Battlefield 2: Modern Combat
Crispin: I can’t help but think publisher EA is shooting itself in the combat boot by bringing its dominating Battlefield series from PC to consoles. Once players behold the game’s chaotic, free-form online-multiplayer combat—the second they hitch a ride in a Black Hawk or drive a tank while someone else mans the machine gun—they’re going to lose their fighting spirit when it comes to more rigidly linear EA war games like the Medal of Honor series. I know I did.
Because the thrill of these army-on-army shooters—which console players have sampled with the SOCOM games and LucasArts’ Battlefront series—doesn’t come from the simple capture-the-base missions or the gritty visuals (lush with thick forests and spectacular explosions here in the identical PS2 and Xbox versions). Rather, Battlefield is fun because almost anything can—and often does—happen in the heat of battle. This game is no slave to realism. Every soldier has a parachute for leaping from dangerous heights. Specialized troopers have nifty toys, such as remote-detonating C4 and laser designators for air strikes, that make for a million strategic possibilities. The game rewards players that communicate and work together, but even if you go lone wolf and cause trouble with land mines, you’re going to have a good time. Just don’t be surprised when you dishonorably discharge all those old offline war games in your library.
James: I know war can be a horrible thing. Trust me—I’ve played Ghost Recon 2 on PS2. Who needs an intricate plot playing as Sergeant What’s His Name and reenacting The Battle of Who Gives a F*** when you’ve got games like Battlefield 2, which throw you right into Operation Shoot Enemies and Blow S*** Up?
The OK single-player missions include a nifty little feature that lets you quantum-leap from one squad member to another as the situation demands. But putting a cap in some enemy A.I. just doesn’t do anything for me, especially when online multiplayer is such a joy. Why play by yourself when you can pilot choppers and rain down rockets or call in an artillery strike on potty-mouthed teenagers online?
1UP.COM—Garnett: Your PC pals might snicker at Battlefield on a console, but after seeing it, they’ll be on the couch looking at you with those when’s-it-my-turn eyes. And not just because it gets their favorite multiplayer shooter right. They already know the satisfaction of everyone working together online, doing the job of their chosen soldier class. No, it’s zapping from one team member to another in single player that will have them green. “Hot-swapping” to the class for whatever job is at hand is a great option, although you need line of sight to swap and can’t just pick whoever. Also, the A.I. is occasionally suspect, but getting a fun solo game in addition to the legendary multiplayer just helps round out the experience.
The One Thing We Miss From the PC Version: Fighter jets When Time Attacks
Good: Chaotic multiplayer battles, hot-swapping in single player
Bad: Needs more online play modes
Battlefield 2’s all-new single-player game isn’t the only feature that developer Dice added to make this series more console friendly. You’ll also unlock challenges—vehicle races, shooting drills, Crazy Taxi–like passenger pick-up modes—that make for fun diversions when you need a little R&R from the shell-shocking war.
You Gotta Try This: Four War-Winning Tactics Based on Advanced Intel From the Game’s Makers...
Pile four troopers into a helo and fly from one control-point flag to the next. Have a guy parachute to each flag. You’ll nab four points in the time it takes the other side to nab two.
Pick a Special Forces soldier and stick C4 onto a speedy vehicle. Drive it straight into a batch of enemies and bail out right before activating the detonator. Serves ’em right.
Death From Above
As a sniper, hop aboard a helo with a friend and have him fly over the tallest building on the map. Parachute onto the building so you can snipe the other team with extreme prejudice.
Slap C4 onto a control point your team has already taken, then go about your business. If the point’s icon flashes white on the map, enemies are trying to take it. Detonate the C4 and get ’em!
The verdicts (out of 10):
Copyright © 2005 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in Electronic Gaming Monthly.