E3 2006: Battlefield 2142

PC: The military series fast forwards to an ice-age dystopian battlefield

To twist a few tired metaphors, in Battlefield 2142 war is hell on Earth frozen over. The latest title in the squad-centric online shooter series, 2142 finds Earth caught in the floes of a new ice age, as the creeping freeze squeezes two coalitions - the European Union and the Pan Asian army - into a fight for the last remaining pockets of habitable land.

Battlefield 2142 might be futuristic, but it's not science fiction. There're no ray guns, lasers or teleporters in this chilly dystopia, although rifles, pistols and other projectile weapons have been enhanced with extra grunt. Aside from a brilliant blue muzzle flash spitting from the gun barrels of Pan Asian infantry, the weaponry retains a gritty, real-world flavor. Think the pulse rifle from Aliens, and you should be as keyed up about the game as we are.

Even so, the 22nd century does boast one or two bleeding-edge leaps in murderous technology. Most obvious are the Battle Walkers, intimidating hulks of armor on legs, bristling with giant guns.

Take a stomp in one of these beauties and you can mow down squads of soldiers, smash tanks and blast airborne targets out of the sky. A clever defense system even enables you to deactivate rockets and grenades as they hurtle towards you, although you%26rsquo;ll need a full two-man team to make the most of a Walker.

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