Well, seven start-up screens later and the BF2 demo is here... I've had a lot of fun playing around with it so far. The models and animations are outstanding, though I am experiencing occasional texture corruptions that seem to be related to smoke and explosion effects (on an NVIDIA card, rather than ATI, where there was a warning this could happen, in spite of upgrading to the mystery ForceWare upgrade included with the demo). It took a while to get a feel for the game's scale, but it definitely works. I'm a bit mystified at having to create a GameSpy login to play a demo that was not hosted on GameSpy's network, but the game industry has become all about strange bedfellows, so there that is. I asked EA if the full game would likewise require signing on with GameSpy/IGN, but received no reply.
The most frustrating aspect of the demo for me is the preposterous key configuration screen. I thought BF1942 and BF:V had it bad with mysterious hunts for key conflicts, but BF2 takes this to a whole new level, with an arbitrary default setup that uses about every key on the keyboard, requiring the user to find all the conflicts before assigning keys. The least they could do is provide a 'clear all' function to start fresh here, but the way this config screen operates gives the impression that it was coded and released without anyone trying it. I have never had a more frustrating setup experience prior to playing a game. And that's not to mention the keys you can't assign at all... Alt, Left Shift, the mousewheel (there was this brief moment when mousewheel reconfiguration worked in BF1942, but that got broken again in a subsequent patch)... apparently those of us used to assigning these keys to our own needs are just SOL. I've seen reports that the numeric keypad cannot be reconfigured either (there's a post to our forums outlining a way to configure hidden keys that I haven't looked into yet, but am hopeful will provide some help with this). After struggling through the process of configuring keys for the solo version, I decided that was something I never wanted to do again, which, of course, is exactly what I had to do right away after creating a multiplayer account. Argh! I'd express hopes that these issues won't be present in the full game, but since it went gold over a week ago, that doesn't seem very realistic.
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