Battlefield 2 is the first modern military game in the Battlefield franchise. Taking place during a fictional 21st century war, the game features present day weapons, vehicles and a new persistent progression model. It also introduced squad mechanics and a commander role, while making intra-team communication much easier with voice-chat and in-built commands. The combination of these updates makes it easier for players to coordinate attacks across large maps.
The battles pit three major factions against each other: United States Marines, China & the fictional Middle Eastern Coalition (M.E.C). The game was updated many times over the years. The Special Forces expansion pack was released in 2005 that added night vision goggles, grappling hooks and many other accessories. The Euro Force booster pack added the European Union as a fourth faction. Armored Fury added multiple maps, weapons & vehicles.
Battlefield 2's "conquest" gameplay draws from the previous games in the franchise. Each map has two opposing armies fighting over a territory. To win the match one team must reduce the other team's "tickets" to zero. The tickets represent the reinforcements the team can bring in, and the number of tickets each team starts with is determined before the beginning of the game. To reduce the amount of tickets on the other team, players must either kill people on the other team or capture control points. The team with less control points has its tickets reduced at a slow but steady rate in addition to any reductions that might occur as a result of its players being killed. This rate is increased as the opposing team captures more control points. The game usually ends once a team's tickets are reduced to zero. Also, if all control points are captured by a team and the entire opposing team is dead (they cannot recapture a control point), then that team wins. Finally, if the game timer runs out, the team with most tickets wins.
There are seven player classes in Battlefield 2: Spec Ops, Sniper, Assault, Support, Engineer, Medic and Anti-Tank. Each class has its own unique set of weapons and functions. Players can pick up a kit from fallen players and change classes on the fly, or change classes when waiting to respawn. A few of the classes have different ways of earning points: For example, the medic class earns points for healing and resurrecting players, and the support class earns points for giving allies ammunition.
There are about 30 vehicles in the game which are all based on real-life military vehicles. The types of vehicles range from small, fast jeeps to amphibious APC's to Main Battle Tanks to jets and helicopters. Each faction in the game has its own set of vehicles, though each vehicle in a faction has an analogue in the other factions that performs essentially the same function, with minor statistic adjustments.
Battlefield 2 was the first game in the franchise to include persistent character progression. As players earn points, they earn rank promotions for their account. Players start at Private and, as they play the game, they earn Private First Class, Sergeant and so on. Each promotion earns the player a new weapon unlock. Each class has 2 weapons to unlock, each of which replaces the class's primary weapon if chosen in the class selection screen.
Battlefield 2 was the first game in the franchise to include the commander feature. The commander is a player who applies for the role who, in addition to any actions performed on the ground, also has the ability to lead his or her team in battle. The commander can view the battlefield from a strategic perspective and order players to attack, defend or move to various locations (though whether the players perform those actions is completely up to their discretion). The commander can also utilize a range of special abilities designed to help the team on a strategic level. These abilities include calling in a Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to scan an area of the battlefield, pointing out enemies on the players' radar, artillery strikes to kill enemies, a complete battlefield scan the reveals every opposing player on the map to the commander, and supply and vehicle drops. A team with an effective commander has a distinct advantage over a team without a commander.
Another first for the Battlefield franchise was the implementation of squads, which are groups of up to six players banded together under a squad leader who acts as a mobile spawn point (when alive), relays orders from the commander, can request assistance from the commander (such as UAV's, artillery strikes, etc.), and issue his or her own orders. This feature encourages more cooperative gameplay, as squads under an effective squad leader are often rewarded in terms of points and battlefield assistance. The squad leader can issue orders such as attacking a certain location, defending a location, or moving to a location.
Battlefield 2 also has a more streamlined player communication system. In addition to the various text chat systems (at the server, team and squadron level), the game supports Voice Over IP (VOIP), and has a radial quick-communication system that players can utilize to make their character yell various phrases, such as "I need a ride," "Thank you," "Sorry," and so on. Players can also use this system to spot enemies, which has the added gameplay benefit of temporarily highlighting the enemy on their teammates' radar.
There are 22 maps in Battlefield 2, all with 16, 32 and 64 player variations.
| One of the most played maps in Battlefield 2, this map centers around a small Middle-Eastern town. The MEC and U.S. battle in 16, 32 and 64 versions of this map. The streets are littered with rubble and burning cars perfect for stopping tanks in their tracks. The main U.S. base is uncapturable, while all of the MEC flags are vulnerable.|
Zatar Wetlands This map is situated around the Red Sea coastline with islands separated by a short strip of water. The key to victory is to hold the center island. The air strips means a lot of people parachuting behind enemy lines.
The Songhua Stalemate The U.S. is advancing from the Russian plains and meets Chinese resistance along a shallow, swampy river. The land is covered in sometimes bamboo. The river is shallow and has some crossings. No main base is safe on this map as neither are uncapturable.
The large scale, combined arms multiplayer was initially stuck on maps which contained much recycled art. This inspired players around the world to create literally hundreds of modifications, presenting their own take on warfare in different locations with different armies, weaponry and machinery.
Many of these efforts like Forgotten Hope, Project Reality (see below), Operation Peace Keeper, Desert Conflict came to fruition and are freely available for download. They often surpassed the the original a.k.a. vanilla BF2 in attention to detail and realism, also offering a wealth of new "toys".
Even though many mods enjoyed huge popularity after release, they couldn't tie in into the persistent progression and ranking that vanilla Battlefield 2 offered. The majority of players obsessed with badges, medals and points stayed away.
Additionally EA / DICE released their own expansion called Special Forces and DLC (Booster Packs) and later on announcing Battlefield 2142 thus fragmenting the community even more between all those options. Battlefield 2142 being based on the same engine as Battlefield 2, has been known to be taunted as an official "mod".
Project Reality: BF2
Project Reality is a mod which puts emphasis on realism and teamwork oriented gameplay, many (if not all) Battlefield 2 components have been overhauled, re-worked or otherwise completely removed. PR:BF2 features 100 player servers, integrated custom VoIP with local 3D positional speech, over 40 maps and 12 factions with a variety of weapons at their disposal.
Gameplay and realism
Project Reality aims to bring realism to the Battlefield formula, the factions and equipment are modeled after real world armies - the game features everything from Vietnam era battles to the modern day civil war in Syria. This means that movement physics, bullet ballistics, missile systems and armor have been altered to fit the the tone of the game.
PR includes many new features such as deploy-able assets, adjustable tank sights, back-up iron sights, thermal imaging, laser guiding and suppression effects when under fire.
Many vanilla BF2 elements have been deemed unrealistic and therefor removed, this includes portions of the HUD (such as the mini-map, name tags and ammo counter), external view for vehicles, automatic spotting of enemies via Commo rose and the commander spy camera (this has been replaced with a proper UAV). There are no kill indicators and score board points are delayed.
Kit request system
Project Reality features a class system for players to select a specific role such as Rifleman, Medic or Sniper, the latter is one of several kits that are limited to both the squad and the team. In total, there are around 16 different types of kits, these can be requested from supply crates or vehicles such as APCs.
Heavy vehicles such as tanks require two people and a specific Crewman kit to use while Helicopters and planes require a Pilot kit (the only kit with a parachute).
The squad leader of a standard Infantry squad often picks the Officer kit which features a Radio for building assets (see below), requesting support, marking enemies on the map and Binoculars for laser guiding Close Air Support (CAS).
Deploy-able assets, logistics and spawn system
Unlike vanilla BF2, players can no longer spawn on their squad leader or the flag they have captured, instead the squad leader can deploy a Rally point anywhere on the map for the whole squad to spawn on, if there are enemies nearby however, the rally point will disappear.
Unique to Project Reality, players can also spawn on a Forward Operating Base (FOB). FOBs can be deployed by a squad leader and then built by his squad. After the FOB is completed, the squad can also build stationary assets such as machinegun nests, mortar pits and barbed wire around it.
A FOB can only be set up if there are supply crates nearby, supply crates can be transferred to any location on the map with the help of Logistic trucks or Helicopters. Whereas the rally point is squad specific, the whole team can spawn on a FOB unless it has been overrun or damaged by the enemy.
The two primary game modes of Project Reality are Assault And Secure (AAS) and Insurgency (Ins). AAS is a conquest style game mode where certain areas have to be captured in order by each team, the maps in PR feature several different AAS layouts for increased re-playability.
Insurgency is an asymmetrical game mode where a conventional force tries to track down and destroy the unconventional force's weapon caches, the location of these are randomized and the conventional force have to gather intelligence (by arresting or killing the Insurgents) to find each one.
Since its inception just prior to the release of Battlefield 2, development on Project Reality has never stopped. PR started out as mini-mod, changing only a few select components of BF2, it has since grown to be a complete overhaul of the entire game, the mod is now more than twice the size of vanilla BF2 itself and more content is added each year.
Very little of vanilla BF2 remains in Project Reality, the mod has custom models, textures, animations and sound for almost everything. Since the game is pushing the outer limits of what is capable with Refractor 2 (the Battlefield 2 engine), the PR team has had to create their own executable and separate launcher to manage updates and their custom version of the VoIP software Mumble. Project Reality also requires a stronger PC than vanilla BF2.
With its active community, PR has spawned several sub mods such as World War II, Vietnam and the Falklands war. Whenever mods, maps and/or factions reach a finished state, they are quality controlled by the PR team and integrated in to the normal game via automatic updates.
Project Reality is frequently among the top entries on ModDB's Mod of the Year awards and is often recognized as one the best mods of all time. There is currently a sequel in development, Project Reality 2, which will be a stand-alone free to play game. Another segment of developers who previously worked on the PR:BF2 mod are making a commercial game called Squad, which is a separate spiritual sequel.
Due to a strong demand from the community, Battlefield 2 was patched recently to fully support widescreen resolutions from the video options.
Prior to patch 1.5, Battlefield 2 does not support widescreen resolutions natively and must be forced to fit widescreen monitors without stretching. To do this, you must right click the shortcut icon for Battlefield 2, go to properties, and then shortcut. In the target box you must add "menu 1.15 widescreen 1 szx 1440 szy 900" to the end of what is already there (It will show as "C:\Program Files\EA Games\Battlefield 2\BF2.exe" menu 1.15 fullscreen 1 szx 1440 szy 900) . Change the 'x' and 'y' numbers to fit the resolution of your monitor.
Master server shut-down
In 2014 the Gamespy master server for Battlefield 2 (and many other games) shut down, EA decided not to set up their own server and patch the game - this means you won't be able to play the game online unless you use a third party patch. BF2 fans has come up with their own solutions to this problem, one of them being Revive BF2. Popular mods such as Forgotten Hope 2 and Project Realty have their own built-in solution.
Since the official server no longer being used, there is no way to check for valid product keys which means that you can play online with an unlicensed copy of the game.
Open source petition
Since Battlefield 2 is no longer being patched or worked on, the future is uncertain on how it will play on newer operating systems and hardware. Modders want to improve the game but are held back by the mod tools available, fans have set up an online petition - wanting EA to release the source code so that BF2 can be improved upon and continue to run on newer machines without issues.
Battlefield 2 received mainly positive reviews and has sold over two million copies. As of September 2008 its Metacritic rating was at 91%, with most criticism directed at its high hardware requirements (at its 2005 release date), bugs and, later on, its life span and lack of community support. Despite these criticisms, Battlefield 2 has gone on to be considered one of the best team-based multiplayer games to date, and still has a highly active player base.
Significant awards given to Battlefield 2:
- E3 2005 Game Critics Awards: Best Online Multiplayer
- Gamespot: 2005 Multiplayer Game of the Year
- PC Gamer: 2005 Game of the Year
- PC Powerplay: 2005 Game of the Year
- Maximum PC Gaming Awards: 2006 Best Multiplayer
- CPU: 1.7 Ghz
- RAM: 512 Mb
- Video Card: NVidia GeForce FX 5700, ATI Radeon 8500 or ATI Radeon 9500
- with 128 Mb of RAM
- CPU: 2.4 Ghz
- RAM: 1 Gb
- Video Card with at least 256 Mb of RAM
2.3 GB needed to install this game, not including saved games or Direct X9