Former Counter-Strike professional Michael “shroud” Grzesiek believes Battalion 1944 may be the next big first-person shooter game to emerge in 2019. “Battalion is probably the most fun I’ve had in quite some time,” he explained during a stream earlier this week.
The game, which launched in February of this year, was dubbed a “blend of Call of Duty and CS” by the popular Twitch streamer who alluded to the game’s combination of a competitive FPS arena with Call of Duty-like gameplay mechanics.
"Wartide", the game’s competitive game mode, is built around a classic 5-versus-5, search and destroy objective system with a weapon economy similar to Counter-Strike. The gameplay, however, is dialed back from the Valve shooter’s strict realism in favor of a faster pace, COD feel. From jumping around corners to “drop-shotting”, shroud has been piling up gameplay hours while enjoying FPS characteristics foreign to his competitive CS:GO days.
In Battalion, players aren’t punished for shooting on the run like in other hardcore FPS games. While different weapons in the game recoil with varying severity, players won’t have to memorize complex spray patterns to master the control of each one. The lack of movement accuracy punishment in Battalion also allows for quickscoping which, while not realistic, will take players back to their last 1v1 “Rust” deathmatch in Modern Warfare 2. Hitmarkers and a one-hit-kill knife attack also feature in the game in a nostalgic COD fashion.
Weapon choices in the game also stick to barebones essentials like the Kar98, M1 Garand and other familiar weapons of the World War II genre. The minimized variables means players must rely on their aiming ability (rather than kill streaks, explosives or shields) to succeed. FACEIT, the independent esports platform, recently added Battalion 1944 to its roster, offering competitive leagues and ladders which will likely prime the game for a run in the esports gauntlet.
While Battalion shaves off a bit of Counter-Strike realism for Call of Duty pacing, shroud’s experience with the game so far suggests it might have found the right mix of competition and old school shooter feel that can appeal to both sides of the FPS spectrum.
"I've already played 43 hours," shroud revealed on Sunday. "It's so much fun, I want to play it right now, that's how much fun I have in that f*cking game."