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Battlefield 2: Special Forces PC DVD-ROM

Published by Electronic Arts
Developed by Digital Illusions CE
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £19.99

Battlefield 2: Special Forces, an introduction.

Earlier this year, in the summer to be exact, we reviewed Battlefield 2 and it's fair to say it was a great sequel to the excellent Battlefield 1942. It's no surprise then that Battlefield 2 has been a big success and a firm favourite with online gamers. It's also no surprise that here we have the first expansion for the game. Given the modern day nature of the combat in Battlefield 2, an expansion based on the Special Forces seems logical and that's exactly what we have with Battlefield 2: Special Forces.

What's the game about?

As the name of the expansion suggests, Battlefield 2: Special Forces focuses on the world's elite Special Forces. The expansion pack also concentrates more on urban combat. The Special Forces included in this expansion are SEAL, SAS, Russian Spetsnaz and MEC Special Forces. Rebels and Insurgents have also been included. As you might expect new weapons, gadgets, vehicles and aircraft have been added to compliment these Special Forces and they are all quite interesting additions.

What's good about the game?

Shifting the focus to urban combat in some ways makes the game more enjoyable. The close quarters combat in Battlefield 2 was definitely appealing and it's this appeal which Special Forces capitalises on. The new maps are of a high standard and are enjoyable to play. The new weapons include a grappling hook, zipline, flash bang grenade, tear gas, night vision goggles and a gas mask. New vehicles include some new helicopters, an ATV, a BMP 3 and a Jet Ski. Of course all of this new content is to allow the included Special Forces to use the equipment you would expect them to. None of this really changes the Battlefield 2 experience to a great extent though and it's safe to say that if you enjoyed Battlefield 2, you'll also enjoy Special Forces.

What's not so good about the game?

If you were hoping this expansion would fix the performance issues that Battlefield 2 had then you're in for a disappointment. Bringing the main menu up still causes a menu loading message to appear and the performance of the game as a whole is still not what it should be on a high end PC. If your copy of Battlefield 2 hasn't been patched to version 1.1 then the expansion will install the patch before installing the game and this process seems to take forever. On top of this you'll also have to download a patch weighing in at 280MB if you want to play online. Only six of the eight included maps can be played in the single-player game, which does seem a little silly. It's also odd that using the night vision goggles drains their power. The last thing you want in a night mission is the power running out on your goggles and it's most aggravating when it does.

How does it look?

Aside from the new content there are no visual improvements and Battlefield 2: Special Forces looks and performs just the same as Battlefield 2. The new maps, weapons and vehicles all look good and the new night vision looks pretty much as you would expect it to, as it's something we've seen in games such as Rainbow Six for a few years now. The visual effects that accompany the tear gas, (which kind of warps everything around you if you aren't wearing your gas mask) are quite effective though. For the most part though there aren't any real changes from Battlefield 2 so if you could run the original game without any real problems you'll be fine with Special Forces.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

Just as with Battlefield 2, this Special Forces expansion isn't that deaf gamer friendly. Online play is virtually impossible because of the integrated voice communications. Of course if you set up a game that's just made up of deaf gamers you won't be at a disadvantage but the truth of the matter is that if you're just popping online for a quick game, you'll more than likely end up with hearing gamers who will be using the voice communications. Offline things aren't so problematic and as with Battlefield 2 you'll receive tutorial messages in text as the squad leader orders appear in text on the screen. When playing as the commander your orders and responses you receive will also appear in text.

Final thoughts.

Battlefield 2: Special Forces is a solid expansion pack that really can't fail to appeal to Battlefield 2 players. The concentration on urban warfare was a smart move and the expansion as a whole (with its weapons, vehicles, and maps) is very enjoyable. However there have been no performance increases and the need to patch Battlefield 2 before installing the expansion and then having to download and install a 280MB patch to play online is disappointing. The expansion isn't any more deaf gamer friendly than Battlefield 2, which is disappointing if not entirely unexpected.

 

Overall Game Rating: 7.8/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:


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Battlefield 2: Special Forces is a good first expansion pack for the game that rightly concentrates on urban warfare. It's a shame the performance issues remain though and that you need to download a 280MB patch before you can play online.