Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Hands-On Preview

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Fans of the Battlefield series with an Xbox 360 and a connection to the internet were treated today to a first look at multiplayer in EA DICE’s Battlefield: Bad Company 2.  Details about the game have slowly been leaking out, and private betas have long been in motion, but the gaming audience at large got its first taste of what is to come March 2 on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.

I was among them, playing only a few very lengthy games, but certainly enough to get a good feel for the multiplayer mechanics.  It plays very much like other recent Battlefield games, like Battlefield 1943, as it also runs on the Frostbite engine. However, unlike 1943, BFBC2 is set to take on Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 with its modern weaponry and accessibility to high-tech, present-day vehicles, including tanks, ATV’s, small boats, jeeps, and even helicopters.  From the few times I managed to scramble into a chopper before anyone else on my team could mash the B-button next to it, I noticed there are multiple positions to switch between, including pilot (yea, you fly it), one of two gunners, and a seat looking out either door. RPGs can take choppers and tanks down fairly easily if the pilot doesn’t maneuver quickly enough, and the difficulty of actually locating and hitting individual targets from either vehicle gives a good sense of balance to the gameplay, so foot-based combat is just as effective.

Speaking of foot-based, players are given the option to start on foot as one of four classes, Assault, Engineer, Medic, or Recon.  Assault is your basic assault-rifle-wielding, grenade-launching class, while the Engineer sports submachine guns, an RPG, and a vehicle-fixing tool.  The Medic fires a light machine gun, dispenses health packs, and brings downed players back from the brink, while Recon comes equipped with a ghillie suit, sniper rifle, motion sensor, and some good ol’ C4 explosives.  All of these classes can be upgraded, but only by playing as that class, which earns you class-specific upgrade points needed to unlock better weapons and gadgets for that class.  Oh, and all classes have your basic grenades and combat knife.

Although it is inaccessible in the demo, there appear to be some upgrades that would become available at later levels like better armor, better sights, and even an M1 Garand for those who just can’t leave the orginial Battlefield games behind.  The upgrading and ranking system seems really extensive, not unlike the recently released MAG. And perhaps this is no coincidence, as the gameplay feels quite a bit like MAG, too, with its heavy-feeling movement and HUGE HUGE levels.  If the other levels are anything like the one offered in the demo, Port Valdez, this game promises to be incredibly expansive, as it needs to be in order to accomodate the vehicle-based gameplay.

The gameplay so far is a base attack/defend battle, much like Battlefield 1943.  If you are picking up the common thread, then you realize there are a number of similarities between the multiplayer offered in 1943 and in Bad Company 2, but I personally couldn’t be happier about it.  What was done well has been transferred over, and some new things have been added and clearly polished to a shine to make the game graphically and mechanically competitive with other shooters out today.  This demo is sure to keep old fans and new fans busy through the end of February, until they get their hands on the actual game.


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Author: Dan Crabtree View all posts by
Dan is Managing Editor for GamerNode and a freelance gaming writer. His dog is pretty great. Check him out on Twitter @DanRCrabtree.

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