By Egge 10 Comments
Lately I've been taking advantage of a few digital download sales to get hold of some games which I don't expect will run particularly well on my weak PC, but which might come in handy once I decide to finally upgrade my hardware (might happen fairly soon...or not at all). While there are few developments in the gaming world which I'm less excited about than the rise of the modern military shooter (being more of an old school Doom/Painkiller kind of FPS fan myself), Battlefield: Bad Company 2 was reasonably cheap on Steam the other week and I just couldn't resist getting it; if only for patriotic reasons (I'm Swedish just like DICE). Also, they did create the wonderful Mirror's Edge after all...
Although I realize BFBC2's primary selling point is the multiplayer, the actual campaign (which got a lukewarm reception among critics) is the only truly interesting part of the game for a singleplayer dogmatic like myself. Judging by the first few hours of BC2 this seems to be an alright SP game, but most of its alright-ness comes from the impressive environmental capabilities of the Frostbite engine - which is a nice example of that quintessential Swedish/Germanic tech wizardry - rather than the actual game design as such. The story and characters in BC2 is not much to write home about, although there has been an interesting divide between critics like Jeff Gerstmann who seem to genuinely enjoy the action movie stereotypes and other reviewers who think those same cliches are among the game's larger problems. Like all modern shooters, Bad Company 2 has its fair share of unimaginative "whack a mole" moments; during which by far the most efficient approach is to simply wait for the enemies to pop out of cover so that you can headshot them back to the stone age (which is not exactly my idea of what a shooter should be all about). The outdoor environments look all nice and big but are actually relatively confined, and the game definitely has more in common with your typical corridor shooter than with less linear FPSs like Far Cry.
Given the squad-based focus of the game and its plot, I do appreciate that the friendly AI is at least somewhat capable of taking down enemies on their own, and while the more scripted aspects of the game's set pieces feel just as limiting as in other modern shooters the squad mates seem to adjust their combat tactics nicely depending on how the player approaches a certain combat scenario. Another agreeable aspect of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is its sound design, with which DICE have given the weapons their appropriate loudness, managed to squeeze all sorts of nice effects into the chaos of the battlefield and also made sure the vast outdoor environments have enough ambient noise in them.