It may not be the newest release on the market, but Battlefield 2 is one seriously hot game and as more expansion packs are in the pipeline it’s set to continue to be one of the most popular online games out there. Essentially a follow up to the tremendously successful Battlefield: 1942 and Battlefield: Vietnam, Battlefield 2 is a modern combat simulation designed for co-operative online play. You pick a side, a map and a weapons class, and then you head out into an unpredictable and unscripted war zone full of equally ambitious and bloodthirsty armchair soldiers as yourself. Your mission, and you have no choice but to accept it: capture several strategic points on the map, each indicated by a flag and surrounded by angry enemy soldiers who want your flagpoints just as much.
What weapons class you choose can have a big impact on the way you play the game. In the original, unmodified game, there are seven: anti-tank, assault, engineer, medic, sniper, special ops and support. If you have a bazooka you are invaluable to your team when that APC or tank comes rumbling over the horizon, but your weedy little machinegun makes you a liability in a fire fight. Assault infantry are well armed but poorly armoured, the engineer and medics fix vehicles and people respectively, the sniper obviously snipes, special ops deliver powerful packs of C4 explosives and the support role basically means you carry around a lot of ammo and a ridiculously overpowered machinegun that hits nothing but scares the bejeezus out of everyone nearby. In addition, you can apply to be ‘Commander’ of your squad, which gives you option of using things like unmanned aerial vehicles, satellite scans and heavy artillery strikes for the benefit of the grunts on the front lines.
Once you get to grips with the various classes and weapons available to you, your next step is probably going to be to play around with the military hardware that is liberally scattered throughout the playing areas. Anyone can jump into anything, be it an enemy helicopter or a friendly jeep, and attempt to raise some vehicular hell. Be warned, though, handling some of the more impressive machinery (particularly the aircraft) is trickier than waxing an angry tiger in heat – so chances are your early forays into military aviation will simply make you deeply unpopular amongst your team mates. Don’t worry, though, someone always has to be “that guy” who drops the 500 pound bomb on his team’s victory flag – just call it a tribute to the American Airforce.
In conclusion: if you used to play with toy soldiers and/or simply love the smell of napalm in the morning, Battlefield 2 is the online gaming experience for all your adrenaline junky needs. This isn’t Doom, so forget about running around dungeons at 50 miles per hour, shooting up supernatural entities and aliens with ray guns. Battlefield depicts modern combat, pure and unadulterated military pornography in every respect. And just like regular pornography, you don’t have to be pro-war to suspend your disbelief and revel in the fantasy of being there and doing that. Repeatedly. GHJ