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Posted on Mar 8, 2007 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

Battlefield 2142: Northern Strike Booster Pack – Recon (PC)

A J Summersgill

Less than six months after the initial game was released, Northern Strike is an expansion for Battlefield 2142 – featuring three new maps, two new vehicles, a host of new medals, ribbons, equipment, and one new game mode.

The backdrop of the original game saw a massive invasion of Europe and Africa by the Pan Asian Coalition (PAC) who were seeking fertile new lands to escape their own glacier-covered territories, swallowed up as they were by the throes of a new ice age. Northern Strike takes the story even further into the future; it’s now 2145 and the EU, having gotten over the initial shock of the PAC onslaught, has launched a counter-attack to seize their stolen lands back for themselves – but the PAC have holed up in the ruins of the cities and must be dislodged building by building.

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Players will find themselves battling over the bridge at Remagen exactly two hundred years to the day since the US Army fought over the span during World War II, or battling to take control of huge Titan docking pens high in the Bavarian alps. Lastly, the Liberation of Leipzig sees the EU fighting at close quarters in a daring and dramatic night assault. Titan mode is available on the first two of these maps, thus, for the first time, players may deploy Titans into combat over an urban setting.

Gameplay remains essentially the same, but with the addition of ten new unlocks, there is always the possibility of turning the tables on an unsuspecting enemy. The best part of the new unlocks is that once they have been unlocked in the expansion, they are playable in the main game as well. Thus Northern Strike integrates seamlessly with the original to enhance the playing experience.

The new game mode is a variation on Conquest mode – except in these scenarios the attacking forces must control ALL of the enemy flag positions before they may mount a final assault on their opponent’s main base. This "Assault Lines" game mode ensures a more realistic fight as it is only once the rear has been secured and the front line established that the final battle can begin.

The cherries at the top of this frozen cake are the new vehicles, one per side, and each totally different from the other, creating something of an asymmetrical setup to reflect the changing fortunes of the war. The first vehicle is the Goliath APC – a souped-up version of the original but with increased firepower and durability. The Goliath is not only capable of firing anti-vehicle mines at the enemy, it can regenerate itself if it is damaged. Thus, a squad may ride a Goliath into battle for some time with little fear of retribution, although once the regenerating energy pods mounted on the armour plate have been shot away, it’s all over pretty quickly. Bring along some extra infantry in support to run along outside.

The second vehicle, available to the PAC is the Hachimoto Assault Speeder – a tiny hovering sled with room for the driver and a gunner on the back. Unarmoured and with the crew exposed, it’s not for the faint hearted, but it does have a blistering turn of speed and enough firepower to take out any unfortunate troops caught in its sights. Strafing attacks are fun and very deadly – just don’t sneeze or it’ll blow up. You’ll probably find "second hand" speeders scattered around the battlefield as they often last longer than the riders…

My early feelings about Northern Strike are very favourable, and the way it seamlessly integrates with the original game is a definite bonus – not to mention the price!

Retails for $9.99.

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