Battlefield 1942. The game came along and changed online squad-based first person shooters. No longer were flags to capture and lots of weapons enough to make a hit online shooter; the addition of the fifty-plus vehicles and the easy communication setup made Battlefield 1942 a landmark title. Now, years later it’s true successor has arrived. Pulling the series from the historical settings of World War 2 and Vietnam, now you set out on the war against terror using all that the modern military might can provide. Is it the ultimate FPS? Well, that depends on what you want.
Online, this game has few peers, if any. The communication rose brought up by a keystroke allows for those without the highly-touted voice-based communication to stay in touch with their peers. One of the most simple, and yet most important features is the ‘Spotted’ message. In shooters past, someone could alert you that they found an enemy tank, but you had little idea where. Now, once a unit has been ‘spotted’ though the communication rose, it appears on everyone’s map for a short while. This is a blessing to help with defensive maneuvers and planning assaults.
One of the most talked-about features is the Commander mode. Personally, I feel it is greatly over-rated. Over the hours I’ve played the game, I’ve yet to see an artillery strike make much of difference, if any. They’re simply too erratic and the target units move too much. A pair of tanks once camped around a flag and my commander ordered an artillery strike on the flag to soften things up. Lo and behold, when the dust cleared the tanks were untouched. The UAV probe is more actively useful, letting your entire army see where all of the enemy units are in a given area.
Now, I said that this game was a near-perfect online shooter. On the other hand, it butchers the single player experience greatly. BF1942 didn’t have allot of options for setting a bot-match up, but BF2 has absolutely zero. Also, you are restricted to the smallest maps only, which completely ruins any kind of epic feel. Also, you almost never see any form of aircraft due to the small map sizes, maybe one chopper per side. EA and Dice should be strung up and beat for this; the heart and soul of the Battlefield series is in the online market, but to neglect the single player mode so badly is a slap in the face of the consumer.
My recommendation – play Unreal Tournament 2004 instead. The Onslaught maps include vehicles to rampage in, the multiplayer community rocks, the bots are competent, and the single player mode is just as varied as the multiplayer mode, with all of the options. Plus, I believe it’s now ten dollars cheaper then BF2. Don’t get me wrong, Battlefield 2 is a great game. It’s just that some of the features seem so flawed and tattered that the experience comes off as half-hearted. Hopefully a patch someday will fix this problem, but I say not to hold your breath for it.