A Friendly Reminder From Your Morale Officer… (FH2)
Just in case any of you missed it, the highly anticipated Battlefield 2 modification, Forgotten Hope 2.0, was released over the weekend. For those who have not experienced the original Forgotten Hope modification for Battlefield 1942 (one of the best mods in the BF scene), take note here. Forgotten Hope, both original and the newest iteration, are attempts to bring a “more realistic” WW2 battlefield experience to the player. This, of course, results in a less arcade feel that is the staple of the Battlefield series. That’s not to say that making a more realistic game is any less fun.
(For those wanting to skip the wordy analysis, head straight to the goods by clicking here.)
Quite the contrary, Forgotten Hope tends to provide a Battlefield-like game with far more depth. As an individual soldier in Forgotten Hope, you’ll feel more part of a team. Players who tend to favor a more Rambo-style of gameplay may find this often worthy tactic failing with high frequency in Forgotten Hope. And since Forgotten Hope is going for a realistic aspect, this means being wounded (whether through small arms fire or shrapnel) in the game is almost always near-fatal. Basically, the cautious player will find themselves having to respawn less while at the same time being more productive. Again, this all ties into that teamwork aspect of the game where mass offensive charges will net more success than random small squad or individual scouting attempts (although disruption and sniper annoyance are elements still present).
Another somewhat unique aspect in Forgotten Hope is its emphasis on infantry. Yes, there are vehicles in the game. However, they are not provided at such high ratios ala vanilla Battlefield [insert iteration here]. What my previous experience in the original Forgotten Hope has taught me is that if you choose to operate a vehicle, you will be specializing in one thing (infantry are far more versatile). And you better be damn good at that one thing, because you are (1) largely outnumbered and (2) usually a big fat target all are looking out for. A tank (& gunner) driving into an enclosed area (usually where the cap points are) without infantry support may find their life expectancy rather short (more so than infantry). As a tank operator, often times you’ll find yourself sitting back and waiting for your infantry buddies to sweep an area to ensure its safe for you to pass through (or get into position). Remember, it’s quite possible you are the only tank on the map, so don’t expect much armored support otherwise. Ensuring your tank stays on the map (as opposed to the respawn cycle) could very well provide a psychological impact on your opponent. Tanks in FH take little to no damage from small arms fire.
My impressions thus far specifically regarding Forgotten Hope 2.0:
Forgotten Hope 2.0 carries all of the aspects of the original Forgotten Hope and adds some new ones (i.e. commander, officer kit, medals, etc.) by exploiting a newer Battlefield 2 engine, relatively speaking. In fact, FH2 is really a total conversion due to its WW2 setting (recall BF2 artwork, models, etc. are all modern setting). Don’t expect a major graphical overhaul here. Gameplay is the primary focus in FH2. With that said, I find the overall look of FH2 quite appealing even if the texture detail, model polygon count, and the desert settings give it a somewhat bland appearance when placed under a microscope. Speaking of desert settings, there are ten maps included in the current release of FH2. Nine of them take place in Northern Africa. As you can imagine, there will be lots of sand in your boots. And trust me, you’ll be running across quite a lot of sand on some of these maps.
Those jumping into a FH2 game for the first time, regardless of expectation, will immediately find the game pace rather slow. In fact, compared to BF2, the game pace might seem unbearably slow. The only advice I can give to the FH2 initiate is give it a chance. Tap into that patience of yours. The slow game pace is all tied into this emphasis of teamwork. If you could respawn at high frequency and get from point A to point B in such a timely fashion, the penalty for dying would be diminished greatly. Knowing this fact, if you kill a poor bastard charging your hill, you can take satisfaction that that it will be some time again before that poor bastard tries it again. For those with A.D.D. symptoms, this might not be your cup of tea. For those maniacal camping bastards with endless patience, you’ll feel right at home in FH2.
Overall, I find FH2 to be a nominal success (this coming from a Forgotten Hope vet). It hasn’t blown me away like I would like it to. Nonetheless, it certainly lived up to my expectation. My only doubts are whether the dated graphics will lessen its appeal. To be fair, the graphics are still better than anything using the BF1942 engine. It’s just that here lately the standard in graphics on PC have jumped up quite a bit. As I’m walking in the desert in FH2, I have this voice in my head that says “You know what would be cool here? A sandstorm or wind blowing sand around messing with your vision….. or swaying palm trees. Small desert creatures that could easily be mistaken for soldiers on the horizon. Heat haze.” Stuff like that. All of this is probably asking too much from a resource limited FH2 team using a now dated engine.
Also, the ten maps included in this release seem a rather small count compared to its predecessor. Then again, this might be a good thing because it probably means the FH team spent more time perfecting the balance and style of those maps. Whether this has resulted in a more quality vs. sufficient quantity is open for debate. 90% of the maps have the same desert setting, which could get rather boring. My fear is that these maps will get old rather quick. Then again, I haven’t gotten bored of the 10 or so ET:Quake Wars maps yet. So only time will tell. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. FH2 does have single player support (i.e. multiplayer maps with bots).
To summarize, Forgotten Hope 2.0 is a WW2 mod for BF2 with emphasis on teamwork and realism. If you liked the original Forgotten Hope, you should download this mod immediately and give it a try. If you are tired of the glut of fast action+fast respawn multiplayer grind of team-based games of late, you should check this mod out. Just remember to bring plenty of patience with you. And yes, the game is rather difficult when compared to BF2‘s rather simplistic learning curve. The good news is if you can run BF2, then FH2 will run without a hitch. The seemingly bad news is this mod is a 1.2 GB download (you’ll need BF2 and its .5 GB patch ready as well). If you are bandwidth challenged, this might pose as an unappealing factor. Fortunately, FileFront has some of the best bandwidth around, thus getting the download to finish (after some time) should pose little challenge.
If your interest is still piqued (but you are still unsure), be sure to visit the Official Forgotten Hope Community Site @ FileFront. There you will find all sorts of info, screenshots, trailers, etc. regarding the latest release of FH2. And if you simply want me to shut-up and show you where the goods are at, then click the link below (and give Jerry something to worry about):