Saturday, June 03, 2006

Battlefield 2142: The not-model/textures are actually not too lame!

Unlocking has been massively increased as a game feature, which ROCKS. They dabbled in it and I guess the player base was smart enough to tell them it was awesome, which seriously endangers my general boredom with the series. In addition to long-term unlocks, you must unlock your unlocks on a per-game basis by scoring points. Thus, the function you provide you team or squad is defined in a limited manner each game, without limiting the overall gameplay like an MMOG. This is an "unlock anything" sort of deal which remains balanced as far as I can tell, unlike HL2's Age of Ascension mod or HL1's Natural Selection mod (Combat mode), both of which suffer from "first to level 2 gets teh highest scorezor of the game" tendencies because unlocking is sequential and necessarily more powerful than the previous unlock in almost all cases.

Unlocks are NOT just weapons; in fact, there's a huge number of weapons and items for each class (in BF2 terms). There are 2 items, 1 primary weapon, and 1 other sort of item (I think this slot is only for squad leaders, maybe), and they can all be mix-and-matched within the class you are playing in any combination you wish. There's 4 classes: Recon, Engineer, Assault, and Support. Recon is typical sniper with a freaking cloaking device (better than most games but no-fire while on) which will make climbing ladders WAY less risky; Support probably has both medical and ammo; Engineer probably both mines/repairs and anti-tank munitions. Squad leaders have unique items like recon cameras that float around, and destructible squad beacons which replace the leader-spawn system of BF2 squads and don't force the leader to play so defensively.

One new fascinating game type involves two MASSIVE flying aircraft carriers; travel is facilitated by pods that freaking rocket you around the map or up to the enemy titan (carrier). This is a huge improvement over finding out that your spawn point is no longer critical and spending 5 minutes running to the next area with no vehicle. Less running, more gunning.

This titan game mode involves familiar control-points which are 2-minute-timed missile luanchers which weaken the enemy titan's shield. Once the shield is down, the titan can be boarded (primarily via pods but also aircraft), at which point 4 control panels or something has to be blown up, which leaves the "core" open to attack. Core go boom, team go lose. Looks very cool, especially with the squad beacon mechanic of spawning.

Also of interest is that there's a (permanent?) record - globally accessible - of who a given player has killed with the knife, and how often. Apparently there's TONS of medals and records available like that (player look-up was recently added to BF2:SF - an expansion I never bothered buying - but it's just a patch add-in and can't be well-implemented outside of a game's real development cycle). I have no doubt that people with big e-balls with provde me with lots of kills by trying to sneak up behind me with a cloaking device for that permanent record of having knifed me.


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