twenty0ne's Battlefield: Bad Company (Xbox 360) review

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Unleash havoc on the battlefield like never before.

In late 2006, Electronic Arts released Battlefield 2142 on the PC to relative success. Two years later, the Battlefield series came to consoles with the release of Battlefield: Bad Company. In Bad Company, you'll be utilizing Dice's new Frostbite engine to destroy your way through a somewhat short single-player and an addicting multiplayer experience. Though Bad Company is quite different from its Battlefield cousins in both story and presentation, minus a few small annoyances, it's a great shooter that shouldn't be passed up.

In Bad Company, you play as Preston Marlowe, newcomer to the 222nd Battalion of the United States Army. As soon as you meet your new squad-mates, one thing becomes apparent - "B Company," as it's called, isn't your ordinary squad. It turns out that the members of B Company are the misfits of the Army, deemed "expendable." Thus, your squad is often the first sent to tackle sticky situations, and worse, you're often sent in alone. Luckily for you, Dice's new Frostbite engine literally makes the battlefield your "sandbox." With a large array of gadgets including a motor strike, JDAM guided missile, and your trusty grenade launcher, you can alter the battlefield as you see fit. Is there an enemy stalking you from behind a building? Try blowing out the wall to expose him. Is there a building in the way of your objective? You can blow that up too. Of course, the Frostbite engine has its limits; you can't blow out ceilings or floors, and no matter how much carnage you induce, the building's frame will always remain intact. Despite its limits, however, Frostbite shadows over other "destructible environments" seen thus far, and therefore, gives you more options for playing and enjoying this relatively linear campaign.

When you're not doing cleanup work for the Army, you'll be AWOL searching for treasure. Though you'll be fighting plenty of Russians, Marlowe and his ragtag squad will spend a majority of the campaign hunting down a cache of hidden mercenary gold. This can get a bit dull, as you'll often find yourself simply going from objective to objective chasing gold with little gameplay or story variation in between. In addition, if you decide not to find the unlockable goodies or gold bars for achievements, you'll find the campaign is quite short and could be finished in under ten hours depending on the difficulty you play. The difficulties in Bad Company scale well, but no matter what you choose, you'll notice that the AI is quite dumb. They will easily lose sight of you and wont bother hunting you down should you retreat or hide. Not only that, but after a fierce firefight, they'll wonder around clearings with little or no cover, oblivious to the fact that their buddy just got shot a few seconds earlier in the exact same spot. And even if you're packing one of Bad Company's fiercest shotguns, enemies will run willy-nilly right towards you, again oblivious to the danger ahead of them. Another small annoyance is the game's appearance. The graphics are very good other than a persistent grainy effect during both campaign and multiplayer. Again, this effect is more of an annoyance than a problem, but is definitely noticeable. Despite the buggy AI, odd grainy effect, and the relatively short campaign, Bad Company is made fun by a wide range of guns, vehicles, gadgets, and the wonderful destructable environments.

Another interesting aspect to the campaign is the health system. In Bad Company, you're given a number between one and one hundred to represent your current health level - think Half Life. When this number gets low, all you need to do is press a button to heal yourself. Upon pressing this button, Marlowe will whip out an "auto injector" and his health will return to full; unlike other games, your health won't refill automatically and you wont need to collect health packs or med-kits. This can take some getting used to, as the auto injector has unlimited uses and no respawn time. At first, you'll feel odd healing yourself every time Preston receives as little damage as a scratch. But, by the end of the campaign, pressing the auto injector button every time you get hit will begin to feel routine; however, this will hinder you when you wander into Bad Company's multiplayer mode, where the injector has quite a long respawn time. Fortunately, this interesting health system doesn't take anything away from Bad Company's gameplay. 

Though Bad Company's single-player is decent, multiplayer is where the game really shines. The multiplayer touts two gameplay modes: the exciting Gold Rush mode and also the Conquest mode that Battlefield fans know and love. In the new Gold Rush mode, you'll either be defending a set of gold crates, or attempting to blow them up - this is especially fun given Bad Companies destructible environments. Though the winner of the match is usually determined what side you're on (attacking is much more difficult), the vehicles and weapon classes are well balanced, creating an engaging experience. Unfortunately, Dice decided to stick to the classic Battlefield formula and did not include any other death-match based modes; this is a bit of a bummer given the tendency of players to not work as a team in a game mode that depends on it.

As you rank up, you'll get the option of unlocking a new gadget or weapon to add to your current stash. Though many of the guns feel similar, the weapon unlock system serves as a good incentive to level up and continue playing. The down side about this system, however, is that there's only so much to unlock and only 35 levels to climb. Once you reach level 35 there's no option to get to a higher level, nor is there an option to start over and unlock the guns again like in the Call of Duty games. You'll find yourself running out of things to do once you reach level 35, and as a result, the online community has sort of fizzled out. Nevertheless, Bad Company's multiplayer makes it one of the best to date... while it lasts.

Thanks to the new Frostbite engine, Bad Company has emerged as an above-average shooter amidst good competition. The campaign, though short, gives the player control of the battlefield like never before with many useful weapons, vehicles, and gadgets. The multiplayer uses the same formula in the new Gold Rush gameplay mode to create a winner among a market saturated with online shooters. Bad Company's destructible environments let FPS fans unleash havoc on the battlefield like never before, in both campaign and multiplayer. This is one game that shooter aficionados should not pass up.

Other reviews for Battlefield: Bad Company (Xbox 360)

    Wanna blow stuff up? Get Bad Company. 0

    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...

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    You smell very clean 0

    I've always felt like the Battlefield franchise was a bit limiting as an online only multiplayer shooter. Sure, its large-scale battles are incredibly fun online, and the basic Battlefield formula holds firm in every iteration of the series that I've played. I guess I'm just greedy, and have always wanted more for my $50-$60. Fortunately, my wish has been granted via Battlefield: Bad Company. Bad Company's online play is about what you'd expect from the franchise, but it throws in a surprisingly...

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