The Battlefield franchise high tech and will take gamers to the frontlines of modern warfare in the new sequel, Battlefield 2. The game will keep many of the features that made Battlefield 1942 such a success but will also try to convey the true experience of modern warfare with enhanced team play and the latest, most technologically advanced vehicles and weapons systems available to man.
In Battlefield 2, players will choose to fight for one of three military superpowers: the United States, the Chinese, or the newly formed Middle East Coalition. Armed with the latest modern weaponry, players can take control of any of the game's 30+ vehicles to engage in major conflicts with over 64 players in some of the largest online battles on the PC. Additionally, persistent character growth allows players to rise through the ranks and attain the ultimate rank of General.
An all-new game engine and physics system brings the modern battlefield to life like never before. The new material penetration feature measures weapons' ability to fire through barriers based on their composition and players will need to know the difference between concealment and cover in order to survive.
You can access a few videos of Battlefield 2 in action by following the download tab above.
Battlefield 2 features immense, richly detailed, destructible environments, from city streets to remote forests, in some of the most notorious hot spots around the world. Each map in Battlefield 2 adjusts in scale to support the number of players in the world, providing the ideal vehicle- to-player ratio and an optimized gameplay experience.
Enhanced team play features allow players to enter the action on the front lines as part of a formal squad, or work behind the scenes in Commander Mode to direct the strategic assaults of their teammates.
Soldier kits now affect vehicles that players utilize on the battlefield. For instance, the medic kit can transform a vehicle into a mobile aid station and the support kit can make helicopters into flying ammo dumps.
- Online multiplayer action with up to 64 players on the PC.
- All-new gameplay engine brings the immense locations to life complete with realistic physics and dynamic lighting.
- Maps scale to the number of players engaging in battle for a unique and intense experience every time.
- Take control of over 30 land, sea, and air vehicles, including tanks, helicopters, hovercraft, fast attack vehicles, and fighter jets.
- Choose to battle as U.S., Chinese, or Middle East Coalition troops, each with their own unique arsenals.
- A variety of solider classes including Assault, Sniper, Special Ops, Combat Engineer, Medic, Heavy Weapons, and Anti-Tank units.
- New state-of-the-art weapon systems, including wire-guided missiles and laser designated bombs.
- Material penetration feature makes sure players know the difference between cover and concealment.
- Character Persistence and Growth. With in-game success, players increase their rank from recruit all the way to General and unlock new weapons, medals, and more.
- Join a squad or select the new Commander Mode to assume the strategic role of a battlefield commander directing his forces.
- Full in-game community support including, buddy lists, stat tracking, live chat rooms, and in-game clan creation.
- Voice over IP supported with headset.
With 3 armies to choose from and with the game focusing heavily on high tech warfare, it becomes clear that the equipment inventory involved will have to be both exhaustive and authentic if the developers are to achieve their goals.
[[Man and Machine]]
Each of the three armies available will offer gamers three basic options, each designed to give the player different strengths and weaknesses. Those options will be Vehicles, Weapons and Kits. Each army will have their own version of each of these options but the main criterion separating the equipment seems to be whether they are US-made or Russian-made.
Aircraft - Fixed Wing
Aircraft are often viewed as the key to military supremacy as control of the skies offers superior firepower and surveillance options. All factions available in the game will offer high tech warcraft and Battlefield 2 will give all players the chance to fly some of the most advanced and sophisticated machines available, including:
F15 Strike Eagle
F18 E/F Super Hornet
Aircraft - Rotary Wing
Helicopters, carrying some of the most advanced technology available to man, are an essential part of any army's defense and attack capability. The increased agility and surveillance capabilities they offer make helicopters important assets in any battlefield situation:
AH-1Z Super Cobra
Land Based Vehicles
Traversing the tricky terrain of the vast maps (4KM) in the game will also be a part of Battlefield 2 and your best ally in such situations will be the vehicle you or your comrade will be driving and the firepower option it will give you:
M1A2 Abrams Tank
M6 Bradley Linebacker
LAV-25 Armored Personnel Carrier
Wessex-Saker FAAV - Desert Patrol Vehicle
M2A3 Bradley IFV
Type 98 Tank
Type 85 Artillery
BTR-90 Armored Personnel Vehicle
Sea Based Warfare Systems
Sea based vehicles offer important solutions in transporting troops and in patrolling large areas for enemy activity:
US Only for now
Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB)
LHD-1 Wasp Class
LHA-1 Tarawa Class
Battlefield 2 has had its engine built from the ground up in order to accommodate the latest development in game graphics, physics and multiplayer support as well as the need for vast real world environments.
Visually the new Battlefield will be immensely more powerful than its predecessors. The world, vehicle etc. detail will be very high and nothing will be sacrificed in multiplayer even when 64 players join in for a skirmish. One of the most attractive features of the Battlefield franchise has always been the scale of the maps and how that adjusts depending on your choice of vehicle or aircraft. The same will be valid for BF 2 and flying high-tech aerplanes at high altitude will give a unique view of the game world as well as the ideal opportunity for highly entertaining high-altitude dogfights.
Another aspect of the new engine will be the powerful dynamic lighting effects while everything will cast the appropriate shadow in the game.
Following the latest trends in game development, DICE has chosen to focus on realistic physics and the new engine will fully support a variety of effects. While the rag doll effects are expected to be impressive and to allow for a few exciting explosions, the physics are not limited to that. One impressive new feature, a version of which we saw in Full Spectrum Warrior, will take into account the material that various features of the world are made off when considering their resistance to bullet penetration. In that way then, a tin fence will not offer a good cover option when under fire while a vehicle may do so but only for a limited time as cover will disintegrate under heavy fire.
The audio is rumored to be turning out to be a very impressive asset to the game. Except for the Doppler, positional, effects every weapon and machine will be accompanied by an authentic sound promising that the maps, at any one time, will be filled with the realistic noise of war.
Vehicles will leave the appropriate tire tracks on soft soil, but since DICE has made it clear that it aims for an arcade type of game, a lot of the damage and relevant mobility problems which accompany it, will not feature in the game. This Arcade Vs Realism issue has become a serious talking point recently for fans of the game who are claiming that there may be problems caused by the contradicting nature of some of the BF 2 features. More on this in the Gameplay and Final Thoughts sections of this preview.
A game which features an era instead of a storyline, as you may expect, depends heavily on gameplay for its success. Much of the allure of the Battlefield series lies in the extremely successful multiplayer mode which, when first introduced changed gamer concept of what multiplayer is all about.
With the introduction of Battlefield, a variety of issues came-up which frustrated gamers (such as spawn camping, and Class balance) but DICE claim that a series of gameplay changes to be implemented Battlefield 2 will address all of those problems.
When starting BF2, players will be greeted by the character class selection screen which will include two brand new kits, the Special Forces and heavy weapons kits. The Special Forces kit is a light class dedicated to close combat and sabotage. The character carries an SMG, C4 and a silenced pistol plus a laser designator. The heavy weapons kit will serve in a support role and will carry a light machine gun and ammo bags that will be used to re-supply teammates in the field while a set of claymore mines will be useful in a defensive capacity.
Other changes to the kits will see medics with defibrillator paddles in order to revive injured teammates while any armored personnel carrier (APC) carrying a medic will immediately be converted into a mobile hospital healing any friendly infantry nearby. In a similar way APCs carrying engineers will repair all nearby vehicles. Other players inside these vehicles can now fire from within them giving them some defensive capabilities as well.
BF 2 will introduce a new chain of command. Each team will now be divided into squads; each made up of about 6 players and led/managed by a squad leader who will answer to the commander. Being a commander will require the right stats and skill level (more about that below) and your performance will be constantly judged as the squad will have a mutiny vote.
Becoming a commander will be the ultimate reward for a good soldier. As you play through the game and begin to increase your kills, heals, repairs etc. your stats will improve and so will your overall rating. These figures will follow you around from server to server, the progress will be reminiscent of what is termed career mode in other games, leading to a commander position as a reward for the better players. In practice, any player will be able to make commander as long as another, better ranked player has not also applied for the position.
Commanders will have some unique resources at their disposal in order to assist them with the important task of guiding their teams to victory. A commander will have a map view of the battlefield and on it all of his/her forces will appear as well as the enemies that have been spotted by his men. As any good commander knows gathering accurate intel will be crucial and to that end a commander will have two very important resources.
A satellite scan giving a brief look at enemy positions all over the map, will relay information only to commanders allowing them to use judgment on how that information is important. Commanders will also be able to send out Spy Drones to reconnoiter specific areas. Information garnered from the drones will immediately become available to all members of the team. Both these resources will not be immediately available once used, so timing will be essential in their use. The use of artillery, another commander specific ability, will also have a similar mode of use so again, timing will be essential in order to avoid tragic friendly fire incidents.
Commanders will also be able to parachute supply crates throughout the map, depending on where they are needed the most. Since commanders will only be able to communicate with squad leaders, they will have to be able to determine where help is needed the most using all battlefield resources at their disposal. A simple description of the thinking behind the hierarchy seems to be that Squad Leaders will win battles and Commanders will win wars.
At the heart of the BF 2 experience will be the squad. From a design standpoint, squad members will be supposed to feel as a closely-knit unit and should blindly obey their leader. In practice this may not end up being the case although victory, or so DICE claims, will come to those who follow the hierarchy. The new Voice Over IP (VOIP) function which will be implemented in Battlefield 2 should make communication between all members of the team simpler. All members of the same squad will be immediately connected to each other via the new service thus eliminating radio noise from other groups while each squad leader will also be able to communicate with the commander.
The Leader of the Pack
Each squad leader will be responsible for relaying the commander's orders and for showing some initiative in tight situations. Commands can be issued through the VOIP system and by the squad leader's on-screen command interface. One, special ability of the squad leader has become quite controversial among fans of the franchise and will allow the leader, under specific conditions (one mentioned is when he rides in a specific vehicle), to act as a mobile spawn point. According to DICE a balance will be achieved since although a squad leader will have a spawn point associated to him, when he is killed, that spawn point is disabled until he respawns. The squad leader himself can only spawn at friendly control points.
Maps in Battlefield 2 range across the scale from wide-open (the Zatar Wetlands) to highly urban (Mashtuur City) to heavily-forested (Songhua Stalemate) providing support for a strong mix of play styles.
In many ways Battlefield 2 exemplifies the everything is changing but still remains the same approach. The weapons and vehicles available may be changing to follow the times but their use will still be very similar to previous games, the map sizes may be changing but access to them and around them will still be the same. This could be a very successful way of approaching an update to a very popular franchise but no one can guarantee that until they game is released.
One detail about the game has to do with the single-player experience and how that will be improved. Initially DICE were very forthcoming with promises of new advanced AI making the single-player experience seem like a Co-Op mode but since then they have become very evasive regarding that aspect of the game. As far as that side of things is concerned most gamers have adopted a let's wait and see approach since single-player is not why BF is so popular.
Mods and the strong community supporting them are the lifeblood of the Battlefield series and, very wisely, DICE has agreed to support them again. A new set of tools for mod creators will aim to make the experience a straightforward one and to allow them to focus on their task rather than on bugs and problems. We can all expect magnificent versions of the game surfacing soon after its release.
Finally we have to address the Arcade Vs Realism issue. While researching this preview we had the chance to read through a variety of EA and DICE interviews and we couldn't help but notice that in every one the interviewees always found a way to state that this or that feature was ...true to the arcade experience we are going for. Most BF fans seem, to put it mildly, concerned about this persistence and the way it seems to contradict the new command structure which DICE has promised for BF 2. We have to accept that a combination of a teamwork based game in which players build careers, much like they might do in an RPG, does not really seem to tie-in with the arcade philosophy.
Although a demo before the game's release might be very helpful in helping fans and gamers to decide if the game is for them, DICE is refusing to comment on its availability.
We will however, refrain from commenting in any negative way about the game until its release. Only then will we able to decide how we feel about it. DICE, after all, has a long-history of producing excellent games so it, clearly, deserves the benefit of the doubt.
The release is another point of contention since DICE has already delayed the project once and is not giving any specific release dates to the community. A likely candidate seems to be June 27, 2005 but all you will get from official lips, if you are lucky, is Battlefield 2's release date is 2nd quarter 2005.