Alright, so the title is a bit of a misnomer. Many of you already know that I used to play PR a lot back in the day, long time TGers will probably remember me from back then. That is how I originally found TG in fact (actually through BF2, and then I got into PR). But it has been a long time, I haven't played PR in many years, and I've been playing PS2 for the last 3 years or so I guess. I know that the subject of PR has come up from time to time, it seems with increasing frequency lately, within the PS2 community, and I know there is some cross interest, so I thought I would write this review.


The first thing that was quite disorienting to me was the lack of HUD elements. I know some people consider this a positive, but man I guess I'm just spoiled after playing PS2 now for a few years. There is no minimap, no player names (nor team colors) over anyone's heads. Well, there is if you scope in on them and wait a long time. Or something. That doesn't always work though, so I'm not sure what's up with that.

That really took some getting used to. OTOH, there is nothing like the sheer terror of hiding in bushes, looking for the enemy, and then suddenly being 10-20 meters from someone and taking a good look at their uniform, trying to discern which team they are on, and not being sure if you should shoot or not. This makes the pace of the game completely different (some would say better) than PS2.

A few of the controls are a little different, but luckily I remembered most, and those few I forgot the guys in my squad were pretty helpful about. Oh, speaking of getting into a squad. You think it's hard to get into a TG squad in PS2? Ha! We have it easy! In PR, you first have to all make sure you are on the same server. If it is a full server, this can take some effort (keep clicking... now I remember why I originally bought my supporting membership to TG, lol... ). Then you have to make sure you are on the same team (and depending on how people are joining and dropping, and how full the server, this can take some time repeatedly clicking the team tab to get over to the team you want). After that, getting into the actual squad is pretty easy (if it's not full).

Finally, the graphics are a bit dated by today's standards. You have to remember this is built on top of Battlefield 2 engine after all.

Now you may think this sounds like a bad review, and so far maybe it does. But now that I have gotten the negatives out of the way, let me go over the positives.

The pace, sounds, and bullet damage model in this game lead to an amazing level of immersion! You will be patrolling through a jungle, or moving around through a city and nothing for a little while. Everything seems calm and quiet. Then all of a sudden, the pop pop of small arms, to your left, then the SAW opens up on your right, the sound of bullets ricocheting off the ground at your feet and the suppression effects and you know you are really in a firefight! The hurried confusion as your SL directs you to start suppressing the enemy and move to start flanking...

And just like real life, it only takes a couple bullets to put you down. No emptying half a magazine into someone, only to have them still walk away with some health left. This has a dramatic affect on gameplay. People are much more careful, and move more carefully. Bounding maneuvers, fireteams, and such are actually worth the time it takes to set them up and execute them, unlike in PS2, which is much faster paced and "arcadey."

Then when you are in city combat (or any map with vehicles, really), everyone is always looking out for the armored vehicles and the fear is very real and visceral. It's not like some Magrider that can just be pulled at any base, and is easily dispatched with a volley from a few HAs which are the most common kit in the game and can be pulled anywhere. Oh no, there are only limited number of HAT (Heavy Anti Tank) kits that can be pulled (usually 1 per side!) and killing an enemy piece of armor requires a concerted effort of many spotters, squads, and the HAT operator (or attack chopper(s) / aircraft) all working together. Similarly, air and armor assets are very valuable and only spawn every 15 minutes or so after they die, and are limited to only a couple per side (depending again on map). It is a huge responsibility, so generally only those who are competent end up employing those assets. Which in effect means that they are usually very good at using them (much to your dismay if they are on the opposite team)! lol So therefore, people are always reporting the location of enemy assets in team text. In the meantime, if you are just a regular infantry grunt without a HAT, you just go and hide, because there really is nothing you can do about it.

I remember one time we were in the hangers on that one big map in the desert, with an IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle, think Bradley or equivalent, something between a tank and an APC) right outside shooting the 20 mike mike into the hanger we were all trying desperately to hide in. The ground shook, it was so loud, and you felt like you were really right there in the battle. Nothing like PS2 at all. No nanites, no res grenades. Just a whole squad really being pinned down by a piece of armor and nothing to do but hide. I know I keep using the word visceral, but it really does apply. It's just a really different experience from PS2.

The redeploy mechanics are also very different. Yes, you actually need to spawn and take a transport chopper, APC, or amphibious vehicle to get to the fight (unless there is an FOB built near the front line). For many PS2 players, I know you will feel this to be an improvement over Redeployside. Finally, there are no VS or TR, nor space lasers. Instead, we get Chinese, or terrorists, or Middle Eastern Coalition. Or you may be on one of those factions, fighting against the USA, or Great Britain. There are also Russian and Chechnyan factions. And I'm sure I've left a few out. And the only lasers are in the Squad Leaders laser target designator. Which you use to mark targets for the air support to actually drop bombs on. Which is a lot of fun.

One thing that is the same though between both games, is the teamwork (well, at least in a proper TG squad). Many of the original Squad Leads in PS2 came from Project Reality, and it's no wonder that, differences in games aside, that same brand of TG squad cohesion and teamwork exists in both games. It's for this reason that those of us (myself included) who played PR and then PS2 always wondered why PS2 didn't really catch on with some of the "old school" TGers from PR and other games. We always speculated it was the sci-fi setting, HUD elements, bullet damage model, but if you're in that camp, please post up and say why you never got into PS2. I did speak to one such person the other day (LpBronco) and after chatting with him a while it sounded like he just had a bad experience the first couple times he tried PS2. So he decided to give it another try, he got on with us last night and I made sure to answer any questions he had and get him into a proper TG squad, and I think it was a much better experience for him. Our TG PS2 outfit has come a long, long way in the 2-3 years we have been playing.

But I am not here to recruit PR players to PS2 (although you would certainly be welcomed if you wanted to give it another go)! In fact, the opposite is true...

TG PS2 Plays PR Sign Up

Given the interest I have seen for PR from some of the new members of TG who found us through PS2, I thought it might be a good idea to have a "TG PS2 plays PR" day. I thought we could do it maybe some Sunday, or maybe a weekday night, or perhaps both if there is enough interest and/or scheduling conflict(s).

The best news is that PR is now free. You no longer need to dig out (or re-buy) your old BF2 CDs any more. Yes that's right, as of 1.3 PR is now it's own standalone client! You can find it on the Project Reality downloads page. Nothing else is required. And with the interest in the new Squad game (currently in alpha) there has been a bit of a resurgence of PR within TG of late, including putting our own server back up.

Unfortunately our PR server sits empty a lot of the time nowadays. So I figured this would be a perfect opportunity for a bunch of us from PS2 (or other titles) who might be noobs to PR, to give it a try in a somewhat less competitive environment (our own server, with only us in it to start). This would also serve to seed our server, if we get lucky maybe it will grow into a proper match in full swing.

So, if this sounds like something you may be interested in, post up here. Or if you have any commentary to add (i.e., you are one of those old PR players that never got into PS2, then why?).