Maps and gameplay
We played on several of the gameís maps in our time playing the retail version of the game and were surprised to see quite a lot of variety to the levels, from the wide open spaces of Verdun to the urban warfare in the Fall of Berlin. Many of the levels have the ice and snow visuals that the gameís setting requires but the weather doesnít really enter into the gameplay which is a shame. Itís a bit too early to gauge how effectively DICE has designed these maps but on the whole they seem to be on a par with previous games in the series. In terms of graphics Battlefield 2142, while clearly based on the visuals of the previous Battlefield 2, looks good even at medium graphical settings and the gameís framerate on our run-of-the-mill Pentium 4 2.2 Ghz processor was acceptable.
The two biggest differences between Battlefield 2142 and previous games in the series is the streamlining of character classes and the bigger use of unlockable content in the game. Only four character classes are in the game (recon, assault, engineer and support) but the gameís use of persistant stats and unlockable content really makes the ďclassesĒ portion of the game more open ended than previous games in the series. The more you achieve in multiplayer matches, the higher the rank you get and the more content is available for you to get access to more weapons along with the ability to change your own abilities (for example, you can inject yourself with stimulants that will allow players to spring farther or take less time to regenerate their spring ability).
The stats system is sure to be one of the most popular parts of the game, at least so far as comparing your acheievements to others. In addition to the many, many ranks you can achieve in the game, Battlefield 2142 will set players see how well they did in each round of play. The server will tell you what weapon is your favorite and how many kills you got, what vehicle did you drive the most. These stats and many more will be at your disposal. For the ultra serious Battlefield 2142 player (the one who wants to maybe take their skills on the road to win real money in matches) there should be plenty to look at in the game.
So what were our favorites in our playing of the retail version this weekend. We have to admit having playing mostly with the assault class with its standard assault rifle, but we did play a bit as the engineer class and loved firing off its anti-vehicle rocket launcher. We found that the air gunships in the game were a lot easier to control that previous aircraft in the Battlefield series and of course the mech like battlewalkers are a lot of fun to drive, though the walkerís legs are vulnerable, even if you drop a few feet down into an incline. The support class can be a lot of fun to play as well; setting up defensive turrets and being able to sniff enemies behind cover can be plenty useful in an attack.
Thereís a lot about the game that we havenít played around with yet which is part of the reason why this is a first impressions article rather than a full review. The other part is that while we have played the game online on EAís official server, the game itself hasnít shipped to stores yet, which means we havenít played on servers with real Battlefield players rather than press and EA folks. Thatís why we are waiting a few days before giving our final judgment. All we will say at this moment is that based on our limited time with the full game we found it to be a lot of fun. Be sure to look for our full review of the game in the very near future.