Review: Battlefield: Bad Company 2
Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Electronic Art's and DICE's ultimate war rival to Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare 2, was finally released at the beginning of this month. It was one of the most anticipated titles of 2010. Did it live up to the hype?
- Worth The Time?Yes, absolutely.
- Things LovedThe PC version has been done justice, there are tons of weapons and upgrades to unlock, the deep and unique classes that allow you to decide how you want to play, fantastic multiplayer modes to play in, it features one of the most incredible and immersive war atmospheres in a game, the graphics are phenomenal on PC.
- Things HatedThe single player experience is lacking and repetitive, there are some glitches, there are no arms on screen while driving a vehicle which detracts from the experience, The PC version's server browser can be really slow, due to the large sizes of the maps it can be a chore to traverse them on foot.
- RecommendationThe biggest recommendation would of course go out to Battlefield fans, but PC gamers have been treated here immensely, and should definitely aim to pick this up. It's for the FPS fans.
- Name: Battlefield: Bad Company 2
- Genre: First Person Shooter
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: Online (1-32 players)
- Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
- Developer: EA Digital Illusions CE (DICE)
- Publisher: Electronic Arts
- Price: R350 (PC), R500 (PS3, 360)
- Reviewed On: PC, PS3
Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Electronic Art’s and DICE’s ultimate war rival to Infinity Ward’s Modern Warfare 2, was finally released at the beginning of this month. It was one of the most anticipated titles of 2010, for us here at eGamer as well, and PC gamers specifically couldn’t wait to get their hands on it, ultimately because they felt it would deliver the PC multiplayer experience that Modern Warfare refused to. Not to mention that the first Bad Company never released on PC, so the hype was even further amplified when DICE promised to make up for their neglect of the PC. The level of anticipation and hype for this game was much more than we expected, so it goes without saying that we were expecting quite a lot from this game – damn hype! Right then, let’s take an in-depth look at Bad Company 2.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2, as expected, sees the B-Company, now known as “Bravo Two”, make a return, with you once again assuming the role of Preston Marlowe. All the familiar faces are seen again, and backing Preston up is his rather strange crew who seem to be adept at providing tension-cutting one liners. The single player campaign has you follow the B-Company who, by the army’s orders, are searching for a weapon of mass destruction, which, no matter what, can’t fall into the hands of the enemy who, in this case, are the Russians. The game takes a more cinematic approach in its story progression and story-telling methods, as short cutscenes separate the all-out action and moments to take breathers and get your next objectives. There isn’t a great deal of dialogue, as its main purpose is seemingly to either make you crack a smile or open up the next plan of action.
I’m going to start off with a bit of a negative note, in saying that the single player experience of Bad Company 2 isn’t all that great. It’s not that it’s bad, on the contrary it’s relatively decent, but it’s just that it lacks that sense of epic we’ve come to expect from high-end war games. It’s a roughly six hour long shoot-out, where you completely annihilate everyone and everything, as if you’re some kind of super soldier using cheats in real life. Practically every single level involves you blowing everything up, taking out armies of enemies with your guns, mowing them down with bigger guns or destroying them with tanks, airstrikes and other nasty things. See, most gamers would love the never-ending adrenaline rush and intensity that the single player campaign provides, but in actuality, it’s the repetition of these constant mayhem-filled sections and levels that are the problem. Due to this, there is no moment in the game that stands out, no build-up to any significant events and no fear of anything going wrong.
Overall, it’s more or less the conventional unlikely hero plot, where the guys who aren’t fit to be heroes end up doing all of the hard work in order to save the day. As such, your primary focus won’t really be on the story much of the time. While on this quest of danger, you’ll get to see lots of awesome environments, such as snowy regions, lush grasslands and jungles and barren desert areas. All of them look incredible, even more so on the PC version of the game, which can output superior visuals to its console counterparts, provided you have a powerful rig of course. Despite the fact that war is going on, it’s hard not to sometimes just stare at the beautiful scenery featured in the game, which is testament to how visually impressive this game is.
Fortunately, it’s the multiplayer of this game that truly makes it what it is. Just by looking at the single player campaign alone, you’ll be disappointed, as it feels more like a tacked on experience rather than an essential part of the game. Despite this, there is still quite a lot of fun to be had playing it, and it serves as a good warm up to the multiplayer. Online, this game is a blast. From my experience with both the console and PC versions of the game, DICE did a fantastic job on all platforms, especially on the PC, which is the version they went the extra mile for. On consoles, you’re able to head online with a very-easy-to-navigate menu and immediately jump into a game, while on the PC version you get the full server browser and, best of all, the local South African servers, which allow you to play completely lag-free. In the console versions, you’re going to have to jump into a game with local players to get the best results. However, both the PC and console versions provide great interfaces that make for easy and effective navigation, it’s just a shame that, at this point in time, the server browser for the PC version is really slow, so for now the best way is to add local servers to your favourites list.
There are four game modes to become involved in online. On the PC version, you can have up to 32 players in a game, while the console versions are capped at 24 players, so I’ll be using the PC version as the base to describe the online modes. There’s Rush mode, which basically has 32 players (24 players for consoles), battle it out over pairs of M-COM stations. There are 16 players per team, where one team is the attackers and the other the defenders. The attackers have to destroy the M-COM stations, by setting charges on them or by use of explosives like C4, while the defenders have to protect the stations until the attackers run out of reinforcements. Squad Rush mode is essentially Rush, except it has 8 players, 4 per team, battle against each other. Squad Deathmatch is your standard Team Deathmatch, except with a twist, as it sees four four-man squads pitched up against each other, all of who are required to murder each other until one squad reaches 50 kills, making them the victors. The last mode is Conquest, where 32 players wage war against each other in order to capture and control flags for as long as the enemy team’s reinforcements (respawn tickets) last. While each kill results in a loss of a ticket, controlling more than half of the flags on the map results in constant ticket loss for your opponents. There are also hardcore versions of these game modes, if you’re into that kind of thing, where most of your HUD is removed and your health is decreased, making weapons far more lethal.
While the game lacks quantity in game modes, it certainly makes up for that in quality. In Rush, matches can become extremely tense as players constantly turn the tide of battle. Any attacker can set charges, while any defender can disarm charges once they’re set, so objective areas can really turn into killing fields while players desperately try to blow up or protect the objectives, making this mode one of the most exciting war modes to play in. Squad Rush provides a similar concept, but the experience is entirely different, as it’s much more focused on team work and tactics. Squad Deathmatch needs no explanation, as it’s your typical fast paced, adrenaline rush shoot out with the sole aim of killing everyone and everything. Conquest provides a similar intense experience as Rush, except it focuses more on control and holding the ground than destruction.
The destructible environments from the first game return, except they’ve been up-scaled and improved, adding dramatically more to the immersion and dynamic of the game. In fact, it adds so much more realism and intensity to the experience, it’s scary. Large trees topple over, entire buildings can be blown apart and grounded if they take enough of an explosive beating, cover will be entirely destroyed and, well, lots of things will just be blowing up, to put it literally. However, due to this, the game can really feel overly chaotic at times, even to the point that you’ll die just as you spawn on occasion. This is escalated by the fact that vehicles like tanks, helicopters and APCs can really cause damage. Fortunately, you’re able to select your spawn point, and if you’re in a squad you can spawn on any alive member. Speaking of vehicles, there are about 15 in Bad Company 2, and all of them are really great. There are quad bikes, tanks, APCs, helicopters, two-man speed boats, UAV attack helicopters controlled by remote terminals, transport vehicles – all of which provide more depth and excitement to the multiplayer, while simultaneously adding more chaos.
One of the best aspects of Bad Company 2’s multiplayer is definitely the diversity in the classes. There are four of them, namely Assault, Engineer, Medic and Recon, and are all an enormous amount of fun to use, are unique and deep in their own rights, allowing you to decide how you want to play, and all provide a very different experience. The fact that there are tons of weapons, gadgets and specilisations to unlock, both class specific and universal (any class can use them), really adds a great deal to the experience. Specialisations are basically your special add-ons, like scopes, and enhancement perks, while gadgets are your C4s, mortars and Anti-vehicle mines. Not to mention that there’s still your actual rank to increase. As expected, progressing online requires experience points, which are constantly earned, through kills, completing challenges and objectives, meeting certain criteria and even something like damaging vehicles.
The catch is that experience points aren’t universal when it comes to classes. While any points you earn go towards leveling up your rank, points you earn while playing a class only apply to that class. At the end of a game, your performance card will show you how many points you earned for each class and overall in the match. For example, if you’re interested in unlocking a new sniper rifle, you’ll have to play the Recon class. It’s really a fantastic system, because it doesn’t just make it more simple to hunt for what you want and settle on a class that suits you, it also lets you get to know each class, because you can play with all classes in one game and gain points for all at the end. Essentially, with this system you become keen to try out new things and experiment with the classes – or play all of them simultaneously.
Another thing to love about Bad Company 2 is the incredible war atmosphere. Few games can truly match the ultra realistic feel that this game provides, which is further improved by the stunning visuals. There is no music while engaged in war, which makes it all the more realistic. On that note, though, the quality of the sound is spectacular, and guns, explosions and vehicles all look, feel and sound amazing. The maps you play on are huge and beautifully detailed, with plenty of awesome and greatly designed locations to fight in. The downside, however, is that because of the enormous size of the maps, it can be a chore to traverse them on foot, in the case of no vehicles or live squad members to use. Luckily, there are checkpoints on the map in the objective-based modes, which makes it easier. What makes the atmosphere and maps even more mind blasting are the destructible environments, which really makes Bad Company 2’s war-feel one of the best in gaming.
The other problem is that there are various glitches, like the fact that you can get stuck in the environment on occasion. Fortunately it doesn’t happen too often, but when it does, it gets you killed. What’s also very important, regarding the PC version, is that the game doesn’t hog resources and jitter and stuck as it did in the beta, it’s fantastically smooth and a real joy to play, especially with the PC features, such as the optimised interface. Other graphical issues include no arms on screen while driving a vehicle, so it appears as though you are invisible and the steering wheel is moving on its own, which detracts from the experience, purely because everything else is done so well. Some small environmental details load up a little bit late at times, but it isn’t anything really damaging and chances are you won’t really notice it.
One final, but very important, point I’d like to mention is regarding Bad Company 2 versus Modern Warfare 2. I know the whole business has long started regarding which of the two is better, so I’m going to give my input and hopefully ease the tension, at least to some degree. Ultimately, I don’t think Bad Company 2 is better than Modern Warfare 2, but at the same time I don’t think Modern Warfare 2 is miles ahead either. I would have to cut the bar at equal. Essentially, Bad Company 2 is the game for you if you prefer a more realistic and immersive war atmosphere over the Call of Duty arcade-ish feel. Not to mention that if you’re a PC gamer who wasn’t happy with Modern Warfare 2, then this is definitely the game to go for. It all comes down to that, and whether you’re a Battlefield junkie or a Call of Duty one. If you’ve had experience with neither, then I can only suggest you try both out before making your decision. Although if you’re a PC gamer I’d recommend this game over Modern Warfare 2. However, while I’m saying that neither is better than the other, I’m definitely going to say that Bad Company 2 is a great rival to Modern Warfare 2, and should have no problems being played alongside, or together with, Infinity Ward’s giant.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is a great game. It’s unfortunate that the single player experience is somewhat lacking, but essentially the multiplayer is what this game is all about, and it’s there that this game truly shines. At the current price you can get this game for, it’s worth every cent. With tons of weapons and upgrades to unlock, deep and unique classes that allow you to decide how you want to play, fantastic multiplayer modes to play in and one of the most incredible and immersive war atmospheres in a game, Bad Company 2 is a winner.