It Blows Up Real Good
BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2 REVIEW
360 & PS3
Digital Illustrations CE launched a warning shot two years ago with Battlefield Bad Company. They proved that the series, known largely for its excellent online battles, could provide a fresh take on single player war games and hold its own against the competition. The second game gets more serious, not only refining the online component to be a true standout and viable choice among shooter fanatics, but it scales back on much of the devil may care attitude in favor of a more streamlined and realistic story.
That’s not to say the group of four soldiers you’ll go to combat with aren’t the same lads from the first game, far from it, but this time around the humor isn’t as noticeable and the overarching plot isn’t about the misfits going AWOL, it’s more focused and clear. It’s not all perfect, though, as the narrative suffers from some pacing issues that end on a rather anti-climatic level of action in the finale. Much of this is derived from the way the cut scenes are plotted, blacking out as you run up to an objective, showing the scene, blacking out and putting you back in action. It’s unnecessary and feels disorienting, stifling the cinematic feel they try to achieve.
But the strengths far outweigh any weaknesses in the presentation. BC2 inherits much of the destructive attitude that made the first game so much fun and ties it together with better objectives and tougher enemies. Destroying the environment isn’t necessary, it’s a strategic choice you can make and it can just as easily backfire if you blast out every wall and find yourself looking for cover moments later.
DICE further tightened the combat by ensuring that blowing things up wasn’t the only thrilling time to be had. Combat is tight, hectic, and there are a bevy of weapons to collect which means you can find something perfect for every situation. This works in both the single player campaign and the multiplayer, suiting the needs of pretty well any type of FPS gamer.
Online isn’t a departure from what makes Battlefield games so great. It’s still massive environments with vehicular combat a prevalent option for squads. There are four modes to try out, each with their brand of Battlefield flare. Some of the smaller attack and defense modes are where more of the strategic elements creep into play, trying to overtake one team or pushing one back. The all out conquest mode means the teams are fighting over four points, which sees less impact on destructible motives than it does on sniping and air assaults.
As is standard now, you unlock higher levels which allow for perk like unlocks for your loadouts. Where Battlefield separates itself from Modern Warfare the most is in the classes. A good medic can save your team a vast amount of respawn tickets, and keep members in battle longer. A great engineer can ensure your tank stays in top form while you try to overtake a spot. Failure to have a well rounded crew can often mean defeat.
Bad Company was a strong game that made headway for DICE as a campaign developer, but it wasn’t the best looking title on the market. BC2 is gorgeous, absolutely stunning in some levels and showcases some of the best particle effects to date. When a building collapses beside you the debris and dust that clouds up becomes an obstacle, not just a neat effect. Smoke, dust and fire feel real, creating an element of believability in just how crazy war can be and how issues like this come into play for soldiers on the ground. Straight up, Bad Company 2 is the best looking war game on the market.
The audio side of things doesn’t falter for a moment either, mostly because the four voice actors you hear throughout the game are outstanding. The game isn’t as funny as its predecessor but the actors manage to convey a naturalistic friendship that’s both lighthearted and endearing. You believe these guys would go to the ground for each other, and that’s a huge service to a game like this. Guns and explosives sound equally impressive, as one would expect.
DICE throws out a lot of jabs against the competition, hiding neither the fact that they’re attempting to battle it out for best shooter, and that they aren’t averse to lifting some of the best elements from them. Remember, Call of Duty did this years ago and has reaped the benefits since, so it’s only fitting Battlefield lets them know they won’t go down like that. But apart from trying to play catch-up, Battlefield proves that it can be its own game, just as strong while still being a different experience. It’s a better, more believable story, but it’s also not as action packed as Modern Warfare is. But the online play offers a more strategic time, free of Javelin glitches or noob-tubes. Maybe I shouldn’t end this review with just straight comparison of the two titles, but there’s no question what the water mark is that everyone else aspires too.
Know this – Bad Company 2 is its own beast. The destructible environments are both ludicrously fun and strategically crucial. Online matches succeed in elevating players that acknowledge teamwork over kill death ratio and vehicular combat is better implemented than anyone has ever done. DICE also can throw down a thrilling campaign that exceeds most, even if it’s not perfect through and through. The Battlefield series showed they were coming two years, but now they’re here and you shouldn’t expect them to go away anytime soon. Nor will you want them to.
THE GRAPHICS: Some of the best in shooters on the current gen systems. Photo realistic backgrounds blend perfectly with foreground action and beautiful smoke and fire effects. 9/10
THE SOUND: Voice actors that can make you laugh, but sound real and relatable. Sound effects are good, but if there was a score – I can’t remember it. 9/10
THE PRODUCTION: There’s an unfortunate issue with the way the campaign was directed for the cut scenes It’s jarring and takes you out of the game each time it comes along, which is way too often. Mutiplayer stands up as slick, fast, and without any issues that I’ve experienced. 8/10
THE GAMEPLAY: Tight, fluid, rewarding, and with extra layers of strategy that isn’t standard in FPS titles. And even without the strategy side of things – its hella fun. 9/10
THE LASTING APPEAL: Big issue here – way too short at six hours. That might be common now, but it’s still not enough. There isn’t much incentive to go back, aside from some trophies perhaps. But if you’re playing this for the online, as most will – then it doesn’t matter. There’s a lot of game to be played. More modes would be nice in future downloads, but those should be free. Four isn’t enough. 7/10
OVERALL – 90 %
ED NOTE: Score is not an average of grade. It solely reflects the overall experience by the reviewer.