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Be all that you can be

Some days you're untouchable. If the enemy is careless enough to run near your crosshairs, you arrange their personal face time with God. Other days, you spend more time in the great beyond than on the battlefield. Regardless of how well you do, a losing streak melts away the moment you make that impossible shot or pull off an unbelievable maneuver in a vehicle. For those moments when the teamwork just 'clicks' or you're the one that captures the flag when all others fail, Battlefield 2 truly makes you feel like the hero of the hour—even if your score is the lowest on the server. It is a remarkable mix of weapon and vehicle balance that allows players to play on their own terms and have fun with wildly different play styles. I like to fly choppers (the AH-64 specifically) and am happiest swooping down on enemy tanks, hovering over flag capture points or simply providing a steady platform for my gunner to mow infantry down. When I'm not flying, I'm sniping—you can call me a coward from your grave ;-)

New additions to Battlefield are the Commander mode which allows you to issue orders and call artillery strikes from a top-down RTS-like map interface. Also new are the editions of squads and in-game voice chat. Another nifty hook to the new Battlefield is a persistent ranking system—earn enough experience in the field and you'll start to unlock better weapons. All of these extras add to the game without adding to its complexity. And, of course, the visuals are jaw-dropping—shadows fall realistically, soldiers look real and vehicles look like they weigh a ton all against some of the most panoramic vistas this side of full motion video.

While the game claims to be playable on lower-end machines, it definitely is a resource hog. A high-end graphics card and lots of RAM will make for a much smoother gaming experience. Also, if you don't have broadband, don't bother—not only will you have lag and stutter, you will also degrade the experience for everyone else unfortunate enough to share the server with you.

Matchmaking in this game has taken a step backward as you can not keep track of favorite servers, sync up with friends easily or accurately find a server with available slots to join. All of these issues are supposedly addressed in a large, upcoming patch (ver 1.3) to hit the 'net some time in the next few months. EA is also planning to release a Special Forces expansion to the series which will feature more black ops action (night infiltrations, stealth missions, sabotage operations and the like).

If you haven't played Battlefield 2, it's high time you got involved in the war. If you like to drive, fly, snipe, heal, lay anti-personel or anti-vehicle mines or just run around like Rambo with guns ablaze, the battlefield awaits. Come add to the mayhem and if you see me...

...pray I'm on your team.

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