Battlefield 2 is the sequel to Battlefield 1942 and Battlefield Vietnam. It is set in the present day with battles between America and Iraq, and America and China. Much of its gameplay and style has been directly lifted from the hugely popular Desert Storm expansion for Battlefield, which turned Battlefield 1942 into modern downtown iraq. But the game makes new ground in teamplay combat with squads and squad commanders, and it is done decently enough that it actually works online.
Compared to Battlefield 1942, the combat runs a lot smoother and you will find you spend most of your time in the thick of battle. Grabbing a vehicle is very easy even on a 64 player server, and once you learn to pilot the helicopters and planes you tend to find you are in battle all the time. Unlike 1942, individuals on foot have been made a bit stronger and have a greater variety of weapons to use against vehicles which makes the game more about what you can do than your relative advantage by vehicle.
Piloting the helicopters and planes is far easier than Desert Storm. Helicopters do not behave like real helicopters at all, they float if you leave them and they are fairly hard to topple. This is a solid game decision, you went to be playing online not learning how to pilot the vehicles all the time, and although someone who has mastered a vehicle should have an advantage the game is supposed to be about teamplay.
Squads and commanders have been done very well. To keep you working together you can spawn with your squad leader, and all communications are to your squad only. The squad leader then communicates with the commander who can see everything on the Battlefield and can issue orders to the squad leaders (that they can either pass on to their squad or ignore). I haven’t yet been able to play as a commander because I don’t have a high enough rank yet.
One problem with the system is that commanders have too much power. They can call in artillery strikes and can drop supply crates and order UAV (a scan that shows enemy units). To stop this there is supposed to be a mutiny system, but as with any online vote people either don’t see it or don’t vote to mutiny even if the commander is doing a really shocking job. They need to make a mutiny fairly easy to keep the commander working hard.
The maps themselves are amazing. One sees you playing among bamboo and in shallow water in China. Another is a missile silo in China. One of my favourites is in an Iraqi city, and there is red mist everywhere. The Iraqi’s start holding 7 of the 8 points, but the Americans can catch boats and drive them anywhere in the city.
According to online forums the game is very buggy, and it does take decent system spec to run properly. The server browser is an absolute abomination, and only through a set of work arounds have I been able to use it. Finally EA have not been updating the stats in realtime because of the high demand, and yet still they did not delay the Europe launch (the mighty $). Finally, servers lag a lot, and its not my connection you see it happen to everyone. All the issues in 64 player servers have not yet been worked out.
A solid sequel to what I thought was one of the most overlooked games, Battlefield 1942. New squad teamplay will definately appear in other games and it has set the standard for how 64v64 or larger battles will occur in the future. 4 leamas.