Battlefield 1942: The Road to Rome Review

The Road to Rome is an expansion pack for Battlefield 1942 that takes the action to Italy and Sicily (OK, so technically the battles in this expansion actually took place in 1943 and 1944, but Battlefield 1942 is not a big stickler for historical accuracy).  You get six new maps, the chance to play as the Italians or Free French, and a few new weapons.  What you don't get is a new campaign, new game types, or any enhancements to the AI for single player play.  Whether or not these additions are enough to justify your purchase of Road to Rome will depend on how much you enjoy playing Battlefield 1942.

An Italian Bf110.

The centerpiece of the expansion is the new maps, and they are all well-designed and provide a challenge different from those in the original game.  If there's a central theme to the maps aside from their location, it's mountains.  Rugged terrain figures prominently in all six maps, making the race to capture the high ground the top priority.  Because of the terrain infantry can sometimes get close to the objectives without being seen too easily, but it also means that there are plenty of highly defensible positions that will challenge attackers to pull off uphill assaults.  Tank jockeys will need to maneuver carefully lest they go careening into a gully, off of a bridge, or stumble into an ambush.

The Battle of Anzio map starts the Allies in the port town for which the battle is named, while the Axis start in an encampment at the the other end of the map.  The mountainous map is bisected by an L-shaped river that creates a chokepoint in the middle of the map.

The Battle of Salerno plays like a classic king-of-the-hill match.  A large mountain sits between the Allied and Axis camps and when the game opens the race is on to capture the high ground.  The loser in the race faces an uphill battle, literally.

Monte Cassino is another map which features a prominent mountain in the middle.  This time the Axis get to start on top of the hill and it is the Allies that must make their way up the mountain.  Their reward for doing so?  Room to room fighting in the monastery that sits atop the mountain.

Monte Santa Croce is an interesting map that places both starting camps near the north end of the map.  Rivers divide the two mountaintop camps and both sides must race down to the valley and south to a mountain containing all of the map's control points.  As both sides come out of their bases, the armor and SP guns can lob shots at each other across the valley.

Operation Baytown takes place in the Straits of Messina between Sicily and Italy.  The Allies begin on Sicily and can take the bridge connecting the land masses, or use the LCVPs to cross the water.

The final map is Operation Husky, which was the code name for the invasion of Sicily.  Allies drop in on parachutes or hit the beach in LCVPs, and their initial objective is to capture the spawn point on the beach.  From there the going is tough as cliffs line the beach and the Axis are holed-up in fortifications.