Second release in the excellent war-strategy game series
Windows Vista / Windows XP
Battlefield 2, a first-person shooter game developed by DICE, allows players to take control of a solider of either the United States, the People's Republic of China or the fictitious Middle Eastern Coalition. Using a vast array of weapons, vehicles and military tactics, players enter at the height of a mysterious new world war as these three factions fight for control of the world's dwindling oil reserves.
As with previous installments in the franchise, Battlefield 2 offers more than a dozen maps for multiplayer matches with a selection of different modes. Improved from the past is the implementation of a squad system that allows up to six players to get together in a single match and organize in a way that makes matches more strategic and less about having fun. Using voice support, unit leaders can command their other five officers to relay information on the battlefield, revolutionizing the soldier experience unlike previous games.
With seven weapon kits available to their character, players can build a sense of identity using a set of weapons and abilities that revolves around their method of playing. If you prefer playing as a grenadier, then stock up on RPGs and light machine guns. If stealth is more to your mood, there are a collection of pistols and sniper rifles that allow you to sneak up on the enemy and eliminate them without detection. Medics and support can heal and leave health packs and ammunition around the battlefield when war gets hectic. This focus on choice based on the player's method of reaching an objective deepens the immersion during game play. A robust soundtrack and masterfully recorded sound effects don't hurt, either.
All isn't perfect with Battlefield 2, however. Issues with finding matches can test anyone's patience, almost as much as the load screen between play time. Although customization of keys is allowed, the option to do so is hidden beneath pages of options with no direction to even look there to accommodate the game to the player. Squad selection is another area that was overlooked; players can forgo signing on to a squad when entering the battlefield, potentially throwing the team dynamic completely off.
These minor issues aside, Battlefield 2 provides an experience worthy of the name and even surpasses it by offering a collection of improvements that make it an experience that stands proudly on its own.
-Chain of command within squads
-Designated kits and special abilities
-Vehicle variety and handling
-Map variety for different-sized matches
-Squad assignments aren't automated
-Unclear marking on maps in Commander Mode