popskinz's Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (Xbox 360) review

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 comes laden with amazing action.

In the world of online-oriented shooters, one must come up with an invigorating recipe in order to stand out from all the other contemporaries, a bold and arguably hard feat that Battlefield: Bad Company 2 actually accomplishes with vigor. By boasting chaotic multiplayer action, an intense and varied single-player campaign and immensely thrilling destructibility coupled with some of the most cacophonous sound desgin this side of shooters- -Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is a huge win that will likely deprive you of sleep for quite some time.

 Snow environments are par for the course in Bad Company 2.
If you remember the band of military misfits that made up the cast of characters in the first Bad Company, then characters like Preston Marlowe and Haggard will likely not be any strangers to you. Their second outing consists of more than just mercenary gold, though--as they are now ordered by the government to beat the russians to a powerful and ancient weapon of mass destruction, which would pose a serious threat if it winds up in the wrong hands. What follows is a six to eight hour long, globe-trotting adventure where you'll find yourself the snow capped mountains in one moment and in the exotic jungles of a third-world country the next. It's an exciting jaunt that's further bolstered by your wise-cracking, machine gun toting squadmates who give the campaign a lot of personality. There's also plenty of gameplay variety to be had since the pacing constantly alternates between infantry combat, to on-rail sequences to gargantuan action-movie setpieces and back again and save for a few moments where all you're doing is battling slogs of enemies ad nauseum, the campaign is mostly well-paced and varied in its design and visual flair.

The dialog is also very sublime and witty--even making fun of Infinity Ward's Call of Duty series at certain points. It's obvious that Digital Illusions put a lot of care into making your comrades seem likeable. For example, there are no more cutscenes where all you do is pan the camera around while your squadmates are trying to make you laugh with their comedic bravado--something that occured way to often in the first Bad Company. Instead, you'll catch some of the more subtle jokes and details while you're playing and if you hang around an empty area long enough you can hear in on Redford's favourite scene from the movie Predator (an appropriate tangent given that this dialog triggers in a tropical jungle) or how Haggard became fluent in "spanglish". These are great touches that make you care more about your teammates than you would otherwise, especially since they don't contribute a whole lot during gameplay--not killing enemies frequently enough or getting stuck in a doorway.

But save for some slight AI hiccups, the action is mostly a blast and the shooting mechanics are extremely solid. Your arsenal is mostly comprised of assault rifles, shotguns, sub-machine guns, sniper rifles and other explosive gadgets but the weapons feel good enough to give combat a lot of oomph and the destructibility is truly what sells the experience. Whereas in the first game you could turn walls into a huge smoking crater, Bad Company 2 lets you level entire buildings. A dug in sniper is no match for your underbarrel grenade launcher or C4 explosive, both of which allows you to tear apart whatever cover your enemy is hiding behind and it can make firefights both thrilling and unpredictable, as a well placed grenade is enough to turn the tides or any confrontation. One of Bad Company 2's great touches is that it sometimes allow you to go off the beaten path in search of satellite stations to blow up, weapons to collect--which you can then equip at the nearest weapon stash-- and scenery to thoroughly destroy with your repertoar of explosive weapons. It probably wont take you longer than seven hours to beat the campaign but there are enough achievements and nookies and cranies to encourage you come back for more and the levels are open enough to give some latitude in how you want to attack each scenario.

 Sniping demands a great deal of precision.
But where Battlefield: Bad Company 2 truly shines is in the class-based competitive multiplayer which supports up to 24 players on eight different maps along with four playable gametypes. Old staples such as Conquest and Rush returns where both teams are trying to strive for battefield dominance, where modes like Squad Deatmatch and Squad Rush are more about working together as a coherent unit to mow down the opposition. From the outset you have four classes to choose from; Assault, Recon, Medic and Engineer--the two latter classes are all about keeping vehicles and teammates alive whereas Assault and Recon are specialised in causing as much rampant destruction as possible using C4 explosives, grenade launchers and the like. Do well on the Battlefield and you'll earn experience to rank up and unlock new class items, weapon attachments and perks that give aid to players in interesting ways, allowing you to carry more grenades or sprint for a longer duration. Given that you can wage war by land, sea and air there are plenty of perks that are geared towards the use of vehicles which should certainly build some incentive for players who like to disregard infantry combat in its entirety. The entire smorgasbord of weapons, vehicles, gadgets and perks open up a lot of options for players and though it can take some time to unlock the multitude of items that are tied to your class of choice, you'll be impressed with how much variety there is from one combat role to another.

However, it's a dangerous world out there on the crowded battlefields so joining a four-man squad is essential in order to survive. Teaming up with friends is pure bliss and the available classes promote a lot teamwork since certain roles can distribute ammo and medkits among the squad. Your squadmates also act as moving spawnpoints so you can choose to either get right into the thick of the action or spawn back at your base and grab a hold of a vehicle. Tanks, helicopters, boats, ATV's and remote controlled drones are just few of the ways you can decimate your enemies and the vehicle handling is tight and responsive.

The maps that you fight on are all large and begging to be reduced to rubbles. There are huge shanty towns, snowy villages, war-torn ports and bright-lit islands and plenty more and the gametypes lend themselves well to each battlefield. Conquest is all about securing control points on the map and holding them to drain the enemy's respawn tickets. Rush has one team on offense trying to blow up a set of objectives and push the frontline forward and lastly, Squad Deathmatch and Squad Rush have small teams going head to head in more claustrophobic firefights. There's plenty of variety to be had and you can even turn on a "hardcore" option, where a well placed burst is enough to drop an enemy.

The destructibility is also a integral part of the multiplayer experience since it ensures that there is no such thing as a safe haven or any possibilities to camp out in a fortified structure and when you couple all the madness going on with the loud and incredibly authentic sound design, it makes for some heated and electrifying online warfare.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is an outstanding shooter that builds upon the Battlefield name in exciting and meaningful ways. The campaign is more varied and exciting than ever before and the destructibility and reliance on teamwork makes the class-based multiplayer and its huge maps that much more enjoyable. Roll all of it together and you have a shooter that's so gleeful and addictive that it puts its peers to shame.

Other reviews for Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (Xbox 360)

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