Have You Played… Battlefield 2?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

I liked Battlefield 1942, but I loved Battlefield 2. Trading World War 2 for a modern day setting, BF2 maintained the formula of large maps mixing open terrain and tight urban spaces with vehicles aplenty.

It’s the squad system which made the biggest difference, allowing six soldiers on a team to work together more closely with a squad leader who set them objectives and the ability to respawn on each other’s location.

This meant that the game’s 64-person battles, already good at conveying the scale and chaos and spectacle of war, could now also offer focus to you and your friends. I loved that feeling of being a small part of a larger machine, even if my friends and I were as likely to ignore the team’s overall commander as obey his directives.

Like BF1942, the level design made all the difference. Where DICE’s first multiplayer shooter had Wake Island, BF2 had the excellent Gulf Of Oman, any single part of which could have formed an entire level in another game. Yes, I spent a lot of time sniping from the crane, but also making daring runs across the railway line, offering support from the gas towers, and flying the too-fast-to-be-useful jets fruitlessly out of the mission area.

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  1. machstem says:

    I STILL play :)

    • Warduke says:

      BF2 Revival project?

    • Premium User Badge

      cockpisspartridge says:

      Really? Any good servers without morons on? I used to love this game and spent hours on it. I used to love that tense zodiac ride from the small island to the north side of Wake. Gaming gold…….

    • Heliocentric says:

      I play PR, it’s a standalone mod now though.

  2. Integer says:

    I never got around to playing it multuplayer, but i had hours upon hours spent playing with and against AI. Some of the best FPS experiences I had.

    • Premium User Badge

      JiminyJickers says:

      Yeah me too, I still fire it up every now and then just to have a bit of a botmatch. Good fun.

  3. Rymosrac says:

    Battlefield 2 was great, but without mods, it just wasn’t ever as interesting as 2142, and I never looked back one that was out.

    With mods, though. . . Ain’t nothing in the verse like a good round of Project Reality.

  4. popej says:

    He peak of BF for me, although I haven’t played number 4.

    Before the TV guided missiles were nerfed circa summer/Autumn 2005, me and my housemate regularly pulled in scores of 40 – 70, usually with no deaths. I piloted and he was gunning.

    We were almost as effective on foot or in a tank. The special forces and their C4 packs were endless fun.

    I think Gulf of Oman was probably our favourite map too.

  5. Sorbicol says:

    BF2142 is still the best I’ve played, closely followed by Bad Company 2.

    Not played BF4 though. I have signed up to the BF1 beta but I’m not sure I can be bothered with FPSs any more. Especially online competitive shooters.

  6. tuv23 says:

    I adored BF2. It was my last great FPS before I became an old man RTS/turn-based gamer. I had a little group of five RL buddies and we’d grab a huey and do missions to capture flags. I was the chopper pilot and I’d drop the team off then circle round before picking them up again. We were a solid enough team that often the Commander would notice us and do supply drops in our path to make sure we had the best chance of success. Whizzing around in a buggy with your bud leaning out dakkaing everyone was amazing too. It all just synergised so well – you’d make sure your team leader wasn’t the medic so the medic would respawn on him and keep him alive so you wouldn’t lose your position in the field. Such great PVP memories.

  7. Feedim says:

    “Too fast to be useful” spot on. Even in 1942 the planes were too fast to do anything except breakaway into their own separate dogfight grudge matches.

    Since battlefield has had jets I’ve been a heli guy. Seems like you’re part of the match. Not just zooming about.

    • cannedpeaches says:

      I bought a joystick just for BF2 and still found I couldn’t control the damn things if I pointed at anything that wasn’t in the air. The pinnacle for me was in 1942 – I believe there were some bomber-style things in there that were okay at engaging people on the ground. Everything else is just a means to get from one island to the next and then parachute out.

    • phelix says:

      The other end of the spectrum is BF3, where jets fly so slow you can practically keep pace in a jeep. This, when combined with experienced players, changed them from cool-but-rather-impractical to unstoppable deathinators in the hands of experienced players, which can be incredibly frustrating and hopeless when you’re on the receiving end and your team isn’t working properly.

      • phelix says:

        YES. Played it to death. Actually going to Dalian after playing Dalian Oil Fields was a strange experience.

        • phelix says:

          This second comment was not meant to be a reply, sorry. (And on a side note, I didn’t mean to type “experienced players” twice in my original reply either)

  8. Dudeist says:

    I played with bots a lot. I played multi once, and when I have seen sniper jumping over 2 meters up, then in air he lays down and sniped me, I stopped playing.

    • bamjo says:

      This is why I stopped playing battlefield games after they killed modding. Dice released a game where “dolphin” flopping was not only possible but objectively better than playing in any realistic fashion. If not for Project Reality, BF2 would have been a wasted purchase.

      If anyone doesn’t know, Project Reality is now bundled with the 1.3.5 verstion of BF2 as a free download. Everyone even remotely interested should give it a try (but avoid the candy van server, it is a toxic wasteland of humanity).

      • po says:

        BF2 was good, it had a ton of mods, but it was in need of some patches, because of stuff like that dolphin diving making you immune to damage for the duration of the animation (support class were the worst for exploiting it).

        Then EA release BF2142, which was admittedly good, but too many were still playing BF2 thanks to mods like AIX.

        The next BF game didn’t have modding or private servers, so that EA could turn stuff off whenever they want to push everyone onto the next yearly installment.

  9. BananaMan3000 says:

    Brilliant game. Much prefer the style of level design in BF2 where the maps had a proper “front” which channeled the combat as opposed to the deathmatch FFA style arenas we have right now with spawns/flags in all directions.

    • cannedpeaches says:

      That’s a good point. I tend to feel a little lost in BF4 on most maps, especially without a squad to work with. Plus, IIRC, BF2 had a WAY more important role for the commander to play, with artillery you had to keep working and such. Basically what I get out of Red Orchestra 2 these days.

    • Jerkzilla says:

      To be fair, only the more “corridor” like maps developed a front line on their own. The bigger maps like Daqing and such often turned into a game of whack-a-mole because there were just so many flags.
      The same thing happened on the big maps in 2142, because, like in 2, there was no rhyme or reason to the action, people couldn’t cover all the flags, nor did they bother waiting in defense and you could easily reach undefended points in the rear.

  10. la_touffe says:

    Thats my best game ever.

  11. Michael Fogg says:

    Is the single player campaign worth it? I feel like playing an FPS and, contrary to common perceptions, the nu-school warshooter genre does have its moments (notably the original Modern Warfare). So for something circle-strafing-free…?

  12. OmNomNom says:

    for those that haven’t tried it yet – BF1 actually returns a little of that old school BF1942/BF2 feel. It is different for sure but I do feel that those that bounced off 3/4 are a little less likely to with this one.

  13. Jerkzilla says:

    Oooh yes, I remember…

    link to youtube.com

    Though, in all honesty, I didn’t play all that much of it because of the spam. Maybe around 40 hours or so, but I played hundreds of hours Project Reality. And a bit of Forgotten Hope, which looked absolutely stunning when it released with the African theater.

    It’s really amazing what mods Bf2 spawned despite reputedly being difficult to work with. “Hardcoded” was the dreaded “H-word” on forums and yet, Project Reality is practically a completely different game, both it and FH 2 betray very little of what they’re based on.

    But yeah, the nostalgia is pretty strong with this one. The patching was terrible, Dice fixed the worst offenders, prone-spamming among them, in a final patch something like 3 or 4 years after release. Everyone hated the commander, particularly the artillery. Also, the spam. You can’t really bemoan the chaos of later Bf titles like Metro and whatnot without also criticizing Bf2.

  14. phelix says:

    YES. Played it to death. I still remember my very first kill – ramming a jet into an unsuspecting sniper on the ground.

  15. Unruly says:

    Oh yea, I played the hell out of BF2. Me and my buddies, the Ninjars, were a well oiled strike team back in the day. One of our undying stories was born during our BF2 days.

    Gulf of Oman, playing as the MEC, and we swing wide along the map edge to take River Fort. We get there, and the LAV had spawned, so I hop inside while my friends take up positions around the perimeter. Then an F-35 comes flying up the beach, so I start popping some shots at it trying to deter it. It doesn’t work, and he starts into one of the dives that always preceded a bombing run. I hurry up and try to level on him with the 20mm, but can’t score a hit so I snap off my TOW. Next thing I know, there’s an explosion, my LAV is half-destroyed, and my friends are all shouting their heads off in Ventrilo. Apparently, I managed to time my TOW perfectly and smack him in the cockpit right after he’d dropped his first bomb but before the second one dropped. The first one hit so close that the second would have been a sure kill on me. The pilot immediately jumps into chat and starts yelling at me and calling me a hacker before he ragequit.

    It was a glorious day…

  16. joanbarnes says:

    I must say this one is really a nice game…