Battlefield 2: Modern Combat

I'm not entirely certain if I've become jaded. Like most gamers, after years of playing the latest and greatest titles, I've built up some expectations on the sort of feel and groove I'd like to get from most games. Sometimes this means I'm a really good judge of character, but sometimes it means I'm just a cynical old man who doesn't like anything different. To put it another way, I liked Halo 2, I liked Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, but I did not like Battlefield 2. One of the latest Xbox 360 titles, and many months behind the PS2 and Xbox releases of this title, Battlefield presents a frenetic, rushed, and strangely chaotic environment, without any of the outstanding gameplay that should accompany it.

To begin with, we've got a stock standard shooter, different from the norm in really only two ways. One, you've got a lot more control over your character's movement than normal, particularly the ability to crouch and go prone much quicker and easier than in most titles. That's kinda helpful in a firefight when you need to get out of the way of incoming fire. Second, and in my opinion this was the most interesting feature, you can hot swap between different soldiers on the field of battle. You can be gunning away one second as a rifleman, then jump into a tank for some vehicle on vehicle action, and then round it out with a rocket launcher as you use a heavy weapons expert to take down an enemy chopper. Finally, the weaponry is more realistic in that it doesn't take much to kill an enemy soldier. That said, there was a sad lack of good tactics on the part of the enemy, resulting in combats where I killed a lot of enemies really easily, while they ran around and managed to kill my teammates with similar efficiency.

This all changes when you go online. Playing this game with a team against other people is a blast. Many of the game's problems seem to vanish entirely when you're facing a real opponent that can do just as good a job as you can. Plus, there's a huge range of calculated statistics that help you put your foot on the online scoreboards, even if you're playing single player, so there's that additional kudo.

Visually, although I appreciated the work on art direction in this game, I found the game's presentation to be chaotic and hard to filter. In most of the levels I found myself hunting around for enemies that blended in with the game background pretty damn well, leading to some of the more confusing firefights I've ever been in. One nice note for the audio is that there's an army talk option, I presume to enable and disable dialogue you'd hear in actual combat, but beyond that the game was forgettable. I think Dale Dye had a role as a voice actor there somehow, and that at least is a plus.

Mostly, this game is just another semi-realistic FPS. I'd say it only stands out as being an Xbox 360 title, and even then it's following late on the heels of the previous-gen releases. If you don't play on Xbox Live, steer clear, this game just isn't worth the cost.

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