Review: Battlefield: Bad Company 2

THINGS JUST GOT SERIOUS

Developer: EA Digital Illusions CE
Genre: First Person Shooter
Platform(s): PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360
Release Date: March 2, 2010
Compatability (PS3): 595MB Mininum Space | DUALSHOCK 3 Vibration Function | HD 720p | Network Players 2-24
Compatability (Xbox 360): 1856KB Mininum Space | HDTV 720p / 1080i / 1080p | Online Multiplayer 2-8 | Co-Op 1-8
Rating: 8.0

Many comparisons have been made between Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Battlefield: Bad Company 2, in some ways I agree with this, but for the most part I have to disagree. Firstly yes they are both modern day first person shooters with a killer multiplayer component. On the other hand one is fast paced and where maps are small and where you will respawn a lot. The other game is set on a massive battlefield in which the game is more tactical and where nearly everything is destructible. So is Battlefield: Bad Company 2 multiplayer component better than Modern Warfare 2? The original Bad Company was received well but some glitches and a lackluster campaign left a sour taste in the gamer’s mouth. It was of course Dice’s first go at putting a Battlefield game on a console for a few years and things were obviously not going to be perfect. In the end it was a good game and the mixture of the original Battlefield formula and an engine which gave the player freedom to blow nearly anything up made the game a success. So has the campaign been improved? Well no, it hasn’t. The campaign in short is something that probably should be missed.

The opening of the game serves as a back story of Operation Aurora (a big part of the plot). Operation Aurora is something similar to a nuke which can majorly increase the chances of WW3 happening. You play as a US Commando in the search of a scientist linked to Operation Aurora. The game’s opening is actually a flashback to when Operation Aurora was first invented by the Japanese, during WW2. Fast forward to the present day where Bad Company (Sarge, Sweetwater, Haggard and you Marlow) are back on the front line on a support mission. As the game progresses it soon becomes Bad Company’s job to recover the weapon before it gets into the hands of the Russians. The story is pretty basic and not very original but like most war games the story is not that essential. Sometimes though it doesn’t tell you why you are here or what’s your motivation to do this but once again this is to be expected. Just like the last game Bad Company characters are interesting with the same humor and personality from the first game carrying over. They’ll crack one liners and sometimes have lengthy conversations unrelated to the objective at hand. For example they’ll talk about there favorite scenes from the Predator movies and Haggard’s command of Spanish. For a FPS the characters are fairly original and are in general likable characters. Writing is great in Bad Company 2 and is near to perfect, it’s funny and well though out. Humor is apparent throughout the game from the writing, the characters and the references to other popular FPS series. Overall the story is very much what you would expect. Gameplay in Battlefield: Bad Company 2 hasn’t changed from the previous game with it being the normal realistic FPS fair. In the multiplayer the core gameplay is solid and is a lot of fun but in single player unfortunately it feels out of place and feels very stale. The main reason is that the gameplay obviously is suited for multiplayer gaming in mind and when ported into single player it seems out of place. This is something that Dice has always had a problem with and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is no exception. For one gameplay is not very varied with most levels consisting of you running in, shooting some bad guys and then repeating. This gets extremely boring after a while and is only saved by the set pieces. The set pieces do add a tad variation but are very unoriginal, it seems like Dice were ticking boxes off. Tanks? Check Sniper? Check Helicopter gunner? Check. This may be the same check list for the likes of Call of Duty but in their case they did with flare and creativity and with Battlefield: Bad Company 2 the sections were short and boring and in turn are forgettable. On the subject of Call of Duty, the game borrows quite a lot from the Call of Duty series primarily Modern Warfare 2. For starters certain moments are borrowed from Call of Duty for example you have to shoot an enemy with a hostage in his possession while not shooting the hostage. Just in general the game has just a very much of a feeling that I’m playing a Call of Duty game, from the prologue level taking elements from Call of Duty: World at War to the humvee convoy and the fire fights in an aeroplane from Call of Duty 4 and Modern Warfare 2. In some ways it’s a good step, it’s familiar and it’s proven to be good. In some ways its not, it seems stolen, rehashed and not very original. If they are taking elements from the Call of Duty why not have a shorter campaign? I know this may seem hypercritical to say but why can’t they have a more minimized action packed campaign to compliment the multiplayer? I could see that they would want the campaign to be story driven, but still. My last gripe about the single player campaign is the AI. Firstly your squad mates aren’t very smart. Think about this, these are the same squad mates you’re going through the whole campaign with and what the whole game is revolved around. For example they’ll run into gunfire, stay on one spot although the place is getting pummeled by gunfire, they won’t do anything dynamic like flank or anything like that and sometimes in some sections they won’t even move until the next cut scene. On the other side of things the enemy AI is as bad, with sometimes staring in a different direction as they should be and sometimes coming out of cover for long periods of time. Single player has nothing new or fresh to it and there is barely any moments that I got excited. I must confess though that the ‘in the back of a jeep’ section was exciting but again I’ve seen that somewhere else. So the campaign is not something I would recommend playing, it’s frustrating, it’s got nothing new going for it, it’s boring and it’s something that you should probably miss.

Nice presentation but the level of detail is not high.

One of the biggest draws of the original Battlefield: Bad Company was the environmental destruction; it still has a presence within the game and is still very much being emphasized as one of the unique factors of Battlefield: Bad Company but it doesn’t have the same unique feel to it. The first thing you should know is that the destruction system has been upgraded so that whole houses can be demolished and so that blowing stuff up is more accurate. Unfortunately the destruction physics aren’t as unique now and the initial uniqueness of blowing stuff up in the first game has gone. Instead it’s replaced with the feeling that I could be doing the same thing in other games such as Red Faction Guerrilla. It still is more important in the single player campaign though as you have the resources to do it and in multiplayer there isn’t the need to. Like most Battlefield games before it, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 has vehicles. Returning are of course the tank, the chopper and the jeep with new additions like the quad-bike and the jet-ski. Of course they are a ton of fun to drive and ride in, and killing dudes with a mounted turret is a load of fun on the move. Of course the controls of the vehicles will come into question like all Battlefield games with some people saying that they are too clunky and some saying it adds to the realism. Personally I don’t mind the controls and it’s something that won’t stop you from buying the game. On the presentation side of things graphics are what you’d expect from a Battlefield game: good but lack of detail most in part because of the size of the game. There are some textures that aren’t as detailed as the rest of the game but it’s not a big problem. Audio wise though is where the game really delivers. Battlefield has never been good or bad in the audio department and it’s never been a big part of the game. But for some reason Dice has chosen Battlefield: Bad Company 2 to have audio which sounds realistic and is easy on the ears. From the pop of a grenade launcher to the hissing of a suppressed sub-machine gun, audio is great and something that I hope to become a standard for future Battlefield games. It may be something that just blends in and something you won’t notice much, but the effort put into something that usually isn’t a massive thing is outstanding.

I’m an avid player of Modern Warfare 2 online and it’s been about a week since I played because of Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Bad Company 2’s online mode is simply outstanding. Yes there are some issues just like most multiplayer experiences but they are very minor discrepancies and online mode is fantastic. Unlike the single player the multiplayer is a fast frantic shooter which is an utter shrill ride but also gives the player time to breathe and think strategy. Online play works perfectly with lag and matchmaking issue mostly obsolete, this is Dice we’re talking about so both lag and matchmaking is bound to be good. As this is Dice the launch day wasn’t too perfect with some mishaps with the matchmaking, but of course everything runs perfectly now. The normal things you would expect from a Battlefield online experience are here, vehicles, different classes with unique abilities and also an XP reward system. The system is pretty standard fair with the ability to gain more weapons and abilities as you go along. Probably the biggest difference is that each class has their individual reward system. There are 4 classes to choose from, the Recon class, and a Sniper that has C4 when he starts which is ideal for destroying tanks. You have the Medic class, a medic who has a light machine gun who can also revive and heal team mates. The Engineer class, a sub-machine gun wielding vehicle destroyer who can also repair vehicles. Lastly you have the Assault class, an assault rifle bearing class that can dish out ammo and kill enemies with his grenade launcher. So lets say you were to focus on the Medic class (which I personally do) you would rabidly unlock new things like a better machine gun or upgrades to your healing and reviving abilities. It’s a little different from the normal numerical levels (which are still implemented) with every five levels or so get a new gun/equipment/perk, this might put people off but in the long run it works. Rather than complementing all classes with new weapons or such you can focus on one class and build it up to be a killing machine. Maybe the only complaint about leveling up is the length it takes. In the Call of Duty series you can get an assault rifle with a red dot sight and be set within a few hours of play. In Battlefield: Bad Company 2 it takes a lot longer to progress levels and so in turn takes a long time to get fully ‘into’ the game. The first few hours you’ll find yourself being outgunned by more leveled up opponents and so in turn you’ll get frustrated. This isn’t a massive problem in the game seeing as every game you play takes time to get used to, and once you do you feel comfortable the game’s a blast and you’ll wonder what the problem ever was. Getting into the game is a problem in general with the game not being very noob friendly and being very unique. This also isn’t a massive problem though and you’ll be enjoying the game in a few hours or so. Other than this there are some other problems with the multiplayer. For one the M16 and M4 varieties of the guns are a tad overpowered for my liking and you’ll frequently get killed by their bullets. Also the ease of people to camp with a Recon class and snipe opponent across the map coupled with the ability to call in a mortar strike is a little annoying. This is especially annoying as people do this in objective game modes when while attacking, kills mean nothing. These two things may be the players’ fault and not the game but are still ever present annoyances. Also the game lacks ‘epic’ moments in which there were plenty in Battlefield 1943. I never had a story to tell or anything to say and the only moments I could recall was getting a high kill streak or something like that. Lastly I never found myself yearning to play the game and I didn’t feel the grip I felt with most multiplayer shooters. But what the game lacks in epic moments and addictiveness it matches with just sheer enjoyment and gameplay prowess. Again I stress that these aren’t game changing but just minor annoyances.

Maps are enormous.

In Bad Company 2 squads are a big part of online with it being near impossible to survive without being in one. The main reason for this is like all Battlefield games you can either spawn far back away from the action which takes time to get back to the fight. Or you can spawn on your team mates who are right in the middle of battle. Of course you’re going to have to spawn on your team mates to really have an effect on the game and not take five minutes to get into the action to be killed instantly. Also teamwork is vital within squads with a mixture of classes being very important. So for instance the squad spawns on the Recon guy who is staying back with his sniper, a tank rolls up and Engineer blows it up. The Engineer gets killed and so the Medic revives and heals him while the Assault guy is covering them with an assault rifle. So you can see that teamwork and also communication is very important. Many of the things already talked about also have a presence in the multiplayer. For example vehicles have a bigger part within multiplayer where using a quad to flank or a tank to support infantry trying to secure an objective really stands out. Also there’s the element of destruction in which the game will give subtle reminders like “oh I can shoot that guy’s cover with an RPG” and also destruction adds something unique to multiplayer. Last of all audio is a big part as with those with headsets are at an advantage with every footstep and knocking down of fences being amplified. Also important to mention are game types and maps, both what you’d expect. Game modes are split into Rush, Squad Rush, Conquest and Squad Deathmatch. Rush is the normal mode that most Battlefield fans will be familiar with. The objective is to destroy or defend two M-COM stations with the attacking team having a set amount of lives. Every time the two M-COM stations are destroyed the attacking team moves up to another two M-COM stations. This is the staple for the Battlefield series and is still fun to play even to this day. Squad Rush is like Rush but with smaller teams and less M-COM stations. Conquest is like domination in Modern Warfare 2 with three or four flags when captured rack up points for your team, once you get to a set number of points you win. Squad Deathmatch is straight up Team Deathmatch. Maps also are what you’d expect with most being balanced and having a fair amount of cover (that is eventually destroyed).

So Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is truly a game of two halves, one half you have a lackluster and boring campaign with nothing exciting or new happening. On the other you have a well balanced multiplayer game which is a ton of fun. In summary this isn’t a game that you’ll play for single player thrills, you’ll play it for the intense multiplayer action. So is Battlefield: Bad Company 2 better than Modern Warfare 2? Well yes and no, yes for some no for others. It comes down to a personal taste if you prefer a fast paced action shooter or more of a strategic fast-paced-shooter-with-time-to-breath kind of game. It’s up to you. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is a must buy for the multiplayer mode.

Reviewed by phillipsmy – April 11, 2010

Graphics
Good visuals but lacks polishing. Some textures aren’t as detailed as the rest of the game.
 
Sound
Sound is top notch. This is where the game really delivers. Audio is realistic and really blends into the battlefield.
 
Fun
Having a killer multiplayer component is a lot of fun which also includes re-playability. On the other hand the single player campaign is disappointing and should be probably missed.
 
Final Score

 

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