Ten dollar sucky-sucky.
We don’t usually review patches. Then again, companies don’t usually charge for them. But it’s summer, which means there aren’t a lot of interesting new games in the office, and EA’s new Battlefield 2: Armored Fury booster pack (read: patch you pay for) is a good excuse to play more Battlefield 2.
It’s also a terrible excuse to spend ten dollars, featuring little more than three new maps and two new vehicles. Contrary to its title, it has nothing to do with armor or fury, and in spite of the fact that it finally brings the fight to American soil, it’s still the exact same game you’ve been playing for two and a half years. It doesn't even take advantage of all the new tools, weapons, vehicles or nighttime battles introduced in the official expansion, Special Forces
, so you're potentially paying for less
content. Now that's
One of the new maps isn’t even identifiably in America. Midnight Sun is a nighttime map set along a stretch of Alaskan oil pipeline at the mouth of a river that looks just like several of the maps featured in the original Battlefield 2
. There’s technically nothing wrong with it - you still zoom around in planes and boats trying to kill enemies and claim victory locations - but again, you can do all this on a slew of other maps without dropping ten bucks.
Operation Road Rage is another fine map that’s a bit more distinctly American, taking place on a bombed-out stretch of highway. While its buildings look American - there’s a mall, at least - these are really just new skins on the same clusters of buildings that have surrounded flags for two years, except that you can’t run inside any of them. Otherwise, Road Rage is just open fields and highways, two things that have never been in short supply.
Operation Harvest is similarly disappointing, even if it’s the most American of the maps. It takes place in a pastoral setting somewhere on the Eastern seaboard, and it’s a good looking level. Still, it’s easy to forget that you’re supposed to be fighting in America when you’re concentrating on ducking behind trees and shooting at tanks.
This is partially because a rural community isn’t exactly a ballsy or ambitious American setting. After all, what country doesn’t have…country? The same goes for the stretch of highway in Operation Road Rage and the river in Midnight Sun. These environments didn’t force the developers to do anything really different with Armored Fury, nor do they offer its players any new or unique experiences.
The vehicles, on the other hand, do slightly change the way you play. The Little Bird chopper, while weak in terms of armor and armaments, scans an area the same way a UAV does, revealing enemy troop and armor movements to your entire team. By hovering high in the air over a contested victory point, you can seriously aid your ground forces even if you aren’t the commander. Then again, hanging high in the air over a battle isn’t necessarily the most riveting thing to do in Battlefield 2
Neither is dropping bombs from the A-10 Warthog, though it is undoubtedly useful and works really well in tandem with the Little Bird. As soon as a friend in a chopper locates some enemies, you can simply fly over and loose a payload of bombs like a mobile artillery strike. Then again, without the help of a UAV or Little Bird, finding targets in the Warthog is almost impossible. At least these two vehicles give players something new to try.
Which, by the way, shouldn’t cost ten bucks. With its uninspired maps, lack of new weapons and missing Special Forces content, Armored Fury would be a little disappointing even if it were free. While the new vehicles do add a modicum of new playability, asking gamers for ten dollars in exchange for so little after they already bought your game is bad manners, even if it is good business.