My first impression was "wow". This is a game that has had a lot of TLC behind it and right from the outset you can tell DICE went the extra mile on this one. Just looking at the menus you can tell that almost everything has been thought of with this game. It was like they sat down, read everyone's email about how things could be improved in Vietnam and did it. You will find control settings for EVERY type of vehicle meaning that your helicopter controls can be different to your plane controls etc and this is very useful especially because once again EA just have not been able to put a decent chopper engine in the game.
Once you get in the game it's time to check it out and if you feel a sense of deja vu here, it's because you've played the 1942 demo. The map is very much like one of the 1942 maps and close to the original demo as well with an aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean flying planes and troops into battle while another defends. It worked with 1942 and it works once again with BF 2 although perhaps not as well. The balance of the map seems ok with both the USMC and MEC winning games I've seen but there are also games where they are just driven back to their base and can't get out, although that's probably because everyone's new to the game.
The weaponry and classes
The game has multiple classes to choose from this time and they are ignorantly different from each other. One thing which puzzles me right now is the lack of power for special forces units in terms of firepower. It seems easy for a soldier to take out an ops unit but not easy for a special ops unit to get a soldier. There are tank busters, medics, snipers, assault, engineers and support classes to choose from and in the ultimate game everyone would have a task and perform it.
Medics have the opportunity to heal you if you're not critically wounded and this is determined by where you are hit. This system seems to work well although I am yet to see someone use this successfully.
Moving the game to modern technology has made far more complex but also offers a lot of cool things to try out. We were stunned to see the secondary fire of a helicopter is a heat seeking missile where you follow and control the missile with the controls, complete with black and white camera vision. Also DICE have added more viewpoints to the vehicles to make them easier to control such as the plane which now has a simulation style HUD. External views are still available but internal is far more useful for BF2. In terms of new craft there's not much, just updated things. There is nothing which changes the game as much as the helicopters did in Vietnam for instance.
Yes it's once again crucial to victory but DICE has made this a bit easier by being able to group yourselves into squadrons mid game with the capslock key. This is quite cool and seems like a "clan for a day" style system where you can talk to each other via the in game microphone technology.
Overall first impressions
Battlefield 2 seems to have improved upon everyone didn't like about Vietnam and 1942. It's the true sequel to the game that fast became huge and DICE really has gone the extra mile it seems with this demo. While it's only first impressions and only a demo, DICE and EA seem to be on to yet another winner.
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