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Battlefield 1942: Secret Weapons of World War II Review

GAME INFO
publisher: EA
developer: Digital Illusions
genre: Shooters

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS
PII 500MHz , 128MB RAM, 16MB video card, 1.2GB HD
ESRB rating: T
homepage:
www.battlefield1942.ea.com/

release date: Sep 04, 03
» All About Battlefield 1942: Secret Weapons of World War II on ActionTrip


As the bloody saga that was the Second World War was nearing its final chapter, Hitler and his Nazi minions realized; albeit too late; that they would need more powerful and sophisticated weapons if they were ever to turn the tide of war back in their favor. During the second half of WWII Nazi scientists, headed by the legendary Verner von Braun and his team of V-2 rocket experts, pushed the boundaries of modern warfare by creating the first-ever ballistic missiles that landed on London and struck fear in the hearts of Allied commanders. In 1944, the first ever Luftwaffe fighter jet was put into use. Luckily, all these devastating new toys came too little too late for the Nazis. The V-2, V-3 rockets and fighter jets never really made as much of an impact on the war as they could've had if they were unleashed just a few years earlier. Still, the premise of such an unharnessed potential for destruction in a WWII setting remains a tantalizing concept for both historians and military experts alike. That being said, it's no surprise that the team at DICE thought all these amazing prototypes would make for an excellent expansion pack for their Battlefield series.

As expansion packs go, Secret Weapons of WWII offers loads of new content for Battlefield aficionados. The accent, of course, is on the secret Nazi and Allied weapons, but there are also eight new maps, as well as the long-awaited objective-based missions that made games like Enemy Territory so popular amongst the online crowds. In the latest Battlefield expansion players must accomplish specific objectives, such as destroying a secret weapons facility, dropping explosives down three ventilation shafts and destroying rocket silos in order to win the battle.

There are altogether sixteen new experimental vehicles in the game. The more interesting ones include: the Horton HO 229 "Flying Wing", Sherman tank with a T-34 Calliope rocket launcher, T95/T28 Super Heavy Tank, The Sturmtiger, The American AW-52 advanced fighter, The Wasserfall guided anti-air missile, The Natter rocket plane and more. All of these new vehicles are incredibly entertaining and highly unusual for their era. The Sherman tank with a T-34 rocket launcher, for example, is an incredibly devastating armored vehicle. The T-34 rocket launcher is very similar to the Russian Katyusha rocket launchers, which were famous for their devastating barrage fire that spread terror amongst German troops on the Eastern Front. The Nazis, on the other hand, have the Sturmtiger. The unique pairing of a modified Tiger tank chassis with a mounted naval gun made Sturmtiger one of the most powerful armored vehicles in its class. Although limited by a low ammunition capacity, the Sturmtiger was an incredibly effective weapon, capable of mowing down infantry and reducing enemy vehicles to burning heaps of scrap metal. It's terribly hard to maneuver a Sturmtiger, as you can barely move its mounted turret, but once you get into a position the devastating power of the naval gun is bound to give your troops some awesome suppressive fire support.

One of the greatest additions; if not the most effective; to the game are the supersonic jet fighters. Those of you familiar with the Desert Combat mode are pretty much aware of what it's like to pilot a jet in Battlefield. All I can add is that the developers have struck a perfect balance between giving the jets extra power and not making them too fast so that you would fly across the entire map in one or two seconds. Small and maneuverable rocket planes and sleek looking bomber jets make a great addition to the game. On top of that, DICE programmers have included huge cargo planes that let players drop behind enemy lines and create effective diversions.

Secret Weapons of WWII has been perfectly tailored for aerial assaults. The aircraft play a lot bigger role than they did in the original Battlefield or in Road to Rome. The maps in a way reflect this new role of the air force. First of all, they seem somewhat bigger than the regular Battlefield maps. This might be just an impression I got, but it's still worth mentioning. Flying around in a jet seems awfully more convenient than going around on foot. Some maps even require you to board or pilot jets. Mimoyecques is one such map. The Germans have almost finished a V3 rocket site on the French coast near Mimoyecques, a perfect location from which to bomb Britain. The job of the Allies is to destroy the V3 complex before it becomes operational, so naturally, they are on the offensive. The U.S. forces have significant air supremacy, whereas the Germans are heavily fortified on the other side of the Le Mans channel. The strength of the Germans is in their powerful AA vehicles which include the Flakpanzer. This Axis anti-aircraft vehicle was created by mounting a 37mm anti-aircraft gun on the reliable chassis of the T-38 tank. Effective against planes, light-armored vehicles, and even foot soldiers, the Flakpanzer offers both intensive firepower and the protection of 16mm-thick armored plates. To counter this, the Allies have the Armstrong Whitworth AW-52. This unique Allied plane prototype features bombs and missile-launching capability. It takes a little while to get used to its size and speed, but with a little practice, you are sure to wreak havoc across the map. Mimoyecques is a perfect example of just how important air supremacy can be in Secret Weapons. Mimoyecques is also an excellent indication of how vehicles are balanced in the game. Neither of the sides has a clear-cut advantage and if one vehicle seems too powerful it's only because you probably haven't had a chance to discover its counterpart available to the other faction. More importantly, all these new vehicles add more tactics and finesse to the gameplay, providing an excellent foundation for the creation of new gameplay strategies. Not to mention that they're insanely fun to operate, especially when there are a lot of people on the server.

Other maps in the game include: The Eagle's Nest, Essen, Gothic Line, Peenemunde, Telemark Research Base, Kbelly Airfield and Hellendoorn. My two personal favorites are The Eagle's Nest and Hellendoorn. Hellendoorn, like Eagle's Nest, allows for victory by capturing all of the spawn points on the map. Both maps have excellently positioned bridges and various other choke points which make for some extremely intense fire fights. Granted, both maps favor armored vehicles, rather than aircrafts, but the key points are so well placed they are bound to get you addicted to the gameplay. The Eagle's Nest sees the Allied troops trying to capture a German stronghold on an excellent vantage point with just a single winding road and two bridges leading to it. You can imagine how much man power it will take to capture that crucial spawn point. Once the key location is in your hands, however, the Germans will have to assume the offensive role, which makes the gameplay very dynamic and fun.

Battlefield 1942: Secret Weapons of WWII features seven new weapons. They include throwable one-shot-kill knives, the Bren light machine gun, the Auto 5 shotgun, and the Mauser K98 grenade rifle. The Mauser K98 is certainly a powerful weapon, but the one I enjoyed the most has to be the one-shot-kill knife. It made me drift away to my old Quake days, and the infamous Gauntlet. In addition to the new weapons the game features two new units: British Commando and German Elite troops.

Last but certainly not the least, in Secret Weapons of WWII you'll be able to operate a prototype rocket pack, which lets you fly and fight at the same time. Rocket pack gear is found on specific areas of the maps. Those of you who have played the demo are certainly aware that two packs are placed in the house on top of a hill in the middle of the Hellendoorn map. The rocket pack can be a powerful vehicle, especially on a map like Hellendoorn. It not only gives the player tactical advantage in combat, it can also help him move more efficiently and conquer bases with ease (providing he can steer clear of enemy fire). The fuel in the pack is limited, but it keeps replenishing and if you time your bursts properly you'll be able to do numerous stunts with it. I'm still not sure if the addition of the rocket pack was the right choice for this game. On the upside though, rocket packs are not exactly found in abundance on the maps, so that might cushion the high impact that it might have had otherwise on the game.

As you can clearly conclude from the amount of raw info I crammed into this review, Secret Weapons of WWII offers a lot of content, much more so than what was available in Road to Rome. The fact that it comes bundled with the v1.45 patch means that players will be treated to a slightly improved physics model, more player animation and better sounds, as well as numerous bug fixes and other minor tweaks. Secret Weapons of WWII is not a stand-alone game but rather an expansion pack, which means you'll need to own a copy of Battlefield 1942 to play it, and with the price of $29.99 it's not exactly the cheapest expansion you'll ever buy either. Still, if expansions are ascertained for the amount of new content and fun hours of gameplay they provide for the fans of the original, then, I can safely say that Secret Weapons of WWII is an excellent expansion and a worthy addition to the Battlefield game series.

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HIGHS
Several great new maps, fun and original weapon prototypes, objective-based missions. More than enough content to warrant the price tag;

LOWS
Overall, there's not much wrong with it if you're a Battlefield fan. I didn't particularly care for the Telemark Research Base and Kbelly Airfield maps.

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