obbeskrutt's Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (PC) review

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Still Battlefield, still great.

There's no reason to hide the fact the Battlefield franchise is one of the most popular and widely successful game series ever seen, and the people over at DICE sure knows how to make great games. Bad Company 2 is not different in that regard, but is this really the game we were all waiting for, or should we rather keep waiting for a possible Battlefield 3?

The first Bad Company game was, as I've come to understand, initially planned to be the console counterpart to run along side with the main series with a deeper focus on the single player experience, whereas the original Battlefield series continued to be a multiplayer-only experience. Bad Company 2 changes that by delivering a solid and rich multiplayer experience together with a lengthy and well written singleplayer mode, making Bad Company 2 the most diverse entry to the series yet.

I'm going to be honest here. I couldn't care less for the singleplayer portion of the game. As of this day, I have yet to even try it out, except for a brief look when I first tested out different graphic options. For me, Battlefield is all about multiplayer, and it seems like the developers knows this, hence they have put quite some effort in making the multiplayer part of Bad Company 2 stand out as one of the best ones in the series. I'm sure there's probably some great production value in the singleplayer campaign, but frankly, I can't see myself play though that part anytime soon. 

If you have played any earlier entries in the Battlefield series before, you'll feel at home with this one. Nothing major has changed since the previous installments really. Battlefield is still all about squad-based military warfare action. Just as previous versions, you level up your soldier as you play online, unlocking new gear and equipment as you go along. There's plenty of variety to find in the arsenal, and you'll have to play for quite some time to unlock everything there is to unlock. Thankfully though, the items available to you at the start holds up quite good to the ones received later on, so you shouldn't have to feel like you're put in a disadvantage compared to the ones that have unlocked the bigger guns.

Besides the classic gametypes, such as Conquest and Squad Deathmatch, we see some new modes as well, the main one being the new “Rush” gametype. Breaking it down real quick; you have one side trying to plant bombs at specific locations, and the other team must try to fend off the attackers for as long as they can. If the attackers succeeds in destroying their objectives, a new part of the map unlocks, and the battle moves deeper into the defenders base, where the attackers will receive new targets to blow up. If the attacking team manages to destroy all targets before their re-spawn tickets run out, they win. The way the battlefield is changing as the match goes on helps to make things stay fresh and interesting. For example, one map starts out with a desert-like setting with heavy focus on vehicle combat, as the attackers succeeds in destroying their targets, the battle moves into the town, where the combat changes into urban warfare, only to be followed by a wide and open sniper fest as the defenders make their final stand in the maps final stage. This systematic progression works really well, and the level design is really, really great, with tons of different routes and alternatives of how to approach an objective. Though I've played a few matches where the game got locked down in sort of a stalemate, I could never blame it on bad level design, at least not from my experience.

Another thing that differentiates Bad Company from the traditional entries in the Battlefield series is the destructible scenery. Almost everything can be blown up, and it really brings an interesting element of tactic to the gameplay. This feature got introduced in the original Bad Company game, and you can tell that DICE have really tried to expand on this feature for this new installment. Not only can you clear out trees and debris to give yourself a better view, or blow a hole though a wall to give yourself an alternative entry, but you can also literally use this to raise down whole buildings. Can't get a clear shot at that little bastard sniper sitting in the tower? Just blow off the base of the tower and see the whole thing come crashing to the ground.

Being able to destroy and reshape the scenery is truly amazing, and even though this technology isn't new in any way, I've yet to see one game utilizing it in such a great manner as Bad Company 2.

The audio in Bad Company 2 is just simply fantastic. Ok, I'm no weapon expert, but for what I can tell, the gunfire in this game sounds really damn good. Weapons and vehicles sounds real and heavy, and the hectic shouting on the radio helps to bring atmosphere to the game. Distant gunfire echoes in a realistic manner, and explosions fired close to you makes your ears ring, just as one might expect. It all just sounds great.

No game is perfect, and Bad Company 2 is no exception. During my time online, I've suffered from quite a few strange disconnect issues. It seems like I'm not the only one suffering from this issue, and it's really frustrating to have you disconnect from the server randomly without being able to fix it. Some sources on the internet have suggested different port-forwarding options, but after trying several so-called solutions, I've yet to solve the issue. I have also been though a few game crashes, sending me straight back to my desktop without any error message. I guess these issues will be addressed in a future patch, but it's still very annoying when these things happen.

There are also a few irritating elements with the user interface I would like to address. Though I'm not sure if it's a server-side setting or not, but not being able to use the chat feature while dead is painfully annoying. Some might argue that it have the purpose of preventing people to give away enemy positions to your teammates, but I'd say that's rubbish. Combined with the fact that you can't check the scoreboard while dead (again, this might be the effect of server settings) makes the time you spend dead waiting to re-spawn more painful that it should. Given that you'll spend quite some time waiting for that re-spawn timer to count down, it would be fun to be able to do something more than just stare at the counter (and maybe change equipment).

Despite a few very minor issues, the gameplay of Bad Company 2 is really solid and fun.
If you have played any previous Battlefield title and liked what you played, Bad Company 2 won't disappoint you. However, if you never had much for the Battlefield series, Bad Company 2 may not be the game to change that notion. Bad Company 2 doesn't add so much new to the series, but rather strives to perfect and streamline the aspects that made the previous installments so successful. Overall though, I really like this game, and will probably play it for quite a while.

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