Battlefield 1942: The Road to Rome

Battlefield 1942: The Road to Rome

Written by Charlie Sinhaseni on 2/10/2003 for PC  

Expansion packs are detrimental in that they often give us some insight as to what the designers originally intended to accomplish with their original products. Battlefield 1942’s Road to Rome falls in to this trap, providing us with a glimpse of what the original game was supposed to and should have been. It’s nice that the guys at Digital Illusions finally decided to provide us with a stable and functioning game, too bad it’ll cost you an extra $20 to experience it.

This expansion adds a total of six new maps, nine new vehicles (including air and land vehicles), and some new forces in to the fray, including the awesome world power of France. The maps are definitely the highlight of this package, featuring a nice variety of both landscapes and terrains. What’s nice about these maps is that although they’re large in scope, they’re still accessible by those who aren’t fortunate enough to get their hands on a vehicle.

Each level features nice areas for combat, whether they are large and open landscapes or tight and confined corridors, it’s obvious that the maps had both vehicle and infantry combat in mind. Firefights are also much more intense this time around thanks to the new and improved vehicles. Some of them feature enclosed gunner seats, protecting those who want to man the top-mounted machine guns. What this does is provides a bit more cover from snipers who happen to be looming around the area, prolonging your shelf life.

I wish that more would have been done to promote teamwork. Some of the new vehicles (as well as the old) can’t be fired and driven by one person. However, all it takes is a quick press of a button and you’re magically transported from the driver’s seat to the gunner’s seat. This leads to one person hogging a vehicle that could very well accommodate 2, or ever 3 people. Not enough emphasis has been placed on teamwork and to be honest, teamwork really isn’t necessary to succeed. A skilled jeep driver can more than easily overwhelm an entire base and steal the flag from right underneath their noses.

Many of the problems that plagued the original Battlefield 1942 have since been fixed via a series of long-overdue patches. This brings the stability of the expansion pack up to well beyond that of the original’s. However, it doesn’t even ship with the newest available version of the game. Road to Rome ships with version 1.25 while a version 1.3 patch (which features some minor tweaks) is already available for download. It’s not too difficult to find and download the latest version of the game but it’s really disadvantageous to not ship your new product with the most up-to-date materials.
The original game looked pretty impressive and it’s nice to see that the levels on this expansion retain the same visual quality. Everything is pretty much in line with what we have come to expect from this game, meaning that the game looks good, but not great. Don’t expect many visual upgrades here although I have noticed that a few problems that plagued the original, such as some horrendous texture ripping and clipping, have been fixed. Some of the awkward animations and vehicle movements still remain however.

The network code is finally up to par according to the rest of the gaming world. While not entirely lag free, I must say that I’m impressed with the game’s stability and smoothness of play. I experienced little trouble when it came to finding a decent server to play on and if you’ve ever played BF1942, you’ll know just how exciting a 64-player game can be.

Even with the game’s relatively low price point ($19.99 retail) it’s difficult to recommend. To be honest this “expansion pack” feels like an amalgamation of materials that could have been provided for free via a neat little download. The new maps, new vehicles and new skins should have given to those who were kind enough to support the game during its most shaky periods. This isn’t right, you don’t punish the people who helped make your game thrive and flourish, you should thank them by rewarding them.

While lovers of the original will no doubt be pleased with what The Road to Rome has to offer, many of them may be able to see past the thin façade that is this expansion pack. It does an admirable job of upgrading the original product but then again, all of these advancements and upgrades shouldn’t come at a price.


(Additional information from John Yan)
One of the things that we've found out over the weeks from the new patch is that there is a built in wall hack that can be activated with a simple console command. In addition, there is also a buddy system bug that will show an indication of where you are on the field whether it is friend or foe. Let's hope DICE gets on the ball and fixes these issues quick. That's one of the reasons I left Counterstrike and have become very distant at playing online games with people I don't know. -JY
Basically disappointing in the respect that this expansion is everything that the original game should have been, just a shame that you’ll have to pay an extra $20 to experience it.

Rating: 7.9 Above Average

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.


About Author

Gaming has been a part of my life for as long as I could remember. I can still recall many a lost nights spent playing Gyromite with that stupid robot contraption for the old NES. While I'm not as old as the rest of the crew around these parts, I still have a solid understanding of the heritage and the history of the video gaming industry.

It's funny, when I see other people reference games like Doom as "old-school" I almost begin to cringe. I bet that half of these supposed "old-school" gamers don't even remember classic games like Rise of the Triad and Commander Keen. How about Halloween Harry? Does anyone even remember the term "shareware" anymore? If you want to know "old-school" just talk to John. He'll tell you all about his favorite Atari game, Custer's Revenge.

It's okay though, ignorance is bliss and what the kids don't know won't hurt them. I'll just simply smile and nod the next time someone tells me that the best entry in the Final Fantasy franchise was Final Fantasy VII.

When I'm not playing games I'm usually busy sleeping through classes at a boring college in Southern Oregon. My current hobbies are: writing songs for punk rock bands that never quite make it, and teasing Bart about... well just teasing Bart in general. I swear the material writes itself when you're around this guy. He gives new meaning to the term "moving punching bag."

As for games, I enjoy all types except those long-winded turn-based strategy games. I send those games to my good pal Tyler, I hear he has a thing for those games that none of us actually have the time to play.

When I'm not busy plowing through a massive pile of video games I spend all of my time trying to keep my cute little girl fed. She eats a ton but damn she's so hot. Does anyone understand the Asian girl weight principal? Like they'll clean out your fridge yet still weigh less than 110 pounds.

Currently I'm playing: THUG, True Crime, Prince of Persia, Project Gotham 2 and Beyond Good & Evil. View Profile

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