Battlefield 2142 Review
Improves the balance and unlock system of BF2 with tweaks to the gameplay providing a great multiplayer experience
For all accounts Battlefield 2142 is very similar to the modern tactical shooter Battlefield 2. It’s a first person shooter, multiplayer focused, based on controlling points around a map. The game specializes in the balance of vehicle and infantry combat with large heavily occupied battlefields. However the little differences in 2142 are more than enough to separate it from its more respected brother. The first major difference to gameplay is the adjustment of the ranking and unlocking system. Instead of unlocking a single weapon per class (or two with the expansion) there is numerous unlocks available for the four blended classes. In some cases the equipment that was assigned initially to BF2 classes requires unlocking before they are accessible. This includes reviving kits, explosives, grenades and many others. Fortunately most of these items are tier 1 and will be unlocked quickly. The other unlocks add depth to each build, each soldier can customize their load-out for their style of play. It’s also possible to unlock all items on one soldier if you want to play many different classes.
This unlock implementation brings up the issue of balance, new players do not have the better equipment to start with but that doesn’t mean that a skilled played can’t outdo a mediocre player with a few unlocks. In other cases field upgrades are assigned to good performing players so they can try out various items before unlocking them permanently. This means that if your squad plays well you’ll get unlocks which levels the playing field. The new unlocks add extra depth onto the persistence of Battlefield 2 and create an interesting dynamic when players pick up items they’ve yet to unlock.
The other change to gameplay comes with the addition of moving deployment zones. Beacons offer a second chance for squad to launch constant attacks. Squad leaders can equip a beacon and place it in less travelled areas in order to spawn with airborne pods close to the action. The placement of these beacons as a squad leader is quite important and also means as a leader you can still be very offensive instead of waiting for your team to spawn in beside you. They can be destroyed fairly easily and defenders need to keep an eye out for pods coming in and will often focus their attacks on destroying these beacons.
There is also a difference to the point system, more points are now given for defending and attacking specific points given from the commander or squad leader. Likewise those giving these orders will receive points if squad members engage the enemy within range of the ordered attack/defend point. This makes playing properly in a squad far more rewarding in terms of points and gives much more incentive to squad leaders to give some orders. Lone wolf players will need to be much better to score above a squad member following orders. This doesn’t mean that lone wolf players are going to be disadvantaged; there are plenty of ways to gain points outside of following orders. As a lone wolf you can move very quickly about the battlefield, especially in Titan Mode.
The point structure has also changed slightly from Battlefield 2. In BF2 global points were used for ranks and unlocks, BF2142 includes Career points. In simple terms career points is global points plus medals/awards/badges/pins. So earning awards is more beneficial towards unlocks because of those extra points for unlocks. As with these extra points comes the addition of pins. Pins are smaller awards than badges but they are ones which can be received many times. They offer career points each time awarded which greatly helps towards achieving the next rank or unlock.
Titan is the new gameplay mode that is similar to conquest during the first stage. The first stage involves capturing missile silos that attack the enemy Titan shields. Eventually the shields on the Titans are destroyed and players can board it to create some close quarters battles in order to destroy the core. Fighting on the Titan can be great fun; close corridors can make for some long fire fights due to cover on the walls. If however you are not having much success attacking the Titan you can take a break and focus on dominating the silos as missile attacks will slowly destroy the enemy Titan. This tactic is great against a very well defended Titan where more than half the team are waiting for attackers to come through bottlenecked corridors. The game mode lasts longer on average than Conquest due to the two stages of attack but offers a bigger reward at the end. The Titan core can be destroyed and the assaulting team can make a break for the exit and parachute to safety. Many of the awards are also focused around the Titan game mode which often makes points easier to come by than playing conquest.
Battlefield 2142 is not without its problems, as many should be familiar based on their experience with BF2. Numerous bugs have crossed over to BF2142, one of them is the red/blue tag bug which turns an enemy into a friendly or vice versa. Many of the new issues with BF2142 revolve around the Titan game mode. Associated with this is the issues of exploitation, many players are gaining huge scores by abusing the new scoring system. And the Titan mode, especially when the ship is allowed to move, can be a little laggy with higher player numbers. Titan gunners can also rain down damaging artillery from the safety of the ship to rack up cheap kills. Luckily most of these issues aren’t incredibly serious so if you survived the numerous crashing problems in BF2 then you will have no problem surviving BF2142.
The game in general improves on everything that BF2 had created. The graphics are a step up. Surprisingly it can run very well on the lower end machines too. The sound is one of the best I’ve heard in a game; from the music to the effects it’s incredibly solid. There are fewer vehicles in the game and no jets are present which creates a more focused experience. There are helicopter type aircraft that work like jets but aren’t overpowered. Many times in a Tank I was having long duels with aircraft which was great fun. There are also the walker units, the most powerful and in some ways the most nimble. There are very few of these in the maps but for good reason, they decimate infantry and are pretty good against tanks and aircraft. They are very vulnerable however, in between their legs on the underside of the torso. Infantry not seen running away will likely be standing underneath these walkers either for protection or to attack.
Some areas of gameplay appear to have had some skill extracted compared to the BF2 version, however many times it seems that some things are easier to get into but there is still a great learning curve. Other areas are more complex including the real presence of weak points on vehicles. Getting back into the action has never been this fast in BF2. Titans offer huge deployment ranges with pods, apcs and transport ships are moving spawn points and of course the crucial spawn beacons.
It’s hard not to recommend BF2142 as it’s the best online shooter of 2006. If you can’t stand some bugs and exploits then the game is probably not for you. If you are a strong modern warfare purist then you might not like the change in direction to a sci-fi themed action ride. For everybody else it’s a refreshing change to the Battlefield franchise with enhanced solider customization that is above all else incredibly fun to play.