The Battlefield series took a big turn with Battlefield: Bad Company. Primarily, they put in a single player mode to go along with all the multiplayer madness that made the series a success. It worked well, kind of, and now DICE has released the sequel: Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Does it improve on the original, or is it just another FPS game?
BFBC2 features the same four man squad from the previous game known by their nickname “Bad Company.” You’re in control of Pvt. Preston Marlowe who's the level-headed and optimist of the group. The leader of the squad, Sgt. Samuel D. Redford is your common man in charge who only had a couple of days until retirement. Pvt. Terrence Sweetwater is the tech guy of the group who finds any weapon responsible for widespread devastation to be incredibly interesting. Then you have, Pvt. George Gordon Haggard Jr., who's as pure redneck in every sense of the word. The Bad Company is sent around the world in search for a weapon from WWII known as Aurora. In the tutorial stage, you will control a squad of WWII soldiers who are set to secure a Japanese scientist who worked on Aurora, but they don't make it when the weapon is fired. With a weapon so powerful, it's no wonder that the U.S. Government will try to procure the weapons, as well as defend the weapon from those looking to use it against the U.S.
At its core, BFBC2 is as traditional as a FPS can get. You have the typical move to a new area, kill bad guys, move to new area, and repeat style. If you get shot, you can heal yourself by finding some cover and avoiding any damage for a short duration. Where BFBC2 changes itself up from the rest is the vehicle segments. Granted, other current games feature stages where you control different vehicles, but BFBC2 has a much bigger focus on it. Sometimes you handle all aspects of the vehicle, and other times you're the gunner on the vehicle taking down the bad guys. While these instances are fun however, they don't make for a profound single player experience. Not surprisingly, BFBC2 is a little on the short side. Expect to complete the game in about 6 hours which seems to be the norm for military FPS games now.
Rather, the destructive environments engine called “Destruction 2.0” creates more interesting moments within the game. Various gunfire and explosions can destroy buildings, walls, and other structures found in the combat area. Rarely will you find cover that that can't be destroyed making for a more intense firefight as you fought off the enemies and try to find adequate cover. My biggest gripe with this system is that since you're the focus of the enemy's fire, your cover will be pulverized at an incredible, but annoying, pace.
As common with many games that have you apart of a squad, your squad's A.I. is pretty idiotic. Expect to have them get right in your line of fire while they crowd behind the best cover available. Your squad also can not die, which gives the unintentional benefit of being able to use them as mobile meat-shields you can take cover behind. DICE also follows the same annoying practice of giving you a squad that apparently can't kill worth a damn. Most enemies will fall after 2-4 shots from your gun. On the other hand, it takes almost three times as many shots from your squad mates before an enemy will die. This practice is incredibly lazy by the developers who refuse to push the envelope on the squad based experience. Your squad is an intricate part of the game, and here they are doing nothing except getting in the way. If DICE wanted the experience to be focused on just one guy, then kill the squad and have the plot to be focused on revenge rather than having mindless bots in your way spewing out generic lines to go along with their generic personas.
The Battlefield series has always had an emphasis on multiplayer, and BFBC2 is no exception. With 24 player battles (32 players on some servers), the multiplayer experience can be completely chaotic or – with properly-organized teamwork – precise and professional. Unfortunately, it's not as great of an experience as it could be.
BFBC2 has three different multiplayer gametypes: Rush, Conquest and Deathmatch. Conquest is your standard territories game mode. Teams fight to control certain spots on the map. The team that controls the spots for a certain amount of time wins. Nothing entirely special about this mode, but it's a proven mode that works.
Rush is the principal gameplay mode for BFBC2 in that it makes full use of vehicles and the class system. In Rush, one team is on the offense trying to take over the other team's base. They do this by destroying the other team's M-Com station. Once you destroy the M-Com stations in a certain area, then that area has been taken over by the offense team, and they will be able to move forward to the next area while pushing the team on defense back. Matches are won by the offense when all M-Com stations are destroyed. The defense has to hold their ground while they offense team's respawn counter drops to zero, it'll go down by 1 every time a player on the offense team respawns, or when the timer of the map expires. Cooperation, of course, is the key to winning.
Players have the choice of one of four classes each time they respawn with every class having their own pros and cons. The Assault class is the overall offensive class with access to more weapons, and the ability to drop ammo boxes so teammates can acquire more ammo. Scouts are the snipers of the four classes with access to C4 to destroy structures and make it easier for teammates to make their through the map. In particular, the Scout class is an annoyance due to the lack of versatility of the class since they only have access to snipers weapons and handguns making for sucking at close range.
Engineers are your repair guys who have access to RPGs making them best to fend off vehicles. They also can repair vehicle, but the usage of this is somewhat innocuous as the vehicle that needs to be repaired is usually the ones so deep in battle that they can't be pulled out. If your team is in harmony with each other, then yes you can have a steady flow of vehicles going in and out of the hot zones then repairing them when needed, but don't expect this to happen often. Last but not least is the Medic. As a Medic, you heal your teammates by dropping med kits, allowing your team instant-healing instead of waiting to recover. On top of healing everyone, Medics use light machines guns giving them some heavy firepower against enemies. So not only can a Medic hold their own in a firefight, but they also can gain easy xp by dropping medkits all the time.
As seen in most FPS games now, you gain experience points by winning matches, killing enemies, competing objectives, and helping your teammates. In BFBC2, the experience points you gain will only allow you to level up the class you're using when you gain the points. Leveling up a class gives you access to more weapon, improved class abilities and enhanced effectiveness with class weapons.
Sounds pretty good doesn't it? Unfortunately, there are some problems with multiplayer. First off, the team structure. With the maps being fairly large, and with good reason with all the vehicles available, anything less than max amount of players in a game is a waste. The matchmaking doesn't assure that the max players are on the map at all time, killing the fun of some sessions by placing you on a sparsely-populated map.
Then comes the squad system. DICE decided that they should separate the teams of 12 into smaller squads of 4. In a way, it works because it makes teamwork a little easier. Also, the ability to respawn with a squadmate is simply fantastic. This respawn mechanic puts you right into the action making a more strategic approach for both offense and defense being that both teams could possibly respawn in critical areas for a numerous amount of times. So why does it suck? You're not always in a squad. Sometimes you come into a game with no squad at all or a couple of people that leave. Once you don't have a squad, you're listed as “looking for a squad”, but you almost never get back on a squad. All these great elements of squad based gameplay can be diverted for an entire match, causing a huge amount of frustration. For a team based game BFBC 2 has a lot of elements to make sure that you do not actually participate in any teamwork.
BFBC2 does not break any preconceived notions on how great graphics can be. It looks good, with the snow and jungle environments, but hardly anything special. Additionally, enemy soldiers make use of the same character models making it noticeable that there wasn't that much effort taken when making enemies. What I was impressed with was the destructive environments. When a building is destroyed from artillery fire from a tank or from explosives its destruction looks great. Seeing a house with all walls blow wide open with only stairs visible is a sight to see.
Like the graphics, the audio is great, except for the most obvious aspect: voice acting. Voice acting has its moments where it's exceptional although the rest of the time, it's pretty standard. Cutscenes simply do not have that same effect that they did in the first game. The score is good, and helps boost the action that's going on in the screen. Sound effects are particularly realistic sounding bolstering the combat which is occurring all around you.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is a game that is fun only in certain situations. It has a very short single player mode, that has its moments but not really memorable. Then you have a multiplayer which can be a lot of fun only if everything is just right. Other games have players that suck at teamwork, but this game does a crummy job of not allowing for the possibility of teamwork in every game. Simply put, there are games out there that provide better single and multiplayer experiences which is a shame as the Battlefield series was in the past always on top when it comes to multiplayer fun.
article id: 1049 | poster: OG