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.