Publisher: Electronic Arts
Available On: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 ($60), PC ($50)
Rated: M for Mature
Battlefield: Bad Company was a definite success for EA upon its release, and to think they could build upon this success with a follow up title is tough to fathom. This being true, Bad Company 2 delivers as effective and realistic a modern warfare video game as any video game developer. Both the single player campaign and the online multiplayer are enough to keep one person engaged and away from any of their other video game titles. The best part of it all: EA has decided to increase its audience and release the game on PC’s as well, dumping the console only approach taken with the first installment.
The flaw of the single player mode to me is the lack of realism involved with the story line coupled with the fact that it has you bouncing around from continent to continent in an unlikely turn of events. The mission of your four-man fire squad is to search for a mysterious weapon of mass destruction, and no, George W. Bush wasn’t involved in creating this plot. The positive side to this outrageous plot is the fact that it does send you all over the world giving the developers of the game, DICE, a chance to show you why EA recruited them to continue this series. The maps truly epitomize the capabilities video games have in an HD generation.
One aspect of the gameplay that stands out immediately is the realism of the action. The weapons have fairly realistic recoil, realistic looks and realistic sound, and your fellow soldiers in the single player mode don’t mope around like poorly programmed AI. You will feel like you are roaming a warzone with well equipped and well-trained soldiers. Another aspect of Bad Company 2 that helps it define HD gaming is the destructibility of the environments we first saw in the original Bad Company. This alone will always be a stand out feature of the franchise to me and I’m sure it is to other FPS gamers around the world.
The game, however, isn’t perfect. Sometimes certain aspects of the in-game environment will seem to “arrive” late, much like in Grand Theft Auto IV when you’re speeding down the highway and you notice a billboard or a building pop into the environment a bit delayed. This, surprisingly, doesn’t distract from the experience mostly because there is a lot of action, keeping the game too fast paced to really notice something so minor. The maps are also very decoratively rendered, so it may be hard to tell if these late appearances are because the game is actually lagging or if you’ve just been sitting in front of your television set playing for too long.
Much like its competitor Modern Warfare 2, the Bad Company 2 campaign is extremely short (only thirteen missions) and can only be prolonged if you’re gaming with the intent of earning PS3 trophies or Xbox 360 achievements. As much as developers are creating games with the understanding that this is an HD gaming generation, they also seem to understand it’s an online gaming generation, which is why most of what Bad Company 2 has to offer is in the multiplayer mode.
Sure, in Modern Warfare you can shoot through walls, but how about destroying small buildings to help complete an objective? In the online multiplayer, the destructible environments really come into play and force you to strategize well, making no two online matches exactly the same. Also playing into your strategy is your ability to work as a team. Only the most cohesive teams are going to shine online in this game. For example, unique to Bad Company 2 is the ability to respawn on a fellow player’s location. Capturing an objective could mean relying on a teammate to stay alive long enough for you to get help to him. The better everyone plays as a team, the more rewarding it will be – literally. Rewards in the form of new weapons and new abilities are abundant in the online mode. Even new vehicle unlocks are featured. And earning these rewards isn’t too difficult for beginning gamers seeing as how you can earn points for a lot of non-kill-related tasks like spotting an enemy or capturing an objective.
Another aspect of the game that propels Bad Company 2 past MW2 is the ability to use vehicles. Activision hasn’t placed a tank in a video game since Call of Duty 3, and for a gamer who wants the full warfare experience, I think MW2 is cheating their audience. Matches in Modern Warfare 2 seem too small with the lack of vehicles to traverse the video game terrain, whereas online efforts in MAG seem overwhelmingly large. Bad Company finds middle ground by employing the use of vehicles in its well designed game modes. And as far as game modes go, the online matches are so heavily customizable that anyone can create a match they will enjoy.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 isn’t the type of game you rent from Blockbuster or Gamefly. It isn’t the type of game you go over to your friend’s house to play. It isn’t the type of game you bypass to purchase something else at your local video game retailer. This is the type of video game you purchase and play for as long as EA will keep the online servers running. I highly recommend it to novice gamers and experts alike.