Battlefield 2: Armored Fury

Battlefield 2: Armored Fury

Patrick Joynt

Armored Fury, EA’s second downloadable Battlefield 2 booster pack, provides a reasonable amount of content for its $10 price tag—but it’s tough to care when the game won’t stop crashing. Yes, Fury’s new maps and vehicle classes (light helicopters and ground assault planes) put some clever twists on BF2’s gameplay and make for a nice change of pace that doesn’t veer too far from BF2’s back-and-forth of guns, planes, and tanks…but these additions had the misfortune of hitting the market immediately after the disaster known as the v1.3 patch.

The first rumblings of the patch’s problems met with derision from BF2’s true believers upon its May release. Responding to an early complaint about technical issues on the EA forums, user Wingman1515 got in the very first iteration of “I knew it would not take long for someone to start crying about the patch.” Presumably, he was first in line to eat crow, as the following weeks showed the depth of the problems with v1.3. A couple of prime examples: The commander’s ability to airdrop vehicles is used as “cartillery” as often as not, and EA’s apparent decision to disallow unlockable features on unranked servers made plenty of players angry. And, as bad as that sounds, the gameplay changes pale compared to the brutal instability that v1.3 introduces to the game, with a uselessly slow server browser and frequent crashes to the desktop (if not total lockups) when a map loads. The patch actually makes things worse—as if loading up a game of BF2 doesn’t already take long enough.

EA’s response: an official community update in mid-June that stated “We recognize that this has been a very trying time for everyone who enjoys Battlefield 2,” confirming that the publisher recognized v1.3’s massive issues. With Battlefield 2142 on its way, it’s hard to imagine a worse time for people to get frustrated with the franchise. On EA’s forums, d4rtanian laid it out: “Battlefield 2142? Pfffff. To get the same troubles?” The upcoming v1.4 patch (still in beta as of this writing) will hopefully fix these grievances.

Rage and Fury

Enough bellyaching about EA’s terrible patching habits, though—Armored Fury itself rises above all of that. Despite the v1.3 issues and the split in the player base between Fury haves and have-nots, the booster pack’s managed to spawn a reasonable number of servers, thanks to its somewhat unique spin. It amounts to $5 worth of maps and vehicles and $5 worth of eeriness, due to the new maps’ U.S. settings. While the Alaskan Midnight Sun map doesn’t make a big show of it, Operation Road Rage and Operation Harvest both scream “American set piece.”

That partially explains why Midnight Sun seems—at first—like the weakest of the three new maps; Road Rage’s massive knot of freeways and its center overpass create an incredibly overpowering situation for air and armor, while Operation Harvest doesn’t even feature the expansion’s new planes. Midnight Sun is the least exotic, but its mixed terrain and integration of all of the new vehicles make it the best of the three. The bombing-obsessed new planes and infantry-hunting light helicopters don’t necessarily fix any of the BF2 balance issues, but neither are they as vicious as those in the base game. Combined with the tons of armor on the map, though, they introduce fun changes to the air/armor/infantry dance, making Fury well worth your $10.

Verdict

v1.3 patch: Sucks the life from BF2 before you can get started. Armored Fury: A great, cheap way to indulge in your armor and air fantasies.

Reality Check

1up Network: 7/10

Gamespot: 7.4/10

Gamespy: —

IGN: 8/10

Publisher: Electronic Arts Developer: DICE Genre: First-Person Shooter Availability: Download (downloader.ea.com) ESRB Rating: Teen Required: 1.7GHz CPU, 512MB RAM, 4GB hard drive space, 128MB videocard, Internet connection, Battlefield 2 Recommended: 2.4GHz CPU, 1GB RAM, 256MB videocard Multiplayer: 2-64 players

Copyright © 2006 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in Computer Gaming World.