Battlefield 2: Modern Combat is a solid first-person-shooter that delivers a fun single player experience and some of the best Xbox Live play around. It isnt as big or as polished as the PC Battlefield games, but there is a lot to like here which makes Battlefield 2 worth owning for shooter fans. Multiple classes, huge maps, vehicles Battlefield 2 has is all covered and more.
The single and multiplayer modes are actually quite different and feel almost like two different games. Single player tells a winding story of a war between the US and China and you switch back and forth between the two sides throughout the campaign. As far as gameplay goes, Battlefield 2 is surprisingly solid. Movement and shooting are all well done and the game just feels right. You also have the ability to drive a number of different vehicles and helicopters, and even though the controls are somewhat clunky, the vehicles add a nice element of strategy to the game as well as give you some heavy firepower which makes the game even more satisfying. What makes the single player interesting is that you can hot swap between the different soldiers on your team at will. This moves you into different positions and gives you different weapon loadouts than the character you start with which makes the game a fun and fast pace. The missions are objective based and herd you into combat situations without a lot of options other than straight ahead shooting with enemies spawning in rather than actively fighting for ground. It is enjoyable overall, but my one complaint is that it doesnt prepare you for multiplayer very well.
The other side of the Battlefield 2 coin is multiplayer and it is a rather different beast. Hotswapping is gone for obvious reasons, and the game instead plays more like a regular FPS. It is your team against another team and you have to hold checkpoints on a map or capture a flag. The difference here is that you arent forced into combat by objectives, you are free to roam the map either on foot or in a vehicle in any way you choose. The maps are massive and amazingly well designed and they give you a ton of options for different routes to take as well as sniping positions, cover, and places to flat out hide if you need to. With the various character classes available, vehicles, great map designs, and the unpredictability of the humans you are playing with and against, Battlefield 2 is a different game every single time you play and it is undeniably enjoyable. I do have a couple of complaints, though. While most people are willing to play a more fun and straightforward game, there are quite a few that just pick the sniper class and pick you off from a mile away to get high kill counts rather than trying to capture control points. Not fun. My other complaint is the game can be pretty laggy, but it isnt too bad.
Graphics and Sound
Graphically, Battlefield 2 is a nice looking game and is even more impressive when you consider the scale of it all. The maps are huge and look great overall and the characters are also nicely detailed. Even better is that even with 24 people running around with explosions and vehicles and a ton of stuff going on the game runs remarkably smoothly.
The sound is also very good. There is lots of dialogue through the single player and all of the voice actors did a good job. The music is also well done, particularly the main theme, and does a good job of pumping you up for the frantic battles that are about to take place. Perhaps the best part of the audio is the great sound effects for the various weapons and explosions.
Overall, Battlefield 2: Modern Combat is a remarkably solid shooter that gives you two very satisfying modes of play in one package. Single player is objective based and lets you jump around to any of your teammates on the battlefield, while the online multiplayer is more straightforward but is very entertaining thanks to the wealth of options and unpredictable nature of the game. I do have a few gripes with the game lack of splitscreen multiplayer, single player is too different and doesnt really prepare you for online play, and lag issues online (for the most part it is smooth, but occasionally youll teleport around and shots will pass right through enemies), but for the most part the game is very well put together and is a lot of fun to play. If you are looking for a new online FPS (because you have squeezed every last drop of Halo 2, no doubt) Battlefield 2: Modern Combat is highly recommended for a purchase. Rent it first if you are unsure, but there is a lot to like here and I think most people will be happy if they buy it.