Our Story So Far: BAAAAAAAAAAAAD Company!!!

I don't play online shooters.  It's not that I don't like them.  I think it's that I know I suck at them.  Most of the time, I just wander around for a couple of seconds and then wind up dead.  Repeat thirty times until the round ends, then let's go do it again.  You can see why I don't find that cycle to be very much fun.  Halo and Gears of War are franchises that have helped make XBox Live the juggernaut that it is, yet I've never touched an online session in any of those games.  And I've played them all.  I missed the boat on Call of Duty 4, so when I got in there I was way outclassed.  I lasted a little while in World at War and Modern Warfare 2, but still didn't revisit those games much after a month had passed.  About the only online shooter I ever spent a whole lot of time with was Battlefield 2.  I don't know what it was about that game, but I couldn't get enough of it.  I spent a good number of months on those battlefields, claiming flags and healing my teammates (I usually played as a medic).  Something about it just clicked with me.  So I guess it's fitting that the first game to come along that has replicated that addiction for me would be Battlefield: Bad Company 2.

Now I wasn't a huge fan of the original Bad Company.  Don't get me wrong; I loved the characters within Bad Company.  Sarge, Sweetwater, Marlowe, and Haggard compose what may be the greatest team in video game history.  The dialogue and chemistry between these guys was fantastic, and there were a ton of genuinely hilarious moments throughout the game.  And the story was pretty good.  A team of outcast soldiers looking to score a bunch of illicit gold in the midst of a battlefield is a story that movies have done before, but it worked just fine for this game.  But there was something about the actual gameplay that just put me off.  Maybe it was the fact that I could never see the guys who were shooting at me until my health was about 3/4ths of the way gone.  Maybe it was the fact that the mechanics were ripped straight from the multiplayer.  You would respawn after dying, with everything you had done prior still having occurred.  That didn't make sense to me in a single player campaign.  Whatever it was, I walked away from Bad Company thinking it was merely OK.  A great group of characters set in a mediocre shooter.  Needless to say, I didn't have high hopes for the sequel.

Thankfully, I was dead wrong.  I've heard a lot of reviewers complaining about the single player campaign, saying they made it too serious or something to that effect.  I can see where they're coming from, but I still argue that all the great humor of the Bad Company is still in there.  You just have to wait around sometimes to hear it.  The team will discuss their favorite scenes in Predator, why the black man calls 50 Cent "Fitty Cent", and how Sarge would fare as a mixed martial artist.  It is all fantastic.  Yet the actual story does take a more serious approach, so I see how that's not what some people were looking for.  In my opinion, though, almost every other part of the single player experience is improved in Bad Company 2.  I can see my enemies before I'm dead.  The respawning weirdness is gone.  You've got regenerating health to give you a fighting chance.  Really, the game plays a lot more like the Modern Warfare series.  And you know what?  Modern Warfare is pretty good!  And Bad Company 2 gives you more than 4 hours in its single player campaign!  I seem to be in the minority here, but I prefer Bad Company 2's single player to the original.  I just think it plays better.  Heck, I think it's better than Modern Warfare 2's single player too, which I thought was pretty darn good.

But there are a lot of people who don't want anything to do with the single player game.  To them, Battlefield is multiplayer, and that's all they care about.  Me, I never touched the mulitplayer in the first Bad Company.  I first played it on a rental copy that I got about a year after the game was released, so I figured I had missed the window on that part.  I got Bad Company 2 right at launch, and people were raving about the multiplayer, so I decided this time I would give it a go.  I got into a Conquest match, and it was Battlefield.  It was what I remembered from back in the days of Battlefield 2.  I was trying to capture control points, fighting off enemies trying to recapture them, etc.  It was a lot like the game I remembered.  I didn't like it at all.  Weird, huh?  I guess I felt Battlefield 2 was a great moment in my past, but online shooters had moved on.  Progression was in this game, but it was taking forever to get past rank one.  I wasn't unlocking anything.  After a few matches of that, I figured I was done with the online component.

Thankfully, I gave it another shot a few weeks later.  This time, I tried out the Rush mode.  And oh my God, was it glorious.  This is how you should be playing Bad Company 2.  I was unlocking multiple things each round, racking up the kill counts, and scoring huge points from completing objectives.  I lost countless hours in that thing, and I still kinda want to jump back in sometime.  Now I said I suck at online shooters when I started this post, but somehow I always found myself near the top of the pack in Bad Company 2.  I can't tell you how much that can make me want to jump into another match.  Much like Battlefield 2, Bad Company 2 has somehow clicked with me in a way other online shooters never have.  This is my FPS of choice right now.  A new mode has recently been released, so I need to get back on and see what that has to offer.   Call of Duty: Black Ops and Medal of Honor are coming later this year, and both are vying to claim the title of the King of Online Shooters.  Personally, I think they both have a lot to accomplish if they want any hope of topping Bad Company 2.
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