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PLATFORM PC

Battlefield 2142 Review

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

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS
PIV 1700, 512MB RAM, 2.2GB HDD, 128MB video card
ESRB rating: T
homepage:
www.ea.com/official/battlefield/2142/us/

release date: Oct 17, 06
» All About Battlefield 2142 on ActionTrip


What kind of food do you like?

Seriously, say, if you had to choose between Burger King and McDonald's, which one would you go for?

What are your TV viewing habits? Are you a fan of reality shows, or maybe you like movies? What kind of movies?

Why do I want to know?

Oh no reason. I need more money. I am poor; by comic book zillionaire standards anyway.

Now if you could just sign this EULA, so I can carry on with this review.

OK, thanks. You're a darling. You've just helped twelve thousand starving children in Somalia. Treat yourself to a "Pepsi." Don't worry, we have it contracted.

And in case you have no idea what I'm talking about, then, you're probably better off that way. The whole controversy surrounding the recently reported "spyware" in Battlefield 2142 is getting a bit out of hand. Still, I had to start this damn article somehow.

After months of beta testing, Battlefield 2142 has finally launched across the known universe, with players from all over the place flocking to the game servers like trucker wives to a buffet table.

I got my copy digitally from EA and had to wait till about 2-3 days ago to start playing the game (officially). I didn't even bother with the single-player portion, as there is honestly no point to it; if you are buying this game, you will be getting it *solely* for the multiplayer and the ranking system. Doing things any differently would be like trying to use play drums on a pile of ice cream. As fun as that may seem (in an eccentric sort of way), it sure as hell won't replace an oak wood Yamaha set, or produce any meaningful sounds for that matter.

As I'm sure you're well aware by now, Battlefield 2142 is the latest installment in the famous game series from Swedish-based DICE, a company which is now officially owned by EA. The nitty-gritty of the game "concept" (if that's what you want to call it), can be easily summed up in a single sentence, courtesy of the game's official site: "The year is 2142 and the dawn of a new Ice age has thrown the world into a panic. The soil not covered by ice can only feed a fraction of the Earth's population. The math is simple and brutal: some will live, most will die.

In Battlefield 2142, players choose to fight for one of two military superpowers - the European Union or the newly formed Pan Asian Coalition -in an epic battle for survival."

The stage is set for a near-future conflict involving what the developers envision as the weapons of tomorrow.

Essentially, the structure of the warfare still remains the same - with infantry, armored and air units, and with not a lot of innovation in terms of how the vehicles are being handled or what the role of the infantry is.

Actually, no, I am wrong.

I should point out one important gameplay difference here as compared to the previous BF games. After some (very) extensive play time, I have come to realize that the focus of the gameplay has definitely shifted even more towards the vehicles. Trying to make an impact on the battlefield while on foot is getting to be increasingly difficult, especially in the old Conquer mode of play.

In stark contrast to how things played in the original game, Battlefield 2142 leaves very little space for on-foot heroics. Playing with an Assault class starter kit will make you absolutely powerless against the futuristic tanks, and seeing how the role of the infantry has been reduced (overall), the Recon (Sniper) class is also less fun than it should be at the starting level.

Of course, this is where the ranking system and the new unlockables come into play. I have already discussed all of this in my hands-on preview, so without repeating myself too much, I shall say that Battlefield 2142 has gone much more in the direction of RPGs. It essentially lets players level their characters (get them better gear) as they advance in rank.

So the aforementioned Recon class will become far deadlier as you unlock all sorts of mines and, of course, more powerful sniper rifles.

Speaking of the class system, it has been revised and somewhat unified in terms of class roles. The interesting part about this is that you can "level" your character according to your preferences; each class has two specific leveling paths that you can take.

Take the Assault class for example. The Medic is gone, so you can now choose to either make the Assault class more powerful in terms of stopping power (which is how I leveled my Assault guy), or you can choose to take the Medic route and make him a really efficient battle healer. The Medic will get to use all sorts of fancy gadgets to resuscitate fallen comrades. The player gets healing points for doing so.

The new Recon class fuses the Special Ops and Sniper classes into one. Again, the way you choose to level your Recon guy will largely determine his sub-class (which will resemble a proper sniper or a spec ops operative more).

Now, while the new ranking system and the nifty unlockable items do make the game a lot more fun and interesting, the downside to this is that a fully-geared Assault class (with accented firepower) will still have a lot more limited role than it did in the previous Battlefield games (especially the original ones). While this shift in the paradigm is somewhat understandable (and it was becoming increasingly evident in BF 2), I can't say that it helps the game's versatility any; quite the contrary really.

This impression I got is reinforced even more by the much larger and more vehicle-friendly maps (with just a few of them being an exception - like "Camp Gibraltar" and possibly "Minsk"), as well as the deployment of a greater number of stationary guns in each of the bases.

The vehicles themselves are very fun to use. As you'd imagine, the gunner is now fully protected from small arms fire while in the tank (the machine gun turret is remotely operated). Also, the aircraft are much easier to pilot. Being a total noob flyer, I still had little to no problems effectively flying and, more importantly, landing. The aircraft can best be described as a cross between choppers and jets. They have decent stopping power when other players mount their guns, but otherwise, they are mostly used for transport.

The biggest difference in terms of armored vehicles is the handling of the Pan Asian Coalition tanks, which hover above the ground, making it very easy to employ some sort of pseudo circle-strafing tactic in tank duels. This is extremely effective, as it makes you very hard to target, while you keep your target in sights at all times.

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8.5   Very Good


HIGHS
Very fun game that's relatively bug-free (at least from my experience), class system and unlockable weapons, aircraft controls, sound effects;

LOWS
Infantry role further diminished, unlockables could've had an even greater impact, missing any more significant changes that the setting may have offered, minor bugs.

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