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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

First-Person Shooter

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

DICE

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

April 2006

 

 

- Great online multiplayer game

- "Harmony" between character classes, map size, and use of vehicles

- Sound design creates that sense of "being there"

 

 

- Single-player game is borderline horrendous!

- Flimsy manual with meager information

- If you don't have Live then you will not have much fun

 

 

Review: Battlefield 2: Modern Combat (XB)

Review: Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (360)

Review: Perfect Dark Zero (360)

Review: Quake 4 (360)

 

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Battlefield 2: Modern Combat

Score: 7.9 / 10

 

As a multiplayer game, Battlefield 2: Modern Combat fires almost – almost – on all cylinders.  With its combination of heavy weaponry and truly frightening vehicles; a mix of teamwork and lone wolf tactics, and peppered with nicely balanced soldier classes the game succeeds at being the most addictive multiplayer game since the original Counter-Strike.  It’s almost enough to make one forget the messy single-player campaign.

 

battlefield 2 modern combat          battlefield 2 modern combat

 

Battlefield 2: Modern Combat’s multiplayer consists of two modes: Conquest and Capture the Flag.  The latter sticks to convention and doesn’t offer any wrinkles to the basic Capture the Flag.  Conquest mode isn’t much of a change-up from similar mode first-person shooters have offered over the last many years – your team captures and controls strategic points on the map.  The anemic two modes is a bit of a letdown but the trade off is that the developers could concentrate on designing interesting maps that could have been pulled from real-world locations.

 

The maps are huge and filled with tons of different architecture (which can be used for cover or setup ambushes) and environmental conditions.  Among others, battles are waged at a dock yard, a flooded town, at the site of a plane crash, a desert town, and an oil refinery that offers one of the most aggravating chokepoints ever.  On the larger maps the use of vehicles is almost mandatory if you want to dominate the opposition.  You have access to land, sea and sky with Battlefield 2’s assortment of boats, track and wheel vehicles (including snow mobiles) and helicopters, all of which can seat at least one other player to act as a gunner or spotter.  The developers managed to strike a balance between confined and open spaces with each map and the vehicles never feel out of place.

 

To balance the soldier five solider classes, the developers haven’t deviated far from the standard established with the famous Quake mod, Team Fortress Classic.  There’s the speedy Special Ops class, which features silenced weapons, a remote mine, and a knife for those silent kills; the Support class puts a massive machine gun in your hands and the ability to call in artillery strikes over a wide area as well as the ability to heal friendly units; the Engineer totes a shotgun, a trio of landmines, the ever-useful rocket launcher and the ability to repair damaged vehicles.  There is also the annoying-as-hell Sniper class (complete with smoke grenades) and the old standby Assault class.  While most of the multiplayer games I played featured a varied force on both sides slugging it out, there were still a few 

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problems regarding Snipe Stock-Up (my own term, where one team consists almost entirely of snipers shooting at each other from a mile away).  Even better, 90% of my play time had at least 16 people playing on a map.  It makes for an enjoyable fast-paced experience, especially when you have a team actually communicating (via your headset) and making a coordinated effort against the opposition.

 

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While the multiplayer game is “so awesome” the heavily scripted single-player game is a poor example of the genre.  As far as I can tell, its purpose is to familiarize players with the various soldier classes and their uses it was nothing more than a source of aggravation.  Your squad is dropped into various hot spots to perform some seemingly-random mission – there is a story to go along with it, but it’s not worth following – where you wind up controlling the whole squad via a sort of “body jacking” where you can leap into the body of whatever friendly unit you have in your sights. (The transition from soldier to soldier is neat but it can also disorient you.)  The problem here is that unless you’re in direct control of a soldier they will continually do boneheaded moves like ducking directly into fire or taking shelter behind boxes that are clearly marked “Explosives.”  Saying they’re morons, is an insult to real morons.  It necessitates a lot of repetition as you figure out where the scripted attacks are coming from so you be in control of the right soldier at the right time to squeak through an encounter.  It’s aggravating as all hell and only fun for about ten minutes.  The single-player game’s goal of familiarizing the player with the soldier classes is a failure since just muddling with different classes during multiplayer net the same result and is way more fun.

 

battlefield 2 modern combat          battlefield 2 modern combat

 

My one other major gripe is the threadbare manual.  I know it probably costs money to produce a really thick manual, but EA seems to have gone out of their way to create the slimmest manuals I’ve ever seen.  Instead of a look at the multiplayer maps, detailed breakdown of the various vehicles, etc. there’s just enough information to get you started.  Give me more meat!

 

Fault has been found with the presentation by some, but I’m probably not one of them.  Battlefield 2 runs at a very good clip and the lighting, weapon effects, and whatnot have received a solid upgrade from the Xbox and PS2 versions.  The sound design is also very good but you’ll definitely want to play the game with a decent 5.1 Surround setup because it can mean the difference between staying alive and constantly having to respawn.  But pay some courtesy to your neighbours – turn down the volume otherwise they may think they’re under attack.

 

There’s no faulting the control either, though it did take me a while to become accustomed to selecting my weapons by holding down the right button and flicking the right thumbstick.  Because of the limited number of available weapons it doesn’t take long to learn.

 

Battlefield 2: Modern Combat is definitely staying in rotation on my 360.  Not for the single-player but for the multiplayer, which I continue to enjoy, playing just one more match until the wee hours of the morning.

 

- Omni

(April 28, 2006)

 

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