Although EA's Battlefield series boasts some of the most realistic warfare ever seen on a PC, its flawed squad dynamics have always allowed players to operate as individuals rather than part of a team, making for anarchic battles where uncoordinated mobs charge blindly around the blood-soaked battlefields, indiscriminately blasting anything that moves. But having gone back to the drawing board to bring some structure to the chaos, EA has created one of the finest war games money can buy.
As before, Battlefield 2 allows up to 64 players to split into teams and take part in an epic skirmish, but this time there's a greater sense of unity; one player on each team takes the role of commander, using an aerial map of the battle and a voice-chat headset to communicate with their squad leaders, who in turn filter these orders to individual soldiers to ensure that the team sticks together and tackles the enemy as a unified force.
As in previous editions, the sense that you're taking part in a real battle is incredible - with rockets whizzing past your ears, unscripted acts of heroism at every turn and no limitations on how you butcher your opponents - but it's the sensation that you're fighting as part of a well-oiled war machine that makes Battlefield 2 thoroughly gripping.
Reviewed by David McComb