A Quick Visit to Testosterone Shooter Land

  


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.
10 Comments
11 Comments
Posted by Egge

  


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.
Posted by GreggD

The reason Jeff likes the characters is because of their personalities in the first Bad Company. And he's not wrong, that game was way more buddy-action/comedy than its sequel, which was mostly serious business. I suggest if you ever mildly enjoyed BC2, get the first one. Its campaign is really genuinely funny and enjoyable.

Posted by Egge
@GreggD: If I remember correctly, he basically liked the characters in the second game as well...but complained about the overtly serious tone and, specifically, that the really funny dialogue was buried away in "optional party banter" which the player has to actively search out (instead of getting it delivered through main cutscenes etc.). And the reason Jeff liked the characters in the first game seems to be the exact same reason why other reviewers intensely disliked them; i.e. all that (intentionally?) stereotypical "buddy-action/comedy" stuff.
Posted by kermoosh

i was the only one of my friends that like the singleplayer. it wasn't great or anything but enjoyable to play it and get all the achievements

Posted by GreggD
@Egge: And those are the reasons why you should check it out, because it really is good and funny. Miss July is a great character, too.
Edited by TheKeyboardDemon
@GreggD: I'd really like to try the original Bad Company now, but I think it didn't get released on PC.

@Egge: You should really give the MP game a try, at least play Squad Deathmatch till you get to level 10 just to get an idea of the game is really all about, it is awesome. I thought that the game would be full of close to impossible to kill expert players with thousands of hours of gameplay to back them up, and there are a few of these, but there is a wide mix of players on there and there are plenty of maps with loads of games running all of the time. It won't take you long to find a server where there are a group of players at a similar level to your own, and as you get to experience the games MP dynamics you will see a completely different experience to anything the SP can offer. I also got this game as it was cheap and I thought the SP would be good value for the money. I have easily put more time into the MP game and I'm just about to reach level 14 now, personally I like the longer deathmatch games with kill targets set to 100 or more, in the early levels you will find these help you level up faster and you when the server is full a 16 player match is incredible fun. I can't wait for the 64 player games in Battlefield 3.
Posted by Infininja
@Egge said:
                         

 digital download



I prefer the analog type, myself.
Posted by Egge
@TheKeyboardDemon: Some really good advice, there, and I have no doubt the game is indeed excellent in MP. Unfortunalety, it's not just the learning curve that I can't get past in online play; it's the entire concept of playing online. I want a game to be a highly controlled experience with a clear beginning, middle and end. In multiplayer you cycle through the same maps over and over again (apart from the occasional DLC, of course), always have to rely on other people to derive enjoyment from the experience and also need to accept XP and unlocks as pretty much the only persistent reward or "goal". That model of gameplay obviously works for a lot of gamers these days, but I'm simply not one of them.
Posted by Egge
@Infininja: Yeah, nothing beats the high density and impressive signal resolution of analog downloads! ;) Seriously, though, the term "digital download" might seem redundant but it's actually quite common and seems to be the "official" term for digital distribution used by many sites. To take just a simple Wikipedia example;
Edited by Infininja
@Egge: It is very common which only fuels my dislike. :(

Edit: Ryan Davis uses it all the time. :( :(
Posted by Jayross

If you like singleplayer, Bad Company 1 is a much better game for that.