Great Online Fun
I think there needs to be a little background before we get to the main review. First off, this is a review for the PC version of BC2 and there are a few things to note… One, I did not play BC1 since I do not own a console and only game on my PC. Two, I did not buy MW2 since it is a disgrace to what a PC game should be by a company that started off and was financed by PC gamers. And Three, I am a veteran of the BF series since back in the good ol’ PC only days of 1942, Vietnam, and BF2.
Now I didn’t know what to expect coming into this game, my experience with some of last iterations of the BF series lately haven’t lived up to the standard left by BF2 (2142 doesn’t count). It seemed that the series had gone downhill with the inclusion of consoles resulting in smaller maps, less player count, and the shunning of the PC market (hence there hasn’t been a true sequel to BF2). So when I heard that BC2 was coming to the PC, I was met with mixed emotions and reservations. For one, BC1 didn’t come out on the PC and it seemed quite odd that DICE would decide to release Part 2 without Part 1; it almost felt like we were gearing up for another dumb-down PC port.. *cough* MW2 *cough*. But fortunately my concerns were being slowly put to rest nearing launch as DICE put out press releases on the differences between the PC and console versions (32 max players, dx9/10/11, better lighting, FOV configuration, and servers [should be the standard!]).
This game should be looked at as 2 parts, single-player and multiplayer.
Single-player plays quite differently and is quite short compared to other FPS games which can be finished in around 4-6 hours. It plays quite differently for one you have regenerating health and a few subtle differences like ammo stockpiles lying around as well as being partnered with 3 other AI (or lack of) partners. Launch-day games are expected to be released with some bugs and quirks and sure enough they are persistent here... I do not know where to begin with the AI problems which mostly involves your teammates. First, they get stuck in spots far too often, they don’t follow you at times, and they can’t hit an enemy if their lives depended on it. Now granted this can easily be fixed with a patch but it important to note the problem as of today. Yes, this game won’t really be known for its single player but it is nevertheless important to take note of it. And now the story (yes I saved it last for it isn’t anything to write home about) starts off as a flashback during WWII in which you play a US Soldier looking for a scientist and discovering something that leads to events in the present time. During the current story line you are searching for a secret weapon that can turn the tide of an ongoing war to your side. Single player missions makes you do lots of things from car firefights to controlling tanks to manning UAV’s and even a snow level where you have to run house to house to avoid freezing to death amidst a group of enemies. They tried to pull off Hollywood action scenes for many portions of the game and at times they did well and other times they missed it but it is over before you know it and you likely won’t be back for more.
And now onto the Multiplayer section. In BC2 you have 4 classes: Assault, Medic, Engineer, and Recon. Assault is the notorious noob-tube class where when you’re not noob-tubing, you can give ammo to teammates and lead the frontlines since they pack a good assortment of guns. Medic is self-explanatory; you heal teammates and yourself by dropping a health kit on the floor (unlike earlier games in the series where you could just heal yourself by holding onto the health kit or throwing a ton of them on the floor) but this time you can only drop 1 at a time and you have to wait a good 15-20 seconds before you can get another and can revive fallen teammates. Engineers carry RPGs, can repair vehicles, and lay vehicle landmines. Recon is the sniper class with a few little gadgets like the ability to carry explosives and a motion sensor device, they are also known as the K/D ratio whore class. Note that you will need a balanced team to survive.
There is a weapons unlock system in this game like others in the series. When you gain experience points you level up in rank. But, unlike other games your weapons and gadgets only unlock depending on specific class experience. Meaning, if you play as medic for a while you get to unlock weapons and gadgets specific to ONLY that class, so while it’s good to play your usual favorite class, in order to be a well rounded player you will have to spend some time playing as the other classes to get better upgrades for those classes. There are also all-kit unlocks which are basic unlocks like certain pistols and guns like the G3, Thompson, M1 Garand, etc. The only gripe is that newcomers will have a harder time leveling up since veterans aside from already being accustomed to the maps and gameplay will already have better weapons to shoot you down with.
There are 4 game modes: Conquest, Rush, Squad Rush, and Squad Deathmatch. Conquest is self explanatory since it’s been in every BF game and it’s when two teams compete to capture and hold flag positions or checkpoints within the map for as long as possible while trying to keep your Respawn Tickets from reaching 0. Rush is an objective mode where there are two teams, one attacking and one defending and the point to this is to destroy pair of m-com stations in which the attacking team must blow up in order to advance to the next pair of m-com stations until the defending team obviously prevents this. Squad Rush is basically the same as rush with the two teams and all but now there is only one m-com station. And lastly, Squad Deathmatch is where 4 squad teams are against each other to rack up the most kills possible.
Vehicles and map sizes are something to take note of in this game. This is a TACTICAL shooter meaning your MW2 “skills” won’t work here. You will need to work in squads to be efficient for being in a squad and dying, you’re able to respawn on any one of your squad mates instead of having to respawn back at camp or a team checkpoint. Vehicles are crucial and you will have to utilize them to win which include tanks, watercraft, helicopters, transport vehicles, etc. Also, being that it’s the same game on consoles, 32 players seems to be the cut-off point in which the map cannot support more players for they weren’t designed to support anymore due in part to the smaller designs. This is somewhat disappointing since I am a guy who likes playing in 64 player maps in which more the map becomes available to accommodate more players, but unfortunately for BC2 all the maps don’t have any variations to accommodate more players and the maps don’t feel as wide-open and free roaming as previous versions of the series. The maps feel “narrow” and not the wide open feel I come to love from the series, not to say it’s such a bad thing, it’s more like adjustment also being that there aren’t as many on screen vehicles anymore to also the accommodate map sizes. It’s still 32 players max compared to consoles in which they have 24 players max. Another thing to note is the destructible environments. The Frostbite 1.5 engine is so great in what it can do that almost and practically everything can be destroyed to alter the battlefield, this is something that keeps the gameplay fresh since cover and tactics change on the fly. One plus for the PC though is Free DLC for this game, unlike console versions in which their Sony and Microsoft owners force publishers to charge for content, DICE/EA has decided to make their DLC free of charge for us PC gamers. Another benefit for the PC besides free DLC is the $50 price tag. Unfortunately there are companies out there that believe PC players should pay a $10 premium for lackluster ports, but DICE isn’t one of them, Bravo!
Since this is PC you’re probably wondering about the performance. I played the beta before the game released and let me tell you that they have indeed improved the performance since beta but not to the point of satisfaction. Granted this is generally a new engine (Frostbite 1.5) for the PC so graphic drivers and game drivers aren’t up to date to fully optimize this game. The game does require a good cpu to run this game.. I can’t stress this enough, though you will need a good graphics card as well, but the cpu is what handles the physics and the buildings breaking apart. The game is optimized to utilize quad-core processors so if you have one you’re in luck. The game does look good, though it’s not something that hasn’t been done before.
Finally I wanted to cover connection issues that the PC version has been experiencing the first week of launch. Granted this is launch so this will not likely be the product that you will see in the future but it is worth noting a few problems PC players have been facing. First off, the game by early numbers has been a huge success on the PC in which developers at DICE are frantically running around trying to alleviate the mass number of PC players connecting to their servers, on one post a developer stated that after expecting a huge turnout for the PC version that they were surprised that it surpassed their expectations by 4x! Such a huge number on an expected number of servers will cause some problems and they sure have some. For on the first day and even days later there are times when you can’t log onto your online account due to servers overloaded, maintenance, or bugs. On other occasions your stats will not update during the game causing you to wait until they fix the problems before you get your unlocks. And even others complained of Punkbuster issues where Punkbuster would kick people off of servers even after updating their Punkbuster client. Now I do understand that games are frequently released with bugs but my only gripe with this is that they released the beta ahead of time so they should have fixed these issues upon launch. Still, that doesn’t negate the fact that others and I have been able to play several hours of online gameplay.
If you’re on the fence as to whether buy this game or not, chances are this IS for you. If you’re one that likes longevity in their games, who likes games that focus on team and tactics instead of Rambo style kill streaks, then this the game for you. If you like to have fun and use vehicles, mortar strikes, and UAV missile strikes, then this is for you. This is a fun game and already a frontrunner for Multiplayer of the Year. If you’re looking for a single player experience then look elsewhere, this game is built around multiplayer and is darn good at it. This may not be BF3, but it sure as hell will hold me off until then. All in all, this is a great game to own without a doubt.
** Add me to your BC2 friend's list, screenname: The_Diversion **