latest installment of the extremely popular Battlefield series takes a
slightly different approach to its style of online/multiplayer gaming. Set
almost 150 years in the future, Battlefield 2142 gives players the chance
to see the sphere of combat in the 22nd Century, allowing them to utilize
a whole different set of weapons, equipment, and tactics. While some
longtime BF fans (and purists) aren't exactly thrilled with this latest
franchise release, 2142 does contain some seriously addictive and
entertaining gameplay. For more on this game, check out the full review
right here at The Laser.
For years I've heard of the incredible
experience that the Battlefield series of games brought to the
online/multiplayer PC gaming community. The original release, Battlefield
1942, stands as the mold for not just World War II team based gaming, but
for the online/multiplayer genre as a whole. Thousands of loyal fans still
log on to the games' servers each and every to duke it out old school some
4 years after the games' initial run. The release of Battlefield 2 only
solidified the popularity of the franchise by allowing players to jump
into the fray with modern day weapons, equipment, and combat scenarios.
all of that nice little bit of historical info surrounding the franchise,
I have to admit that it didn't do squat to tickle my interest for any of
the original releases of Battlefield. I already had my fill of World War
II online games, and modern combat has never been my forte. However, when
I first got wind of the futuristic themes surrounding Battlefield 2142,
the spark of curiosity and interest was definitely there. The real
question was, could the game designers at Dice Software actually keep my
interest after I got my grubby hands on the title? Surprisingly, the
answer was 'Yes'.
BF2142 takes place in the mid 22nd
century, where a new ice age has occured, covering most of the European
and Asian continents in ice. The land that is still useable isn't enough
to produce food for everyone, making war inevitable. The World power that
wins the conflict gets to feed its population and survive. Players enlist
as a soldier in either the European Union or the Pacific Asian Coalition,
the two super-powers vying for control the Euro-Asian sphere of influence.
And, if you're looking for any more of a back story, you're out of luck.
At the start of the game, players are
randomly placed on either the PAC or the EU team, and must battle it out
on one of two types of games: Conquest and Titan Match. Conquest is your
typical 'Capture-the-Flag' type of game, where teams must capture and hold
various points on a map. The more flags held by a team, the faster the
'ticket' or point depletion of the opposing rate is: and if a team loses
all of their points, they lose the match.
The Titan Match is a little more complex
than the former, forcing even more teamwork from the individual players on
the map. This BF2142 game not only warrants the capture and control of key
flag points (this time missile silos instead of flags), but also adds the
variable of a flying fortress known as Titans. Teams must keep control of
the silos in order to pummel the shields of the opposing teams' Titan.
Once the shields are down, players can storm the enemy behemoth in an
attempt to disable key components of Titan that will ultimately be its
demise, or attempt to keep control of the silos (which will eventually
destroy the hull of the enemy ship).
with each of the other previous releases within the Battlefield franchise,
BF2142 holds true to the class and rank system. Players have 4
character/class choices to make in the game, Assault, Recon, Support, and
Engineer. Each class has their own unique attributes, abilities, weapons,
and equipment which can help round out a teams' effectiveness during a
combat scenario. For example, the Assault kit contains a defibrillator
that can be used to revive fallen comrades, medical kits that can help
teammates regain health points, and even a deadly shotgun upgrade to the
class' arsenal. The sniper inspired Recon kit not only gives players some
seriously powerful long ranged weaponry, but also Anti-Personnel mines,
demolition charges, and a Predator inspired personal cloaking shield that
makes the soldier almost invisible to the naked eye. Each class has its
own branch of devices and weapons that can be obtained during the course
of a game.Herein lies the dirty little addictive secret of the game that
will call to MMO gamers and fans of upward mobility in a game: the more
you play BF2142 (and play well, I might add) the quicker you'll get the
nice little unlocks for the character classes. The more unlocks you obtain
for any given character class, the better the character's overall combat
ability, allowing you to gain more experience that much more quickly. It's
a dirty little habit forming scheme that has kept Battlefield gamers glued
to their PC's for hours upon hours, keeping us away from other titles.
Beyond the upgrade aspects of the game,
I found quite a few things interesting with BF2142. For starters, the game
truly is a team gamers' dream PC title. Objectives in both versions of the
game (Titan and Conquest) are centered around a cooperative system.
Squad's made up of varied classes (like a Support trooper to give ammo, an
Engineer to lay anti-vehicle mines, and a Medic Assault Soldier to revive
fallen soldier and dole out heath points) have a better chance of holding
a control point longer than the lone-wolf sniper running around on his
own. Not only that, but Squads that adhere to their leaders orders can not
only gain more career points for their individual character, they can also
gain 'Squad Points'. You get enough of these, and you can temporary unlock
items from the Class/Kit tree which will stay in your inventory until you
log out of the server you happen to be playing on. This allows you to try
out an item in your class branch before actually using your hard earned
experience points on the item blindly.
Unfortunately, the usual problems found
in cooperative gameplay can also be found in BF2142. As many times as I've
found great servers with players actually wanting to work as a group in
order to win the game, I've found sites filled with people who fell off of
the 'DeathMatch' slowboat, working as chaotic lone-wolves. I've even been
to a few servers where the main Commander slot never gets filled, forcing
us to go without Orbital Strikes, Supply Drops, and radar sweeps to
pinpoint enemy locations. I've never seen the fun swept clean from a
gaming session when something like that happens.
lack of variety in the few maps provided in BF2142 also was a bit of a
disappointment. Don't get me wrong…DICE did a great job of tailoring the
maps to fit a certain type of gaming experience. Some maps are definitely
set up to be vehicle based, which large and sweeping areas for armored
combat tactics, and large open skies for aerial fighting with gunships.
Other maps are strictly tailored for infantry skirmishes and Walker/buggy
combat themes, with tight streets and tons of cover. Still, the drab and
sparse scenery just seemed to repeat over and over again in all the maps.
While I understand the Ice-Age theme of the game (even if it wasn't fully
explained) everything just seemed to look like a frozen tundra with a few
buildings, or a bland desert with a few buildings. While the future is
supposed to be bleak in the game, you'd think it would a least look a
little futuristic…just a bit. In hindsight, the maps releases with the
game feel like half of what we should have been given, which leaves no
doubt that an Expansion Pack is in the works.
Even though I did run across some other
problems in the game (including unexpected crashes, career point loss, and
unwarranted Punkbuster kicks), I have to say that my overall experience
with Battlefield 2142 has been a positive one. When the teams playing the
game are truly involved, I've had some of the best cooperative FPS gaming
ever. With the multiple classes and skill sets found in the game, each map
can bring a different challenge and thrill to the game, never providing a
dull moment. And as a FPS, this game is just as good as the other titles
within the franchise. Overall, BF2142 is an addictive title that keeps me
coming back for more frags, time after time, and definitely worth checking
out if you're into solid Team Based online combat.