A BrutalGamer.com review.
When DICE announced the first Battlefield : Bad Company title there were several strong thoughts circling the gamesphere. “Please god make it better then the last console Battlefield title” & “Please god make it as good as Battlefield 2“. Well DICE managed the first of those wishes but fell well short with the last. The game was lauded for it’s excellent engine technology but lambasted for it’s lacklustre campaign and under developed multiplayer. Receiving some solid scores all round, and a good score in our review, DICE had a firm foundation to move on from.
Zip forward to today and BAM! Battlefield : Bad Company 2 is here and fuck me if it’s not THE BEST multiplayer game since Call of Duty 4… Yeah that’s right, Battlefield Bad Company 2 makes Modern Warfare 2 it’s bitch and no mistaking.
We pick up the trail with our four less than willing heroes as they become roped in to yet another special assignment. This time the carrot to get the job done isn’t a large haul of gold bars but the chance to finally get free of the army and return to civilian life. Only problem is they have been forced into a special forces unit locked in a race to locate some WMDs before their Russian counterparts do.
The single player game of the original Battlefield Bad Company was and OK experience but as our review states it was mostly about the multiplayer. Well DICE can finally mark their calendar; they have managed to make a single player shooter campaign that stands up with the best of them. The main draw of the first title was the banter between the four squad mates. Now this is maybe not as fresh as it once was in this outing but it still raises the game well above the usual overly serious competition in the shooter genre.
The single player campaign is full of set pieces and moments that shove two fingers up to COD4 and Modern Warfare 2. Things like comments being made by the squad about snowmobiles and other plays lifted straight from the previous Call of Duty titles play books. This makes the game a little “me too!” at times but the clincher is that BFBC2 takes those elements and adds more destruction, more chaos and more fun. Gone too is the slightly wonky aiming & health packs. In comes regenerating health, sharper targeting (still a little fiddly) and the ability to change your load-out mid game from supply drop crates. The game has employed some reasonably intelligent placements for checkpoints and does a great job most of the time of keeping the pace tight and forward flowing even in the sometimes expansive open environments.
Graphically the game has taken a large step up and you can tell that DICE have spent a lot of time tweaking the Frostbyte engine. There is the odd clipping issue (for instance I shot a soldier only to have him fall through a crate, leaving his head poking through – it was bloody hilarious!) and a small amount of pop-in of textures. None of this detracts from the stunning visuals on display and the sheer amount of destruction crammed in to every fire fight is mesmerising at the very least. Animation is solid and well defined. Characters and environments move with the purpose and fluidity expected of a top-tier developer at the top of their game.
One of the absolute standout elements of Battlefield Bad Company 2 has to be the sound design. Sure an awful lot of shooters can boast great weapon sounds, or well defined environmental soundscapes. What BFBC2 can offer is all that plus a whole heap more. For example to sound of the weapons both up close and in the distance reverberate and dissipate as you would expect them too. Sounds seem to actually live in the environment they are being born in rather than just a layer of superficial noise being applied over an action to facilitate a game mechanic. It truly is hard to explain until you hear those shots ring out. And the “special” weapon noise that you hear in the first fifteen minutes or so of the game will shake your fillings out if you have a sub-woofer (and some fillings as well to be honest..) and literally fill you with impending dread; brilliant stuff!
The rest of the game is none too shabby audibly either with great in game and menu music as well as, once again, superb voice acting, especially from the four main cast members. The pace and emphasis placed on their dialogue help elevate the game to the higher echelons reserved for the Call of Dutys of this world.
The single player does satisfy well enough. The plot is loose at best, the dialogue is easy to miss between the squad mates due to it being relayed in game and certain elements fall a little flat. During the 8 or so hours it will take you on an average play through (add maybe 1 or 2 hours extra if you intend on searching out all the weapons and satellite uplink stations) there will be plenty of thrills and a single player campaign that made more cohesive sense than that of Modern Warfare 2. It trounces the first Battlefield Bad Company game in this area and most of the competition too. If I was to score the single player separately it would be a solid 7.5/8 at most.
Where this game truly shines though is in the multiplayer. For many years DICE have found it tricky to replicate the sheer scale and form of their earlier PC Battlefield titles. Many a review will list the earlier console games as poor distant cousins to the likes of Battlefield 2 & Battlefield : Vietnam. With sheer number of options and the mammoth scale DICE have stepped up to the plate and smacked this one out of the park. There are only four modes of play in multiplayer, something that might be somewhat of a turn-off it it was not for the extremely well balanced nature of each one. These modes take the guise of Conquest mode, Rush ( a timed speed round) , Squad Rush (as Rush but split into squads – which is locked, unless you pre-ordered the game, for 30 days) and Squad Deathmatch. Each mode offers an intense and thrilling experience that will satisfy even the most hardened Modern Warfare 2 fan and tempt the most ardent COD4 zealot too.
The multiplayer is laced with great features like the ability to just spawn behind your team mates – no more trudging miles and miles to get to the action. The points are handed out for a multitude of actions and distributed fairly and evenly across a match. You never feel like you should of earnt a load more points for your heroics (I’m looking at you MAG !) but it also doesn’t just hand out points like confetti (ahem… MW2!). Unlocks are layered in reference to the character class, so for example engineers will unlock mainly sub-machine guns and lighter weapons as well as repair tools etc, where as Medic will unlock similar light guns but a medi-pack and a defibrillator. Each character class does a great job of feeding you better and better items and weapons as your skill and rank progresses and you earn numerous awards and badges too. All round these modes, especially Conquest, will endure as they are great fun and offer a slightly more tactical approach than the usual run and gun mayhem of other titles. There are vehicles a plenty to drive and shoot from which include tanks, helicopters and quad bikes. A really neat feature was the ability to fly a UAV high over the action , pinpoint enemy armour or encamped squads and drop a very satisfying missile right at their front door – I can’t emphasis how cool this actually was and how much fun too!
If you are looking for a single player shooter then this game is fun, noisy and rock solid. It will provide you with several hours of great set pieces and explosive concussive action. If you are looking to play online then I simply say this – Welcome to the game that will put Call of Duty 4 down. “The King is dead – Long live the King!”