Three large maps for $9.99. Only available online, and only if you own already own Battlefield 2. “This review is going to be easy,” I thought. Actually, it is: if you’re a Battlefield 2 fan, buy this booster pack. If you’re not a fan, this booster isn’t going to make you one. Capeesh? That’s all. Good Night.
OK, OK; here’s the rest of the dirt on Armored Fury. There’s a theme to this booster, as it’s mainly about armor, vehicles and plenty of room to drive and fly. All of the booster pack’s three maps have more wide-open spaces than the maps in the original Battlefield 2, especially those in Special Forces. In fact, they’re actually reminiscent of some of the maps in Battlefield 1942 in terms of openness.
The first of the three maps, Operation Road Rage, has a massive freeway intersection (Diamond with a clover-leaf interchange) in the center, with modern paved roads, semi-truck trailers, drivable semi-trucks and some modern American-style buildings. The second map, Operation Harvest, has a WW2 feeling because of its acres of farmland. It also has numerous bridges, silos, farmhouses and some great lightning effects to add to the stormy mood. Finally, Midnight Sun, a night map has three flags on each side of a river/canal that runs through the center of the map. It features a spectacular oil refinery, and the layout is fairly reminiscent of FuShe pass in the original Battlefield 2, with the exception that Midnight Sun is more open, flatter and takes place at night. All these maps represent fictitious battles on U.S. soil against either the MEC or Chinese.
The maps look and feel great and seem to be designed very well. You’ve got your big, open spaces for vehicle combat, but at the same time there are plenty of places to hide and take cover, especially around the flag zones. On Operation Harvest I was crossing on foot some open farmland that was littered with hay bales. It was the perfect example of the booster pack catering to vehicles for wide-open combat yet also giving infantry a fighting chance because the hay bales provided cover. The silos are another nice touch, as they each have openings at the top to plot the perfect ambush. There’s also the massive freeway interchange system in the middle of Operation Road Rage and a great battle scene at the mall at one flag. It all makes for quite a battleground.
As mentioned, the overarching theme with these three maps is “vehicles and armor,” with all three providing plenty of room to engage in distant warfare. It’s quite common to see three or four tanks in the same area, which was pretty rare in the original Battlefield 2. There’s also a plethora of Jeeps at seemingly every flag, which ensures infantry can get across these big maps quickly. Everything just feels more spread out in this map pack, yet there’s always a lot of action.
There’s a mixture of old and new art assets here, with a heavy dose of new. The new assets are the freeway on-ramp system, the paved roads, hay bales, silos, modern U.S.-style buildings, semi-trucks, a bomber, a helicopter, stoplights, bridges, trees, farmhouses, etc. Basically, anything you’d find in the American heartland. The maps themselves, too, look quite beautiful, sporting nice colors and spectacular civil-engineering projects, among other niceties.
Armored Fury also includes a couple of new vehicles. Considering the booster pack’s name, you’d expect to notice some new land vehicles right off the bat. That’s not the case. In fact, the first vehicle you notice just might be the new Warthog bomber (or its Chinese equivalent). It’s quite awesome to hear the bomber swoop down from above and watch as it bombs the hell out of you. Sure, it’s a bit overwhelming, but it’s also very awe-inspiring. Another new vehicle most people will notice right away looks like your average TV helicopter covering traffic, except it’s got a pilot-operated machinegun, is equipped with radar and has space for two passengers. This is a highly maneuverable copter and, consequently, is fun to fly. The semi-truck is also new, and the ones without trailers are drivable. These behave as you might expect (a bit slow to get started and stopped), but they sure get moving. Other than those vehicles, the rest are standard tanks and armored personnel carriers. Some are splashed with new camouflage skins, but they seem to behave the same as the tanks and armored personnel carriers from the original game.
The game itself plays as well as the regular Battlefield 2, and probably better than Special Forces. All in all, it provides you more of the same type of combat you’ve come to expect, with no major surprises, but the three new maps do provide some welcome variety to the Battlefield 2 experience. One could make an argument that EA should have optimized the game further and fixed some bugs in the original before trying to get more money with this booster pack, and that’s a valid argument. EA may be leaving itself open to another company coming out with a similar game that performs more smoothly on lesser hardware. But until that happens, Armored Fury is the best multiplayer shooter game out there. The original game is just plain fun, and this Armored Fury booster is more icing on the cake.
- Gameplay: 9.5
- More of the great BF2 gameplay, but with more maps and a few new vehicles.
- Graphics: 9.5
- It doesn’t get much better than this with the Battlefield franchise.
- Sound: 9.5
- Great audio, especially the incoming sounds of the Warthog bomber and new helicopter.
- Replay: 9.5
- It’s Battlefield. You know that means replayability.
- Overall: 9.5
- The best shooter on the market just got even better.
— Christopher Karalus