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You should be able to pick up both games pretty cheap so get both! Don't worry about all of the add on packs for BF2 since TG doesn't support them. Grab the PR and POE2 mods for BF2 and now you have three new games! Try them all have a blast.
Aye, BF2, you'd be playing POE or PR or other mods more.
2142 is still going very strong in the TG community. I'd suggest against buying the game online, get the disc.
2142 is more infantry heavy and relies a lot of a very cohesive squad that moves together quickly. BF2 is a bit slower paced and has, for the most part, larger maps and more varied basic kits, while 2142 has a bunch of different options in choosing your kit layout once you start unlocking items.
PR is a whole different world, and quite fun!
BF2 is also available at the tacticalmarket for $7.
BF2 is much better than 2142, IMHO. I also wouldn't bother buying all the expansions and booster packs.
Be careful where you play. BF2 had/has the most hackers/glitchers, rank whores, tank/jet/chopper whores, nade spammers, bunny hoppers, dolphin divers, etc. I've ever seen in a game. I picked up BF2 several months ago at Best Buy for $10. It can be fun, and there are several great mods available. If you play on a TG server I'm sure you'll have a great time. Allied Intent Xtended (AIX) and Point of Existence 2 (PoE2) are two of the best mods. Ever since I bought CoD4 I haven't even played BF2 once though.
2142. No. I was very, VERY hyped for this game before it was released. I pre-ordered it...got the demo... BAM. Never bought it. I wasnt impressed by any of the models, skins, or weapons for that matter. They're all typical PEW PEW.
BF2...Hell, I only played Vanilla BF2 for 2 months, max. Then I found Project reality (PR) and soon after Point of Existence 2. What EA has done wrong with the series: THESE GAMES REDEEM. Don't listen to people about outdated graphics (If you know how BF2 stacks compared to other games of its time, you'll notice the technology was way ahead of the others...)
And, tomorrow, Friday, the long anticipated first release of Forgotten Hope 2 comes out. A classic 1942 realism mod.
I liked 2142's Titan mode but it wasn't popular here at all. So being left with Conquest and mod support, BF2 is the better choice. The only cool thing about 2142 is the customizable classes and the quick weapon unlocks when you start.
I would reccommend BF2 as well. Get the complete collection relatively cheap and all the mods that are out for it mean you shouldn't get bored with it for a while.
BF2142 has the Northern Strike expansion you still need to buy for $9.99 from the EA downloader for now but in the next month or two they are releasing the BF2142 w/ NS disc in stores. Not many if any mods for BF2142 that I know of, maybe some people can clue me and you in on BF2142 mods!!