Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Review
|Genre:||First Person Shooter|
|Release Date:||March 5th, 2010 (UK)|
|Reviewer:||Andy Hemphill (Bandit)|
Apart from a mis-step or two (Battlefield Vietnam), Battlefield's production team, DICE, have been instrumental in developing one of the best series' of online shooters of this generation, and Bad Company 2 (BC2) is no exception. Picking up from the brilliant performance of Battlefield Bad Company, BC2 offers gamers more explosions, more levels, more hectic online gameplay and, most importantly, more fun.
And unlike its intellectual equal - Modern Warfare 2 - BC2 has an innate sense of fun to it. Whether bombing around on a quad-bike online or bombing your way through a set-piece battle in the singleplayer campaign, the game is just great fun to play and the improved graphics, gameplay, sound and variety more than eclipses the series' fine pedigree.
Firstly, the single player campaign. The story follows the four no-hopers from the previous game: Sarge, the veteran, Sweetwater, the 'intellectual', Haggard, the demo man and 'new guy' Marlowe, as the four feckless troopers unravel a plot which revolves around a World War 2 era superweapon devised by the Japanese, which now threatens the modern world.
Starting off with a nicely-executed mission set in 1944 (making clever use of the weapons encoded in BF1942), the campaign is a brilliant rollercoaster ride through modern combat areas. There's stealthy missions in the snow, tank battles in the desert and everything in between.
While the plot itself isn't the best-written, or even very well explained, it stands up to casual scrutiny and as you're going to be spending most of your time choosing what to blow up next it doesn't really matter very much.
Each of the voice actors from the previous game returns and the squad's banter is still a joy to listen to, though the slightly darker tone of the storyline this time round takes a lot of the comedy factor away - no gold-plated HinD gunships this time boys. But, while a little repetitive at points, the singleplayer is an enjoyable blast, especially as DICE's Frostbite engine is still brilliant fun to play with - don't even try to hide behind cover for too long.
Of course this being a Battlefield game the main component inside the box is the multiplayer, and once again DICE do not disappoint. As well as the familiar Conquest game mode, DICE have bought back Bad Company's Gold Rush, now renamed simply Rush - a fast-paced attack/defend game where unlimited defenders have to stop a limited number of attackers destroying strategic positions, either with demolitions charges, conventional weaponry or by dropping a building on the site - a process made all the easier by DICE's Destruction 2.0 software.
This allows the gamer to destroy entire buildings, not just blow out the walls as in the Bad Company, and can completely change the layout of a battlefield in an instant (especially if you're in the building at the time.)
There are also smaller game modes that where perhaps designed for the console versions of the game: Squad Rush is 4v4, and Squad Deathmatch can be up to 4v4v4v4, these games seem designed to have a faster pace than their bigger counterparts, and are fun in their own way, even if you prefer the action and intensity of the bigger battles. I'm told they work equally well on the PC though so that's a bonus for some.
The selection of weapons and vehicles on offer is massive (it wouldn't be Battlefield if there wasn't), with the vehicles varying from map to map.
There's mass tank battles in a sand-filled harbor, snowy sharpshooting near an oil pipeline and dogfighting in the clouds with one of the many helicopters awaiting a pilot (a shame that so many 'pilots' get in and take off with no one in the side-seat, and then fly the chopper into the floor. You know who you are.)
Like previous games, BC2 uses a 'class' selection system to keep the gameplay going, and playing as a certain class, capturing objectives and killing enemies unlocks new guns, equipment and specialties for each class.
While this process does lend itself to a little too much 'grinding' for my liking, you do unlock new items pretty quickly, provided that you get in on the action, but I still don't see the point of forcing you to hack away with the medic class until you unlock your first-aid kit, surely that's the point of the medic from the off? It gets a bit annoying when a medic doesn't revive you because he hasn't yet unlocked the defibrillator yet. (And somewhat embarrassing if you've just been screaming at him for not doing so)
The environment has also been tweaked a little since the last game, and the game has become a little more realistic for it. Weapons can take an age to reload, most sniper rifles require you to come out of the sight-view to reload and the bullets themselves dip in flight, so learning to lead your target at a distance is essential. The game has also tweaked the spawning mechanic. While you can respawn at any number of set points, you can still join a squad with your friends, or matchmake for a random squad, and spawn right next to the living squad member - provided they stay alive.
While perhaps not all that realistic, this mechanic keeps the game fluid and exciting, as well as allowing some sneaky play - why not send one guy around the back of the enemy position, then respawn on him and attack from the rear?
Graphically the game is brilliant to look at, and immersive in its design. The singleplayer is filled with cool effects, from fog and smoke to hazy sunshine, and there's very little graphical drop-in or texture issues.
The multiplayer also runs very smoothly. Though occasional graphical bugs can mar the experience, these are minor at best and don't detract from the fun of the battle. The sound effects are worthy of particular note as well. Whether you're in the middle of the battle or sniping from afar, the game takes pains to make the battle sound just right: tank cannons thunder their fire off in the distance, the distinctive sound of a ricochet sounds that a sniper's sights are on you, and the boom of explosions drags you into the battle - it's just brilliant.
Battlefield Bad Company 2 is a game that provides exactly what its audience want. It's big, brash and fun to play, offering a good 8-10 hours of singleplayer and a huge variety of multiplayer options to boot. While the singleplayer plot is a little contrived, the game as a whole is well thought out and executed perfectly, and now that the server issues that marred the game seem to have passed (did you not expect a lot of people to buy and play the game, DICE?) there's a lot of fun to be had. I'll see you on the battlefield.
- Great multiplayer
- Lots of variety
- Great graphics and sound
Not so good stuff
- Predictable and contrived plot
- 'Grinding' to unlock items in multiplayer
- Laggy multiplayer at times
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