EA have really cashed in on the Xbox 360, with a few of their Xbox titles that were released last year making their way to the Xbox 360 such as Burnout Revenge. However, this isn't necessarily a bad thing and Burnout Revenge proved that with a new coat of paint and a high definition television the gaming experience can be even better. So did we have a similar experience with Battlefield 2: Modern Combat or is it about time the ports stopped and EA moved onto better things?
Battlefield 2: Modern Combat hasn't really undergone too many changes in the transition to the XBox 360. The major change comes with the visuals and it really feels like the war grounds have been given a gloss of varnish. Everything is a lot more detailed and the smoke and fire effects are very satisfying. In terms of features the game is basically identical to the version we reviewed last year.
The storyline in the game is fairly basic, and feels like it it would be right at home in a title like Splinter Cell 4. There has been political unrest in Kazakhstan and the United Nations have sent troops to the troubled nation. The Chinese are a little worried about the numbers of troops and also send their own warriors. As the player you actually take control of both the Americans and the Chinese through different campaigns. This idea works surprisingly well and allows you to experience the two sides of the storyline. Throughout the campaign the game will actually show some of the media reports from the media from each nation which are an amusing look at how wrong the media can sometimes be.
The most unique feature of Battlefield 2: Modern Combat is the hotswap feature, which is a new addition to the franchise. The idea is that you can quickly swap to another soldier and this is done by simply looking at another soldier and holding down a button. Upon doing this you will immediately take the perspective of that other soldier. Aside from being a novelty there are numerous uses for the hot swap feature as well. It helps you to quickly move from one area to the next and you can always take the best perspective for battle. This is a feature that may seem a little gimmicky at first but becomes a really necessary feature towards the end of the game. Unfortunately though, the AI lets is a bit of a let down at times. For example if you place a soldier in a covered position he will sometimes just walk out into the firing range, so even with the transition to the Xbox 360 the AI is a little stupid at times.
As this is a Battlefield game, the weapons and variety are stellar. There are a total of five character classes in the game and each class has the ability to use weapons which include sniper rifles, shotguns and bazookas. Vehicles, which have become a necessity in first person shooter titles are back in force with Modern Combat, and there are a large variety of vehicles to travel around in.
The PC version of Battlefield is still a lot of fun online and this version offers support for up to twenty four players online. There are sixteen maps and you can play either conquest mode or a capture the flag mode. There really isn't enough modes and the amount of gameplay options feels extremely thin in comparison to titles like Far Cry Instincts Predator. Battlefield 2: Modern Combat is a very popular title online though and there were always plenty of people online to battle. The hot swap feature is disabled online, but this is to be expected.
Gameplay wise the game is fairly solid, although it does feel noticably different to Battlefield 2 on the PC; the game actually feels more like an arcade title without any real strategy elements. However, all of the weapons feel basically the same and some of the shooting feels a little unbalanced. The environments have also been scaled back a bit, which means they are detailed but smaller than we're used too in a Battlefield game. However, the game always retains a smooth frame-rate even in the heat of battle.
The graphics really are the most satisfying part of this game. There are a lot of little details like bullet holes in buildings which really make the game look a lot better. We're still not entirely convinced that the Xbox 360 is being pushed with this game, but the visual difference between this version and PlayStation 2 and Xbox versions are easy to spot. The sound is actually a bit of a hit and miss affair. The soundtrack itself is fairly epic, and is suited very well to the game, we never felt like the music was out of place, nor did we become annoyed by the music. The voice acting however is on the other side of the scale. It is repetitive and monotonous, it feels like the Chinese soldiers in particular are already dead, and it's disappointing as it really does take away from the entire game.
The single player campaign will last a decent ten to fifteen hours but it would have been good if it was a little longer. The multiplayer is the real drawcard of the title, but there are only a few modes to play in. However, there is always going to be plenty of people to play online which should keep the online play entertaining and a lot of the achievements have to be unlocked online.
Battlefield 2: Modern Combat is really just a glossed up port of a title we played six months ago. Veterans of the Battlefield series may be a little disappointed by this game simply because it's a little more arcadey than the PC versions. However, If you played the versions of the game that were released last year then this game probably isn't worth a second look. It's a little disappointing that there weren't some extra additions to the title such as more multiplayer options, but anyone who is in the mood for a FPS could do a lot worse than Battlefield 2: Modern Combat.