Fed up of fighting wars that have already happened or happening right now? Then how about forgetting all of that and move to the year 2142. A year full of Eskimos and igloos and penguins and ICE! After fighting in deserts, jungles and on sea, DICE have decided that a frozen wasteland would make an excellent battleground, so that’s where Battlefield 2142 comes in. It’s an adrenaline filled fun first person shooter that seems familiar, yet has some nice new additional features to make it worthwhile.
The story to Battlefield 2142 is the world froze over in 2106 (Global warming comes true!). After debates the world’s governments were forced to face the reality of the intimidating cold. As the snow swept down from the north, living became impossible. Losing countries, the governments decided to form two new superpowers, The European forces (EU) and the Pan Asian Coalition (PAC) army. Now speed to 2142, the Europeans are trying to protect Africa, one of the only places that as of yet is to be affected by the cold. Players can expect to have battles in both Europe and Africa, so everything isn’t just a ground of white. The game only features those two armies to use in battles. No doubt some add-ons will come out, with an extra team or two to fit into the storyline at some point.
The first thing to hit you while playing Battlefield 2142 is just how familiar it all seems. The game uses a modified version of the Battlefield 2 engine and thus you can’t help but feel that it’s just a top produced mod for the previous game. It’s happened before though. Battlefield: Vietnam suffered from the same déjà vu experience, but even so the game was still fun and it’s no different here. So while nothing major has changed to the gameplay, there’s certainly more features than ever before in a Battlefield game.
Since the game is set in the future you can expect to see all sorts of high tech weapons. Players won’t have to worry about some crazy arse weaponry though as there doesn’t seem to be anything over the top. There are no light sabres or energy particle weapons here. All the weapons just look like a futuristic version of present day weaponry. There are around 40 weapons and upgrades to unlock, so there’s plenty to check out, even if they aren’t so advanced. The same can also be said for the vehicles as well, apart from the awesome inclusion of Mechs, they are all just future looking present day armoury, just what the hell have they been doing for 130+ years? Well I guess apart from placing ads (more on that later) the answer to that could be they made air vehicles less dominating. Gone are the days of constant death by aircraft bombardment in Battlefield 2. They seem to be weaker and less involved in combat in 2142. To some that will be welcoming news.
As you can expect then, playing Battlefield 2 will certainly give you an advantage, plus a nice little red 2 symbol next to your name. It shows that you are a battlefield 2 veteran. The core mechanics of the game are quite the same. The Conquest mode from past games returns here and is identical. Conquest allows for two teams of up to 32 players each to battle it out for capture points on the map. These flags once captured speed up the decrease of your opponent’s tokens, so the more flags you have the faster your opponent’s tokens decrease. Capturing flags also allows you to spawn to that location too and if the map lets you, you can capture all the points so none of the other team can spawn onto the map. This means killing the rest of the players on the map finishes the game off earlier than usual.
Titan is the new gameplay mode added to Battlefield 2142. Titan mode doesn’t let you have 64 players total this time, but instead 48. It’s still a decent amount and more than most other games allow you to play with. In Titan mode the teams are trying to destroy the oppositions Titan, a hovering behemoth that can be moved around the battlefield by the commander of the team. It merges some gameplay elements from conquest (having to capture missile silos instead of flags, these silos launch missiles on regular intervals at the titans.) Hitting Titans with missiles lower the shields that protect it. After that you have the fun of boarding onto the Titan. This is done by means of getting blasted up onto the Titan via a mobile personal carrier. Titan mode is a lot more team dependant than Conquest. If you manage to get a good team together you’ll be able to overcome things a lot easier, especially getting teams into the Titan, as you’ll be in close quarters using cover to get your way through to the Titan’s reactor to blow it sky high, although to a unspectacular fashion. It just sets alight with some bang sound effects. It really should just go “BOOOM” with pieces flying everywhere. It feels somewhat anti climax after all the work you put into destroying the beast in the sky.
To coincide with the gameplay changes are also the reduction in the amount of classes. Battlefield 2 consisted of seven classes, and even the first game, Battlefield 1942 had five. This version has just four classes. Now it may seem low but these are a lot more customizable than any other classes in a Battlefield game. Classes from older games are merged into the same one. The Recon class is a mixture of a Sniper and Special-Ops. Assault is a mixture of the Assault class and Medic class. Battlefield 2142 relies heavily on unlocking weapons and items, as these will let you customize the classes. There is a lot more to unlock in this game than there was in Battlefield 2, they also unlock a lot faster, but overall you’ll have to play the series longer than ever before to unlock everything that is available. While it helps to unlock single things faster. If you want to spend time and effort on a class then you end up neglecting the others. When you come to play as anything else, they’ll be less effective then they would have been with the unlocks you could of put into them.
It seems that DICE has put more focus on squads that ever before this time around. Past games had squads in but a few would never bother with it, they preferred to be lone wolfs and thus the game doesn’t always play out the best like that. In 2142 the squads are back but DICE has made sure people playing in squads are rewarded more. Squads that are doing well will receive “Squad Field Upgrades.” These are temporary unlocks. Once unlocked, these can be used as long as you stay on the server. It also serves as a good way to try out the next unlockable weapons and items, seeing as it allows you to unlock the next stuff in the unlock chain without actually using your points.
Battlefield 2142 feels more polished from a release point than any other previous instalment. Past games have had reports of bugs and glitches. A lot of Battlefield 2 players will remember the pain in the arse bug that affected the server search engine on the release of Battlefield 2. If you aren’t sure, it basically made it hell to actually find a game and try and join it, because of the server list freezing or jumping around like a hyperactive kangaroo on red bull. This doesn’t mean 2142 is bug free. Badges don’t seem to unlock right away, or on some occasions not registering at all. One point I had to go back and gain the missing amount again to force it to unlock correctly. Hopefully DICE will cough out a patch soon to fix some of the minor niggles. You’ll be able to seen when it’s out by the news headliner at the bottom of the screen. It scrolls past showing updates in the community. A very nice feature DICE!
The game does occasionally have some moments where it looks great, even if it still is an old engine in use, it manages to hold on. The graphics are used to their full effect to help create some nice gritty level designs. It features little pieces of details too, like the fuzzy visor interference. This happens when you’re near EMP devices, or huge explosions. Sound furthermore truly adds to the feeling. You’ll hear the characters shouting out locations of enemies, friendly or just plain scream in pain for a medic. The whole game manages to capture the atmosphere of war quite well, even if you can’t blow peoples legs off.
There’s been a wave of concern about EA and their choice to stick in dynamic advertisement in to the game. It’s not secretly stuck in there. The game comes with a leaflet informing the user of the feature and what it does. It hasn’t affected the way I have played the game. It’s not like they stick it right in front of your face. It’s on places that you would expect to see adverts in the real world. Most matches I haven’t had time to check them out, especially in city maps where the action is nearly always heated up. The leaflet does tell you have to play the game without having it enabled. To do this you’ve got to install the game on a machine that isn’t connected to the internet. Apart from LAN games this pretty much makes the game useless, unless you want to shot bots in the face for the rest of your life.
I guess Battlefield 2142 is kind of like a soldier in war. Do you want to risk totally revamping the series, releasing a new person into the world, knowing there’s a chance he could be shot down within a day or two of going out to fight? You could take the safe route and use an experience war veteran who has more of a chance to survive. This is the route DICE decided to take with the game and while familiar, it does exactly what it sets out to do. Update the franchise in a way that features some new ideas that are worthy of a purchase, but is still in familiar territory. It might not be revolutionary or as exceptional as when the series first hit the market. The most important thing at the end of the day is that it’s fun, and Battlefield 2142 is certainly very… no incredibly very fun to play.