Last November Infinity Ward set the FPS world ablaze with the release of their highly anticipated Call Of Duty sequel, Modern Warfare 2. While the game was met with rave reviews from every major gaming outlet worldwide, a deeper battle was brewing behind closed doors that ultimately lead to the dismantling of the creative team behind the blockbuster hit. At the same time this news was developing, EA and DICE seized the opportunity to release a sequel to a franchise of their own, Battlefield: Bad Company. Bad Company 2 delivers an intriguing campaign mode coupled with fully destructible environments and a robust online multiplayer experience that rivals that of even the best Call Of Duty has to offer. Here are a few reasons why now is a good time to join the battle.
Bad Company 2 picks up immediately after the events from the previous game. A highly decorated United States Special Ops Unit tackles the nearly impossible task of stopping a Russian terrorist organization from global domination. The player assumes the control of Preston Marlowe, a private squad member with a determination to win the war at all costs. Your crew consists of three more men to round out the final squad of four. Privates Terrance Sweetwater and George Haggard provide the comic relief factor, while Sergeant Samuel Redford (Sarge) maintains his serious tone as the dignified leader. The best way to define this story dynamic is as a buddy action flick in the same vein as Lethal Weapon. The inclusion of action, suspense, and humor is well paced and defined by the amount of balance that it brings to the game as a whole. The idea of taking on this approach to tell a story suits the game really well in showcasing the harsh depiction of war but never once taking the subject matter too seriously.
Another bonus that makes this an exceptional title is how each character is multi-dimensional in their own unique way. Haggard is presented as a wisecracking jokester with a fascination for explosions and football, but always makes remarks as if his next battle could be his last. By that same token, Sarge is reminiscent of an annoyed Danny Glover in the sense that his retirement plans are always postponed everytime an enemy threat goes down. One of my personal favorite characters in the game is Ghost Rider, a hippie pilot that plays a pivotal side role in the story. DICE’s decision to add a diverse cast with varied emotions easily identifies a sense of humanity that any person can relate to. The campaign itself takes place over several exotic South American locations and does an exceptional job of shifting combat scenarios throughout. Unlike Modern Warfare 2, this game has a relatively lengthy campaign mode. The total experience divides each mission into designated periods leaving some parts shorter or longer then others. Overall it will take a total of 8-10 hours to playthrough the game depending upon which difficulty setting you select from the beginning.
When it comes to gameplay, Bad Company 2 has a few hits and misses. The combat scheme is virtually flawless with an added flair of precision when it comes to using guns and knives. The response time is emphasized well by how fast you can take down your targets. Just like in Modern Warfare 2, you have the option of firing from your hip or up close, instantly making any shooter fan comfortable. One of the biggest improvements in the game is the implementation of a deeper destruction system, appropriately titled Destruction 2.0. By using this mechanism you can demolish almost everything to your hearts content including houses and tanks. The enemy A.I. noticeably sparks at any given time depending upon the obstacles you’re placed in. Just like any first person shooter game you have to take a strategical approach to combat to ensure survival.
There are also many collectible weapons to find throughout the game that better your chances in each encounter. However, when it comes to controlling tanks, bikes, or helicopters the experience may invoke a little frustration on the gamers’ part. The heavily flawed camera system easily makes driving become a chore at times. It’s worth noting that you can alter between both a first person and third person view, but each has its own glaring problems. The first-person view often shows the wheel of the vehicle rotating without the player’s hands, a tactic used previously in the Half-Life games. The third-person view is slightly better but even while making sharp turns you’re bound to have issues matching up the camera with the directional path your driving. Minor gripes aside, graphically the game looks and feels a lot like Modern Warfare 2 in many ways. The level of detail in the characters and environments is appealing enough to keep your attention most of the time. I’m fully confident that addressing the camera issues in future iterations can clearly make this the game to beat for many years to come.
Bad Company 2’s online multiplayer experience offers a tamer approach then most multiplayer packages. There are only 3 definitive game modes to explore: Rush, Conquest, and Squad Deathmatch. Rush separates groups of players into 12 man teams that win by successfully defending the M-COM systems you disable throughout the single player story mode. Conquest is the same premise but with the exception being that you have to capture as many as the other teams flags as possible. If you have a hard time choosing between which mode to play there is a Rush or Conquest mode option that randomly drops you in the next available game. Squad Deathmatch is self exclamatory in the sense that the first team to tally 50 kills wins.
The main reason why the online offers a high replayability factor lies in the four classes you can choose from: Assault, Engineer, Recon, and Medic. Each class offers it’s own unique set of weapons and specialized attacks that are unlocked as you rank up. In addition to modifying weapons, you also are able to gain access to using tanks against your adversaries. This makes for some intense battle sequences that will challenge how you approach your enemies. There are also 8 huge maps to explore as you get deeper into the mode. The one drawback I see with the multiplayer experience is the lack of modes available to the gamer. While the main focus of this game is to emphasize and promote team play, it wouldn’t hurt to at least offer a Free-For-All-Mode. That way each individual would be forced to fend for himself, thus elevating one’s level of play. Even more interesting would be if you could potentially turn on your teammates adding to the drama and suspense that the campaign has already mastered.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is an action packed title with an extremely high fun factor. With a solid campaign and competitive multiplayer arena, DICE has positioned themselves above the Modern Warfare 2 hype and delivered a truly enjoyable experience. As standard business practice dictates, it’s expected that healthy competition often ends up benefitting the consumer more then anyone else. With this release, Bad Company 2 is the stronger of the two games with a promise to only get better with sequels. It’s only unfortunate that you won’t get to see Infinity Ward respond by releasing Modern Warfare 3. That idea, pretty much like the villain form Bad Company 2, is dead on arrival.