Before sitting down to write this review I found myself counting the number of Battlefield games (and expansion packs) I’ve bought, played, and reviewed. It’s a scary number. Suddenly I started to realize why people buy Madden every year; because you know it’ll always take you to that warm, safe, happy place. Except in the case of Battlefield 2142, we’re going to the not-so-distant future of a post-apocalyptic Ice Age.
Before we get on the train to the front lines I thought I might stop and comment on Electronic Arts’ new download service: EA LINK. At first glance you might think that someone gutted iTunes and put EA’s name over it, but you’d be wrong. Rather think Valve Software’s STEAM service with a silver motif. Downloading and installing my copy of Battlefield 2142 was simple and easy. The version of the game EA Link downloaded for me to play was out of date. Thankfully, the latest patch was located right on the front page of the official webpage. After a short download I was finally up and running!
Playing a new Battlefield game gives me an immediate sense of déjà vu. Despite jumping from every major war in the past 50 years to one that takes place in a fictional future where Al Gore’s warnings have not been heeded, the gameplay has remained largely the same. In this case that’s not such a bad thing. It allowed me to jump in and start fragging, without having to relearn the wheel, so to speak.
I've been playing and reviewing the games in this series since the first and I still can't seem to stop myself from saying "Just one more match."
After a long staring contest with the loading screen I finally got onto a server. Staring me in the face was the familiar class / spawn selection screen that hasn’t changed much in four games. Only it seems that where BF2 was toying with the idea of class customization Battlefield 2142 jumps straight into the ring with all guns blazing.
Yes, you still have to play on ranked servers to earn experience points that grant “kit unlocks,” but the reward feels more worth it this time around. Rather than just earning different guns for your class you’ll find different equipment and weapon modifications await you. While some argue that gear should be open at the start; by making players work for new equipment EA has subtly transformed the game into a sort of massively multiplayer experience.
Personally, I find it fascinating that with each game in the Battlefield series, DICE is removing classes and expanding load out options. Might we see a day where there are no classes except for the ones players make by taking certain gear into battle? This should sound familiar to old Tribes players. Of course before we get to that day I have to stop killing my own teammates left and right.
I was hoping that a fictional setting would allow the designers to finally make the opposing sides noticeably different in appearance. No such luck. It doesn’t help that players can choose not to wear heavy armor, effectively doubling how many character models you have to memorize. Not that my squad leader was buying my excuse. Before I had a chance to plug in my USB headset (voice chat support is supported natively) to curse him out, I was unceremoniously kicked off the server.