EA gave us a chance to play Battlefield 2142 at its summer press event, and needless to say, we jumped at the chance. Battlefield 2142 is the next game in the popular multiplayer action franchise, and this one is set almost 150 years in the future, where two factions war for some of the last land on Earth. Like all Battlefield games, it will mix vehicle and infantry combat on maps that support up to 64 players.
Even though we recently saw the game at developer DICE's Stockholm offices, this gave us a chance to see another new map. In this case, we played on City Power Plant, which is an unusual name, since the other maps that we've seen have been based on actual places, such as Verdun and Gibraltar. This level features a river cutting through the middle of the map, with bridges connecting both sides and various industrial buildings scattered throughout. The wide-open nature of this map makes it perfect for not only vehicle battles with the walkers and tanks, but also for Titan mode, as well, which is the mode that we played. The job of our 16-man team was to destroy the enemy's Titan while defending our own.
The one thing we learned is that it will be hard for an unorganized team to take on an organized team, even if that organized team is composed of EA testers with orders to take it easy on the press. Then again, half of our play session was spent with the various members of the media who were familiarizing themselves with the new weapons and vehicles in the game. All 40 of the game's unlocks were made available for us, so we could experiment with different weapons and equipment. In the regular game, you'll have to earn these unlocks through play, so there's a constant reward structure in place as an incentive to play well.
There are some notable tweaks in the gameplay that are worth mentioning, since many of the conventions found in Battlefield 2 have been changed. Take, for instance, medics. There is no dedicated medic class in Battlefield 2142. Instead, the standard assault class can unlock a medic kit, which can be used to heal you and friendly units. However, you won't be able to scatter multiple kits at the same time. Instead, you're given a single health kit that can be deployed onto the ground. It will not instantly heal a friendly, like Battlefield 2's kits can, but it will slowly heal all friendly units within a small radius. Meanwhile, defibrillators to revive fallen teammates are another unlock.
Even during our brief gameplay session, we got the sense of how essential teamwork is in this game. We were divided into four squads, and the squad leader becomes even more essential than before. For example, not only can squad members spawn in on the squad leader's location, but the squad leader is also the only one that can put various new toys into play, such as a respawn beacon, a sentry gun, and a floating gun droid that gives your squad a bit more firepower.
It's a lot easier to take over the missile silos on the map as a squad. These silos are critical since they're the main way to take down an enemy Titan's shields. Once the shields are down, you must assault the Titan, and again, squad play is the only effective way to go as you battle through the tight confines of the Titan. If you die without having a squad leader or respawn beacon to spawn on, it means you must somehow work your way back up to the Titan again.
Battlefield 2142 feels just as dynamic as its predecessors, but there are enough changes and new features in here to make it feel quite different at times, as well. The game is still in development, and we should see it ship later this year.