Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Review

I calmly peer through the scope of my M24 sniper rifle, secretly observing the enemy team’s movements at their home base. I’ve been an insidious thorn in their side the entire afternoon, picking off soldiers from within the trees. And for the time being, I am still invisible.

As my squadmates begins to assault the enemy from the beaches, they become frantic and displaced, unsure of which M-Com station we will destroy next. An attack helicopter looms above them, laying down a steady stream of suppressive fire. The only place left to hide is inside a few small houses. But the illusion of safety is quickly dissipated into dust and rubble as a shot from an RPG levels a wall, exposing half of the enemy soldiers hiding in a single room. With their flank directly exposed, I quickly lift my sniper rifle and take aim. The enemy scrambles in shock as they realize they have no cover, but it’s too late. I squeeze the trigger and fire a single, deafening round into the group immediately killing two enemies. I quickly reload for a second shot, but not before my squad has already mopped up the remaining enemies in a blaze of machinegun fire.

As I lower my rifle, I grin in satisfaction as my kill bonuses are awarded for a double kill, two headshots and a saving kill, all from one bullet. Welcome to Battlefield: Bad Company 2, where memorable moments like this happen almost every game.

battlefield bad company 2

And it’s these “Battlefield moments” that make DICE’s BF:BC2 such a joy to play and talk about. By building on what they did with the first Bad Company and addressing its criticisms, DICE has created one of the most memorable FPS in this console generation. Only a few rough spots hold it back from total greatness, primarily within the singleplayer campaign. Yes, it’s true that Battlefield games are not known for the single-player campaigns. But to be fair, the campaign is BC2‘s biggest improvement over the original, and it’s clear that DICE spent a lot of time and effort crafting one that is fun, memorable, and much more than an afterthought.

After a very strong beginning sequence that takes place near the end of WWII, players are put back in the role of Preston Marlowe in Bad Company along with Sweetwater, Haggard and Sarge. Fans of BC1 will be happy to know that these characters have wisely been left unchanged, despite the shift to a much more serious plot. Their random squabbles and one-liners are often hilarious and memorable, and this incidental banter adds a nice human element to the campaign and makes these characters that much more lovable. BC2‘s story can be a fun and over-the-top affair as long as you don’t think too hard about it. It’ll probably be forgotten as soon as it’s finished, but it does a good job of serving as the glue to keep the player going until the end, with just enough memorable scenarios and intense battles interspersed with adequate downtime to keep players engaged.

That being said, the campaign does fall flat in a few areas. Some of the checkpoints are spaced too far apart, and I found myself having to replay large sections of the game because of a silly death and a poorly placed checkpoint. With BC2 arriving in such close proximity to Modern Warfare 2, it’s really tough not to make comparisons between the two games. Without giving too much of the plot away, some of the similarities between them seem a bit too obvious to be coincidence. One being that DICE has opted for the “linear-rollercoaster” style of campaign in BC2, which is kind of hard to get used to in a Battlefield game. Because of this, that fun, unpredictable element has been diminished, which in turn makes the campaign feel less special. The wonderful destruction physics also make a triumphant return in BC2, allowing entire buildings to be blown apart and brought to the ground, but I never felt I was given full reign of this destructive potential. There aren’t really enough moments during the campaign where I was given the hardware and the buildings to cause destruction on a massive level. It’s unfortunate that these design choices make the campaign come off with less of a punch, but in reality this is best single-player experience to be had in a Battlefield game. There are enough improvements here to make the campaign quite enjoyable overall, and a definite improvement over BC1.

One of the most important of these improvements is regenerative health. Now that the previous health system has been ditched, you won’t need to stop every few minutes and jam a needle in your chest. This small feature drastically improved the pacing and feel of the game during my time with it. In addition, aiming down the sights and shooting has been tightened and smoothed out, improving the moment-to-moment shooting mechanics. This is especially apparent now that enemies only take a few shots to kill, as opposed to the 15 or so in BC1. Minute details such as this are easy to overlook, but once I noticed them they made a world of difference in providing a more fun and accessible game.

And then there’s the sound design. Simply put, it’s some of the best audio soundscapes I’ve ever heard. BC2 has some of the most fierce and punishing weapon effects to date. Explosions have booming bass followed by the sound of bits of debris falling everywhere. Machine guns rattle and echo far in the distance, but are deafening up close. I could go on all day about the sound effects, but they just need to be heard to truly understand how incredible they are. And a word of advice for those of you playing on home theater systems — go to the options menu and set the sound effects to the “War Tapes” option to maximize the assault on your senses.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2

The multiplayer portion of the game is where the most play time will be spent, and for good reason. Fans have come to expect a certain pedigree of multiplayer from their Battlefield games, and DICE does not disappoint with BC2. Each of the game’s 10 maps are gorgeous and vary in scenery, but most important they efficiently support each of the game modes along with a number of vehicles.

The multiplayer is wildly fun and also quite addictive thanks to the awards and unlocks system in place. Like most shooters now, players are awarded experience for kills, headshots, damaging enemy vehicles, capturing points, etc. These experience points are put toward increasing the player’s individual rank, but also toward unlocking each of the class-specific weapons, attachments, gadgets and specializations. What’s better is that experience points are also awarded for using a each class’s gadget. So for example, resupplying your teammates with ammo, dropping med kits, or repairing vehicles will also net you some experience. Bonus points are awarded on top of that if you are helping your own squad. This really encourages teamwork and experimenting with all the different classes. I found it difficult to stay with one class for an entire game because they’re all important and fun to play as.

The only gripe I have is pretty minor, but odd nonetheless. For whatever reason, the engineer and medic classes start without a repair tool or a med kit in their loadout. Since these things need to be unlocked first, those classes are kind of useless when first starting out. They are basically soldiers with a different type of gun. While a med kit and a repair tool are the first things to be unlocked for these classes, I though it was weird that they weren’t there to begin with.

As I mentioned earlier, the game comes with four total multiplayer modes, but only three modes are playable for everyone. Conquest, Rush and Squad Deathmatch are available to everyone out of the box. A fourth mode, Squad Rush, is currently only available to those who pre-ordered the game from GameStop, but will be available to everyone after the game has been out for 30 days. The idea of an exclusive pre-order bonusvof this nature is debatable, but is worth mentioning in this review.

So, here’s the question on everyone’s mind: Is it better than Modern Warfare 2? Well, I can say that BC2 is definitely better than BC1. It’s tough to compare it to MW2 since both are very different types of FPS. While both titles are incredibly fun, especially in the multiplayer area, I will say that I found myself less frustrated by BC2‘s multiplayer. The ambitious scope of the environments, the vehicles and the destructible environments add layers of unpredictability, fun, and strategy that just can’t be found in other games. Both are amazing experiences however, and BC2 is a great alternative to players looking to take a break from MW2. Both titles will be played long after their release, and I’ve already decided that this is the one I’ll be spending my time with.


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Author: Tyler Cameron View all posts by

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