PieGuy's Bad Company 2 Review
I was initially on the fence as to whether I should buy this game; despite having a strong dislike for the highly disappointing MW2 I was wary that Bad Company 2’s online multiplayer would flop just like the first. Thankfully my uncertainties were misplaced as this is one of my favourite online experiences to date. The game is also comprises a single player campaign so I’ll leave the best till last and will start by addressing the single-player.
If you are buying this game with the expectation of an explosive single-player campaign with an engrossing plot then prepare to be disappointed. It does however perform adequately as a side distraction to the online multiplayer, especially after becoming enraged by those with LMGs spraying away at your enjoyment. The story follows B Company aka Bad Company, the same squad that featured in the original, as they battle to save the world from a secret WW2 Japanese weapon.
The story isn’t memorable, however the characters are. Wait around during a mission and characters will start conversations that are genuinely entertaining, this is helped further by the high quality voice acting making these conversations a more believable affair. At one point I stopped playing the game to get myself a cuppa and I come back to hear Haggard and Sweetwater debating the existence of a higher power, controller in hand I waited for the comical conversation to end before moving on with the mission. It was brilliant how it immediately grabbed my attention but it made me wonder why they hadn’t implemented these into story sections as these conversations are easily missed.
Immersion throughout the campaign is non-existent thanks to cut scenes suddenly removing control from the player and in doing so destroying any fluidity. There is an overbearing issue with the plot in Bad Company 2 and it has crossed my mind numerous times. What the hell happened to the gold?!?! It seems the developers have chosen to ignore the first game completely which I feel is a shame as I thoroughly enjoyed the first games single-player campaign. Bad Company 2 also falls short in terms of the humour present, again something prominent in the original’s storyline. Single player is a much more linear experience this time round and I feel they missed out on an opportunity to include online co-op.
Gameplay wise the game is solid but doesn’t break any new ground in gunplay however its destructibility is literally ground breaking. Improving on the original, the destructibility dubbed ‘Destruction 2.0’ means that battlefields are constantly changing environments and some buildings can collapse completely resulting in some pretty funny kills whilst inducing panic on the
occupants within. I do find it a little disappointing though that the destructibility is a bit of a facade with objects being replaced rather than being destroyed in real-time. It is a small complaint considering its enhancement to gameplay especially when venturing into the online battlefield where enemies and objectives can be crushed by collapsing buildings and cover really isn’t reliable. Controls feel sluggish at first in comparison to other shooters; however you will soon get used to it.
Vehicular combat is very satisfying with tank shells having the desired effect on buildings. Each vehicle features a simple control scheme that makes every joy ride that much easier. There is however a glaring exception, the helicopter. It does seem strange that the ability to control helicopters is absent in the single player and it inherently has a consequence. With the absence of any tutorial for helicopters it leaves online multiplayer as a training ground for budding pilots. Whilst the results of this can be funny it can unfortunately have a detrimental effect on how the match pans out. Teams have to do without without vital components that could help achieve victory. However this has subsided over time with fewer new gamers entering the online.
Graphically there is nothing special, although it is a definite improvement on the first game’s dreadful film grain effect. Shadows have jagged edges but phenomenal detail on character clothing and destruction, such as the dust picked up during gunfights or the debris flying from recently destroyed walls, more than make up for the few visual hiccups. Surprisingly online graphics remain unchanged from the single player campaign despite the large maps and the fierce battles on them, most importantly this is all achieved whilst maintaining a steady frame rate.
I cannot review this game without mentioning the incredible audio in this game. Guns make a realistic clatter when firing off a volley of bullets but what’s more impressive is that gunfire reverberates when fired indoors. It’s not just guns either, helicopters buzzing overhead and the fear inducing rumble of tanks help build a believable atmosphere. This has some of the best SFX I have heard in a game to date.
True to my words I have saved the best till last, the multiplayer. Now don’t go into this expecting it to be a fast paced, lone wolf experience. It’s not. This is not Call of Duty, it is however one of the best team orientated multiplayer game having graced the PS3 to date. Team work is essential in this game and not only for completing objectives but for simple things. An example of how roles help is say maintaining a friendly tank as an engineer so your team can rein death upon the enemy or reviving assault troops as a medic to maintain pressure on the enemy. The emphasis is on four man squads however when playing with more than three friends talking to them becomes impossible as communication is limited to those within your squad. There are alternatives but with the amount of effort they put into the rest of the online you would have expected more thought to be put into it.
The online consists of four modes. The two main online modes are ‘Rush’ and ‘Conquest’. In ‘Rush’ one team has to defend m-com stations from destruction whilst the other team has the objective to destroy them. There are several stages involving these stations in order to win when playing as the attacker whilst the defender’s objective is to defend against constant attack in order to diminish the number of enemy forces to nothing. ‘Conquest’ involves two teams battling it out to secure several spawn locations to achieve battlefield dominance. I do take issue with this mode because of the fact that the bleed on enemy numbers is so slow that it gives little incentive to go for objectives and turns the mode into the average team death match. There are other smaller modes such as ‘Squad Rush’ which is just a squad counterpart to the normal ‘Rush’ and ‘Squad Death Match’ which pits four teams of four against each other in a battle to reach 50 kills.
The online includes an achievement system which ramps up the level of addiction. Interestingly though the game promotes variety as each class unlocks can only be achieved by explicitly using the associated class. New weapons and gadgets are unlocked keeping gameplay fresh and interesting. Whilst playing to work your way up to top rank is deeply satisfying.
In conclusion Battlefield Bad Company 2 is a brilliant game, at least online. While the single player is solid the campaign is short and unimpressive. Online is where the game is at. Constantly changing environments and a well thought out achievement system ensures that this game will be long into its life before its online community dwindles.