Bringing gamers to Kazakhstan

By Bill Hanley

How many people can find Kazakhstan on a map? Don’t feel bad if you can’t. It’s not at the top of my vacation list, but it does make a great setting for “Battlefield 2: Modern Combat.”

It is fairly obvious that with the name “Battlefield 2,” it’s a sequel. Its predecessor recreated actual World War II battles, whereas “Modern Combat” chooses to use more contemporary, yet fictional, battles.

Since Kazakhstan is a former member of the Soviet Union and borders China, it meets all the requirements for a good video game. The story is set in a developing country that is manipulated by China from the East, and by the United States to the West, with all the action right in the middle.

The Battlefield series is new to consoles and brings its great reputation as a multiplayer game with it. Yet, the single player mode develops the fictional conflict from all sides. Even though the game is not focused on developing a story, it has thrown in a lot of improvements to make the single player mode worthwhile.

“Modern Combat” utilizes a feature called “hot swapping” that gives playing alone a team-based feeling. “Hot swapping” allows the player to take control of any of the dozen or more soldiers in the midst of a battle. This means a player can switch from a rifleman on a rooftop to the gunner in a tank instantly.

This forces the player to effectively use the whole team in order to beat any mission. “Hot swapping” allows the player to constantly switch from flying helicopters to ridding in a Hummer, which turns out to be as crucial as any other ability in the game.

Actually, I wouldn’t care if I couldn’t beat some of the missions because it is so entertaining to play as every soldier in the conflict. The first person mode is definitely more than I expected, but it can be annoying.

The artificial intelligence becomes tedious in some missions. For example, after you have defeated a squad of enemy scum, the game may decide to suddenly create a whole new squad of now, really pissed-off bad guys, standing right behind you. Even as you become an expert, the game will still find cheap ways to kill you.

In reality, the single player is only a distraction to the multiplayer mode. Most gamers of any type will become addicted to the online play of “Battlefield 2,” because playing online with up to 23 other people is just amazing.

There are only two types of online matches, capture the flag and conquest. However, this is far more than enough diversity to destroy any hopes of having a social life or making the dean’s list. Actually, the online play isn’t all that diverse, but it just never gets old.

The object of playing online is simple and broken down into two parts. The first part is to stay alive and the second is to ensure no one on the other team stays alive. The best part is “Battlefield 2” allows you to accomplish both of these objectives in so many different ways.

Some people tend to use the overkill method and will simply run over opponents while driving a Chinese tank. I prefer to be sneaky, and will hide behind boxes and wait until someone runs out of ammunition.

Either method ends up creating a hilarious situation, hopefully a situation with you on the winning end. This is the same appeal that made the first game so successful. Granted, “Battlefield 2” does not improve much over the original, but it still can easily control your life.

There is going to be a “Battlefield 3” someday, so you might as well get a head start now. You can’t possibly be disappointed with the online version. Best of all, if you play “Battlefield 2: Modern Combat” you will learn where Kazakhstan actually is.

Bill Hanley is a senior in LAS. His column appears on Tuesdays. He can be reached at [email protected]