|Battlefield 2: Modern Combat (2005)
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Available for: Xbox 360, Xbox, PlayStation 2
UPDATE: Electronic Arts' latest update of the Xbox Live favorite goes a long way for fans, with brand new next-generation graphics built from the ground up, additional maps, and four new vehicles including a kick-ass snowmobile with machine guns mounted on the front. Case in point: If this game could've gotten any better, it just did.
Let’s face it, the First-Person Shooter (FPS) is probably the most popular video game genre in the industry, and when done right, can be an enjoyable experience for just about anyone old enough to pick up a controller. The recent success of FPS franchises like “Halo” and “Brothers in Arms” has resulted in a flood of new games making their way on to the home console, including Electronic Arts’ latest, “Battlefield 2: Modern Combat.” A slight variation on the much buzzed PC version, simply titled “Battlefield 2,” the new console adaptation of the bestseller is perhaps one of the best games of the year.
Offering two modes of competition (a single-player campaign and multiplayer online), “Modern Combat” delivers the ultimate war experience, thanks mostly to its easy-to-learn controls and realistic gameplay. The single-player campaign mode is a new addition to the series (not available in the PC format), and so it’s probably not as polished as the rest of the game. Following a very Hollywood plot that surrounds a civil unrest in the Soviet state of Kazakhstan, a US-led special forces unit is brought in to calm the storm, but the Chinese government – which stands to be affected much more than the Western powers - has also sent in troops of their own. The player switches back and forth between both armies throughout the course of the campaign.
The most unique aspect of the campaign mode in “Modern Combat” is that the gameplay structure is completely different from any other war-themed FPS on the market, and instead of playing as one commander in charge of giving orders to the other men in his platoon, the player can experience the mission at hand through the eyes of nearly every solider on your side of the battle. This can be achieved through a feature called hotswapping, which allows the player to adjust which soldier he’s currently controlling by pressing the “Y” button. This makes a lot of the missions a lot more enjoyable to play, as not only will you be in charge of things like sniping, but many others as well.
Though despite the mild allure of the single-player campaign, it should merely be used as an introduction to the game. The multiplayer mode is all that really matters when picking up this game to play, and if you haven’t yet immersed yourself in the world of Xbox Live, you’ll definitely want to sign up so that you can benefit from the real joy of “Modern Combat.” Allowing up to 24 players to battle online across a decent selection of maps, the multiplayer mode is the most fun you’ll have behind a controller all year, whether it’s wreaking havoc in a military helicopter, blowing shit up from the inside of an armored tank, or clandestinely sniping your buddy in the back – and don’t say you never did.
Because the single-player campaign is a little lacking in originality, “Battlefield 2: Modern Combat” is a hard sell to anyone not willing to lay down the cake for an Xbox Live membership, but at under six bucks a month, it’s hard to say no, especially considering you can utilize said membership for as many different games as you want – unlike the PS2 and PC. And trust me, if someone who hates these types of games can lock himself in his room for hours on end playing it, then it's well worth the investment.