Battlefield 2 (PC) review
"Battlefield 2 is the newest addition to its series with incredible diversity and game-play mechanics brought down only by EA's ridiculous system requirements and sub-par detection system."
Running down that empty hallway and looking for a place to catch my breath seemed like the best action to take at the moment. After fighting off the swarms of enemy units and plugging a rocket right into the under-carriage of that menacing tank, I was fresh out of bullets. Peeking into the distance I could see the constant carnage of gripping confrontations, all just to seize control of a couple of title-less structures. Getting through isn’t easy, as looking around every corner and being fully aware is the key to survival. An ambush behind a couple of shrubs, a sudden grenade plopping right next to my feet, or even the flawless precision of a cloaked sniper, each have the devastation to tear me asunder. Wasn’t much time to think though as soon the enemy had advanced to my coordinates and looked to take control of the round. Plenty of things cycle through the brain at this point. Should I help back up the artillery unit, before the commander loses his clear scope of the battle? Maybe I can hit that tank blockade and secure the front base before reinforcements arrive.
Pauses are short and the challenges are endless.
Thus is the near flawless multi-player presentation brought forth by Battlefield 2. Strategies and planning all were a part of war and they make up the trials you will face going into each server, each game, each round. Now we have all trudged through the mediocrity of such series as Medal of Honor and the reason it was mediocre was because it wasn't online. It is just when you give a title a ladder system does it become as addictive as a crack induced, online role playing game, unfortunately with the addition of the plethora of twelve year old adolescents. That is not to say you can’t find a couple of level headed individuals to join up with. Looking past this, Battlefield 2 is the newest addition to its series with incredible diversity and game-play mechanics brought down only by EA's ridiculous system requirements and sub-par detection system.
That said, what can be more fun than running down a city alleyway with artillery shots ringing in your ears and shotgun shots mowing down dozens of MEC soldiers? Well, only if you are the one doing the shooting. And that is the primary role that you take in this first person, war based, arcade shooter. You have three total country teams based on the Middle East, Chinese, and Americans. Twelve maps ranging from small 16 man urban maps to expansive 64 player regions full of valleys and mountains. And lastly seven different kinds of kits ranging from the calculating engineer to the vehicle ass-kicker that is the Anti-Tank, will each have different objectives for you to fulfill on the field. All there to help set you up for the thousands of players looking to turn your dreams of victory into a nightmare.
The name of the game is manly competition.
Which means there is no single-player mode for you. So, if you are remotely interested so far you will have to play with real people and actually look forward to a challenge my dear loners. There is a solo mode implemented into the mix, but it is just a bot-fest created to teach you the basics of the game. Basics such as how to aim a gun, how to accumulate points, ways to not get shot in the face, and most importantly, how to win the Conquest based round. Which can be done by your team accumulating points to keep your ticket count from going to 0. Accomplished primarily by gunning down enemy soldiers, reviving and resupplying, capturing an enemy base, or repairing one of many vehicle types. As in other online first person shooters we have the classy tank, with the inclusion of; some armored APCs, deadly and obnoxious black-hawk helicopters, and a couple of jets. Wouldn’t be a war game without jets right? Thankfully, each unit is well balanced and figuring out their weaknesses is definitely one of the title's strongpoints.
Now currently in Battlefield 2 there is just one game type which is like the classic age-old Capture the Flag cranked up on something similar to steroids. Based on the individual map size, each land mass will have three to ten flags that all need to be captured and held. Each country represented team will also have a ticket count that ticks down every time a player of that team is killed or if flags are lost. So, have an assault soldier mow down the opposition with the support of a hidden sniper, then have a Spec Op capture the flag and diabolically plant some C4 explosives for when those bastards try to re-take it. The game is incredibly team based and takes a steady sense of timing and patience to lead your team onward to victory.
Yet, by patience I not only mean the intense rounds of game-play, but putting up with several off-key detriments along the way. One of which being an occasionally sloppy hit detection system. Picture running down a country road when you spot a sniper amongst some cleverly spaced leafage. You pull out your rocket launcher and see your missile strike the ground right next to him, only to see nothing happened and you two points short. Another seemingly frustrating feature is the teamkill system which is there to punish those damn, ever-apparent, lamers. Nevertheless, the con card will sometimes strike you due to a bug and it will not even be your fault.
Here I am flying a black-hawk full of 4 other teammates and out of nowhere comes a jet from the other team ramming into me at 200 miles per hour. No big deal I think, then I notice that I have negative 15 points and the game blamed me for the death of my whole squad. Crap!
However, aside from a bad occurrence here and there, the game's reward system and updating ladder will constantly keep you trying to improve yourself. Getting more objective badges and unlocking new weapons for online play is a blast and the more you assemble, the greater the advantage you hold. A pseudo-arcade style of combat makes for some realistic tangles and physics with one good sniper shot dropping a soldier, while a sub-machine gun could take four to five. Lastly, speedy response from the servers and the lack of lag for such a monstrous title is incredibly impressive and shows that a great deal of work went into this. It is unfortunate that to run such perfection requires a perfect computer all the same. So, unless you have a job or incredibly forgiving parents, you may not have what you need to get by the steep playing requirements.
Beg my desperate friends, BEG!!!
If your pathetic groveling pays off and you grab a nice graphics card you are in for some of the most intense graphics today. Beautiful landscapes and waterways, detailed character models, and brilliantly executed lighting and explosion effects all fuse the war experience together with the staple, objective based scenarios. You may just want to take the time to explore every nook and cranny that each of the twelve levels have to offer, as it is nearly worth the price of the game just to look at. From the foggy and haunting streets of Strike at Karkand to the large infrastructures crawling up the side of the Kubra Dam, there is not only plenty to take in visually, but clever strategies to absorb for later matches. Perhaps I should start taking note of those particular mountains; the ones I keep imprudently barreling into.
Anyway, I love this game despite it being my first run through the Battlefield series and hope the remaining sequels are just as good. Repetition can set in because of the lack of additional game modes and map levels, but praise EA that they are putting out an expansion to help broaden the scope. This gem will take some time for you to pick up on and the range of play possibilities make this one a riveting challenge even after forty hours of play time. But, if anything it is this alone that makes it so addicting and by far one of the greatest PC shooters I have ever been able to get my hands on. Just don't blame me if you can't run the game -- I warned you!
Staff review by Branden Barrett (November 11, 2005)
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