The Battlefield franchise is a series of first person shooters set in various war zones, and is largely known for it's class-based multiplayer gameplay, vehicular combat, big maps, and large player counts. All Battlefield games contain a multiplayer game mode known as Conquest, which has two teams vying for control of flags spread across the map. If a team captures the majority of the flags, the opposing team begins losing respawn tickets...if a team runs out of respawns, they lose the round.
In 2008, Battlefield: Bad Company introduced a new game mode called Rush, which has one team defending objectives that the other team is trying to attack. Bad Company also introduced the Frostbite Engine, a game engine that allows full destruction of elements in the game world (such as buildings, trees, etc.), and offers enhanced lighting and sound.
Original Release Date: September 20, 2002
Battlefield 1942 introduced the world to a new way to play first person shooters. The game eschewed the tradition capture the flag and death match modes for something known as Conquest. Conquest gave players the task of capturing 'Control Points' spread across the map that served as areas of battle and a place for the team currently holding the point to respawn and launch attacks against other points on the map. The game also featured a class system that put players into different soldier roles. Assault, medic, anti-tank, engineer and scout. Each role had a specific job, that when used together as a team properly were a force to be reckoned with.
- The Road to Rome - The first expansion to Battlefield 1942, focusing on the Italian battles of the Free French Forces and the Italian Army. The expansion featured six new maps and eight new vehicles, with little added to the weaponry, a mere three additions.
- Secret Weapons of WWII - The second expansion to Battlefield 1942 released in September of 2003. Secret Weapons of WWII brought many new features to the game including sixteen new vehicles, seven new weapons and eight new maps.
Original Release Date: March 14, 2004
While game play remained largely unchanged, Battlefield Vietnam introduced new concepts to the series in the way of passengers being able to fire from to the sides of vehicles and the ability to air-lift vehicles into battle. The game features many famous military vehicles from the Vietnam war as well as prototype weapons. Battlefield Vietnam also included a licensed soundtrack featuring many songs from the era, many straight out of movies set during the Vietnam war.
Original Release Date: June 21, 2005
The third full game in the Battlefield series. Battlefield 2 takes place in the early 21st century using a fictional world war as a back drop. The game allies the United States with the European Union against China and a fictional Middle Eastern Coalition. The game's story places the US and the EU as allies, the EU having struck a peace treaty with Russia. It is unknown but suspected that China and the Middle Eastern Coalition are allies. Battlefield 2 takes place in many different fronts of battle as the US and EU forces invade MEC and Chinese territory and the Chinese and MEC armies invading the US and EU territories . Battlefield 2 contains fifteen maps ranging from swamplands to urban settings. Each map in Battlefield 2 also has three variations, each tailored to a certain number of players 16, 32 or 64.
Battlefield 2 features many features to make the large scale battles more manageable such as squads consisting of six players whom can communicate through an in game VoIP system, as well as each squad having a squad leader whom can communicate directly with the overall battle commander and request support such as artillery.
Each team is given a commander, generally selected from the higher ranked members of the team. These commanders have access to a special 'Commander Screen' which serves as an interface for them to interact with individual squads and use their commander assets to send artillery strikes to a hot zone, drop in vehicles or supplies and call in UAV support. Commanders can resign, allowing another player to take up the roll, or if the need arises be voted out of the position by the members of their team.
Battlefield 2 was released to much critical acclaim, but had a fair share of negative reviews mostly due to the multitude of bugs and glitches which made it through to the retail release. Currently the game has been patched to version 1.5, and while some bugs still remain, most game breaking bugs have been fixed.
- Battlefield 2: Special Forces - The first and only expansion pack for Battlefield 2 was released in November of 2005. The expansion focuses on infantry combat and adds several new specialized factions for each of the major players of the original game such as the USMC and Russian Spetsnaz. Eight new maps, ten new vehicles and eight new small arm weapons were also added to the game to round out this expansion.
- Battlefield 2: Euro Forces - Not large enough to be considered an expansion, Euro Forces was called a 'booster' to the main game. Euro Forces ads a new army with new weapons and vehicles. Also included were three new maps, four vehicles and seven weapons.
- Battlefield 2: Armored Fury - The second booster, released in June of 2006, Armored Fury adds three new maps as well as two new vehicle types which consist of attack jets for close air support and reconnaissance helicopters which provide mobile UAV support.
Original Release Date: October 24, 2005
Platforms: PS2, Xbox, Xbox 360
In April of 2006 the game was released for the Xbox 360 with updated visuals and improved online features. Modern Combat is the first Battlefield game to see a release on consoles. The game features a single player campaign which involves a fictional war between NATO and China which takes place in the country of Kazakhstan.
Multiplayer consists of two familiar modes, conquest and capture the flag and features battles of up to twenty-four players, twelve to each side. Maps range from desert towns to military bases, during capture the flag matches the maps are scaled down to keep the battle more focused and intense. Other online features include clan support which allows for setting of a clan tag as well as posting clan news out to other members.
As of April 15th, along with the shutdown of Xbox Live service for the original system the Xbox version of Modern Combat no longer has access to online play. The Playstation 2 and Xbox 360 versions of the game are unaffected.
Original Release Date: October 17, 2006
Battlefield 2142 takes the series into the 22nd century and takes place during an ice-age as two world super powers, the European Union and the Pan Asian Coalition, fight for survival. The game consists of two modes, Conquest and Titan. While Conquest mode is largely unchanged in this iteration of the series, Titan is new to the series. In Titan mode the objective is to destroy the opposing teams Titan while defending your own from destruction. Titans are huge flying warships with force fields surrounding and protecting them from enemy saboteurs and normal weapons fire. Ground combat in Titan mode consists of players fighting for control of anti-Titan missile silos spread around the map. Once a Titans shields are down players can then assault them to gain access to the main reactor in order to destroy the entire ship.
- Northern Strike - In March of 2007 the Northern Strike booster pack for Battlefield 2142 was released. The booster moves the in-game fiction forward a bit, bringing the battle into the year 2145 and to new fronts of war, namely northern and central Europe. The booster includes ten new unlocks for the various player classes, two new vehicles, three maps and a new game mode named Assault Lines which plays much like a modified version of Conquest.
Original Release Date: June 23, 2008
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360
Giant Bomb Review: (Jeff Gerstmann)
Bad Company places the player into the shoes of the newest member of B-Company, a rag tag group of trouble makers whom are normally used on the field as cannon fodder. Bad Company serve as the front line, sent in before special forces and considered expendable. You play as Private Preston Marlowe, serving under Sergeant Samuel D. Redford. The rest of B-Company is rounded out by Private George Gordon Haggard, Jr. a stereotypical monster truck loving gun nut Texan and Private Terrence Sweetwater, serving as Haggards foil, he is an intelligent if extremely nerdy soldier with a dry sense of humor who can never shut up.
The single player campaign revolves around B-Company's lust for treasure after finding a gold bar on a soldier tied to an infamous mercenary army known as the Legionnaires. Haggard, after hearing a story told by Sweetwater about how all of the Legionnaires are paid in solid gold bars, runs off from the group. When the rest of B-Company catch him, they are told by command that they have unwittingly invaded a neutral country and now face court-marshal. Left with that, they run, towards the gold.
Multiplayer shipped with only one mode, Gold Rush. In Gold Rush, each team is designated as either Attackers or Defenders, the objective being gold crates placed in strategic locations on the map. The Attackers are tasked with destroying the crates and pushing the front line back to the next set of crates while the defenders do just that, defend the crates. The attacking team has a set number of tickets, or spawns that count down as people are killed, by destroying the two designated crates the tickets reset.
Conquest made a return after fans requested it during the beta test of the game. Conquest came in the form of DLC with modified versions of existing maps for it to be played on. Later, a map pack was released for free that added four more maps for use in Conquest.
Original Release Date: June 25, 2009
Battlefield Heroes is the first game in what EA calls their "Play 4 Free" series. The game is free to download and play, however some content can be accessed through microtransactions. Most paid content is cosmetic and comes in the form of clothing to dress your character with, there is however some content that can be purchased to give you a slight edge on the battlefield such as experience boosts. There are two ways to purchase content, by using Valor points which are awarded through playing the game, and Battle Funds which are bought using real cash. The only items that cannot be bought with Battle Funds are those which you need a specific level in order to unlock.
Heroes is an online only game, having no single player component besides a brief tutorial. The game is played from a third person, over the shoulder perspective which is a first for the series. Heroes currently features four maps and a number of vehicles such as jeeps, tanks and planes.
Original Release Date: July 8, 2009
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360
Giant Bomb Review: (Brad Shoemaker)
Battlefield 1943 is a recreation of the first title in the Battlefield series: Battlefield 1942. 1943 updates three of the original games maps; Wake Island, Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima. A fourth map was included with the game at launch but locked as a cross-platform contest was launched to see which system, either the Playstation 3 or Xbox 360, could get to a total of 43 million kills first, after which the map would unlock. The fourth map is named Coral Sea and features only aircraft in a mode called Air Superiority.
1943 features only Conquest mode, allowing up to 24 players to battle across the three maps included. Several mechanics of the game were simplified to make it more appealing to a larger crowd, health regenerates over time, ammo is unlimited, and while the ability to level up was still included the only thing it effected was rank as no weapon or abilities outside those included with each class are in the game.
Original Release Date: March 2, 2010
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Giant Bomb Review: (Jeff Gerstmann)
After B-Company's antics in the first game, much to Redford's regret, the team is being sent in search of a special operative spook deep undercover behind enemy lines. The single player game is a much tighter experience do in part to maps with a more linear path that still mange to keep the open feeling and spirit of the Battlefield series. The story begins during World War II, and revolves around a mission carried out during the second great war that has since gained near mythic proportions. Locations cover the gambit from snowy mountain trails and towns in the Andes Mountains to logging camps along jungle rivers.
As part of a marketing program all copies of the game come with a VIP pass that allows access to free DLC content. Players who pick the game up used will most likely not have this pass, and will need to purchase access to it. So far several VIP Map Packs have been released, which have enabled existing maps to be used under different modes.
Multiplayer is expanded upon and improved in Bad Company 2. This time four modes are include; Conquest, Rush, Squad Rush and Squad Deathmatch. Rush is simply Gold Rush from the first Bad Company, but instead of gold crates players are destroying M-COM stations. Squad Rush is a slimmed down version of rush where two squads of four players go head to head. Squad Deathmatch allows up to four squads of four players to fight for control of a map, the first squad to score fifty kills wins.
- Bad Company 2 Vietnam - This downloadable expansion pack, released on December 21st, 2010, takes the Bad Company 2 gameplay and transports it to the Vietnam War. The same 4 character classes remain the same, but all weapons, gadgets, & vehicles have been changed to era-specific items. They have also added 2 hours of 1960's music to the radios of the vehicles, as well as integrating a compass on the mini-map (a feature that was lacking in the core BC2 game).
Original Release Date: October 25, 2011
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Giant Bomb Review: (Dave Snider)
Battlefield 3 is the successor to DICE's award-winning Battlefield 2. Like its predecessor, Battlefield 3 features large scale military combat with vehicles, jets, up to 64-player multiplayer on the PC. The game also has a single-player campaign and co-op missions, and features an upgraded Frostbite 2.0 engine with enhanced destruction and lighting elements.
Battlefield 3 introduced a "Premium" membership, which for $50, players received all five of the expansion packs available for the game ($15 each if purchased individually.) These expansions each added new maps, game modes, weapons, and vehicles to the multiplayer portion of the game. All told, after all the DLC was released, Premium members had access to an unprecedented 29 maps featuring 11 different game modes.