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Battlefield 1942 (plus mods!)

Battlefield 1942 is a lot of fun. That's the main thing you should take from this review. It might be several years old now at this point, but that shouldn't dissuade you from trying the game out, especially if you never played a Battlefield game before. The earlier games up to Battlefield 3 had this great concept of combined arms warfare with Battlefield 2 (and 2142) being the peak of the series in my opinion.

You have a series of classes for each team, each with a specific role and specialized equipment. Snipers get access to bolt action scoped rifles and are "usually" great at picking off infantry from a distance. Assault class has a light machine gun or assault rifle that does a decent amount of damage and is good for picking off infantry in close range. Anti-tank gets access to a Rocket Launcher which is used to take down various land vehicles but is generally weaker against infantry focused classes in close range. The medic has a fairly weak sub-machine gun but makes up for it with the ability to heal yourself and others with a med-pack. The engineer/sapper class has a bolt action (or sometimes semi-auto rifle) with various mines and detonation charges to take out vehicles. In addition, they also can repair friendly vehicles. Though the equipment used for each nation is not historically accurate, it is balanced in such a way that when you play multiplayer, generally the team with the most cooperation will win the match. It's not advisable to go at it alone like in more modern Battlefield games, although it's not impossible to be a one man hero if you know what you are doing. Maps are big and open to many tactical antics. You have a nice selection of vehicles depending on the map and you even have control over stuff like aircraft carriers, subs, and battleships!

If you know where to look, you can still find Battlefield 1942 with all the latest patches and updates required to play online. It'll even run great on Linux via wine. There is still an active community of players though it's nowhere near as populated as it once was years ago. Single player is kind of a miss but still a good way to play some maps when there isn't any online opportunities available. The bots aren't that great though there are some minor mods that as of 2021 are designed to improve the ai behavior slightly.

Speaking of mods, there are also a host of total conversions you can download for free online that will alter many aspects of the game by introducing new themes of conflicts, graphical improvements, and so much more. My favorite mods are Forgotten Hope, Desert Combat, Eve of Destruction, and Battlefield 1918. Forgotten Hope expands on the WW2 theme of 1942 and adds more historical accuracy to things like classes, nations, vehicles, and even more content. Desert Combat ditches the World War 2 setting all together and puts you right into the first Gulf War with "fairly" modern weapons, vehicles and equipment. Desert Combat was probably one of the most popular mods back in the day and many of the mod devs went on to work on future commercial titles like Battlefield 2 or their own stuff (I think the game I am thinking about is Frontline: Fuel of War but I could be wrong). Eve of Destruction is a Vietnam War total conversion that is basically like Forgotten Hope but in Vietnam. Arguably better than Battlefield Vietnam in some ways, especially when it comes to historical accuracy. Last but not least, my favorite Battlefield 1942 mod of all time is none other than Battlefield 1918. The mod takes the setting all the way back to the first world war (A setting that is hardly covered especially back in the day). With reasonable historic accuracy with a hint of gameplay balance, this is possibly the most refined and interesting of the mods. I don't think there has ever been a game or mod that has covered the first world war in as much detail as Battlefield 1918 with the exception of Darkest Hour: A Hearts of Iron Game. All of these mods have bots for single player although specific maps will determine how the bots will behave. There are various other noteworthy mods such as the Star Wars mods, the 40K one, another one called Battlefield: Pirates, a US Civil War one, other WW2 mods like Battlegroup 42, Experience WW2, and plenty more.

It's hard to say between Battlefield 1942 and Battlefield 2 is the one I prefer. They are both great in their own right and are a lot of fun to play especially if you can find a sever with other players. The series has been going downhill ever since and went from a combined arms multiplayer game, to a casualized military arcade shooter, to now with the upcoming Battlefield 2042 as a hero shooter (more like an hero shooter amirite?). I don't think the new Battlefield games will ever capture that feel of the earlier games ever again.

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