With as big of a company that EA is, one would think that it would release something original and fresh on a brand new console. So far if you look at the titles they have released on the Xbox 360; Madden, NBA Live, Burnout Revenge, FIFA and now Battlefield 2, you will notice a pattern. None of the aforementioned titles are new IPs nor do they take full advantage of the console’s graphical power. Sure most of them have a higher poly count and resolution, but for the most part the core game itself is the same title with a higher price tag.
Unfortunately BF2 doesn’t break this mold, while the visuals have certainly been given a much needed face lift, the core game play remains intact. What this means is that if you have already ventured down this road on Xbox, there is really no reason to return to the battlefield for a second time. The only noticeable difference is the tweaked online play, no you still cannot create your own servers, which is a pain, but at least now you can invite your friends into a game. However you have to make sure they accept it rather quickly otherwise the room will fill up and you will be forced to play with a room full of strangers. You can however create clans, which allow you to play strictly with your friends, but be warned the guys who partake in these battles take it very seriously so unless you are the best of the best expect to get “owned” on more than one occasion.
Some days it is hard to make a choice.
Aside from the online there really isn’t much else to differentiate the game from it’s Xbox counterpart so if you already have a copy of that version then there really is no reason to tread down this road again, but for those of you new to the franchise come with me as I tell you what makes BF2 such a great game to play.
The single player portion of the game can be forgettable at times. You will basically be given a mission objective at the beginning and once completed more will be added. The coolest aspect about this game is that you don’t actually command any troops, nor do you select any weapons from the outset. BF2 uses a unique method called “hot swapping” to switch between units and classes completely on the fly. For instance if you begin the game as a gunner and you want to snipe enemies from the tower, simply aim your reticule at them and tap the X button. You will take over that character and their position. This works extremely well and really adds a nice layer of strategy to the traditional shooter fare.
The downside to this is your teammates love to be suicidal, so if you switch to another unit during a large firefight don’t expect the body you just left to actually try and find cover, they will most likely stand still and take the bullets head first. It seems your teammates rode the short bus to boot camp where as the enemy AI graduated top honors at the Sniper Wolf Academy for accuracy; they rarely ever miss a shot. EA has cranked up the toughness of the enemies for this game ten fold. You’ll have to fight through their toughness in about 20 different missions ranging from sniping to recon and everything in between.
Graphically, the game is rather stunning. The textures are sharp, the frame rate is steady both off-line and on, and the explosions are some of the best that I have ever seen. The first time I saw a helicopter explode into a thousand pieces of shrapnel a tear came to my eye. You’ll have to experience it for yourself to get the full affect of it. The game also utilizes some great ragdoll physics, watching your enemy flop and flail from the rooftop to the ground below after delivering them a headshot is not only satisfying, but enjoyable to watch. Dice has also added a nice layer of effects to the terrain such as better lighting and shadows as well as bullet holes and casings, small details that previous consoles simply could not accomplish because of memory limitations.
It’s always nice to travel with the best crew, and most equipped!
Of course the bread and butter of this title is the online play. You can jump right in with a quick match, or you can change the settings to your liking for a custom match. You can also create and participate in clan matches. The game supports twenty four players on a grand total of sixteen different maps. The mode selection is identical to the previous incarnations; you can opt to play straight up death match or even capture the flag, but most of your time will be spent in the conquest mode. Think of this like SW Battlefront or even territories for Halo 2, basically you take control of a certain area of the map and try to maintain control. For all you snipers out there, there are some pretty descent sniping points in most of the levels; of course, if you stay in the same spot for too long, someone will eventually hunt you down like the camper you are. The game is over if either time runs out, all the points have been captured by the enemy or all of your soldiers are dead (you only have so many reinforcements).
What all this boils down to in the end is that Battlefield 2: Modern Combat is only worth the dough if you haven’t already partaken in this war. If you are a veteran of the Xbox or PS2 versions then there is no reason to take a second tour, however if you have never experience this title or are just plain tired of playing CoD2 and PD0 than this game is a great addition to your collection. If you are looking for a single player experience only, you would do better looking elsewhere. Hopefully EA will finally bring a new franchise to the table at E3 this year so we don’t have to keep settling for straight up ports.