I'd like to buy BF2(complete collection) on Steam, but the friend I'll play with said it's not compatible with the "normal" version.

I've read somewhere there's a problem with steam chat + punkbuster, and I wonder if just disabling steam fixes that and I can play normally, or there are other issues.

Furthermore I wondered if getting the Steam version you are given a user+password that you can use also on "normal" clients, or you would be stuck with playing it only on Steam.

So the actual question is: what are the differences and the compatibility between the Steam and the non-Steam version?

  • I was confused and didn't notice "Bad Company 2" is actually a different game, and that is what I'm going to play. The "steam" problem is no more, since BF:BC2 on steam costs way too much to make any sense.
    – o0'.
    Mar 20, 2011 at 14:19

2 Answers 2


What exactly do you mean by not compatible with the normal version? The Steam version can play online with the standalone version normally.

PunkBuster did give me some trouble because of the Steam Community In-Game. Since it draws itself on top of the game PunkBuster thinks it's a cheat. I had to disable the overlay in order to play. See this topic in the Steam forums for more information on that issue.

You have to create a BF2 account in order to play online. You can play with it in any version of the game, be it Steam, standalone, your friends's copy...

You will receive a CD-Key, even if you buy it on Steam. You have to be signed in Steam in order to play the its version of the game, but you could theoretically borrow the standalone version from your friend and use your key with it.

Also, with the Steam version you don't have to worry about keeping your BF2 DVD in the drive, since it's not required.


I have both the original and the Steam versions and I can definitely say there aren't much differences between the two. There are a few caveats I've had with the Steam version however.

  1. You need to turn off the Steam overlay. It does screw with Punkbuster (you'll get kicked), but it also drastically reduces your framerate.

  2. Mods become a lot more difficult. I play Forgotten Hope 2 a lot, and I have to manually change the shaders file that the FH2 launcher swaps out. Mod launchers don't work because the BF2 steam .exe is a little different and Steam always runs some BF2Key junk alongside it. I usually make 1 or 2 batch files for swapping shaders though... so its not a huge issue.

Overall, its identical and it works fine. I would say go ahead and get it on Steam, but if you're planning on playing lots of mods, check with the mods you're interested in and see how they work around the BF2 Steam version stuff.

Oh, and yeah, I actually have two accounts now. I usually use my original account that I got when the game came out, so you'll run into no problems there. And the Steam account runs with the original disc too.

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