Battlefield: Bad Company 2
While the campaign may come in a little on the weak side, there are signs of improvement. And the strong multiplayer component all but makes up for it in the long run.
The original Bad Company brought something new to the first person shooter genre with its destructible environments, allowing players to shape the battlefield how they wanted, and it created a different experience every time you played. It also introduced a full story based single player campaign for the first time ever in the Battlefield franchise. The sequel to this well received game, looks to improve on both these features and much more, and in many ways it accomplishes its goal. Although the single-player has improved, it still isn't great, but the core of any Battlefield game is the multiplayer, and it is still one of the best out there.
The multiplayer for Bad Company 2 has been simplified in many ways, and if you've played the earlier Battlefield games on PC such as Battlefield 2 you'll feel quite comfortable with the way the game works, which is weird because those games were not simple. The multiplayer works on a leveling system much like any other online shooter. You gain experience by killing enemies, and performing specific tasks. Every two to three levels you go up you will unlock a new weapon or upgrade, which can be anything from armor, to extra ammo, or vehicle upgrades. Each class has a separate leveling system too where you will unlock weapons and gadgets specific to that class as you get more experience using those classes, as well as attachments for those weapons such as weapon scopes, or upgrades to which ever ability that class has, such as an increased healing upgrade for the medics health packs. The weapon attachments, and upgrades such as more powerful ammo will give you a slight advantage, but nothing that feels unfair, and most of the weapons are well balanced so far.
They've lowered the number of classes down from five in the first Bad Company to four which allows each class to have its own special purpose. The assault class carries assault rifles, allows you to resupply ammo to your team members, and has a grenade launcher attachment for all of the assault weapons. The engineer class uses sub-machine guns, allows you to repair vehicles with a power tool, and doubles as the anti-tank class, so you'll also be able to carry a rocket launcher or mines. The medic class plays host to Light Machine Guns, the defibrillator, which allows you to revive your fallen teammates. It's great to see the defibrillator back on the battlefield. It was a great feature in Battlefield 2, but was absent in the first Bad Company, and it can provide a great advantage if used properly. The medic also carries health packs which can be thrown on the ground for teammates or for yourself. The game does feature a very slow health regeneration, but the health packs are still very important if you want to get back to full health quickly. Finally, the recon class is equipped with sniper rifles, C4 and motion trackers which will show enemies on your mini map within the trackers range.
The multiplayer consists of three modes, and one other game type which is not playable until thirty days after launch, unless you pre-ordered it from Gamestop. Each game type includes four or five maps. Two of the game types, Rush and Conquest, use tickets to determine the winner. If you've played other Battlefield games you'll be familiar with this system, where each team shares an amount of lives, and when your teams lives run out you lose.
Gold Rush from the first Bad Company is back, but since gold has no involvement in the game, it's simply called Rush. Rush consists of two teams, attackers and defenders, where the attackers goal is to destroy two m-com stations, and the defenders must stop them. If the attacking team succeeds the defending team must fall back to another base, and defend that position until it's destroyed, each map has three or four bases for the defenders to fall back to. Once the last base is destroyed, they lose. For the defenders to win they must reduce their opponents tickets to zero.Conquest will be familiar to any Battlefield fan. The objective is to capture and control all the flags on the map. Each team begins with 200 tickets and the first team to use all their tickets loses. Opponents tickets will constantly drop if you control the majority of the flags on the map. The third game type Squad Death Match pits four squads of four players against each other and has standard death match rules; first team to get fifty kills wins. I have not played the squad Rush game type yet, because it is not available to everyone until thirty days after the games release date.
Vehicles are also a large part of online play, and there is a wide range of land, air, and water vehicles. They've added an ATV, a jet-ski, and helicopter transports, to move your teammates around the battlefield faster, and more efficiently. Of course all the regular vehicles are there, jeeps, attack helicopters, tanks, and boats. Controlling these vehicles can give you a tremendous advantage, and could easily determine the outcome of the battle.
Haggard, Sweetwater, Sarge, and Marlow are ready for another mission, but this time it's not for gold. You take the role of Preston Marlow once again, as the newest member to Bad Company. Sarge is the squad leader, and he continues to believe every mission is his last, because he wants to retire. Sweetwater is the smart one, and is constantly made fun of by Haggard, who still loves to see anything and everything blow up. After returning their gold to the army the squad is sent to Russia, on a simple counter intelligence mission, but unfortunately for Bad Company, nothing is ever simple. After stumbling upon a fake Russian weapon, BC is asked to find a Russian general, and bring him in for questioning. From there the story takes a couple twists and turns. Lack of explanation to some key story points can make the story confusing, but never really hard to follow. By the end it wraps everything up nicely, and hints at a sequel. The game will run you about 6 hours in length, which is decent for a game so multiplayer focused.The single player campaign is a welcomed improvement over the first, but still feels like an appetizer for the main course.
Bad Company is back, and their mouths are a little dirty. The developers wanted a more realistic, and mature approach for the sequel so they added blood and some bad words to give it a grittier feel, but this doesn't mean the characters no longer have a sense of humor, I might go as far as saying the game is even funnier than the first. And the cursing isn't just spammed throughout the game, almost every F bomb has a legitimate reason behind it. All the voice actors from the first game are back, and the voice acting is great, and all the characters have retained their same personalities. Sarge still wants to retire, Haggard and Sweetwater still poke fun at each other, and Marlow is still the newbie. The destruction has also been turned up, with the updated engine being dubbed by the developers as Destruction 2.0. This update allows for entire buildings to collapse. Off the battlefield, when your accessing the menus, everything is where it should be and nothing is hard to find.
A game is nothing without good gameplay, and Battlefield sure doesn't come up short in this department. Firing the weapons feels great, the vehicles handle like you would expect, and flying can be hard to get used to, but is very satisfying. Another feature that gamers will love is the addition of regenerating health, so you no longer have to continually stab yourself in the chest with a syringe to regain health. Since this feature is so universal in games today, it can make it more accessible to a wider audience.
Bad Company 2's gameplay is complimented by some great looking visuals. The weapon detail is amazing, and the guns have a dirty worn out look to them which gives the game a more realistic feel, and with the new destruction improvements, it can be hard not to watch a building as it collapses into a heap of ruble and dust. Also the explosions are some of the best in any game.
The Battlefield series has always had great sound, but Bad Company 2 truly has some of the best sound in any game. From hearing fighter jets fly overhead, shaking the very ground you're walking on, to bullets whizzing by you as you run for cover. Sound is one of the most important parts of games today, and the team at DICE nails it, nothing brings you closer to the battlefield.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 has definitely improved over its predecessor. While the campaign can be stale at times, and a little predictable, it makes it clear the developers focus was on multiplayer. And despite it's flaws, the single player can still be seen as a step up from the first. And with one of the best online multiplayer experiences, added destruction, beautiful visuals, unbeatable sound, and heart pounding gameplay. There is no reason why any Battlefield fan should miss this addition to the franchise, or any shooter fan in general.