The Battlefield 2142 demo is upon us, and EA has dropped a big surprise in it for everyone. There is no way within the demo to gain ranks, or unlock new weapons and equipment. This demo is free advertisement for BF2142, and I don't see how eliminating 95% of the game's equipment is supposed to generate positive buzz!
The unlock system in BF2142 is not like that of Battlefield 2. Every item in a player's inventory has to be unlocked. It only takes a few matches to get enough rank to have some decent equipment unlocked. Starting classes only come with the very basics. Players have to outfit them with unlocks to be successful. Grenades, C4 packs, and many other basic items, that BF players are used to, are all unlocked instead of defaulted at the start. Also, most of what makes BF2142 unique (squad beacon, stealth device, etc.) are hidden in the unlocks.
The demo is going to be very (and I mean very) dull if everyone is forced into fighting with just the basics. It will turn vehicles into un-killable machines! It will make camping the prime time activity. No one can flush enemies out with a grenade, or stealth in to collect a camper's dog tags. It really brings into question whether it is worthwhile to even download the demo. Players will end up playing a ghost of the true game.
What worries me more is that there might be something wrong with the game mechanics, and they are rushing to fix it before launch. To save face, they are putting a demo out and eliminating the part of the game that was causing issues. This is definitely something EA has pulled before with *cough* BF2 patches *cough*. The demo may run beautiful, but what does that mean for the end product?
EA knows how to screw over customers, and someday it is going to bite them in the rear.
Update: 19 Apr, 2007 - Edited article.