into a match with all 254 players.

Things truly heated up once I jumped into a match with all 254 players. Each of the 19 maps is geographically diverse, albeit graphically simple, allowing for a lot of stuff to happen at one time without performance issues. And that can be fantastic because each building is made out of destructible blocks, and since vehicles are plentiful and every class kit can gain access to a rather large amount of C4 as a loadout option early on, a typical BattleBit match features a plethora of tense and tactical firefights accompanied by more explosions than have gone off across the entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

With literally hundreds of players going at it, this level of wonky chaos is ratcheted up to the Nth degree, and it can be a pure joy to sit back and laugh at it all, whether you find yourself in the right squad and mop up, or a battle goes horribly wrong. Thanks to night mode and maps like the urban-sprawling Tensatown, these massive terrain-spanning skirmishes can be home to some truly interesting warfare the likes of which we haven’t seen in games that prioritize pretty graphics.

It all works so well because at its heart, BattleBit Remastered is a tightly designed first-person shooter, and it gets its “shooting” bits just right. There is a wide range of primary and secondary weapons to customize your loadout with, such as the L86A1 light machine gun and the MP 443 pistol, and they are relatively easy to progress and unlock attachments for. They also sound good and handle realistically, providing punchy feedback. Long-range weapons like DMRs and sniper rifles are easy and fun to use, especially since bullet drop isn’t all that difficult to accommodate with how simple it is to zero your scope.

They may look blocky but they sound good and handle realistically, providing punchy feedback. The only thing that struck me as glaringly missing from the early access version is any variety of shotgun, though I imagine those will be added later on. Each class also gets throwables like grenades or flares, and in classic Battlefield fashion, each of the unique class kit items – like the Recon’s MDX-201, which emulates scope glare and can be used to distract distant enemies – provides an important tactical advantage that adds depth to character customization.

There’s also the ability to customize your appearance for stat bonuses like additional ammunition or better damage mitigation. This is the result of switching individual armor pieces, helmets, belts, and so forth. BattleBit’s character models are visually atrocious no matter what you equip, but I appreciated the fact that I was slowly gaining armor pieces by completing objectives, and it’s cool that this extra layer of customization exists in the first place.

You can sprint at a rate rivaling that of a Quake III Arena combatant.

Moving around on foot is straightforward enough, though it’s not perfect in action. Crouching, military crawling, and vaulting over objects all feel natural, but I’m not as much of a fan of its dizzying movement speed. Every soldier on the map can sprint indefinitely, but some weapons like SMGs let you sprint at a rate rivaling that of a Quake III Arena combatant, and though this helps make the enormous maps manageable, it can sometimes feel unnatural. There’s also no melee key, save for the Assault class’s sledgehammer, which only works when a destructible surface is nearby, which basically just means there’s no proper melee combat at all.

Battlebit Remastered Official Early Access Screenshots

But despite the blocky graphics, high-speed action, and a few missing features in between, BattleBit still has most of the trappings of a proper Battlefield game, including and especially the squad-focused teamplay based around the mechanics of its six classes. (Yeah, I went there Battlefield 2042!) The Medic and Support, for instance, are both equally necessary for a squad to stay positioned long enough to outlast an enemy onslaught; a squad full of Assaults will just get picked off.

Everyone has a purpose: the Engineer gets powerful ranged explosives to take down enemy vehicles, the Assault gets more ammunition and better mobility, the Medic gets a faster revive ability and the only tool that can restore anyone to full health, Support can wield LMGs and drop ammo crates, Recon can use sniper rifles and deploy tactical field equipment like respawn points, and the Squad Leader is the newest class which doesn’t do too much right now but can supposedly use binoculars to call airstrikes in a later update.

BattleBit has most of the trappings of a proper Battlefield game.

I spent most of my 10 hours playing as a Medic, and I found a lot of enjoyment in watching my rank increase as bonuses poured in from reviving downed teammates and patching up their wounds. I love the fact that I can drag teammates or downed opponents around – that comes in clutch during tense firefights.

Armored Chore

But as I mentioned before, some mechanics aren’t fully tightened yet; for instance, I’m not a fan of how the ammo crates dropped by the Support class don’t automatically refill ammunition and require some extra finagling to work, and despite a class-wide boost, I dislike the amount of time it takes for a Medic to revive a downed teammate. I much prefer a much shorter post-death timer with the ability to be revived instantly by a Medic ala Battlefield, whereas BattleBit instead lets you sit there for upward of 30 or so seconds after you die – unless you deliberately hold down the space key – before sending you back to the respawn screen, during which time you can get dragged around, revived at a snail’s pace, die again, and so forth. This can go on in circles if a battle turns sideways, and it left a middling taste in my mouth. To respawn or not to respawn; that is the question.

Spotting, which lets you pin an enemy’s location for everyone else on your team to see, is usually easy to do in Battlefield 2042. Unfortunately, it’s a lot more finicky in BattleBit Remastered, where I find myself basically unable to spot anyone from a distance – continually mashing the center mouse button to minimal effect. Even when I do manage to spot the occasional enemy chopper, I’m disappointed to receive no bonuses for doing so, making it feel unrewarding.

Also, vehicles are a big part of any Battlefield-style shooter, since those are what really set that series apart from Call of Duty for a long time, but they suffer in BattleBit due to poor physics and shaky handling. Interacting with any vehicle is clunky and awkward before you can even start the engine, due to a timer that can take several seconds to switch seats or simply enter a vehicle. Just getting into a moving tank is way more inconvenient than it should be, and there’s no clear reason that I would need to do that. Spawn timers on choppers are also way shorter than tanks for some reason, and yet there is no parachute – meaning you need to sit there and wait for the chopper pilot to deploy the rappel line and get close enough to the ground to exit safely. The Humvee’s mounted gun also felt underpowered and proved to be basically useless when I couldn’t even kill a lone soldier at spitting distance.

The best way to enjoy vehicles is crashing them or watching them blow up from afar.

I’m not sure how much of that is an intentional design choice and what’s just unfinished, but it feels like right now, the best way to enjoy vehicles in BattleBit Remastered is by crashing them into buildings or watching them blow up from afar.

At least it’s all held together by strong and approachable multiplayer functionality. The interface is extremely clean and clear, showing all the important contextual information – like controls, ammo count, minimap, chat, squad details, hit markers, and so forth – exactly where I’d expect everything to be. There’s a built-in clan system and integrations for Discord and Twitch as well, in theory, though the external integrations didn’t seem to work for me. It’s still great that it effortlessly integrates your Steam party into your squad when you join a match. It also does its darndest to keep you and your friends together, even when the automatic balancing system forces people to switch sides.

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DoomId Software
Halo 3Bungie
Doom (1993)Id Software
Half-Life: AlyxValve
Doom EternalId Software
F.E.A.R.Monolith Productions
Battlefield: Bad Company 2DICE
Battlefield 4DICE
Half-Life 2Valve
TimeSplitters 2Free Radical Design

I will say that the main menu is a bit bland for a multiplayer-only shooter – and since there’s no music or sound to welcome you in, you might be immediately underwhelmed. Don’t be fooled by the minimalistic approach, however; once you get in there and start tweaking BattleBit offers a mind-boggling depth of customization options in graphics, controls, and gameplay. Since I record gameplay footage on an ultrawide monitor, I was especially delighted by the ability to shrink my screen down to standard 1440p without needing to play and record in a window, which usually causes problems when I record with a mouse and a keyboard.

But most new players probably won’t need to customize too much on the default settings, besides toying with graphics options. Everything else was set just right for my needs, aside from the non-inverted helicopter controls, which took me less than 10 seconds to figure out and fix. As a result, the amount of time it took to set BattleBit up from the first install and jump into a proper match was negligible. Within a few minutes, I was blowing things up, capturing objectives, and having a wild old time.

BattleBit Remastered Early Access Review - IGN (2024)
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