Battlefield 2142 (PC)

Samursus - 2007-03-21 17:12:46 in Gaming
Category: Gaming
Reviewed by: Samursus   
Reviewed on: April 3, 2007
Electronic Arts
Price: $39.99 USD

Introduction:



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.

Closer Look:



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.

Spawning... yes you die a lot in BF 2142. Luckily you revive raring and ready to take no prisoners fairly quickly, depending on the spawn-time set by the server you are playing on. Like all the BF games, you can re-spawn only in bases or flags controlled by your faction, with some exceptions.

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)

Closer Look (Cont.)



Conquest Mode

Conquest mode has Control Points scattered throughout the map, each side usually at opposing ends. Each faction has a certain number of "tickets". Every time a soldier dies that side loses a ticket. For each Control Point occupied, the enemy loses a certain amount of tickets per second. When tickets are zero, your side loses. The Control Points are usually strategically located, and are usually where vehicles re-spawn. Many times, your starting Control Point will be unable to be owned by the enemy. All others can be converted to your faction by spending enough time in close proximity to the flag for that Point. The more of your faction in that proximity, the quicker the Point will be yours. This back and forth "capturing of flags" is the basis to the dynamics of the game. These faction-controlled Control Points are the locations where you can re-spawn into the game after a death.

There is also a Conquest Co-op mode where AI-controlled bots are included, unlike the regular Conquest mode, where all players are people.

There are quite a few different maps, with some excellent city maps (low vehicle). The maps are smaller than previous incarnations of Battlefield, and this sometimes makes vehicle battles quicker and crowded. As well as making deaths seem to happen more frequently. As of this review, I haven't seen any user created MOD maps which is disappointing. However, the expansion, Northern Strike, is now available for download.

Titan Mode

The Titan is a MASSIVE fortress, floating high above the battlefield, with 4 guns on the underbelly and 2 anti-aircraft chain guns on the top. There is a flight bay which spawns one of each of the aircraft on one end and a couple of decks, perfect for assaulting, on the other end. The guns are manned by sitting at a terminal at the rear of the flight bay. The Titan sports a forcefield, unable to be penetrated by the enemy.... UNTIL the enemy controlled missile silos take it out.

This game mode starts with each side having a Titan on opposite sides of the map. They can slowly move across the battlefield by the Commanders, but be warned, as some servers will kick or ban you if you move them, as this generally causes a fair amount of lag on the server. There are Missile silos on the ground which act like bases and if your faction controls it, every 2 minutes it will launch a missile at the enemy Titan. Eventually the force field goes down and the real fun begins.

At this point, enemy soldiers can attempt to damage the Titan more directly (Missiles will keep firing to damage the hull). While the force-field on the flight bay is still active, enemy soldiers can board the titan on the other end by a few different ways. Easiest is to acquire an APC and drive close to the Titan. When in any position but driver, you can right-click and you will be launched screaming through the air in a boarding pod, of which you have control of, to land on the Titan. You can also do the same from the flight bay of your own Titan, if the two Titans are close. Thirdly, you can "parachute" from an Aircraft or land an Aircraft on one of the rear decks..although this takes some skill. This way has the advantage of possibly creating a spawn point for your faction ON the enemy Titan. Finally, if your Squad Leader has the Beacon upgrade, he can create a spawn point beacon directly on the Titan.

So you are on the enemy Titan... now what? Well, first off, there just might be some defenders and in order to actually damage the Titan from within, your faction has to first take out 4 Computer Consoles, each down a different hallway. These consoles can be taken out with repeated gunfire or grenades, but the quickest way is to get a Recon soldier with the Detonation Pack upgrade to do it. Consoles 3 and 4 are force-field protected until you take out consoles 1 and 2 respectively. Plus, any smart defenders will know when their outer force-fields are down and will do their utmost to make your attempted breach far from fun. The defenders definitely have the advantage in a Titan assault.

When the 4 consoles (which are unrepairable) are down, the main Reactor doors open. The reactor core (also unrepairable) inside can be damaged by any weapon, but once again, Det Packs are most effective. When the core is destroyed... a warning sounds and lights start flashing and you have about 30 seconds to get off the Titan before she explodes in a fiery inferno. A truly satisfying sight.

Graphics and Sound

The graphics in this game are not ground-breaking, as this is the same engine as the older Battlefield 2, but they are well done and not intrusive and more importantly, the gameplay does not suffer. The lightning pace of the game can take some getting used to, but once you get it down, nothing is more satisfying than taking out a horde of enemies in a series of wicked shots and some inventive maneuvering. The game is very playable even on the lower settings, but at higher settings the sounds and effects are immersive. Many energy type weapons and force-fields take advantage of lighting effects.

Specifications:



In order to install and play Battlefield 2142, your system must meet or exceed the following minimum system requirements.



In order to play the game at the recommended resolution, detail and performance levels, your computer should match or exceed the following specifications:

My system

AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ processor

nVIDIA 7300 LE graphics processor

2 GB DDR2 Dual Channel RAM

200 GB SATA II HDD

Note:

At this time, BF 2142 does not support Vista and although some have got it working (apparently better), many others absolutely cannot get it to work.

Conclusion:



Battlefield 2142 is a darn good game, especially if you like this genre. Fast, well-balanced, with hours of enjoyment. Technical support can be frustrating for some, but the majority will not have problems. Fairly regular patches address issues and exploits. The persistent online ranking and unlocks keep you coming back for more. Larger and more maps definitely need to be added, although what is there will last you a while. If you do not have broadband internet with fairly low latency, this game isn't probably for you. Graphics are behind the times, but considering the scale (up to 64 players), it's a bonus if you have the hardware to run it full out, but not necessary for full enjoyment.

I originally ran this game on an AMD Athlon 2200+ with a Radeon 9600 Pro graphics card and 1 GB of RAM, but have since upgraded. I haven't really noticed any difference in playing the game, although I am sure there must be. This game runs well on older systems, WHEN the settings are set to low. This is the type of game that if you have the hardware to have maximum settings, you will notice the pretty lights and shading. If you have to run on lower settings, you won't really notice a lack, as the gameplay and the fun-factor will keep you coming back.

This game really excels at the gameplay and tactical level. Good Commanders do make a difference... as well as good squad level tactics and the game promotes these aspects inherently. Although the game is over a year old, it still has value and judging by the number of people still playing the older versions of Battlefield, will continue to do so.

Pros

Cons