My relationship with the Battlefield series started backwards. I was stuck in MMO land for a long time until a WoW guildmate introduced me to Battlefield 2142. The pace was fun, it was a nice change, and I quickly renewed my love for FPS’s with the title. After spending a year or so in 2142, I ended up joining a clan since I was spending so much time on their server. It was a good fit.
I rarely go back and buy old titles. FLOT reintroduced a BF2 server, and wanting more options to play I picked up the complete BF2 pack for $29.99 and jumped right in- and loved it. My criticism of the Battlefield series is pretty simple. I long for a FPS that has realistic strategic and tactic elements. Most FPS’s out right now focus on fun, fast paced gameplay but strategy and tactics take a back seat. The proof is in bunny hopping, dolphin diving, rocket jumping, grenade jump throwing theatrics. Nothing annoyed me more than having a solid crouch with my weapon ready, an enemy run around a corner I was covering, and before I could drop him he would leap, turn 240 degrees in mid flight, go prone midair and kill me with a headshot before he hit the ground. I don’t blame players – players will take every advantage an engine allows them to be “elite”. I just want a company to build an FPS engine that rewards smart squad play. None really have. Thank god for the mod community.
Project Reality 0.8 is released today, a popular mod for Battlefield 2. Finally, I had my wish. I only found the mod in version 0.75, and for the most part, my dreams have come true.
Project Reality addresses most of the topics that irk me in the current FPS landscape. It is an essay style laundry list, and instead of listing them all will touch upon a few basic things that make this mod shine, to give you the flavor of it.
- No squad, no chance: Going solo in PR is like going to your prom without a date. Sure, it’s a bold move, but there is no chance of a prom dress hitting the floor at the end of the night.
- Imaginary crosshairs are gone: You actually have to move to your scope/sights to hit anything further than 10 feet away
- Vehicles are actual assets: You will not see jihad jeep/kamikazee pilots as vehicles are worth big ticket counts and can take as long as 20 minutes to respawn. Vehicles are an advantage as they should be, but they are valued and protected.
- Goodbye ‘nade spammers: Jumping while throwing a grenade makes it LESS accurate, and goes a shorter distance. Surely, if jumping while throwing was any sort of benefit you would see the BOSOX outfielders throwing mid jump to get a runner out at the plate. Also, supplies (and resupplies) take longer and are much more limited
- No minimap for infantry: This is one of my favorites. You actually have to identify enemies both at a distance and in close quarters. No more living staring at your minimap to see where enemies are. The spotting system is also removed, with only certain kits having the function.
There is way too much to list. I didn’t even touch upon the new maps, and game modes (which are very fun and refreshing) or the new models and armies. Where PR wins, is the community. There are always a lot of servers populated, and don’t be afraid to say “I’m new” to PR when you first join a squad. Most players are very helpful in getting you started, and you are going to need it. PR is a completely different game than what you are used to. If you are looking for a strategic simulation in your FPS gaming, you have to check it out. It definitely isn’t for everyone, but as evidenced in the community surrounding the game, it is for a lot of people who feel the current FPS options are lacking. My only wish now is for a publisher to give these guys a budget, a new engine, and mainstream a new game based off of it.
I’m going to wrap this up with an in game example of how the game plays out, from my last round. I had a sniper kit, and was lying in a desert mountain area overlooking a shambled city. I had a spotter with me, who would read out compass readings on enemies spotted. I would take one or two down, and relocate to a different area before the enemy figured out where we were perched. Zooming in the crosshairs, I caught an enemy truck off in the distance and watched a squad unload and set a rally point (spawn area). On order from their commander, they had their shovels out and were building a bunker. I notified my team and our commander issued orders to squad 2 to go take them out. I had them covered from the west with the sniper rifle but didn’t want to let the enemy know we knew where they were, so I relayed their movements to the squad approaching them from the north with my finger lightly on the trigger, waiting for the moment to strike. Squad 2 was in position. They had a Heavy Machinegun proned and setup who began to lay down suppression fire (covering N/S) while I had a high vantage point covering E/W. Two enemy squad members tried to break off from the bunker to circle around the Heavy Machinegun while their squad leader pulled out his binoculars and peeked over the hill to see if they could escape from the west. Boom! Headshot. The 2 enemies trying to circle around didn’t have safe enough terrain, were pinned down by the HMG and were soon taken out by the circling squad 2 members. One enemy panicked and jumped into the truck and tried to drive away – the hilly terrain slowed him and made him an easy target as both sniper fire and the HMG riddled the vehicle with bullets. Denied any sort of mobility or escape route, the three remaining enemies took up defensive positions in the bunker preparing themselves for their final fire fight.
Only Francis Ford Coppola could script it better.