XBOX REVIEW: BATTLEFIELD 2: MODERN COMBAT

Battlefield 2: Modern Combat is a darn good sequel to the PC version of Battlefield 1942. It's got some new features but it's still sporting a high octane shooter under the hood.

Experience the next World War as it takes place in the Middle East where the future meets the past. High tech and ancient weapons clash for ultimate control of the planet. But this war must be fought one arena at a time.

Online play has been Battlefield's strongest feature up until now. In this version the single player mode rivals the online mode. There will be those that think they might prefer one mode over the other but you've got to give them both an honest try. They have some distinct differences, offering more variety with different gameplay options.

The single-player mode has a great story with an open-ended style of gameplay that includes missions such as escort, rescue, infiltrate and recon. There are more than 70 weapons including assault rifles, shotguns, machineguns and a variety of explosives.

Your teammates will follow you into battle. With more than 30 different vehicles you can traverse land, sea and air. The vehicles are relatively easy to control but they do have some sim elements in that you can't take on an entire army with one tank. The single-player mode stresses teamwork, much more so than the multi-player, free-for-all. The vehicles have a good sense of weight to them and their aiming capabilities are all relatively good. Expect tanks, jeeps, trucks, choppers, jets, bombers and speedboats.

You can upgrade your weapons and ranks by doing well in the game, as it records your progress and rewards you for jobs well done. Points can also be amassed by performing various training exercises in the form of mini-games. The AI is very aggressive at the expense of being tactical so you'll find yourself in the middle of action continuously.

One of the most interesting features of the single-player mode is the ability to switch among any characters in your unit. This shift from a primary character lets you feel more like a general commanding a unit rather than just seeing the action from one character's perspective. By jumping into various characters you can always be assured that you are where you need to be and as such you can shape the battle to your advantage. It lets you see that the sum of the parts is more important than the individual pieces.

Conquest mode accommodates 24 players online with 13 huge maps. There are tons of weapons and vehicles but with such limited objectives there isn't much call for teamwork. If you manage to get in with the right bunch of online player you might be able to experience even more intricate teamwork than the single-player mode but that's only if you get lucky. The kids I managed to find weren't sophisticated or disciplined enough to understand the need for following orders. If you experience the same thing just keep looking, it will be worth it.

The environments are vast and nicely detailed. They aren't beautiful by any stretch but they get the job done and aren't distracting. The gameplay mechanics are solid with no slowdown or lag. The music is good and fits right in with the onscreen situations. Cutscenes are done very professionally with good voiceacting, although some of the dialog is corny.

There's a lot more to war than just moving about shooting at the enemy. Fortunately Battlefield 2 ignores that fact and gives us action junkies just what we crave.

System: PS2 (shown), X
Dev: D.I.C.E.
Pub: EA
Release: Oct 2005
Players: 1 - 24
Review by StewXX
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
4.0
GRAPHICS
4.5
CONTROL
4.0
MUSIC/FX
4.5
VALUE
4.0