You creep down the side of a building, listening for movement. Suddenly, a rifle shot slices through the air millimetres above your head, so you sprint to the nearest cover- behind a wooden fence. A tank rolls around the corner and blasts your precious cover into smithereens. Smoke and dust engulfs you, as you peer through the haze to see the tank gunner lining you up. Quickly pulling out your RPG, you fire a rocket straight into its side armour, blowing it into smithereens.
These are the kind of moments that happen all the time in Bad Company 2, and that’s what makes it such a thrilling and engaging game to play.
The single player in Bad Company 2 has taken a massive overhaul since the last game. It’s much more linear this time around, so you don’t have the freedom to choose how you carry out each objective. This works to the game’s credit though, as it is made up by the cinematic and engaging gameplay. You play as a grunt in a misfit group of soldiers on a hunt for a secret Japanese weapon that the Russians are tracking down for their own diabolical uses- it’s a heavily clichéd story, but a functioning one. You travel from snowy mountains to rich jungles, and there is a healthy mix of on-rails vehicle action and straight up tactical shooting.
The AI has taken a step up too; no longer can they see you from massive distances. You can now sneak up on them, and once in a fight they will take cover, throw grenades and advance on your position. The difficulty settings are a little bit under developed though- higher difficulty settings just seem to make them do more damage per bullet, rather than actually making them smarter.
Of course, one of the big draws of the game is the new Destruction 2.0 system. Whereas in the previous game, you could only destroy walls and bits of roof, now you can level entire buildings with a (few) well placed mortar strikes. This creates a whole new dynamic to the gameplay, as destroying a building the enemy is holed up in will kill all and any inhabitants. Taking cover behind a flimsy sheet of steel or wood is also risky, as a heavy MG will make short work of it.
The multiplayer is what Battlefield is all about though, and it delivers the goods and then some. There are 4 modes (that might seem a little paltry to Modern Warfare 2’s 10 modes, but what it lacks in quantity it more than makes up for in quality), and each one offers a unique experience. Rush is very similar to the last game’s Gold Rush, in that there is an attacking and defending team. The attackers attempt to destroy two small MCOM stations, and when they are destroyed another section of the map opens up, and the defenders are forced to retreat. There’s also a Conquest mode which is a simple base capture.
The last two game modes offer up some unique experiences though; Squad Deathmatch and Squad Rush. These modes have several squads of four players running around trying to complete their own objectives. The cool thing here though, is that you are effectively fighting 4vs12. This means that you could stumple across a skirmish between two teams, wait until they have softened each other up a bit, then move in to mop up.
The controls and general feel to the game is nicely done. All the weapons have a bit of weight to them, and they all carry much more recoil than you may be used to, which means less sparying n’ praying and more controller bursts. The fact that multiplayer opponents will easily absorb half a clip to the torso without going down also means that there is an emphasis on headshots. The spotting button is nicely placed on the PC (‘Q’), but console users may have a little difficulty hitting the Select or Back buttons.
Graphics in Bad Company 2, particularly on the PC, are stunning. Anyone priveliged enough to be able to take advantage of 3D vision or Dx11 is in for a treat, with HBAO looking particularly good. Even on a fairly modest quad core and 4850, I achieved solid 60FPS averages, and have not once hit a lag spike related to graphical hitches.
Bad Company 2 is simply a game you have to get if you like FPS’s. It has taken some really unique aspects of gameplay, given them a Battlefield twist and done a spit shine all over- this is a definitive shooter experience.
This game was reviewed on the PC.
Better than the sum of its parts, stunning visuals, decent single player campaign, incredibly rewarding and addicting multiplayer, stellar sound
Relies heavily on teamwork (which many players are incapable of utilizing), some server issues yet to be fixed on PC version, some sound bugs
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 hasn't revolutionized the shooter genre, but it takes everything good about FPS's and combines it in one fantastic game.