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Posted on Nov 15, 2006 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

Battlefield 2142 – Game Review (PC)

Armchair General

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It’s 2142 and in a cruel twist of fate, global warming has led to the expansion of the polar ice caps. As Northern Europe and Asia are crushed beneath mighty advancing glaciers, the remains of two global superpowers, the European Union and Pan Asian Coalition fight over the last vestiges of habitable land. The world is no longer big enough for both of them, and thus the stage is set for a no-holds-barred confrontation that puts the player at the heart of the action.

This then, is the setting for Battlefield 2142, the latest release from developer DICE. Eschewing the historical accuracy of the earlier titles in the Battlefield series, BF2142 is a fantastically futuristic mish-mash of chunky guns and big stomping mechs. In many ways, with the chunky equipment, futuristic weapons and orbital weapons strikes, a game of BF2142 has more than once made me think that I was running around inside one of the early Command & Conquer games. Big and bulky is the order of the day.

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Uniforms are functional, boxy affairs with inbuilt padding, armor and head-up displays. The guns still fire regular ammunition, but are exotic creations, seemingly made of plastic and each one featuring a fancy LED sight to allow swift and easy target acquisition. Heavy, rapid fire is standard most of these new weapons. Some of the heavy machine guns actually increase in accuracy as they are fired and can be truly deadly to even the most armored soldier.

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This is what’s left of Berlin

The heavy weapons too, are more powerful and have evolved from their modern-day form. Tanks come in two varieties–normal tracked types or slick hovering versions with fixed turrets. The latter are remarkably nimble, although tough to control for the novice as the mouse is required to steer and aim. After a while though, it becomes second nature to slide sideways around corners. Armored Personnel Carriers have also been extensively upgraded, heavily armed and armored with turrets on the roof to deter attackers. Indeed, the APC is probably now one of the most important vehicles in the game.

The only vehicles not to have received a major upgrade are the buggies. Like their counterparts in BF2, they are swift and very maneuverable, but easy to knock out. Their one saving grace is their boost ability, whereupon they can accelerate out of trouble with the simple click of a key.

Aircraft however appear to have taken a retrograde step in the future. There are no super-fast jets or helicopters, merely different types of VTOL hovering jet aircraft, a transport version and a gunship variant.

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He’ll need more than a knife to survive this one…

But by far the most exciting new vehicle has to be the Battle-Walker. With each model standing some twenty feet high, they bristle with weaponry and are definitely the kings of the future battlefield. Armed with missile launchers, machine guns, rockets and EMP pulse weapons, they can easily take down a tank in a one-on-one duel. Driving a Battle-Walker is great fun, and players needn’t worry if they can’t find a gunner for the top turret, it’s fully automated to defend against airborne targets – which is neat.

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Uh-oh…

And yes, there’s plenty of EMP weapons to go around. Many of the vehicles have them mounted as secondary weapons, others are ground-based emplacements and some classes of soldiers can even unlock special grenades. The advantage of this attack is that it disables or impairs any electronic equipment within a certain radius for a period of time. Even the electronic vision of a soldier is affected immediately after a strike, it’s the BF2142 equivalent of shell-shock, and it’s very scary when it happens. Even mighty Battle-Walkers are temporarily incapacitated after a strike, allowing players to either attack it or run away. It’s also possible for a Commander to call in an EMP strike on a position.

Besides that, Commanders can call down orbital bombardments. As debris and dust fill the air, this is truly devastating, and definitely not something to be caught in the middle of as it means certain death.

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