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Battlefield 2142 (Pre-E3 2006)

Developer: EA DICE | Publisher: Electronic Arts
Players: 1+ Player Game | Genre: FPS

Release Date: 10/17/06

The Battlefield series has prided itself on realistic recreations of past and modern battlefields. It’s taken us to the past, during the WWII era, and recently given us a tour of the Middle East in a modern combat setting. But now, DICE is undertaking a much more ambitious setting: the distant future.

As can be guessed by the name, Battlefield 2142 takes place 200 years after the game’s first installment. A dawning ice age splits the world into two warring factions: the American European alliance and the Pan Asian coalition, both fighting for the last bits of habitable land left. Such a setting set so far from reality can give way to all sorts of exotic weapons, vehicles, and other advanced military technologies, but DICE seems to have taken the conservative route in terms of technology. No plasma guns or laser pistols here, folks; instead, the games been reserved to entail only more advanced versions of modern weapons.

Fans of sci-fi won’t be completely displeased, however, as there are plenty of super-advanced military technologies, such as the T-39 battle walker, essentially a walking tank capable of tearing up the battlefield. Infantry will receive a sizable upgrade from new technologies as well, employing ‘active camouflage’, a concept many of us are familiar with that allows stealth at a loss of mobility and firepower.

The new edition to the series looks to expand on many of the gameplay aspects introduced in Battlefield 2, particularly squad based play and class customization. Even more incentives have been included to encourage players to play in squads, including remote spawning beacons that each squad leader can place, as well as the brand new SD-18 sentry drone, which can also be deployed by the squad leader and offers close range firing support for the squad.

As mentioned, class customization is being massively expanded in 2142, following extremely positive reactions to the weapons unlocks and awards included in Battlefield 2. Players will now have even more to play for, including weapons configurations such as silencers and scopes, different grenades and other accessories and miscellaneous weapons for players to carry. Players will now no longer have to use pre-created weapon ‘kits’, but can mix and match all of their unlocked equipment to create a much more specified, customizable class that can respond acutely to changes in the battlefield, true to the rock paper scissors strategy that’s always been present in the Battlefield series.

It’s no surprise, then, that DICE has shied away from the sizeable 7 class library from Battlefield 2 and employed a comparatively meager 4 class selection: assault, recon, anti-vehicle and support. Each class on it’s own has a much more generalized purpose than the classes from the last installment, but players will be able to modify their classes on the fly to create a unique force tailored both to their playing style and the needs of their team in the field, such as equipping electromagnet pulse grenades to disable vehicles.

More equipment and cooler vehicles aren’t the only additions to 2142, of course. The third of the series also offers several new game modes, a very refreshing step from the universal ‘conquest’ mode from Battlefield 2. An enticing ‘titan’ mode is planned for the game, which promises to be the most exciting new feature of the game. Tailored especially for the futuristic setting of the game, titan mode pits two teams against each other from their own respective Titans, gigantic, floating platforms piloted by the team’s commander that house spawn points for vehicles and players as well as gigantic weapons for firing at things outside the ship, including players and the other team’s Titan. In this mode, each team’s objective is simple: annihilate the opposing team’s Titan while protecting their own. Assault of the titan is no simple task, and involves a multi-step process of gaining entrance to the ship through pods and vehicles, fighting your way through several security checkpoints to the nuclear core of the ship, and then blowing up the core and, consequently, the entire titan. Battlefield 2142 also employs and brand new and much needed co-op mode, finally allowing players to enjoy the game offline as well as on.

The premise of taking the battlefield to the future is no doubt a heavily ambitious one, but well worth the risk. If DICE can live up to the expectations, we may be seeing another wildly popular addition to the series this fall.

By Andrew Bruck - 05/10/06
ESRB Details: Violence
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Screenshots for Battlefield 2142 (Pre-E3 2006)

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