The award-winning Battlefield franchise invades the high tech frontlines of modern warfare in the new sequel, Battlefield 2. The game brings the intensity and excitement of Battlefield 1942 into the modern era with enhanced team play and the latest, most technologically advanced vehicles and weapons systems available to man.
In Battlefield 2, players will choose to fight for one of three military superpowers: the United States, the Chinese, or the newly formed Middle East Coalition. Armed with the latest modern weaponry, players can take control of any of the games 30+ vehicles to engage in major conflicts with over 64 players in some of the largest online battles on the PC. Additionally, persistent character growth allows players to rise through the ranks and attain the ultimate rank of General.
Ok, enough with the EA propaganda, lets get into what the game really is. One thing I have to say straight off is I am completely disappointed with the utter lack of any kind of single player missions. I understand that the UI is normally brain-dead in games; however, Digital Illusions doesn't even seem to make it an afterthought. For single player, you get, all of the maps, however, there is no customization at all. They are all 16 player maps (no 32 or 64 player) and it's really easy to out kill the enemy 5 to 10 times over. I miss even the ability to think that I'm playing through a single player mission, by stringing them along, even if it's a thin plot. They did this for Battlefield 1942, why not now? I mean, it shouldn't have taken but a few hours to put in a theatre mode, where you play each map one by one, with maybe a small story line for each, so you have at least a small idea of why you're attacking other than you need to get more tickets than the opposition. Playing single player will also not allow you to be commander, so you cannot try any of the commander features. The single player truly gets gypped.
Well, now that I'm done complaining about the lack of single player, let me say that they game is really fun. They have made the vehicles easier to use (read: helo's) and I can actually make it across the map in one without crashing (usually). Now, don't ask me to do anything other than go from point A to point B, but I can do that much. If you haven't noticed, I've had issues in the past with the Desert Combat mod.
While I'm on the subject, I'm not sure if they hired those guys or not, however, I feel like I'm playing a little more fleshed out version of Desert Combat. I feel slightly cheated having to spend so much, to mainly get more maps, and a little better graphics. Other than that, I feel that the guys who did the Desert Combat mod did just as good of a job as the dev team did with the whole game. I understand that this is modern combat, but I really hope that there is a Desert Combat mod (or maybe just maps) for this.
They have also updated the weapons for the game. While most are pretty true to life, there are some issues. First, I have to complain about the sniper rifles. Now, I know that there are a bunch of people who complained that Vietnam was nothing more than a snipe fest, but it all depends on who you played with. Join in a bunch of random servers, and you'll always run into people who snipe, people who play the same exact class every time, people who always take vehicles, etc. It's just a fact of life. Now however, they seemed to decide that instead of simply taking the sniper out of the game, they pretty much make it useless. The USMC sniper is a single shot rifle, with a slow load, and horrible accuracy. It can take several shots to kill someone, and that is providing you actually hit them. The MEC rifle however, can fire multiple shots without reloading (however, it's just as inaccurate). Since they made them that weak, they might as well have taken them out.
Another complaint I have is the 'anti-tank' guy. While they tried to make most things realistic, the anti-tank guys are weak. The SAWS rockets take too many to take out tanks. It can take 3-5 shots to take out a tank. Other vehicles can take 1-3 shots (jeep are one, BMP's are like 3 usually). I'd like to know why as a Special Ops guy, it can take only 2 C4's on a tank, and its history... They are pretty useless for aircraft as well. Along those lines, the AA/Stinger missiles are also pretty useless for taking out aircraft/helo's unless they are pretty stationary (if you can hit it with a SAWS round, you can hit it with the stinger missiles, if not, forget it). It's impossible to take out a jet with a stinger, so don't even try. I actually have an easier time taking out helos with a tank than I do a stinger emplacement.
An all-new game engine and physics system brings the modern battlefield to life like never before. The new material penetration feature measures weapons ability to fire through barriers based on their composition and players will need to know the difference between concealment and cover in order to survive. Hiding behind a wall will be much harder, if it's made of steel or wood. Now enemy fire will go through and you will still die.
The graphics have improved from the last installment of Battlefield, and they've made things pretty now. The game play will feel much more alive and you'll get into the action more, with the environment much more realistic looking.
They've also streamlined the interfaces for vehicles, so it's easier to acquire targets, fly, etc. One gripe however, is they use the default lime green or red/orange for these crosshairs. Sometimes it is a little hard to see if you are lined up on a target such as a helo or plane in the sky. Some backgrounds make it a little hard to target as well. It would be nice if it was a slightly different color.
One of the issues that the game has, which I thought might have just been an issue with my computer, but seems to have been an issue in other reviews as well, was an unceremonious ending to the game. It doesn't seem to crash, however, you'll be playing and all of a sudden, you'll be back at your desktop. I wondered about this, if I had too much going on in the background (I didn't close stuff, I left it on to see how it would affect game play). It didn't happen all the time, but it did happen enough to make it frustrating, to have to start the game again, wait for it to load the damn EA logo, Dice logo, game logo, game account menu, log in, game menu, back to game... While it doesn't sound like much, it's an annoying 2-3 minutes when it does happen.
But one of the biggest complaints that I have with the game is the steep hardware requirements. You'd better have a good video card: the minimum is a GeForce FX 5700 or a Radeon 8500. If you don't have the proper card, or the proper driver, the game dumps you unceremoniously to desktop without as much as an error message. It seems that even with my Radeon 9800 XT and latest drivers, I was still dumped to the desktop on many occasions.
The interface is nothing really new to the game. It's pretty much the game keys, the same interface, etc as all of the older versions of the game. There are some new surprises however, with the introduction of 'squad' play. You can access a subgroup menu when you join a squad, and issue orders to your squad mates, as well as the general commands (go, need ammo/health, follow, etc) The squad menu adds things like allowing you to designate targets (it puts down colored smoke), issue other more detailed commands, etc. You only have access to these menus when you are in a squad and have other members in it. To play the game, you'll need to log into an account that you first create. This will be an issue with all of the common names, trying to find one unique. One problem is that any of the key remapping you do, is also per machine, so if you change machines, you'll need to remap those keys again. If it actually creates an account, it's possible to keep those settings as well.
Does the game have multiplayer? No... Ok, bad attempt at humor. The game is really nothing more than a multiplayer game. You get to have fun playing in 16, 32 or 64 player maps. The larger the map the more that is opened up on the map as far as space goes, and on some maps, more contested points. Also, in the bigger maps, you have access to more items, such as helo's and planes. One map played at 16 players, might not have the full airbase that the 64 person map has. I'd have to say playing both smaller maps and larger maps each has its own advantages. On smaller maps, you have more open area, and might not die so much, as there's only 8 people trying to kill you (or rather, take over the other points of interest) so it's a little faster pace, and more like running between points to capture, and recapture those points. In the 64 person maps, there's much more strategy that needs to be done. The commander *must* use the devices available to him to call artillery strikes, use the UAV to spot enemy locations, etc. The main locations are often manned to hold rather than everyone running off everywhere on their own. There's more squad action going on, groups of people taking out bridges, commando units to take out the enemies UAV and artillery guns, etc.
Despite the short comings of the single player game (or utter lack thereof) and the feel that it's nothing more than a redone Desert Combat mod, the game is pretty solid (when you can play and aren't dumped back to the desktop). I loved BF1942 and the Desert Combat mods, played some of the other BF games such as Vietnam and went on to other games. Battlefield 2 has brought me back to the game I loved in 1942 and while I might not play it full time (still playing World of Warcraft) it'll be something that I'll enjoy playing like 1942 for a while to come.
« Back to Game Reviews