Snow joke, this really is quite good!

User Rating: 8.8 | Battlefield 2142: Northern Strike PC
Imagine seeing a castle - a self-healing castle - uproot itself and roll slowly along to obliterate the opposition. You need not imagine this my friend, as Northern Strike delivers this in the form of the EU's Goliath IFV, or Infantry Fighting Vehicle - one of the two new vehicles added in the Northern Strike booster pack.

The Goliath is arguably the star of Northern Strike - dominating maps with massively superior firepower and forcing both teams to play together to either take advantage of it or to destroy it. But this wondrous machine is just one facet of Northern Strike's new content. To counter it, the PAC have been given an ultra-fast FAV - the Hachimoto - which hovers in the same manner as the Nekomata tank. It has a similar weapons loadout to a gunship, with the pilot controlling two medium plasma cannons while the gunner controls a lethal rotating grenade launcher and TV-controlled missiles.

Also included is a new gameplay mode - Assault Lines - a spin-off of the traditional Conquest mode. It's basically the standard Assault mode, but the attacking EU side is forced to take all normal PAC control points before launching an assault on the PAC home base - which is in a heavily defensible position on all three new maps.

The new unlocks are surprisingly mediocre, though one does shine through - the Clark-12 RDX shotgun. It shoots a timed explosive charge in an arc, and while it's not as powerful as the assault soldier's rocket weapon - it is just as effective against light vehicles and groups of enemy infantry. The rest of the unlocks are somewhat passive and very specialised, although if you play as the assault or engineer classes often, ammo upgrades for the SMG and assault rifle add-ons are useful, as is the damage reduction from falling when you unlock the shock-adsorbant boots.

The three new maps are all set in frozen Germany, which has long-since fallen to the PAC forces. There are two urban maps, Liberation of Leipzig - a frantic night battle in the ruined city with restricted space and many nooks and crannies to attack from - and Bridge at Remagen - a re-enactment of the famous battle at Remagen between Allied and German forces over a vital bridge spanning the Rhine during World War II, and can also be played in Titan mode. The third map, Port Bavaria, is set at a PAC Titan port in the Alps and is by far and away the best of the three new locales, with concentrated assaults being launched from APC pods in truly cinematic style, followed by a close urban battle once the EU has a foothold. The BF2 engine, although it still looks beautiful, is getting a bit dated after two years. However, with close co-operation from Creative Labs, the audio is as spectacular as ever. Goliaths rumble through cities as distant sniper fire makes you dive behind cover. Battlefield 2142 is still at the very forefront of game audio, and it's well worth getting a new sound card to experience this if you haven't already.

Overall, it's more bang for your buck than most of us die-hard fans of Battlefield would have guessed - the new game mode and vehicles are surprisingly fun - but another map or a game mode that wasn't quite so familiar would really have made this expansion worth the full pittance it cost.

Discussion