Players: 1+ Player Game | Release Date: 10/17/06 | Genre: FPS
The future of warfare is here, and it is not Battlefield 2142. There’s plenty of fun to be had with the multiplayer online with the new toys we’re given to play with. Unfortunately, there is nothing really new on offer that can’t be found in other games and if you don’t plan on spending a lot of time online playing then this isn’t really worth the effort in the single player portion.
This is perhaps my biggest complain about the game – the single player portion is just a bot driven replica of the multiplayer. Yes, there is some “progression” with some “story” placed between levels, but there is very little difference between single and multiplayer. The single player game is tacked on and feels much like an afterthought. Electronic Arts and developer Digital Illusions could have really fleshed out the single player game to provide a good balance, but as it is the multiplayer is the only reason to have this game.
The strength of the Battlefield franchise has always been the multiplayer. I have no problem with the heavy reliance of online play, but coming at the expense of what should have been a stellar game with a good balance of a single player campaign that has a lot of shelf life in the multiplayer.
As it is, there isn’t a lot in the multiplayer that is terribly new to warrant an entirely new game. Sure, taking the Battlefield franchise into the future with mecha style battle walkers is new, but MechAssault does this really well, as does a number of other titles. Futuristic weapons are nothing new at all, and the troop type of mechanic, grunt, etc. is standard for the series. More on the troop types in a little bit. Actually, the more I think about it, the more Battlefield 2142 feels like a mod. Replace the tanks with the battle walkers, and upgrade nearly everything else except for air support, which is scaled back.
Maybe the comparison to a game mod is a bit unfair – let’s go with the expansion pack route. New maps, a new futuristic skin, and a new game type. Titan is the big feature in Battlefield 2142 and helps to liven things up. An air-based battleship is the key – take out the shields, board, and take the ship out. It’s quite involved and plays out like a combination of King of the Hill and Conquest. There’s quite a lot of strategy and coordination involved in Titan Mode, and it is quite fun. Sadly, one new mode of play does not a full game make.
Only two factions are left to battle it out in the future, and because of this type of streamlining, only 4 types of troops are available to play. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but isn’t the best move for the franchise. Players build up strength (rise in rank) over time by winning, following commands, etc. There’s plenty to unlock and not just hardware. Various personnel capabilities become available over time. Instead of taking one “path” and getting more proficient players get to “cherry pick” from various skills as they become open. This presents a more well-rounded approach to troop skills, because frankly, a sniper should damn well know first aid (as an example).
In the future we will all be fighting with many of the “same-ish” weapons we use today. The basic rifle, rocket launcher, etc. are still in use. The vehicles have also undergone a similar non-transformation where things just don’t feel as if we’ve moved ahead over 100 years into the future. The only real nod to the 2142 alluded to in the title are the battle walkers and the Titans.
The various levels are good, with plenty of open spaces as well as nooks and crannies to hide in. There are plenty of options for how to approach an objective, which is good. A lot of the same colors are used throughout the levels though, and while this is supposed to be a grim picture of the future, we know that color has to have survived in some form. The overall grey theme just makes everything look flat.
Battlefield 2142 comes with a new set of maps, some story, and a new mode of play. There is nothing really worth picking this up for at full price. The weapons are largely the same, there is little real single player game, and a variety of tweaks to the multiplayer. Had the game been given more attention and released a year from now I wouldn’t have a problem recommending it. As it stands, just stick to playing Battlefield 2 or MechAssault (or SOCOM, or Gears of War, or Halo 2, or CounterStrike, or Unreal, or any other of a number of games).