Battlefield 2142 (PC)Samursus -
Price: $39.99 USD
EA's Battlefield 2142 is the latest incarnation of the very successful Battlefield franchise, which began with BF 1942. This latest version still uses the graphics engine created for Battlefield 2, but sets the fighting in the year 2142, utilizing weapons, vehicle and technologies reflecting this futuristic time. Ultimately, the Battlefield series is a FPS designed for primarily for multi-player online or LAN play. Single play is offered, but pales in comparison to the multi-user experience. If solo play is your main desire, you would be better off purchasing another game.
Set in the year 2142, the world powers have polarized into two main factions after an Ice Age in 2106 -- the european-led European Union (EU) and the Russo-Asian Pan-Asian Coalition (PAC) armies. Each side has a specific flavour to their armies and the technologies and weapons used. As a player, you may play either side in an online battle. Depending on the server settings you may be able to switch sides during the battle. The EU army utilizes more familiar technologies for their weapons and vehicles, slower but more heavily armoured. The PAC forces are more futuristic, tending to have lighter armor and utilizing hover-capability more often and are more maneuverable. Considerable effort has gone into creating different but equal identities for each side, where you know which side you are on by the the look and feel of your weapons, but don't feel disadvantaged if you are on one side rather than the other.
An important aspect needed to be mentioned first off, is the online profile. You need to create a soldier profile before you play and as you compete in different maps on different servers, you accumulate Experience and raise your Score. Your Experience is raised from bonus points from squad combat and by obtaining Ribbons, Badges and Pins; you get these for accomplishing different feats. Your Score is boosted by a huge variety of battlefield actions, from scoring kills to capturing and defending Control Points. Your combined Experience and Score make up your Career Points. These results are persistant and stay with the soldier profile everytime you play with it. As your Career Points rise, you get access to weapons and technology unlocks for that profile. Also as your Career Points rise, so does your online military ranking which is displayed in-game as an insignia by your profile name. Mostly 'rank' is only useful when trying to become a Commander for a particular round your faction. As Commander you will have access to special tactics and weapons provided to help your faction win the round. For example: Supply Drop, EMP-pulse and the dreaded-to-infantry Orbital Strike. As well the Commander can give orders to individual squads, these appearing to the Squad leaders in the dialogue section of the screen, color-coded to represent a command from the Commander. These commands will also be heard, in an appropriately grim Commander-type voice. There are also many verbal commands that the average grunt can issue to your squad or your entire side. Spotted enemies (infantry, armour, etc), the need for a ride, request for backup and many other voice macros bring a sense of immersion that, between explosions and gunfire and wounded men, make the player feel like something epic is going on.
Each time you play a map, you must choose one of 4 kits: Recon, Assault, Engineer or Support. Each comes in a faction-specific flavour and each also has 2 separate unlock trees for upgrades. For example: as Assault you may upgrade along the pure assault tree or as a medic-type soldier, providing different upgrade options when you get an unlock. You may also switch back and forth between kits and trees when upgrading, but each upgrade has a pre-requisite within the same tree. And at the end of these upgrade trees is a new weapon for that kit. The upgrade trees are not exclusive, allowing a player to eventually get ALL upgrades on all kits on all trees (plus the 8 non-kit upgrades). It should be noted that an upgrade will only be usable when playing that kit in game and your poor heavily-laden soldier can only carry 3 or 4 extra pieces of equipment at a time. You can change your load between spawns.
Speaking of exceptions, BF 2142 excels in promoting squad-based gaming, providing useful advantages to those who are in a squad. Some are only available if your squad leader has taken Squad upgrades. Even without, squads receive EXTRA Experience when gaming as a squad, helping you to achieve upgrade unlocks and raising your Rank quicker.
BF2142 also has a fairly complete list of in-game voice commands.
The weapons and vehicles of BF 2142 are well-balanced and very effective once you master them. The only limit is your familiarity and tactics. Each kit is deadly on almost any map, in the right hands. This allows for all types of players to enjoy themselves. Every gamer has a different idea of how much variety is necessary for weapons and vehicles, so I would refer you to the BF 2142 web-site for specifics (battlefield.ea.com/battlefield/bf2142), but I will touch on some of the more interesting aspects.
Non kit upgrade for Squad leaders, creates a spawn point for that squad wherever you place it.
The Recon kit has a camouflage field technology that causes your soldier to appear blurry, much like that of the Predator movies.
The Assault kit upgrade tree has smoke grenades and a gun-mounted rocket launcher, as well as a Defibrillator to revive fallen comrades.
The Engineer kit offers anti-vehicle mines that hover and move towards an enemy vehicle. Proximity activated.
The Support kit offers a automatic, portable assault turret. Proximiy activated. Very deadly against infantry.
The Battlewalkers are definitely cool. Picture a tank on legs. These vehicles aren't as heavily armoured as the tanks, but are more maneuverable and are come with strong anti-aircraft weapons.
The PAC faction has a Hover-tank, which is balanced well against the EU A-8 Tiger. Hover capability allows for strafing at the expense of less armour.
There 2 types of stationary gun emplacements: a vehicle-killing Railgun and a surface-to-air missile launching Anti-Aircraft Flak gun
Each side also has physical representations (generator, satellite dish, etc) of the special Commander abilities, allowing the enemy to sneak in your home base and destroy the ability of the Commander to use those abilities
There are only 2 Aircraft per faction at this time, which has pleased many familiar with the total air superiority aspects of Battlefield 2. They consist of a Transporter-type and Assualt-type helicopter-shaped air units. I say helicopter-shaped because they operate on VTOL-type propulsion... making them easier to master and control than the helicopters of BF 2.
There are 2 main modes of play in multiplay: Conquest and Titan Mode. (only Conquest mode is available in singleplayer)