Battlefield: Bad Company 2
Platform: Xbox 360
Developer: EA Digital Illusions CE
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: March 2, 2010
When it comes to console online first person shooters, most people fall into two camps. You have your diehard Call of Duty fans (Modern Warfare in particular) and you have your Battlefield fans (let’s ignore the Halo fanboys for the sake of argument).
Ever since the launch of the Xbox 360 I’ve been in the Call of Duty camp. Call of Duty 2 was a launch title and it ushered me into this current generation of consoles with an engaging experience that made me fall in love with the franchise. With the introduction of modern weapons in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare I fell even deeper in love. COD4 became the measuring stick of quality for all other first person shooters in this generation for me. When the first Battlefield: Bad Company was released I was eager to give it a shot but it ultimately fell short of my Call of Duty standards. So I was curious to see what changes would be made in the sequel and if those changes could get me to put down the Modern Warfare and enter the Battlefield.
The biggest change to the sequel is the implementation of destructible environments. No longer are you safe behind a wall or standing next to a barrier. Grenades, bullets and bombs will shred through the environments like paper rendering any type of cover system useless. This totally changes how you have to approach firefights in both multiplayer and single player campaigns.
Single Player Campaign:
Much like the original, you are accompanied through the single player campaign by your “Bad Company” of Haggard, Sweetwater, and the Sarge. Don’t expect them to be much help though as most of the time they are utterly useless. I was really surprised at how unhelpful they were in the campaign. Many times I would have to kill enemies standing right next to my teammates, which left me frustrated many times. Speaking of enemies, they are really easy to pick off in the game, rolling in with mind numbing wave after mind numbing wave. This really gave the single player campaign an empty feeling to me. You can easily breeze through it in about 7 hours, which will make some players happy and some players frustrated but really the replay value is found in the multiplayer so I don’t feel any sympathy for anyone whining about the single player being too short. The campaign does contain a number of little shots at the Modern Warfare games, from snowmobile references to a final level on a plane, which I didn’t think were particularly funny nor clever. The game kept me entertained for the most part with big explosions but I found nothing particularly exciting about the narrative.
You can tell the multiplayer side of Bad Company 2 got significantly more attention during the development process than the single player did and probably rightly so. The real meat and potatoes of the game is in the multiplayer. Fans of the first game will definitely appreciate the new modes found here. Conquest mode, (an add-on for the previous game) is stock now. Squad deathmatch mode features four teams of four players who each fight until one squad gets 50 kills. A mode called squad rush plays like a speed round of the standard rush mode for up to eight players. In squad rush, the attacking team only gets 20 tickets, but there’s only one point to destroy at a time. If the attacking team can destroy two such control points, they win. It’s a great mode for players who might not always have time to play through a full rush or conquest match.
Many will purchase Battlefield: Bad Company 2 for the multiplayer rather than the campaign, and I don’t think those gamers will be disappointed here. The experience system has been expanded beyond the standard procedure of leveling up an overall rank and unlocking cross-class weaponry. Each kit type has unique unlocks earned by using that kit successfully, as well as a vehicle XP track that awards bonuses for in-vehicle kills. I found it strange that a lot of what you unlock early on isn’t as good as a lot of what you start with. Also odd is the decision to force non-VIP players to actually unlock basic tools of each kit’s function, like the engineer’s repair gun and the medic’s first aid kit (anyone who purchases the game gets a VIP code included). As I said earlier, the biggest change to the game is the destructible environments which really change the way you think about and play the game.
If you were a huge fan of the first Battlefield: Bad Company, then you’ve probably already bought the sequel and you’re only reading this as a break from a multiplayer gaming session. To those curious, I would recommend this game to anyone who was either a fan of the first or to someone who is looking for an alternative to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. I personally find the gameplay, narrative, controls, and multiplayer to be more rewarding in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare but I enjoy the change of pace the Battlefield series provides.
The Geek: Vast multiplayer that will keep you coming back again and again.
The Weak: Slow and unintuitive control system.
Vactor’s Verdict: a 4 out of 5