Battlefield 1942: Road to Rome
I guess this is going to be one of the easiest reviews to write, an add-on of a very succesfull game. First of all, I feel compelled to give some background information. The original Battlefield 1942 was one of the most highly anticipated games of 2002, promising loads of drivable vehicles (tanks, jeeps, artillery,… ), several flyable airplanes and 5 classes of soldiers to chose from. And if that wasn’t enough, add the very best top-notch state-of-the-art WWII multiplayer fun. Those of you who played the game already know its many strongpoints … and its (few) weaknessess.
A couple of days before sending the Battlefield 1942: Road to Rome add-on to the shelves, Electronic Arts released the 1.3 patch resolving most of the networking problems the game suffered from. So it seemed rather strange that whilst installing Road to Rome, it upgraded to the 1.25 patch. But let’s not get our panties in a bunch. What does Road to Rome have to offer? Why should we all buy the add-on instead of playing one of the succesful mods?
Let’s start of with what’s new in the game:
•6 brand-new campaigns, exclusively focused on the Italian and Sicilian battles of WWII,
•2 new armies, the Italian and the Free-French,
•8 new vehicles to race and fly around with (German BF-110 and the British Mosquito twin-engine fighter bomber,
•a couple new handguns: the British Sten SMG, the Italian Breda rifle and bayonets on the rifles (very handy if you’re a engineer in a close-combat situation).
When playing, one notices that all maps have unique possibilities: Monte Cassino is a ‘rush’-map where each man on either side has to literally run for his life. Salerno on the other hand is a map with a very strategically placed hill. Once you capture the hill, you more or less control the map… but for those irritating pilots who parachute in and slit your throat. After a couple of hours play, it strikes you how well-balanced the maps are designed, when the teams are balanced of course. Great work by the developers! Another thing is that the maps are of an even higher quality than the originals were.
Take my favorite map Husky, for instance. The Allies land on the beach whilst the Italians control strategic points inland. The Allied forces suffer hard from the Axis artillery, but once they get the first flag, they get to keep it, giving them a more or less safe environment to spawn. If the Allied forces play their cards right, they can quickly overrun the first three Axis strongholds. But then the shit hits the fan and good teamwork is essential to cap the two remaining flags. Meanwhile, the Axis parachute in behind you, capping the first Allied base. Well balanced and at times very frustrating.
As far as the new vehicles are concerned there are some nice new features. The most important feature is that the machine gun operator is far less vulnerable now than before. This is because of the steel protection plates around the gunner. Yet the gameplay remains very well balanced, because these vehicles have slightly less armor now, and are thus more easily damaged by grenades.
The graphics of Road to Rome are basically the same as the original Battlefield 1942: very high quality, but at the same time demanding on your hardware. Much the same goes for the sound, it stays the same with very enjoyable, succulent tankengine-sounds. Unfortunatly, something went wrong with the 1.3 patch and some configurations could result in a poor sound quality. Check out the official forums to take care of that.
In conclusion, should you buy Road to Rome? We believe you have to! The new maps are more fun to play then the ‘old’ ones and the new vehicles encourage cooperative gameplay. The overal quality of the game is not only equaled, but it’s increased. But most importantly, Road to Rome is –like its predecessor Battlefield 1942- one of the best internet / Lan games ever. Why it’s just great to play on LAN’s and the Internet and yell profanities at your adversaries! Just make sure there are enough of you playing, because the maps are huge!