Wanna blow stuff up? Get Bad Company.
If I wanted to make this review short and sweet, I'd probably just say "If you like blowing stuff up and killing a bunch of people while doing it, then Battlefield Bad Company is the game for you." But since I like to add a bit of professionalism to my reviews, I'll delve a bit more into the game and give you a more enlightened point of view on this first-person shooter.
Battlefield Bad Company comes from developer EA DICE and publisher Electronic Arts and chronicles the adventures of B-Company, a band of rejected, misfit soldiers used by the army as canon fodder to slow down enemy troops until the "real" soldiers arrive. You'll play as Private Preston Marlowe, who's recently been reassigned to B-Company for undisclosed reasons. Joining you for this mission are Sergeant Redford, a tough and wise veteran whose soul purpose for joining the squad is so he can retire early; Stillwater, who joins the army only to get a college scholarship without realizing he'll actually have to fight; and Haggard who's just there to blow everything to smithereens. The camaraderie and constant teasing between Stillwater and Haggard is actually quite funny, as you'll see them push and shove each other or play rock-paper-scissors in the background while the Sarge gives out orders. Although it has its fair share of funny moments, the story and voice acting aren't this game's pay dirt. Actually, you can see how this one will end from a country mile away.
Although previous Battlefield games weren't known for their single player experience, concentrating more on the multiplayer side of things, this one is much different. There's a nicely fleshed out single player campaign here. As you make your way through the campaign, not only will you get to blow up a ton of walls, tanks, helicopters and, yes, even people, you'll also get to shoot them down with a very eclectic variety of weaponry. Although there are a lot of guns to choose from, the force and accuracy between them is barely noticeable. It would've been nice to have freedom of choice in which weapon to use, as we do in Rainbow Six Vegas games, but, sadly, there isn't, so you'll just have to settle for the weapon you pick up at the time, crappy or not. However, whether you're using a shotgun or a semi-automatic, the shooting feels good. It might not be as tight as in Call of Duty 4, for example, but it does the job well.
One thing you'll discover about Marlowe is that he's quite the jack-of-all-trades. Not only can he fire rocket launchers and use mortar strikes, he can also repair vehicles found throughout the game. You can carry your main weapon, with either a grenade launcher attached to it, hand grenades or a side arm, as well as, for your secondary "weapon", a variety of things from a rocket launcher to a mortar strike or even a repair tool. The gung-ho style of play was a nice change of pace… for the first 30 minutes. Although the game encourages you to blow holes into walls to expose the enemy, I found it more fun to just rush in there and gun them down. Blowing up tanks and walls is fun, but it really gets old after a while.
Although you'll die more often than you'd like in this game, doing so isn't as bad as you'd think. Aside from the many checkpoints scattered around the maps, you'll get to carry a nifty little gadget called the health injector. Instead of the overused health regeneration system from other similar games, I'm guessing the guys at DICE wanted to give Bad Company a more realistic feel with this injector, but the fact that you can use it every 40 seconds or so makes it feel more like a gimmick than a novel idea. Add to the fact that, when you die while in a vehicle, and even if it explodes, you'll respawn in said vehicle at the checkpoint, armor intact and all. This reminded me of BioShock's Vita-Chambers and how much easier it made the game.
The AI in Bad Company is laughable at best. I lost count of how many times I just stood next to an enemy for a good five seconds before he noticed me. Also, don't expect much help from your squad mates, as they'll just take cover behind something and act like nothing's going on around them. That's when they're not bumping into you while you're trying to avoid enemy fire. This is where a human partner, or partners, would've made all the difference in the world. Sadly, the game offers no co-op whatsoever, which is ridiculous for a shooter released in this day and age.
Luckily, this is a Battlefield game, which means that there is plenty of multiplayer action to be had here. Twenty-four players go head-to-head in an attack and defend mode called Gold Rush, where the attacking team tries to destroy the defending team's gold crates. Although the Battlefield mainstay mode called Conquest will be made available to download later on down the line, you won't miss it much while playing Gold Rush. The online is relatively lag-free and tons of fun to play. The only downside here is that if you arrive late to the party, you'll have a tough time keeping up with the rest of the already established players, but that goes for any other online game as well.
Battlefield Bad Company could have been a gem of a game, but its repetitiveness, faulty AI, quirky health regenerative methods and lack of co-op bring it down a couple of notches. The game is far from being bad however and should keep you entertained far beyond its 10-hour single player campaign with its excellent online component. With breathtaking sound and all-around decent visuals, Bad Company is worth checking out… when it hits the bargain bin sometime in the future.