Yours to command.
When Battlefield 1942 was announced, it was clear that another World War II game was on the way. But when we played it, we realized Battlefield 1942 wasn't just another anything, it was the first game of its kind and the proud father of a new genre. Recently at E3, we got to check out the newest addition to the Battlefield family and heir apparent, Battlefield 2. Even though it's the third installment in the series, Battlefield 2 is being billed as the first True Sequel. Guess everybody just wants to forget about Vietnam.
Unlike its historical predecessors, Battlefield 2 is super-modern. As the United States, China, or Middle East Coalition players will duke it out all over the world with new classes, sexy, cutting-edge weaponry, and the most destructive vehicles known to man. But for all its fancy newness, Battlefield 2 doesn't try to fix anything that wasn't broken. Players will still spawn into bases and capture control points while pushing the fight deeper and deeper into enemy territory.
Instead of tweaking with convention, developer DICE added a feature that maintains Battlefield's identity as an online shooter while adding a cool strategic element. In Battlefield 2, one player on each side will assume the role of Commander. These players will have access to a host of tactical abilities plus a real-time, overhead map of the battlefield. Working from this map, Commanders will be able to send predator drones to scout enemy activity in specific locations, set way-points for their troops, and call in artillery strikes or supply drops, like a one-man Santa Claus.
To keep voice-chat channels clear, commanders will only communicate directly with squad leaders, who will relay their commander's orders to squad-mates. Of course, there's no guarantee that random players on your team will listen or obey, and teams that don't feel like mucking with the new features will still be able to play Battlefield 2 as though it were Vietnam or 1942. The difference is that the good teams and clans will attack in orchestrated waves, hit unguarded control points with perfect efficiency and take online warfare to a new tactical level. All your base will belong to them.
Since the Commanders benefit from Battlefield 2's most exciting innovations, everybody will want to be one. This is where persistent character rankings come in. As you play and win you'll gain rankings, and if you are the ranking player on your side you will have first dibs on the Commander option.
Now, if you aren't a natural leader or generally bossy person, you may not want this option. But if you are, you should know that choosing the commander option won't exclude you from kicking ass on the battlefield alongside your mates. Sure, you can pick a nice, comfy spot in the hills and order your troops around from a safe location, but you can also join the fight and command on the fly. Keep in mind though, if you die your team is blinded until you respawn.
But bossy folk aren't the only ones who will benefit from the new Commander class. With the presence of such high profile targets, sniping just became a whole lot more relevant. Patience and great aim weren't necessarily virtues in other Battlefield titles, but in Battlefield 2 you'll be able to make a name for yourself as an assassin, decapitating entire squads with one, well-placed bullet.
Whether you choose to hunt as a grunt, or hide in a cave as a commander, you'll be doing your thing on a perfectly sized map with just the right number of vehicles thanks to a new opti-map feature. Each map in Battlefield 2 will come with 16, 32, and 64 player varieties as well as appropriate vehicle-to-player ratios for each. So instead of worrying about which map would be best for your 21 person battle, you'll be able to pick any one you like, and leave the rest to the game.
Not only will the environments scale somewhat to meet the needs of the players, they'll also deform under the influence of artillery and other powerful weapons. For the first time in a Battlefield game, hidden won't mean safe. Destructible terrain is just one fun facet of Battlefield 2's brand new engine, built from the ground up to make the game look as smart as it plays.
It might seem out of order to name a game Battlefield 2 when there was never a Battlefield 1, especially given the fact that Battlefield 2 is really Battlefield 3. But as far as we're concerned, a Battlefield by any other number is just as sweet, especially if it lets us call in air-strikes on unsuspecting enemy armor. Count on this game to command your full attention this summer.