Battlefield 2: Modern Combat (360)
Suit up marine, you're going back into the battlefield!
Preview by (Email)
April 5th 2006
We only mention the inability to remap controls because the current layout is among the worst we've ever had the misfortune of using. We're not sure who thought that using two shoulder buttons for the functions of ducking, jumping, and going prone was a good idea... but we have some thoughts about what we'd like to say to the person who did.
It's a testament to how addictive and fun the multiplayer experience is in Battlefield 2: Modern Combat that we continued to play late into night despite our issues with the control layout. Although we must ask: Why not make the reload button X like Halo 2? We promise not to hold it against you. That's all we have say about controls, but if we had one final thought we'd love to share it would be that Perfect Dark Zero's left-trigger analog zoom system was great.
The demo features only one map, "A Bridge Too Far," but thankfully the map gives all classes and vehicles a chance to shine. Helicopters dance in the sky while raining down missiles while tanks roll across the only functioning bridge in a battle for supremacy. Wide open spaces and tall buildings offer snipers a field day, but we have yet to find anything unbalanced in the gameplay.
Graphically Battlefield 2: Modern Combat shines on high-def widescreen displays. We noticed a lot of disappointed-sounding posts on message boards after the demo went live, and to be honest we can't quite understand why. The soft hazy war torn appearance of the game combined with the unique art style seems to belittle how much better the 360 version looks over the Xbox version.
More important to us than texture size was the rock-solid framerate apparent even in this pre-release demo. Even with artillery barrages raining down and bullets flying all over the action remained smooth. Especially appealing were the smoke effects produced by the assault classes' concealment grenades.
Our ears were first blasted by the in-game announcer who apparently has no hearing left, and then let down by the rather wimpy gun-firing sound effects. While distant gunfire rings out with all the pop and clarity of something on CNN the killing device in our hands barely coughed when pressed into service. If this is what guns sound like then why do people bother to wear ear-protection?
Finally, there are a few bugs we ran across that we hope find their way out of the final version: tanks sometimes stop dead in their tracks and refuse to respond to the controller, sniper fire sometimes has tracers (which we like) but often not, and movement on the ground as a soldier is a touch too floaty.
We're looking forward to the release of Battlefield 2: Modern Combat on April 11th with anticipation now, and we're hopeful that companies like Electronic Arts realize the power of a good pre-release demo to spur interest/sales. Until then we'll be saving the world one arcade-styled war at a time.