Battlefield 2 E3 2005 Hands-On

E3 continued to taunt us with the excellent Battlefield 2, but at least this time we got to play it.

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We have only one thing to say to EA after playing Battlefield 2 at the show: Ship it already! We saw the game a few weeks ago at EA's pre-E3 event, and it looked amazing. Well, it's just as amazing to play. All the problems we encountered during play sessions earlier this year, such as poor frame rate, are history, as EA and developer DICE have stomped out the bugs and optimized the code. What's left is a killer-looking Battlefield sequel with a host of cool new features, such as the commander mode.

Here are some observations that we had. Even though we were playing with other E3 attendees who had no prior experience with the game, it's clear that anyone who's played Battlefield 1942 or Battlefield Vietnam can jump in the game with ease. The trick is to master the team tactics and commander controls, the same ones that let a well-coordinated team steamroll a random collection of players. The helicopter controls are still going to drive novices crazy, and we promptly flew a Hind attack helicopter sideways and into the ground. Mercifully, we managed to get out in time, and the chopper didn't explode. It was fun to then see another player jump in and take off, only to lawn-dart it right into the ground. He exploded. So, once again, helicopters are going to be the domain of the chopper pilots.

The game looks beautiful, and the graphics engine delivers a world that's on par with that seen in Half-Life 2. But it's even more amazing since the levels are so much larger with so many players going around and doing different things. You are going to have so much fun with this game. We lost count of the number of times someone ran over an infantryman or how the rag-doll physics made bodies flop to the ground in fun ways. We saw a helicopter flying just a few feet above a tank that was rolling down the highway, kicking up the dust. It was just so cinematic to look up and see the silhouette of the chopper dominating the sky. We could go on, but you get the point. This game is going to be awesome, and EA will ship it this summer. Just hurry up with it, EA.

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