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Battlefield 1942: The Road to Rome Preview

publisher: EA
developer: Digital Illusions
genre: Shooters

PIII 500, 128MB RAM, 32MB Video Card, 1GB HD
ESRB rating: T

release date: Feb 02, 03
» All About Battlefield 1942: The Road to Rome on ActionTrip

A good game is a good game, and people know it. The folks at Digital Illusions were obviously quite pleased with the huge feedback Battlefield 1942 has received from countless fans worldwide. Consequently, the Swedish development team has decided to polish the game up a bit, toss in an additional feature or two, and wrap it all up in a nice little box and give its Christmas gift to the world in a nifty little multiplayer expansion pack -- Battlefield 1942: The Road to Rome. To enlighten the uninformed, the reason why they dubbed the game "The Road to Rome" is because it emphasizes the WWII campaigns which took place in Sicily and Italy. With this multiplayer add-on Digital Illusions and EA are also hoping to makeup for some of the minor slip-ups that have plagued the original title.

Yep, sadly, despite its great success, Battlefield 1942 had a couple of hitches - most of them were quite irritating actually. At first, the problem was that the game required high-speed internet connections which meant that if you clog up a LAN game with additional bots and highly-detailed graphics, you may be in for one helluva slide-show (which was sometimes noted as quite a common occurrence throughout the thriving community of Battlefield 1942). Therefore, the sluggish frame-rate, frequent crashes, and many similar bugs and stability issues made it hard for many players us to enjoy the full potential of the game (not to mention it was tough for us to examine the game thoroughly when it first came out). Frankly, we've learned that a great deal of gamers out there were just not happy. Soon afterwards, EA and Digital Illusions have managed to cushion the blow a bit with several patches. This, of course, improved the situation, but the fact remained that the game was released before it was done. Even after all of that patching, a large number of players still continued to complain about a couple of really annoying gameplay drawbacks. Most of them concerned the unbalanced bot AI.

Despite its weaknesses, Battlefield 1942 soon became a very prominent game, which was largely due to the brilliant atmosphere, excellent physics engine, superb sound effects, and of course a commendable choice of authentic vehicles and weapons from the times of World War II. All of this was enough to meet the needs of gamers. To put it as simply as possible, the developers had succeeded in creating a genuine representation of massive WWII battles and for that reason BF1942 turn out to be one of the more popular multiplayer FPS games of recent memory.

Battlefield 1942: The Road to Rome was crated to enhance the gameplay with a solid number of additional features. This time around, players will be able to fight under two new flags: France and Italy. Also, the developers have also promised to deliver several new campaigns that will encompass six new maps; so far three were revealed: Operations Husky, Anzio, and Monte Cassino. Still, Battlefield 1942 had one essential and unique ingredient which always made it fun and exciting to play - the vehicles. The original game featured more than 30 different vehicles, all of which worked flawlessly thanks to the excellently-balanced physics engine. Now, the expansion pack will give players a chance to test eight brand new vehicles. Some of them have been unveiled recently: bombers like the German BF-110 and the British Mosquito, the Italian Torpedo Boat, New British Tanks, New German Tanks, and Anti-Tank gun emplacements. Anyhoo, as you can see the game once again offers a neat selection of land vehicles, ships, and aircraft (both from Axis and Allied forces). Further improvements to the gameplay were brought into the picture with a new choice of hand-held weapons at your disposal - these include the Rifle Grenade Launcher, British Sten SMG, and Bayonets (boy, I'm really looking forward to poking somebody with that thing, look out Dex!).

Of course, the game will once more be powered by the so-called Refractor 2 engine. The previous title showed that the engine handles the game's massive requirements marvelously. Although nothing was revealed about any specific or radical visual improvements, the level designers have assured that they have added a few fresh and interesting details to the new maps. Adequately enough, their idea is not to burden the game with excessive visual effects and redundant objects that could easily choke the frame-rate.

Basically, these maps have been designed to enrich the experience with new challenges during multiplayer matches, giving the gameplay more zest and depth. On the other hand, for those of you who are looking for more involving single-player aspects, maybe this time you may get your chance to enjoy the ride by testing the new unique single player mode. This mode features no scripting, and that means that you are faced with different challenges each time you play. However, our main concern here is the fundamentally weak AI from the previous game. If the developers haven't worked on the AI code, I scarcely believe the single-player aspect will improve in any way.

All things considered, there's nothing we can do but wait. Battlefield 1942: The Road to Rome also features support for up to 64 players, allowing them to choose between Allies and Axis. Also, due to the special care the designing team took while working on the maps, you can expect a bona fide WWII atmosphere. Assuming that the various drawbacks and issues from the first game are remedied, Battlefield 1942: The Road to Rome could easily reaffirm its reputation throughout the huge community of fans and players worldwide.



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