Voice Module








In Memory
Sean Pettibone


Battlefield 2142 (Electronic Arts/DICE for PC)

By Jim McHugh

The 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.

With 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).

As 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.

The 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.

Grade: B-

> Related Reviews

The Ship (Outer Light for PC)
Half Life 2: Episode 1 (PC)
Joint Task Force (PC)
Quake 4 (PC)
Half Life 2 (Xbox)

< Back to Main Page