Forgotten Hope 2
Few games have offered up the amount of joyous hope and shattering disappointment than Forgotten Hope 2 has. It happens to be a Battlefield 2 mod and not a standalone game, but the range of stuff offered within – from new maps to vehicles and weapons – is so vast that, were it not for some familiar menu layouts and gameplay modes, it could easily be presented as an entirely new game.
So what’s so cool and equally disappointing about it? First the best parts – the game is essentially Battlefield 2 set during the Second World War. The new set of levels follow the same logic of conquering specific locations spread far and wide. Controlling larger portions of the map limits the enemy team’s spawning points and also grinds down their ticket counter. The first team to hit zero tickets loses the battle, so the real key to victory is to control and hold as many points on the map as possible.
In Forgotten Hope 2 you also have to worry about proximity. You can only capture enemy positions that are closest to the nearest point you’ve already conquered. This prevents annoying instances where one dude slips through to the back of your territory and snatches an unguarded position, thereby generating an enemy spawning point right behind you. It makes the battles a lot more localized, with each team fighting over one or two positions at most at any given time.
The other awesome thing about Forgotten Hope 2 is that it’s simply very well made. Almost all of the maps are visually stunning and cover a wide range of themes – snowy forests, scorching deserts, green summer countrysides, destroyed towns, etc. A multitude of fronts and fighting sides are presented, each with their own tanks, cars, cannons, small arms and speech files.
Battles range from the infamous to the truly obscure, covering several continents along the way. You can play through the Omaha Beach landings, Point du Hoc, Bastogne, the Ardennes offensive or the fall of Tobruk. Less known battles will take you to Central Africa (Battle of Karen), Crete (Battle for Sfakia) or Romania (Battle of Arad). With the exception of some night-time operations (such as Hurtgen Forest and Eppeldorf), all of the maps in Forgotten Hope 2 are a blast to play through. The only one problem is that most of them require a large player base (32 to 64), with only a negligible minority having been designed to serve 16 players or less.
The kit system also went through some tweaking. For on thing, there’s no Sniper kit anymore, though you can still find sniper rifles occasionally hidden in places where you get a nice vantage point, and which you can pick up and use as you would any other kit. The other kit to get the boot is the medic, making life all the more precious in a gun fight. Weapons in general pack a heavier punch now – where in Battlefield 1942 you could perhaps sustain two rifle shots, here it’s usually one shot, one kill from just about every weapon.
The other weapon kits – Assault (SMG), Machinegunner (Heavy MG with deployable bipods), Engineer or the Anti-Tank soldier are back but now have a ‘Limited’ marker on them. What this means is that only a certain percentage of your team’s fighting force can play as them, and it’s first come first serve. This ads extra realism as it forces more players to play as riflemen. The Scout is the new replacement for the sniper, and they’re usually handed a semi-auto or bolt-action rifle plus a pair of binoculars.
The vehicles are the main star of the game, of course. You get an impressive range of tanks from all sides and categories – light tanks, heavy tanks, tank destroyers, self-propelled artillery, mobile anti-air, armored personnel carriers, trucks, cars, planes or boats – you name it, it’s here. With the exception of some of the planes (they’re still notoriously useless), the vehicles in Forgotten Hope 2 really do make the game incredibly fun.
The tanks are especially well balanced, employing thick armor and firepower at the cost of maneuverability. If you’re a lowly infantrymen without a bazooka at hand, a tank will pose an immediate danger. Not only can these intimidating goliaths dish out both anti-tank (AT) and high explosive (HE) shells, but most pack at least two machineguns (one in the turret, one in the front) to deal with softer targets such as infantry or small vehicles.
They can be fearsome, but are also terribly hard to maneuver. As a tank driver, you can only see in front of you when you pop your head out, or peep through the gun sights by pressing X. To check your sides for threats you need to awkwardly swing the turret around, which is hardly efficient. With no external camera, tanks are great at killing things that are in front of them, but are very vulnerable to side and rear attacks. Drive a Tiger through a bombed-out city and you’re a magnet for bazooka ambushes. Get a bunch of your pals guarding your tank’s blind spots, however, and you have a solid fighting force.
It’s this sort of realism and teamplay that makes the game a blast. The only problem is that you need human players to enjoy any sort of genuine immersion, since the stock bot AI – which has been imported wholesale from Battlefield 2 – is still incompetent. They’re not totally unpredictable. Bots will lead attacks and counterattacks, drive vehicles, fly planes and bark out radio chatter. The only problem is that they do all of this with little rhyme or reason, and it rarely feels like a well organized battle.
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Sure you can set their skill level (Easy, Medium, Expert), but this mainly affects their reaction time and accuracy. Even when they’re excellent shots, bots still have the tactical awareness of dried trout. This is further exacerbated by the fact that you can’t really give global commands to your fighting forces so as to coordinate attacks and bring some order to all of the chaos. Instead you’re a small, powerless cog in a sea of mostly incoherent AI algorithms that follow pre-set waypoints.
At times such as these when I was strolling through trench networks, barbed wire, sandbag fortifications and gun emplacements that I felt extreme disappointment. Here was a lovely playground of destruction just waiting for dozens of virtual soldiers to play war, but no one besides myself to revel in it. If Forgotten Hope 2 had the artificial intelligence to match the realism offered by its assorted military hardware, it would have been the best game ever. As it stands now, it’s merely great.
System Requirements: Pentium IV 3 GHz, 512 MB RAM, WinXP
How To Install FH2:
1. Download, install Battlefield 2.
2. Install 1.4 patch from Fileplanet.
3. Install 1.5 patch from Fileplanet.
4. Download the FH2 Launcher.
(place Launcher into BF2 folder)
5. Run the installer, wait.
- Buy Game