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November 29, 2005
Battlefield 2: Modern Combat - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
11/11/2005Electronic ArtsDigital Illusions1, 24 Mvariable
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen

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Looking down on the enemy.
It was always an ambitious project. Bringing one of the PC's biggest online games to a console where online gaming really hasn't taken off to the levels many would expect. Battlefield 1942 on the PC was released in September 2002 and earned a solid fan base with up to 64 players battling it out online at a time. Following this Battlefield Vietnam and Battlefield 2 were also released to much critical and commercial acclaim. While this PS2 sounds like a port of the latest PC title, it's not. This is a new game built from the ground up with console gamers in mind. This game still supports online action (albeit for only 24 players) but the developers have spent considerable time in the single player aspect as well. Does this game work on consoles? Read on...

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In the chopper.
When developing this title the developers simply threw out everything from the PC game and started from scratch. Realising that not many PS2 owners players actually play online the developers at Digital Illusions have placed a lot more emphasis on the single player game in Battlefield 2: Modern Combat with a lengthy campaign on offer which sees US forces heading to Kazakhstan to ensure stability in the region, with other countries such as China becoming nervous by their actions. As well as including some great cut scenes and an interesting storyline the developers have used large open maps like those in the multi-player modes, but have included objectives to be completed. These objectives may include destroying a target, performing recon or offering protection.

The game offers a wide range of soldier classes in each of the levels including Assault, Sniper, Special Ops, Combat engineer and Support units. Each of these can be equipped with over 50 different weapons from your basic pistols, sniper rifles and machine guns right up to heat seeking missiles and laser designated bombs. As with the PC game it's also possible to jump into around 30 different land, sea, and air vehicles and tear around the battlefield causing all manner of mayhem. The handling of the vehicles, as with the PC games as well, is good, but not brilliant. Each type of vehicle though serves its purpose. Jeeps are quite nimble and will tear around the levels, but won't sustain a lot of damage while tanks are slow and lumbering but will take a battering. One of the most fun vehicles is the airborne craft such as helicopters. There's nothing quite like flying over a battlefield and letting rip with one of the mounted guns.

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Battle in the desert.
One of the coolest features of the console single player game is the ability to 'hot swap' between characters. By this we mean that you can simply look at any friendly soldier on the battlefield and with the press of a button take over control of them from the CPU. It's pretty nifty and allows you jump around the battlefield to follow the action and take control of pivotal players. If there is something to complain about I guess it would be the CPU player AI. They don't seem to cherish their lives at much at all and often run out into the open or the path of enemy fire before being cut down in quick time. Also slightly annoying is the way in which the game respawns enemies, often almost right on top of your position making the whole battle seem somewhat unfair at times.

So the single player mode is great, but online multi-player also deserves attention. With support for up to 24 players in online modes the developers have included two main game styles. The first is Conquest where you have to capture and hold as much of the map as possible, and the second is Capture the Flag game. Playing the game online is quite impressive with Electronic Arts implementing full clan support, friends lists, voice over IP, and rankings and stat tracking. It's clear that considerable effort has gone into this aspect, much of which has been brought over from the PC version.

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That's the end of him!
Surprisingly though, and despite the fact that this is a massive online title on the PC, this is one area where we expected a bit more then what's on offer in the console version. Sure we get support for up to 24 players in a Conquest and CTF modes which are fantastic, but the multi-player mode only consists of around a dozen maps, which given the length of development time (remember it was delayed for more then a year from its original 2004 date!) is a little disappointing. What's worse is that there's no options which allow for objective styled gameplay like that in the single player mode. Surely this should have also been a focus on development of this game.

The PC game has never really been known for it's graphics which means that the conversion to PS2 looks the part. Indeed the amount of detail in the levels is good, although the texturing could have been a little better in places (then again, how many ways can you texture dirt or sand!). What can't be disputed is the overall look of the game. The battles are intense with players running all over the place, vehicles zooming around and plenty of explosions and objects being destroyed. We were also pretty impressed with the frame rate which holds up fairly well despite the mayhem on screen. In multi-player there can be a bit more stuttering, but that's likely to do with the lag from people’s connections then anything else.

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Tanks are a blast!
As with most Electronic Arts branded titles audio in Battlefield 2: Modern Combat is very impressive. While the music is good what really sets this game alight is the sound effects. Gunshots and explosions will blast out of your speakers as if you were in a real battlefield.

It must be said that bringing this series to PS2 was a major risk. I had my doubts that Electronic Arts and Digital Illusions could pull this off but they have. It's not quite perfect, but if you're after a multi-player action fix due to the lack of SOCOM this year then this will fill the void. If you're not online the single player will also keep you busy for some time. Battlefield 2: Modern Combat is a very good title.

Review By: Dave Warner

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GRAPHICSWhile the levels can be sparse, the number of players impresses.
SOUNDYet again an Electronic Arts title sounds terrific.
GAMEPLAYSingle player mode impresses, multi-player should have been better.
VALUEOnly a dozen multi-player maps is disappoining, lengthy single player.
OVERALLBattlefront 2: Modern Combat has made the move to the PS2 and impresses all the way. If you're an action fan then this game is one to take a look at.

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