The BF2 demo did indeed make its way out on Friday. Thanks, Kids On The Street.
Jeff commented that it was (among) the best game(s) he'd ever played, and wrote a nice big post on it, avec some handy tips, especially on how to pick a non-standard (*cough* 1680x1050 *cough*) resolution.
I'm going to inch toward agreeing, but I now have multiple Nvidia problems: As well as their DVD Decoder Online Store (I think my interpretation of the word "online" may need adjustment - it's still Due Back in One Month), I've hit the first semi-serious problem with the March 2005 x64 drivers - in the BF2 demo, shadows don't quite work right, blocking out large square grids of shade instead of an object shape. In fairness, it provides something of an advantage as I can always tell when a vehicle is nearby. Word On The Street is that Nvidia have a Forceware drop due on the 22nd which may include an x64 build - please, oh please, it's been so long between drinks.
Graphical glitches aside - and the shadows are the only real problem I've had - it's a pretty compelling experience. It seems to have moved a little away from the arcade blaster I fondly remember BF1942 as, and a little towards the Joint Operations style of pseudo-realism-with-a-competitive-bent-but-still-some-fun-to-be-had.
The commander screen is really going to take some learning to get it right - anytime I try commanding against Veteran opponents in single player, I pretty much just get pwned. Quickly.
The air vehicles don't seem quite as uncontrollable as Desert Combat, but that might just be because I haven't yet plugged in the joystick. I was never much cop at the Battlefield air vehicles in any incarnation, I'd have to say, possibly because I didn't usually spawn with enough kevlar to survive the team killing surrounding the aircraft materialization points. I expect that hasn't changed much in the new version - I've seen many, many bots seemingly simulating this situation by running each other over in vehicles. I love my dumb friendly bots.
It's really quite good. And I intend to play a lot of it over this weekend, which conveniently includes a Public Holiday on Monday. Mmmm. What with the V8 Supercars in Shanghai (MCE-recorded), the Formula One tonight (scheduled) and a half price copy of FIFA 2005 for Xbox, picked up in an EB sale, I have some serious leisure cut out for me...
[Update] It seems to enjoy the odd CTD (Crash To Desktop) bug when playing online, running on my X64 system... Fingers crossed they sort that out for release.
> the shadows are the only real problem I've had
I had that problem too, even with the "latest" nvidia drivers, until I installed the newer drivers included with the game (!)
> The commander screen is really going to take some learning to get it right
I believe the "T" popup command rose (what is the technical term for this??) will include commander stuff if you're the commander. Normally it only includes squad commands. This of course complements the "Q" menu which is more generic.
> I have some serious leisure cut out for me...
It is a hard knock life for us!