This is a guest review by ArmEagle
WoLf offered me, as a fan of EA Battlefield games, the chance to review the latest sequel to the Battlefield family. I have played Battlefield 1942 and Battlefield 2 online and with friends quite a bit and was looking forward to the future.
And in 2142 most of the world is covered in ice, leaving only small amounts of fertile land. This scarceness is worth fighting for, so the people from the European Union or Pan Asian Coalition can be fed. Those are the two superpowers that battle each other on maps all over the world. And for that they brought a large new weapon.
Battlefield 2142 comes with a complete new game mode. Conquest is still in the game, but Titan mode brings new tactics on the battleground. Flags on the map have been replaced by missile silos. Capture such a silo and it will launch missiles at the enemy titan every three minutes. The goal is to destroy the enemy titan, before your opponents do so to yours. But that alone wouldn't be so much different.
The titan is a flying aircraft carrier, also housing anti-air defences and artillery turrets. It has a impenetrable shield which only these missile can impact. But once enough missiles have impacted on the shield, it will go down. Then another road towards destroying the titan opens up. With the shield down, you can board the back of enemy titan with aircraft. Or you use the pod launchers built in the new Armored Personnel Carriers. Inside the titan is the core, a weakspot where normal weapons can help damaging the enemy titan. But to get there you first have to destroy four consoles, to open doorways to the core. Ofcourse the enemy will prevent you from doing so and will barricade the narrow hallways with all the firepower they have. But if the enemy defenses are too good, control over the missile silos is important to keep damaging the enemy titan.
Soldiers and their weaponry
There are only four classes in Battlefield 2142. Recon (sniper and demolition), Assault (also medic), Engineer (anti-tank) and Support. Soldiers become more versatile with special weapons and items they can unlocks by playing, but more on that later.
The biggest change in vehicles is the new Battlewalker. This biped can accomodate two soldiers. In the main position the soldier can control the walker and the 360 degrees rotatable upper body mounts dual Gatling guns and unguided missiles which are good against armoured vehicles in close to medium range. The secondary position controls the turret, protecting the walker from above with a gun and homing EMP missiles. This makes the Battlewalker a versatile and powerful weapon. But the controller should be careful to stay in the open, since he has limited visibility towards the ground, a weak spot the enemy can take advantage of.
I already mentioned the pod launchers from the APC that you can use to get out quickly. Or get to places you can't reach normally. The HUD shows whether the APC is close enough to a titan to have a decent change of reaching it in the parabolic flight you make. Your pod will be aimed towards the titan somewhat, but you will have to steer it yourself to reach a safe landing zone, or else be ready to respawn in the APC again.
The new transport aircraft also allows the passengers to jump out with pods when at higher altitude. This way multiple soldiers can quickly surround a silo and eliminate any threat. Near the ground the soldiers will simply step out. Some bad timing by the passengers will annoy the pilot though, since podding out while the pilot is landing the transport quickly, will often result in the aircraft landing on top of you, resulting in a team kill for the pilot.
Both the transport and the gunship, which remained quite similar to the Battlefield 2 attack chopper, use some form of vertical liftoff and landing system similar to the US navy aircraft from the carrier. The transport still acts like a helicopter, where no throttle simply makes it land. But the gunship behaves like the navy aircraft, so that it can fly but also hover. I am still trying to manage flying these aircraft decently, especially since you cannot strafe them sideways anymore.
The vehicles from both factions all differ somewhat, but they have very different tanks. The EU has the Tiger, a normal tracked tank with rotatable turret. Where the PAC has the Nekomata, a hovering vehicle where the turret is fixed. This is countered by the ability to strafe the whole tank. Combined with the default movement, this allows for fast tactical movement, where the strong front is always facing the enemy.
All but the buggy have a new futuristic Active Defence, replacing the flak or smokescreen from Battlefield 2. This countermeasure creates an energy bubble around the vehicle, shielding it from enemy fire for a short moment. Especially in tanks and walkers using this tactically means the difference between living long or dying quickly.
As I already mentioned about the walker, there are multiple weapons that deliver an Electro Magnetic Pulse, disabling almost all equipment for a moment. For the APC this is the only extra defense against the more powerful tanks and walkers, disable them and seek a safe place, since the offensive abilities of the APC are only good enough against soldiers or buggies.
The EMP rockets from anti air points can disable all functionality from aircraft, this includes their hovering. This is no problem if it is high or low enough. But at medium height this can result in a hard crash besides the damage the aircraft receives from the guns of the anti air point.
The basic weaponry for soldiers is more limited now. For example grenades aren't default any more. But that is all made up for with the new ranks and unlocks.
Scoring, Ranks and Unlocks
With more than 40 ranks and 40 unlocks Battlefield 2142 has changed a lot, compared to the tiered weapon unlocks from Battlefield 2. With unlocks still being rewarded on every new rank, it may be logical that ranks follow up each other faster. Starting at only 40 points needed and ending with 3600 points, unlocks are awarded quite fast at start. But specialisation is needed, since it will take a while until the highest rank is achieved.
The scoring has changed somewhat. Kills and revives, etc give somewhat less points now, but in return ribbons and badges give career points now too. Ribbons give 30, 50, 500 or even 2000 points. But these high scoring ribbons all have time requirements. Bronze to gold badges give 20, 500 and 1000 points now. Here time is also often the limiting factor.
New in Battlefield 2142 are pins. Pins can be awarded every round again, or even multiple times in one round. They don't give as many points as ribbons and badges, but are much easier to get.
To even improve the gathering of points, working together as a squad is rewarded. You can score extra points near the location your commander send you to.
All four classes now have two tiers of four unlocks (where you first have to unlock one item before you can unlock the next). The Recon class can choose to focus on sniping, or demolition where he can even get a cloaking device. The Assault class can go full assault with shotgun and light rocket upgrades to the rifle, or go medic starting with the defibrillator unlock. The support class can go offensive with an EMP grenade and a deployable sentry gun, or more defensive with a deployable shield and heartbeat detector. The Engineer gets access to EMP and motion mines, anti air rocket launcher or even a sonar vehicle detection system. Or you could combine items from both tiers into a package you like for your class.
The fourth unlock in every tier is a weapon, of which is already mentioned a few. This all can make a soldier very versatile. Besides these class based unlocks there are also five unlocks available for all classes. Here you can get the very handy frag grenades, drugs to permanently improve your sprinting, extra ammo for certain weapons or as last an extra grenade.
New in the future battlefield is the 'Network Battlefield'. Besides the spotting, known from Battlefield 2, just glancing at an enemy will let your squad members see that target as a red diamond in their HUD. This gives even more incentive to play in a squad. This is part of the basic equipment, but it can be enhanced by upgrades you can unlock, where every class gives a special improvement of the system.
A Squad leader can get access to three special unlocks. First is the Spawn Beacon, a device where squad members and the leader himself can spawn after they died, instead of only being able to spawn at a squad leader. Then there is a hovering drone that scans for threats and functions like the UAV. As last the squad leader has access to a hovering Sentry Drone, which can attack enemies fully automatically. The squad leader needs to have to have certain amounts of squad members to use these special unlocks though.
When I opened the DVD box I found a small piece of paper mentioning that the software may incorporate software from IGA Worldwide Inc. Of course I read about this weeks before on forums, where people were rioting about it. Nothing is mentioned about what data is collected. But the idea is that you might see in game advertisements. I think I have seen billboards, but actually I'm not even sure of that. Let alone that I noticed any advertisements yet. I can only say in general that in-game advertising can be legit, but it should return something to the player. Whether it is a lower price for the game, or more support once it has gone gold.
The problem is that games these days already need more support, since they are often not finished yet at release. The same goes for Battlefield 2142. There are still quite some bugs in game. Let alone all the exploits that people use to 'stat pad' and increase rank fast. Of course EA will take action eventually and block or reset these accounts. Though not all exploits can be prevented, some should never have been in the game.
Another problem is that one can accidentally kill a team-mate too easily. Slightly move your tank and you crush a soldier standing next to it. Land the transport and get team kills for passengers that jumped too early and you crushed by landing upon them.
I think Battlefield 2142 is bringing enough to make it worth playing. All the new unlocks, and extras to good teamwork surely make it interesting. But it is hard to say whether it is better than it's siblings. Once in a while I long back to flying in the old WWII planes, and being the captain on a battleship. And maybe in a couple of months I will start Battlefield 2 for a couple of games. For now I am hooked. I just hope that the annoying issues will be taken care of, starting with the soon expected second patch. That would make it even a better game.