Reviewed: March 13, 2007
Reviewed by: Ansel Newcome - Beill
Also Reviewed by: Jeff Gedgaud

Electronic Arts

Digital Illusions CE

Released: March 8, 2007
Genre: Tactical FPS
Players: 1-64
ESRB: Teen


System Requirements

  • Windows XP
  • Pentium 4 1.7 GHz
  • 512 MB RAM
  • DirectX 9.x
  • 128 MB 3D accelerator w/ T&L
  • 2.2 GB free disk space
    Battlefield 2142 Core Game
    EA Downloader and Internet access

    Recommended System

  • Pentium 4 pr Athlon 3.0 GHz or better
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 256 MB 3D accelerator
  • ASDL/Cable Internet (32 Players Max)
  • T1/LAN (64 Players Max)

    Screenshots (Click Image for Gallery)

  • Battlefield 2142 : Northern Strike is the recently released expansion pack for the latest game in the Battlefield license from EA games, and was made available through their new download service, “EA-link“. Northern Strike is essentially everything a good expansion pack should be, which just takes everything good about its core game and gives you more of it without doing anything drastic to upset the formula that made the game fantastic to begin with.

    Northern Strike builds upon the story of Battlefield 2142 by once again pitting the European Union and Pan Asian Coalition against each other in a series of new maps, based around their futuristic conflicts in the now sub-arctic regions of northern Europe. These new maps focus primarily around close-quarter, urban combat, something missing in the original set of maps.

    There are three new maps that form the real meat of Northern Strike. All of which serve to showcase the new assault lines game mode featured in Northern strike. This game mode plays essentially the same as the conquest mode featured in previous battlefield games. This mode has the PAC and EU sides going at each other capturing control points, but with one small twist. This time the PAC side is given a “home base”, a control point which cant be captured until all the other points on the map are taken. This is actually quite a challenge (in all my time playing, I was unable to do so). So challenging in fact, that one of the several new awards is based solely around the proposition of capturing the home base.

    There are seven new awards that can be earned in northern strike, although these operate somewhat differently than the ones that appeared in the original game. Because while the original rewards focused on spreading out the gameplay experience, by tempting the player to get in more hours or focus on a particular class, the new awards Northern Strike are all focused on playing the expansion pack alone. And while the original awards gave you general points to earn your way towards a promotion, the Northern Strike awards immediately reward the player a new unlock to play around with.

    These awards prove to be somewhat of a double edged sword because while it does allow EA show off the new added unlocks which would otherwise only be available to high level players. These awards also allow players who are Jonesin’ for that shiny new assault rifle able to almost completely ignore the original game in favor of the quick rewards (I earned two playing my first match alone) that can be earned solely by playing Northern Strike. This also gives players who own Northern Strike somewhat of an edge over those who don’t, simply because they’ll have access to more unlocks and the new high-tech gear exclusive to the expansion.

    There are a handful of new unlocks in Northern Strike available at the top of each classes unlock tree. Some of these are fairly rudimentary upgrades like increased clip size for machine guns, or longer sprint times. However there are some interesting new gadgets that have been added to the mix as well, such as a deployable sniper decoy which produces a holographic image of a soldier to lure the enemy into a trap, or the engineer’s new motion mine bait which can be used to displace the annoying exploding soccer balls found in the original game and use them against your enemy.

    Northern Strike also features two new vehicles for players to use exclusively in the new assault lines game mode, which differ slightly from the vehicles in the original game. This is due to the fact that in the original, both sides were given vehicles that looked different, but were in all respects the same. In Northern Strike the European Union is given access to the lumbering Goliath IFV, a massive, slow-moving, Ogre-esque, fighting vehicle, that not only sports the ability to repair itself, but enough firepower to go toe to toe with several of the battle-walkers from the original game.

    On the flip side, the Pan Asian Coalition is given a new, ultra fast speeder unit that makes road kills easier than ever. The speeder also comes equipped with plenty of firepower, including player guided missiles to chip away at the thick skinned Goliath.

    These new vehicles, while different in their nature, still hold true to the rock-paper-scissors gameplay established in the original battlefield. Because, while the Goliath may be armed to the teeth and armored to the hilt. The Goliath more closely resembles a giant that can crush a house, but couldn’t hit a fly. And the speeder, although fast, leaves its driver and gunner completely exposed to small arms fire.

    Northern Strike runs on the same engine that powered Battlefield 2 and in turn, Battlefield 2142. That being said, this is still very much the Battlefield 2 engine, circa 2005, which means the graphics aren’t next-gen, but still serve up the same hi-res models and smooth animations even when running on the lower detail settings. The game still looks very good, and will still demand a quite a bit from your graphics card, especially when playing a game with 63 other player models running around the map.

    There are some minor graphical updates in Northern Strike, as all of the units in are given new arctic camo, and the vehicles are given a very gritty look, as though they had been left out in the harsh winter for too long. Northern Strike offers some interesting environments and set pieces, like quiet, night-time battlefields littered with the wreckage of titans, the massive, hovering aircraft carriers in 2142, as well as a massive bridge, spanning a huge ice chasm.

    However, while all of the environments in the game do have a gritty, post “day after tomorrow” feel to them, everything seems to be really grey, and at times this can make the maps feel a little bland despite the awesome graphics, EA might want to consider touching up the otherwise bland landscape by pushing for the M rating and get some blood going, of which there is absolutely no trace of. I mean if I slice a guy with a knife I’d like to see some blood.

    Quite frankly, I don’t think the future ever sounded so good. From the whizzes, cracks and pops of rounds of nearby rounds futuristic munitions zipping by your head, to the somewhat scary and disturbing whine of devastating orbital strikes on your opponents.

    Hearing the cries of your comrades screaming for medics and backup with your commander barking orders at you makes the entire battlefield come alive, and hearing the whine and thump of an enemy walker converging on your location really puts you in the battlefield of the future and makes everything seem just that much more believable.

    Northern Strike is very much a multiplayer game, and with that comes a great deal of replayability, giving players a better experience the more they play, but not excluding those who are new to the series. Battlefield has always been a “make your own moments” type of game, and Northern Strike does nothing less than enhance that long standing tradition, with beautiful cinematic set pieces and a new set of maps to whet the appetite of the most seasoned battlefield veteran.

    All of this coupled with the game’s paltry $10 dollar price tag, battlefield players have little reason for not downloading this rich new content as soon as possible.

    While there are still a good deal of things missing from this game, such as the ability to save your kits, the complete absence of planes from the battlefield of the future (honestly, it’s the year 2142 and you forgot about jets), or the ability to play any of the new maps in single player to get better acquainted with them. This isn’t as bad considering battlefield is primarily a multiplayer game. Minor grievances aside, Northern Strike is a more than welcome addition to an already solid game.

    At it’s core, Northern Strike is essentially the same game battlefield fans have come to know and love, but gives players the opportunity for an enriched experience, by adding more of the near-future technology and awesome environments that made the original 2142 such a blast to play.