Hippo Manchester
November 10, 2005

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Games: Battlefied 2: Modern Combat (PS2/XBOX)

EA Games

**

Before we begin: Battlefield 2: Modern Combat is NOT a console port of the excellent Battlefield 2, it is a unique and special snowflake for the PS2 and XBOX. If you own a computer and like to wage virtual war go buy Battlefield 2 and most likely, a very, very powerful video card. Thirdly, if you do not have broadband access for your XBOX or PS2 you are wasting $50 on Battlefield 2: Modern Combat.

As is the case with the PC Battlefield series (Battlefield: 1942, BF: Vietnam and BF2) there is only a mere shell of a single-player game here. Which, to itís credit, is simply not what the Battlefield Series is about. These games are about connecting online with 60 other players and finding silly fun and giddy excitement in arcade reenactments of historyís most horrific armed conflicts. Yay for icky moral awkwardness! Yay for the sheer joy of fire bombing a base full of racists who use the anonymity of ďteh InternetsĒ to shoot you in the head and then call you a ďfagĒ! Itís a double-edged sword.

Battelfield 2: Modern Combat makes a number of notable divergences from itís PC brethren. Most interestingly is the concept of hotswapping, which allows you to shift your control and perspective from solider to soldier on the fly. This has quite an intriguing impact as it somehow shifts the player identification into a middle-space between combatant (as in most First Person Shooters) and commander (as would be the case in most strategy games). While you never gain a thorough aerial view of the playspace, your team identity changes, now you are a point of focus on a many limbed beast, as opposed to a fixed coordinator. I applaud Modern Combat for really nailing this idea. Itís a first and they do it well.

Unfortunately, that is Modern Combatís single stellar claim and worse, they donít include it on the multi-player that represents the real meat and potatoes of the title. Yes, the army-on-army shooter is fun, itís chaotic and exciting with teams vacillating between viciously well-oiled machines and a scrambling mess. Either can be a hoot to participate in. Hopping from helicopters onto enemy control points or blasting across the hills in an M1 Abhrams tank are undeniable joys. This Battlefield is even more arcade-y than itís run and gun PC brother. While maybe thatís not so bad to vintage console shooter fans, who will undoubtedly love the massive battles, I just canít help but say that any of the PC versions are simply better, and many of other console shooters have more too offer.

ó Glenn Given