Battlefield 2’s Euro Force is the first of the booster packs to be released for Battlefield 2. These booster packs only feature three maps unlike the full fledged Special Forces expansion released last year. Keeping with the idea of bite sized additions, there is only one new side in the game. Euro Force focuses on the introduction of the European Union into the game, which consists of a number of Western European sounding people who for some reason prefer to speak in English when English is none of their native tongue. And if you though the British were at the head of the army, think again, no British accents can be found on the EU side.
Two of the maps pit the EU against MEC in support operations with the Americans (who are off the map). The other is a China versus EU map in a fictitious Western invasion of mainland China. In general the maps emphasize combined arms but armor takes a more notable role in the game than in the Special Forces expansion. The anti-tank class will be popular once again. Although there are only a few air units in the new maps, expert use of these units can turn the tide of the battle.
The EU flex their muscle through the use of British (Challenger 2) and German (Leopard) tank. Most of the new guns appeared to be German influenced with Heckler and Koch or Belgian influenced with FN both taking the brunt of the arms furnishing. The only exception is with the sniper rifle which goes to British rifle maker Lee Enfield. I have to say the EU weapons have better kick to them and seem more advanced than any of the other sides possible. Some of the weapons like the FN SCAR and the H&K G36 were previously available in different forms with the Special Forces expansion.
Unfortunately, the accented English just doesn’t seem very authentic with EU. I’m not even sure the EU has a standing army – they probably train together but don’t carry a common flag. Most EU countries, after all, are part of NATO or at least are seeking membership in it. Euro Force doesn’t fix any of the outstanding problems with Battlefield 2.
One of the strange things about Euro Force is the fact that the missions are bundled with the main game. Special Forces missions were bundled all by itself in a separate executable. There is no reconciliation between both of them so you’ll find yourself bouncing back between the green Special Forces interface and the regular Battlefield 2 experience. This isn’t so much a problem if you own Euro Force but those who just have vanilla Battlefield 2 or Special Forces will find it annoying that a host server can sprinkle some Euro Force maps in between forcing you to move on to another server.
The other peculiar thing about Euro Force is how you install it. The booster pack is only available online so it forces you to use the EA Downloader to purchase and activate the product. Only do this on the PC you actually want to play on as you can’t reinstall it on another PC. For some unbeknownst reason, the EA Downloader will continue to live on your machine as a startup program from then on. What it actually does to facilitate the play of Euro Force is absolutely unknown but it will help encourage you to purchase other EA products.
For $9.99, Euro Force has enough material to keep Battlefield fans entertained for a little while longer. It is a more balanced expansion and some of the maps, like The Great Wall, can be pretty hectic. I personally liked Operation Smoke Screen better, which is dotted with burning oil reserves that reminded me of the initial Gulf War. The maps are definitely more professional and imaginative than your average third party mod. But the most tragic thing is the sad reality that those who don’t keep up with the official EA packs may find themselves in minority once the second booster pack comes out.