reviewed on PC
It's here. It's up and running, and judging by the numbers, it's going at a juggernaut pace. Battlefield 2, the much anticipated and hotly-greeted offspring of Battlefield 1942 has hit the shelves with such ferocity even its developers, Entertainment Arts (EA) and DICE, must be reeling with ecstasy. This is an intricate, and fairly complicated game filled with variety, so it took quite a few hours of play to see enough of it to write a decent review. Late though it may seem to some, I hope this review makes up for its tardiness by the weight of its detail.
No mail? No game
As with all games we begin with booting it. Gamers should notice a much remarked about feature when booting Battlefield 2. Instead of finding a menu of options with a start button, one is faced with a log-on screen. To play this game several things are required, many of which are handled during the game's installation. You must have a modem with internet access, so those who have no modem (and if you're reading this you MUST have one) get hosed on this deal. You must create a player account. This requires a player name and an active e-mail account, so if you're not interested in having an e-mail account, you're hosed on this one as well.
This leads to another unique feature with BF 2. Rather than having a CD key on a sticker on your jewel case, or CD envelope, EA keeps your CD key on its account server. I won't pretend to be an expert on just why it's been arranged so, and for the purposes of this article that would be getting a bit off track. However it must be mentioned because (as with the proverbial mountain to be climbed) it's there. During installation you are offered an installation of Gamespy software which ships on the disc. It's recommended the player install this along with the game. With this there's also software called Punkbuster. This too is recommended, and this will be clarified to some degree later in this game review. For my purposes here, I'm going to try to stick with the mechanical features of the game itself and reserve the playing servers for later articles you can find here at HookedGamers.
Suffice to say when you boot the game you'll already have an active account and it will be listed, along with a password, so you can log-on, then move on to the next screen which will be the game's menu. Be prepared for an up to 30-second wait while your game connects with your account on a server. The menu screen has listed at its top BFHQ (battlefield headquarters, where your game stats can be viewed), Multi-play, Single-play, Community, Options, Quit. BFHQ will only show stats if you've played on a ranked server. So, if you intended to play single-player games in the privacy of your own PC, you got hosed on this deal, too. You won't accumulate a score, and the weapons upgrades are unavailable to you.
Fired up, ready to go
With single-player mode you have two options: Instant Game; Play a Game. Instant game offers map choices. Play a game runs the available maps in a sequence which comprises a campaign. To move to another map in this mode, you must win the map which precedes it. This seems rather useless since you don't add to your cumulative score in single-player, so a campaign mode avails only that the game decides where you play and if you can move on. You're just as well off picking Instant Game and selecting a map. Once you've selected a map, you're presented with a small map of the battlefield showing four spawn points, one of which is held by each side. You must spawn at a point held by your team which is designated by your flag. Beside this map is a menu offering what are termed kits. You choose a kit, click your spawn point and you appear on the field of battle. The kits are; special ops, assault, support, medic, engineer and medic. Each kit has various and differing weapons to use which are pictured. Each kit serves a different function on the field.
If the menu hasn't impressed you with its remarkable graphics which characterize the game, it will surely hit when you arrive on the field of battle. The three-dimensional playing field grabs you, and before you know it you are there where the action is. On one of the maps is an industrial center with high-rise smokestacks, two nuclear power plant cooling towers, and various aluminum prefab buildings. You spawn amongst your teammates which are bots directed by the artificial intelligence. The artificial intelligence isn't as remarkable as the graphics. What annoyed me first was that I wanted to drive a tank. A bot got there first, then drove it away. I turned looking for any other vehicle to drive, only to see the other bots had taken off with them. None offered me a ride, and I ended up hoofing it to war.
Having played this game in multi-player on-line for dozens of hours, I was familiar with this map and knew an attack helicopter was at an unclaimed spawn point, so I tried to get there as fast as I could. By the time I arrived, the bots had taken that flag, and run off with the helicopter. So much for practicing flying. I also happen to know that larger maps of this same field have an aircraft carrier with two Harrier jets. Unfortunately, this small single-player mode map didn't have that. So much for being able to fly jets on your new computer game. I also noticed the enemy bots were only slightly smarter than those on my side. The enemy took all the spawn points while my bots seemed to wander about aimlessly serving no real purpose but to be cannon fodder for the enemy.
No Pros and Cons at this time