Battlefield ? Available ? OMG ! These were my first 3 words when I heard Battlefield 1942 was actually available. 10 minutes, an overrun granny and a pushed away kid later I had it in my possession, an evil Mr. Burns grin while uttering the word *excellent* was the only thing I could express at that moment. I installed the game, (2cd’s), decided not to install Gamespy because I use the All-seeing eye and ran it. A quick menu where I could choose: play, set up server and upgrade was the first thing I saw. “Okay” I thought “Let’s upgrade”. It started something but eventually didn’t really do anything (could be my ISP though, never know. So I downloaded the 1.1 patch manually). I saw the small intro which basically shows everything you can do in this game: fly with airplanes, drive tanks across the landscape, have a little trip with the submarine etc… For those who haven’t heard of Battlefield yet: it is situated during World War 2, you choose either the side of the axis or the allies and battle the other team on large maps with everything you can get your hands on, the options are tremendous, you can basically drive, fly, sail any vehicle in the game, and to make the it all a bit more variable you can choose from 5 classes: scout (sniper), Assault (standard soldier), Engineer (can fix and blow up things), Anti-tank (has a rocketlauncher) and medic (heals others), every class has its own (dis)advantages, so you’ll have to learn to play with them in an appropriate way.
While you have a lot of freedom in the game, the gamemodes don’t give that much variety: you have conquest (which is divided into “head-on” and “assault”), co-op (basically the same as conquest but with bots), Capture The Flag (same as conquest but you also have to capture the enemy’s flag and bring it to your base), and deathmatch (just fragging the other team). This might look boring but it isn’t! You need to control the areas in order to be able to spawn when you die, when you loose an area you won’t be able to spawn.
– head-on: To win: try to capture more than the half of the map
– assault: To win you must capture the whole map
The game itself
I played the Battlefield MP demo a lot (on a lan, internet) and I never had so much fun with a multiplayer game as with this one, you can expect shouting like “Who’s the bastard that crashed with his airplane into my jeep?” just to see that the guy at the other side of the table has an evil grin on his face. Although this game is made for multiplayer, I decided to give the singleplayer a shot (just you and the bots). I noticed that you can decide how much “cpu time” you want to give the cpu and how intelligent you want them to be, I just used standard settings, took the Allies’ side and loaded the first mission. Somewhere in North Africa the German forces where advancing and you have to stop them, okay, that’s do-able. I noticed the cpu around me going straight into battle, fighting each other as if they could really eat each other’s heart out.. I jumped into a plane, bombed some tanks and then jumped out of it (with my parachute) to end up behind enemy lines, there I captured a tank and began my back stabbing manoeuvre 😉 . The AI of the cpu is not bad, not bad at all, but I noticed some glitches, sometimes they didn’t shot me, even when I was literally mooning in front of them, I guess they were too busy concentrating on shooting the others or they needed more “cpu time “ for more advanced manoeuvres 😉 . After the first mission I decided to quit the desert and go for some online massacre, the first thing I noticed were a lot of high ping servers, hmmm, could this be the result of the lack of a linux server? Anyway, I took a server where I had 130 ping and launched it. EA games got rid of a lot of bugs since the demo, but their netcode still isn’t that optimal, but oh boy let that not spoil the fun ! Screaming teammates, crashing planes, exploding tanks, the game really makes you feel that you’re in a war. Especially when you try to land on the beach with a carrier packed with teammates while the enemy is bombing you with big turrets and the water splashes up right next to you.. It almost feels as if you’re in there! The only thing the game lacks is perhaps the ability for voice communication, back to Teamsound I guess. But you have on top of your screen a lot of options to shout out “radio commands” which makes the teamplay a lot easier.
Graphics and sound
I can say one thing about the graphics: they are veeeery nice, and you really don’t need a high end system to run it smoothly on your screen, I play at the moment with a resolution of 1024*768 (16 bits colours, 32 was too heavy) and almost every detail setting is on. Which is pretty nice for my old “rust bucket”. The sound is also pretty well done, no complaining there. A detail which I also appreciate is that every side talks in his own language: the Japanese yelling “kuso” when getting hit, the Russians yelling “Davai davai!” when advancing and the Germans their “scheisse” is also present ;).
Battlefield is in my opinion the game that will do it all. The whole lot of vehicles are pretty easy to control and the setting has been done very well too. I think that this game mixes the best things from Tribes, TFC and mohaa into a juicy pinã colada along with Germans, gameplay and fun. The only downside perhaps is the somewhat buggy netcode and the fact that the singleplayer is nothing more than the multiplayer but just with bots only, maybe they could have made it a bit better by adding a small storyline or something, but of course the game is multiplayer minded so I can’t really count this as a minus. Oh wait I found another one 😉 ! The anti-tank guy’s weapon may a little tweaking: yesterday, I fired 2 rockets near a guy, only to see he’s still alive !
To end with: this will be a game I’ll keep on playing for quite a while, along with warcraft 3 😉