The crew from the first Bad Company are back in a rowdy, foul mouthed, fun sequel.
Let me begin by saying that Bad Company 2 is not Modern Warfare 2. That said, this game seems to try awfully hard to not let us move past that and dig into the meat and potatoes of the game.
Battlefield games have almost always been just multiplayer, and they’ve always done it well. Now the Battlefield franchise returns with Bad Company and they are taking another swing at single player campaign.
The beginning mission was strange, as I started the game expecting modern-day combat and I’m suddenly back in WWII. But in retrospect, the first mission did its job well, it familiarized me with the control scheme while beginning to set the story up. The premise is that, in WWII, a secret Japanese super-weapon went missing during a botched US incursion. In modern days it has resurfaced, and it’s up to the guys of Bad Company to stop it.
Cliched storyline aside, the gameplay mechanics overall feel tight and precise. Having your cover blown apart around you changes how your tactics of tackling the level play out and help to create a frenzy that lets you forget anything you might not care for about the game, and the one-liners from your squad are humorous enough to stop you moving forward on a mission just so you can better hear what they’re saying. The story seems to poke fun at current multiplayer juggernaut Modern Warfare 2, but I’m OK with that because the lines are hilarious and I can tell that this game doesn’t take itself too seriously.
The gameplay itself throughout the campaign feels tightly linear, which progresses the story along nicely. The only gripes I had were that the AI of the enemies was a bit off at times, and that even their spawning caused me ten minutes of grief when I tried to locate the final target to trigger the next wave – he was in a fence.
The multiplayer is widely regarded as the primary reason one picks up a Battlefield game. After my first match, I could see why. The levels are massive and, based on the level, there are various vehicles that both sides can operate. The multiplayer brings some truly epic moments as infantry and armor work in conjunction with air support to fight of the enemy and do their jobs at the objective points.
Conquest mode consists of four bases, each bearing a flag pole, with the idea being that whomever controls the most territory by the end of the match wins. Players raise their side’s flag by standing in a small zone that’s uncontested as the flag is raised.
Rush game mode is a demolition-based gametype in which one side are the attackers and try to blow up a weapons cache, and the other faction defends it. There are also a handful of additional modes, such as Squad Deathmatch, which again change up the dynamic of the game.
I do have some dislikes about the multiplayer. The learning curve felt very steep, so much so that it was hard to enjoy playing the first handful of matches because I spent most of that time trying to figure out where I should be headed and then getting shot from somewhere I couldn’t see… lather, rinse, repeat. But after I started to get the hang of it, the enjoyment level rose quickly.
Being able to command a tank, or zip around the map in an Apache, is almost intoxicatingly fun, and once you get used to the controls of the vehicles they can be devastating with the right support personnel. Unlockable upgrades for each kit allow the user some personalization and new strategy, as well as choice of weapons as they’re unlocked for each kit. The maps themselves are incredibly entertaining and well laid out, with the destructible environments adding another layer to the strategy.
Another feature EA has been supporting is a sort of reward program, referred to in BFBC2 as VIP Channel, which rewards players who bought their game copy new rather than used. The VIP program boasts free maps and other content as the game continues forward, and EA and DICE make good on their promise on March 30th with two new gametype modes on two maps, completely free of charge to anyone who activated their VIP code. An additional bonus is that, currently in the States, EA is participating in a promotional campaign with Dr. Pepper, offering codes for free downloadable content in several of their titles, such as Mass Effect 2, Battlefield Heroes, and Battlefield Bad Company 2. The content for Bad Company 2 will be available any day now and features a different outfit and camo paint job for a weapon for each class.
Overall, Bad Company 2 is very capable of scratching a particular itch, and is a welcome addition to any gamer’s FPS library.