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Battlefield 2142 Review

BF2142 has been out for a month now, so we thought we would add our thoughts and views regarding the sequel to one of the best online experiences out there, namely BF2. After all the promises of the game being tested to death before its release, the moment we installed the product there was a patch out for it, this must be a world record and already the anticipation of having to download whopping 500meg patches sprang to mind, luckily the patches so far have been small (17mb and 20mb).

Secondly you may have heard rumours about the spyware element of the game and though this has been discussed to death it in fact is only designed to use your IP address to localise in-game ads, no other information is sent to EA, so they say. This is a bit crafty the way they lay this on you, when you open the box a bit of white paper falls out and states if you don’t want IGA (Ad Technology) to gather data don’t install or play the game! At this point you have probably opened the package and can’t send the game back any way.

Moving on from this rant If you signed up to the BF2 Veteran program you can log in with your EA account details and reserved BF2142 player name and gain an instant unlock and a special symbol next to your name - to tell others that you were an avid player of BF2.

Again for those used to the relatively easy to view stats screen you will be a tad overwhelmed with the amount of statistical elements of the BFHQ menu, however it does tell you what you need to do in order to get the badges.

This time the badges will give you extra rewards, in this case points, you will find that the better you do in the game the more points you will get towards your next unlock.

Yep unlocks are back and boy are they back, with a total of 40 unlocks for you to choose from. You can view all of the unlocks for each kit on one screen now and see a description of which one does what, to gain access to bigger weapons you need to complete a column in order but you can pick from either column so you do get a choice - the screen shot will give you a better idea of what we are talking about.

The unlocks are gained quite fast in the early stages of the game, thankful you don’t need 30k points to get each unlock.

Some of the unlocks are needed to provide you with gear that was standard in BF2 for example the defibrillator, so you can't instantly use your fav kit properly until you have gained an unlock.

The Kit system has been reworked and it will confuse the hell out of veterans, for example the Recon kit is now the sniper, but it also has explosives that the Special Ops Kit had in BF2, secondly the Medic is now the Assault and the Engineer has a missile launcher, finally the Support is the only Kit that you can identify with from the previous game.

There are also special abilities and Squad based unlocks, which simply give you faster recovery time and some nifty Squad leader abilities, such as spawn points and robot drones.

If you are in squads you can now get points for achieving goals, this could be capturing a flag that the leader had requested. When your Squad bar reached full you can get a Field upgrade that gives you temporary access to new kits or weapons.

Servers Finding Multiplayer servers has been tweaked and seems to scan them quicker, gone are the ping times to be replaced with a traffic light system. A Buddy system has also been included which is pretty cool, you can now invite others to your list and can join in on the same servers that they are connected to. It's just a pity that it did not put you on the same side when you log into a game server.

When you finally log into a game server, some users have had some issues, which have prob been fixed with the new patch, these included random punk buster kicks and stats not recording properly. Personally most of us who played the game did not get any server disconnects, except LB which you read his comments at the bottom of the post.

Customise Before each round you can customise your kit, so you can choose from the unlocks you have available, you can only equip your character with one weapon and two additional items. Most servers will save the settings so you don’t have to keep customising, however it can be annoying when you forget to do this and end up trying to access your unlock when you have not equipped it.

Finally having got through all the above you can get stuck into some action, the game introduces you to two new game modes, Conquest and Titan. The Titan mode essentially involves a hugh ship that needs to be destroyed, to do this you have to capture missile solos to destroy the shields and then the hull or you can board the ship and destroy the consoles and reactor core.

Technically the two modes are the same, the conquest mode is nothing more than a BF2 clone where you have to capture flags. With the Titan mode we found that unless you have a helicopter to get you to the enemies Titan ship you tend to be left on the ground, running around not knowing what to do next. Luckily you can spawn on the helicpoters, so if you die you can join in on the action quicker.

As a commander you can move the ship around the map and you and your fellow troops can take control of its weapons - to take out ground troops and vehicles. Doted arround the ship are escape pods that you can eject from and crash down onto the ground, you will find these on the APC's and Helicopters to and it is another way to launch yourself onto an enemy titan - it also makes you laugh as you eject from a APC and are fired into the air.

Other vehicles present are the Tanks and Mech Walkers, the new Mech Walkers sit two players and are quipped with machine guns and missiles. Vehicles such as the Mech and Hover Tank take a while to get used to and most of the time you end up getting destroyed easily in the beginning, thankfully you now have a shield which can be activated for limited protection against other projectile weapons.

All-in all the vehicles are a dominating force in BF2142, the infantry troops are little more than canon fodder, though several engineers can be used to take out Tanks, Mechs or Helicopters easily. Being support allows you to chuck a few EMP's at players or vehicles to temporarily disable them (commanders can also call EMP strikes), again this ads to the tactical element of the game. Also you can set Sentry guns up which are like the ones from the Aliens films which is a nice touch.

Other new toys come in the form of personal shields, personal cloaking devices (similar to the Predator) and homing mines.

Gone are the annoying Planes that bomb you from knowhere to be replaced by annoying snipers, whos upgraded weapons are lethal. In fact if you are newcomer to the game you need to be prepared that your ass will be kicked, especially as most of the veterans have already amounted a hugh amount of weapons, most of them from stat padding.

For an idea of system spec we tested the game using a Radeon 9800 Pro and managed to play the game at 800 x 600 using medium detail, though the game ran like a dog in the titan levels. We switched to our 7800GTX later and played the game in all its glory, the graphics are visually impressive with snow effects and battered landscapes with craters dotted about the place.

Sound effects for the weapons are beefy and thankfully the annoying music from BF2 has gone to be replaced with emotional driven scores.

The number of playable levels seems sparse, but there are some cool street level maps you can get your teeth into.

Summary

All in all, there is something missing from BF2142 that made BF2 sooo addictive. Most of the weapons for the infantry are rubbish, the support especially. The Vehicles are cool mind, as are the new toys.

However its BF2 set in a future landscape and as a result this will put some off. New users will find it a great online experience and granted we did enjoy the game but only in limited chunks. We can't see ourselves playing this game for more than a few months.

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