Giant Bomb Review

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Battlefield: Bad Company Review

5
  • X360

Bad Company's pro-explosion agenda makes its solo and multiplayer components markedly better than they would be otherwise.

Lots of games have explosions--with all the conflict and war being represented on various video game machines these days, I'd almost be willing to wager that there are more games that have explosions than games that don't. As a result, most standard destruction has become passe. Punching an exploding barrel just doesn't have the same thrill that it once did. That's why someone is always out there, working in secret on games that give explosions the respect they deserve. Sometimes, though, these games focus too much on the explosion, and the gameplay suffers as a result. So it's nice when all this stuff can co-exist. Battlefield: Bad Company has great-looking bangs, but the reason they're so thrilling is because they do more than just damage all nearby players, enemies, and vehicles. These explosions dig big divots in the environment, knock down fences, and blast holes in the sides of buildings, making them an exciting and useful gameplay addition that helps make the whole game better.

Love is a battlefield.
Bad Company also breaks tradition by being the first Battlefield game with a meaningful single-player mode. Instead of pitting you against bots or partnering you up with flat, uninteresting allies, Bad Company tells a charming story with characters who are fun to have at your side, making the whole thing feel a lot more alive. The story pits you in the role of a soldier as he becomes the fourth member of Bad Company, a tight crew of expendable misfits, brought together because they screwed up somewhere else. As such, you're sent in to do dirty work as a four-man crew against an army of mercenaries and Russians.

The mercenaries are where the story strays from the standard war tale and presses firmly into "Three Kings without all the messy political messages" territory. It seems that the mercenaries are part of a private army run by a man known as the Legionnaire, who only conducts business when gold is involved. With truckloads of gold around the region, your team quickly eschews duty, goes AWOL, and gets into the gold hunting business. The game tells most of its story through in-engine cutscenes, where the members of your team really come alive through a combination of clever dialogue, quality voice acting, and terrific visuals.

It's also neat that Bad Company manages to feel like a Battlefield game while still presenting you with a cohesive story and multiple objectives. With few exceptions, the game takes place on wide-open battlefields. You'll traverse long distances over the course of the game, which really gives it a sense of size and scope that you don't get from most other shooters. That said, there are limits to this wide-open freedom, as the edges of the current area are closed off. If you travel into these darker areas of the map, a five-second timer pops up, and you're killed (by enemy artillery, the game claims) if you stay outside the lines until time expires. That feels a little artificial, but never comes across like a huge restriction.

Bad Company is full of homewreckers.
That feeling of freedom extends to your tactical options. The game contains a large number of different weapons, which you'll find on dead enemies or laying around in houses. These weapons are technically two weapons, since some of them come with a barrel-mounted grenade launcher, while others arm you with a pistol as a secondary weapon or let you toss grenades. You can also carry a secondary item, which includes a power tool that can fix vehicles, C4 explosives, rocket launchers, laser designators for calling in missile strikes, and so on. The game liberally sprinkles ammo crates across the entire game, giving you plenty of opportunities to blow up anything and everything.

And that's what makes Battlefield: Bad Company so much fun. Many sections of the game have you working your way through a bunch of small, enemy-filled houses. While you could crawl through windows or look for doors to make your way from one house to the next, it's way faster and way more fun to just blast holes in walls and leave a path of scorched Earth in your wake. While you can't quite take down an entire building, you can blow most walls and roofs completely apart, denying your enemy cover in the process. The devastation is useful and it also looks fantastic, which is a winning combination.

The dynamic destruction of Bad Company also carries over to the multiplayer side. Online, the game becomes a bit more traditional, offering a style of class-based multiplayer with unlockable weapons for each class. While you could argue that playing with preset classes in a post-Call of Duty 4 world is a bit dated, the differences between the classes are meaningful and interesting. Even the support class, which does double duty as both a medic and an engineer, is fun to play, largely because he also gets the ability to call in mortar strikes and wields a light machine gun.

The mortar strike lets you use the Russians' technology against them.
The multiplayer mode in Bad Company is called Gold Rush, and it's slightly different from the standard Conquest mode that Battlefield is known for. The teams are assigned to attacker and defender roles. The attacking team has to blow up two gold crates that the defending team must fight to protect. The defenders win if they can drain the attacking team's respawn meter. If the attackers get both gold crates, they earn more respawns and push the defenders back to another set of gold crates, and then another. So if the attackers can push the defenders back and destroy all the crates, they win. If the defenders drain their enemy's respawn meter, they win.

It makes for an interesting struggle, and the open areas and vehicle-enabled gameplay that you'd expect to find in a Battlefield game is present, though the vehicle control does take some getting used to. There are plenty of houses and other buildings to hide in or blow up, and overall, the maps feel just right for the 24-player limit.

As you play online ranked matches, you earn experience points that grant you additional ranks. You also earn unlock points when you gain a rank, which you can use to unlock three more items per class--two primary weapons and one special item, such as a health recharger, mortar strike, anti-tank mines, and so on. There are also ten weapons in multiplayer--two per class--that can't be selected under normal circumstances. One set is the gold set, which are given to players who purchase the Gold Edition version of the game for an extra $10. If you don't get this version, you still earn these weapons when you hit the level cap at rank 25.

The other set is a little more insidious, as it requires you to jump through a mess of marketing behavior-oriented hoops. One weapon is earned for pre-ordering the game (so if you're reading this and thinking about buying the game, it's already too late). Another you get for signing up for the Bad Company newsletter. Another is earned for playing the demo version of the game and ranking up to level four. The whole thing feels cheap and filthy, though the good news is that these weapons don't really feel very necessary, either. After unlocking every other weapon, you'll have six primary weapons to choose from. While I wasn't able to unlock all of these guns and see them for myself, the statistics given for their accuracy, handling, rate of fire, and so on don't make them sound like must-have equipment.

Between its easy-to-enjoy multiplayer and the romp that is the single-player campaign, Battlefield: Bad Company is an easy game to like. It looks great, has fun characters, a load of interesting weaponry, and works nicely whether you're playing alone or with a squad. The campaign lasts long enough to feel fulfilling, and the multiplayer kept me coming back once that was complete.
Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
129 Comments
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Posted by Berkie

 Aint nuthin like some good  'splosions

Posted by PatheticMan

'Aint that the truth?

Posted by DaFT_PLAyeRr

things are always better when they go boom

Posted by Shortyz

This game smells very clean!!!

Posted by Buttmonk3y

A good Multiplayer game, but could have been so much better with more game styles from launch

Online
Posted by Buttmonk3y

A good Multiplayer game, but could have been so much better with more game styles from launch

Online
Posted by Gameflogger

Awesome game, Awesome review! good too read Jeff's reviews again!

Posted by pmonnier

Good multiplayer, didn't like single player campaign, running/screen movement almost makes me nauseous.  Not a terrible game but not my favourite either.

Posted by MaternalBloom

This game has a great Multiplayer but the Singleplayer is very lackluster.

Posted by JPGamer26

The only problem I had with the game is that the AI is idiotic at times. It's almost as if your squad does not have weapons, because they rarely use them

Posted by OGCartman

Awesome Game
Great review jeff

Posted by sionweeks

The problem with this game is the idiotic Enemy AI. I encountered enemies running into walls, or completely ignoring my presence many time. The multiplayer could also use a death match, but the mode that's in there now is still incredibly fun IMO.

Posted by Jazz

I wanna play this after finally getting into the multiplayer scene with MGO

Posted by EagleEye23

Awesome game, picked it up last week - I prefer it over COD4 is there something wrong with me.

Posted by N2NOther

I found the  game to be the complete opposite of fun. The controls are clunky, the animations jerky, the AI was dumb as hell but yet had the aiming of someone with magnetic bullets and I was wearing a metal vest. Not to mention the single player had a terrible script. And then you have multiplayer. Uhm...no. I couldn't find the fun in this game and believe me, I tried. I tried very hard. Often times my friends and I would enter a game and become separated, either different squads or opposing teams. The lack of ability to carry two primary weapons is dumb. The toggle through for nades was a poor choice. It's a shame I paid $70 for the Gold Edition only to trade it in after 3 weeks. COD 4 blows it away in nearly every way.

Posted by Mourne

Finally get to see the video review.

Great work as usual, Jeff (and Vinny, of course, for the high video production values)

Posted by StealthSilver

Multiplayer is strangely addictive.

Posted by vdy

the funny singleplayer and the addictive multiplayer makes it a pretty good game.

Posted by MrBester

Me and a Friend played the multiplayer demo for 8 hours straight. so i just had to buy this game, Its That Good.

Posted by MissileWarriorz

bad company rocks

Posted by Lilja

"Repair other players" :P

Posted by MiamiRedHawks

I really want to play this game, but I'm too obsessed with COD4 and getting  my Gold Cross.

Posted by RVonE

This game sound like a lot of fun. I will check it out soon, I guess.

Posted by Famicom

I have it, it's nice and all...But COD4 has ruined my life...

Posted by Mikael

I really must try this game.

Posted by spragels

This game is so great. I thought it was going to be another generic shooter and I was so wrong. I would really recommend people check this game out.

Posted by ManlyBeast

It's a good game.

Posted by Moridin

Honestly, I haven't finished the single-player. I tried, but I played one multiplayer match and was hooked.

Posted by BlackWaterCO

Played the demo and im gonna pick it up when they patch in conquest

Posted by ZeroGravX

This game is my new addiction.

Posted by Superfriend

It´s a great game! Just don´t play it on hard the first time through because you´re going to have to stab yourself with the needle every 30 secs... Other than that it´s just awesome.

Posted by MichaelBach

Great game, kind of snuck up on me. I didn´t expect anything, but after watching Jeff's review I thought I would check it out... now I cant stop playing it.

Posted by Gen_Warbuff

Ya, the reason I love this game is cause the big splosions! Creates a great fog of war. Was not expecting this game to be nearly as good as it is.

Posted by jacobs34

I really enjoyed this game. I'd recommend it to anyone who is looking for a FPS this summer.

Posted by ShogunofHarlem

I played the Beta and wasn't all that impressed, but picked it up a couple weeks after it released and was really surprised by how much i enjoyed it.  I highly recommend this game to anyone who enjoys FPS's.

Posted by Aaron_G

Awesome game.

Posted by DaFT_PLAyeRr

I love the singleplayer, but the multiplayer just doesn't do it for me. I think i'll stick to halo 3 But the explosions are still kickass

Posted by target_render

good review.  Maybe a tad generous, but it is a pretty addictive game.   The best shooter so far in 2008.

Posted by Lozz

Very addictive online. I have played a shit ton of it recently.

Posted by Grecco

Not a fan of the singleplayer. The team AI is terrible, and needed desperately co op

 

But the multi player is amazing.

Posted by Natural20

Yeah what's up with no co-op that seems like an obvious feature nowadays 

Posted by ThaLegend

Played the game for little bit and from what I saw it's pretty good

Posted by MOLE

This game does diserve 5 stars, but my only problem with the game is the lack of prone.  Unlike the other Battlefield games, Prone was an important part of the game, it gave you (what I like to call) ground coverage.  SInce wall coverage is out of question, the ground is your freind when most needed.  But of course Dice stuios mess up and didn't really think this one over.  If they would of made it so that the Sniper would be harder to aim, prone wouldn't be a problem for the other classes.  Even still, the sniper has lag to it, so sniping a guy far away takes alot of leading your targets.

Posted by Blackoutt21

great review jeff. glad u made this site.

Posted by velt

I would like to see this on the pc.

Posted by Icewind

Very fun I just wish there were more modes. But i love it. Once the new modes are released i will be happy!

Posted by Icewind

Very fun I just wish there were more modes. But i love it. Once the new modes are released i will be happy!

Posted by ScubaKlown

this really an awsome game but the only problem is that when u hold down the stick to run its takes a second or 2 for u to fire so if your caught out in the open with sum one right in front of you  u cant start to fire right off the trigger. you have to wait for your gun to appear . besides that i love every thing else about it

Posted by Dr_Feelgood38

I really like this game but I think that a PC version would be even better.

Posted by Razor

I just wish this game came out on the PC also :(

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