Battlefield: Bad Company Hands-On Preview

For the past few days, I have had the privilege of trying out EA’s newest squad-based shooter, Battlefield: Bad Company, on the Xbox 360. From what I have observed thus far, the game looks very promising, especially on the multiplayer end.

In the demo version of the game, single-player mode is limited to just one level, which sees the rag-tag B Company complete a short mission, only to discover what is essentially the focus of the rest of the game’s plot. Bad Company is not your typical wartime campaign, but the tale of a squad that decides to take more from their service than what the military has to offer, in the form of mercenary gold.

Although I haven’t had the chance to experience it at any length, players’ progression in Bad Company is expected to be far less linear than many objective-based, military first-person shooters. As the company fulfills objectives, they are presented with more opportunities to explore the greater expanses of each battlefield, where golden rewards are likely to await them. This open-world approach is what should really set Bad Company apart from other games in the genre.


Battlefield: Bad Company


What I gathered from my single-player romp is that players’ time spent in the thick of battle promises to be intense and frenetic, with copious explosions punching holes in the landscape and showers of bullets causing you to duck for cover whenever it is available. Nearly every environmental structue will be destructible, so creating a quick shortcut through a fence with a grenade or blasting a hole in the side of a building with a tank’s cannon will be 100% viable options. Even the terrain itself deforms under fire, and it all adds a feeling of authenticity to the experience.

In contrast, the artificial intelligence still seems incredibly un-intelligent, even if enemy soldiers are generally very skilled. They will shoot you from hundreds of yards away, through a cloud of smoke, but if you flank them just right, they will never register that you’re standing ten feet away and plugging them full of lead in broad daylight. To be clear, I am not talking about stealth situations. These guys should notice you.

Hopefully the AI will be tightened up before the game’s June 23rd release date, but until then, the multiplayer portion of the game will be up and running…and that’s where the bulk of Bad Company’s appeal lies.


Battlefield: Bad Company


The online multiplayer mode organizes up to 24 players into attacking and defending teams, comprised of 5 different types of soldiers, and a bunch of very dangerous war machines. The goals are simple: attackers try to destroy the defenders’ two gold crates in order to overtake their base of operations; defenders try to prevent this from happening by killing off the attackers. The attackers win the conflict after taking a number of enemy bases, and defenders win by killing off every wave of the onslaught.

Individuals earn points for their performance, as well. Each downed soldier, destroyed vehicle, captured crate of gold, and even squad assist will get players one step closer to the next rank and the next unlockable weapon, so the entire effort is for the good of the team, but selfish at the same time. The setup works nicely, and most people who I played with tried to be as helpful and cooperative as possible. That style of play leads to high quality matches and (usually) sweet victories.


Battlefield: Bad Company


In addition to the synergistic actions of the different unit types (assault, demolitions, recon, support, specialist) there is also a variety of multi-person vehicles to help the squad be successful. Light and heavy tanks, helicopters, Humvees, boats, and the like are necessities on the battlefield, and playing around with them is a lot of fun. There’s nothing like jumping into a tank and blasting the living daylights out of a building full of enemy soldiers, especially when one of your teammates is busy taking down a pursuing helicopter with the minigun mounted on top.

This multiplayer romp is not without its flaws, however. Far too many times, I found myself playing either on a team of one, or on a full squad with no opposition. The game, in its current state, doesn’t auto-balance teams very well. Hopefully this issue will be addressed before the game’s final release on the 23rd. That doesn’t leave a whole lot of time.

Having never been a big fan of the Battlefield franchise, Bad Company certainly managed to impress me, and I will be looking forward to the full single- and multiplayer experiences in the coming weeks.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.