Battlefield: Bad Company 2

Posted on June 30, 2010


In Battlefield: Bad Company 2, players join the ranks of Bad Company as Preston Marlowe, Bad Company squad’s new recruit. Ho-hum, right? The FPS genre drowns in characters like Marlowe, but like any good FPS, by the end of the first level you won’t care how many insignias adorn your fatigues. All you’ll want to do is carve your way through more enemies and put stamp your own brand of carnage on the war. Hoo-ra!

Under Marlowe’s helmet, players discover a national security risk that only Bad Company can handle. As America’s last hope against sneaky Russians with a WMD, players chase the Russians around the globe, blowing up everything and everyone in the way. And Battlefield’s Frostbite engine does a stellar job at turning every moment into an explosive fiesta Michael Bay would be proud of.

Mastering the terrain and finding the perfect sniping perch or weaving gracefully from cover to cover all play part in a FPS. But, because of the destructible environments, Battlefield forces players to stay on their toes, or else they’ll literally be blasted off of them. The boards are living, breathing characters, which adds a level of tension that other shooters simply don’t deliver.

For all of its destructible glory, Marlowe’s compadres are ironically indestructible. It’s no surprise that ally AI don’t die in Battlefield, but not only are they bulletproof, they know it. These guys are more exposed on the battlefield than Jenna Jameson’s private bits. They’re singing in the rain while Marlowe is eating all the bullets! It almost gets to a point where I felt like I was being mocked by Bad Company for not being as impenetrable as my squad. A little more AI programming would go a long way to enhance the realism factor.

Developer DICE did well to vary the pacing of each level. Almost every stage incorporated tact, strategy, and all-out mayhem–if not all at once then incrementally throughout each mission. Utilizing land, sea, and air vehicles, Battlefield achieves depth by both giving a feel for the expanse of the world–and players get to blow baddies to smithereens with tanks.  Shaky controls bog down the fun from behind the wheel. The tanks are too hard to maneuver while jeeps are out of control. But, that’s a small price for road kills.

Battlefield carried a decent story. While the characters are generic, I actually liked the mixture of Bad Company’s cookie-cutter soldiers with a sci-fi military premise that reaches as far back as WWII–which was a playable prologue thank you very much. 

While story did enough to warrant a playthrough, it played second fiddle to gameplay and multiplayer. DICE did right by the players in bringing all the volatility of the destructible environments and vehicles to multiplayer. These elements equalize the field and keep even newbies in the action. Campers beware: expect a timely bazooka blast, mortar strike, or tank bombardment to rip your cozy perch apart if you linger too long.

Deathmatch is a three-course meal of close combat, sniping, and vehicle rampages. Rush mode pits teams in attack/defend scenarios that require teamwork and deliver tension as the defending squad have to deplete the attackers’ well of respawns before losing all their bases. Conquest brings a king-of-the-hill vibe to Battlefield that proves for frantic skirmishes and more flailing bodies than a Cirque de Soleil show.

Quick loadouts and weapon unlocks really make multiplayer tick. Rather than pre-setting loadouts before matches, players can change equipment in between spawns. This keeps the player under control and allows use of all the great toys DICE treats players to.

You won’t love the characters. There isn’t a heart-pounding climax or genre-pushing animations and drama. But, it’s a fun, dynamic shooter that gives as much as it takes. And the true barometer or today’s FPS games, multiplayer, is a smash that carries enough variety, packs enough punch, and is complete enough to take claim as the best multiplayer to date since Left 4 Dead.

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