The FPS. From Halfâ€“Life to Halo, we have killed waves of zombies and taken down an armies high ranks, who we thought were friends, but really were the enemy all along! Shocker.
So, its safe to say the FPS genre is both one of the best, and at the same time, one of the worst. But a name that is synonymous with this genre is the Battlefield series. From its early roots way back in 2002 with Battlefield 1942. However, Codename Eagle could be seen as the spiritual predecessor to the series. That was then, and we live in the now. Bad Company 2, sequel to 2008 console hit Bad Company, is a modern-day shooter from EA DICE. I went into this game expecting it to be good, DICE have yet to let me down, and after playing the Pc beta, I knew my faith would be rewarded come Friday March 5th.
The Bad Company 2 story Follows four US army soldiers previously branded Bad Company, now known as Bravo 2. The player reprises their role as squad member Preston Marlow, as the squad battle through all types of terrain, so they can get their hands on a WMD before the Russians use it to disable the USA from within. I wont go into the story elements, but I will say that the game is a thrill ride. It takes inspiration from some of the best B rated action flicks. Over the top action, Unsurvivable odds, and in typical Bad Company fashion, some great squad humour(and a few MW 2 digs).
Bad Company 2 takes you all over the place. You will start in a time gone by. After that slight explanation of what is to come, you will fight in blistering cold, vast flat desserts, and lush jungles. The storyÂ in the game makes sense, it has some great set pieces. The story is told mainly through cinematics, as well as in-game scenes where you are able to move your characters head around. Some key dialog is also used in game, either during fights, or in the â€œdryâ€ moments. Itâ€™s a solid story, but lets face it, you areÂ playing this game for the set pieces and great gun play, not the BAFTA winning story.
The strongest aspect of Bad Company 2 is the most important, its gameplay. DICE clearly worked hard on the game. In essence, what you have is Bad Company but with a high level of polish. The shooting mechanics in the game are great, the guns have a very realistic feel. The recoil on the guns will force you to think about your shots and not just pray and spray. Not only that but all of the guns feel unique, in design and in the way they sound. The RPG packs a punch, from the noise it makes, to the kick back from the launcher. Sniper rifles also show their power, connecting with their target in break neck speed, and leaving a white trail from gun to the enemy. All of this realism is made better with gravity, something FPS games are finally starting to feature. Sniping, for example, takes a bit more skill in Bad Company, as you take into account distance and how much dip you need. This also yields rewards for mastering a certain gun.
Bad companyâ€™s Gameplay continues to impress when all of the features above transfer perfectly into the games stunning multiplayer. Be it the recon (sniper) calling in a mortar strike to rip apart any object, to the UAV, a small helicopter controlled from a desktop placed on the map.Â The UAV is a great tool for spotting enemy units and tanks and blowing their cover from under their feet. The game does a great job getting you into the thick of the action, allowing you to spawn on any squad member whom is alive, or at the designated spawn points. Spawning on a squad member would seem like a danger right? Well it can be when spawning on a sniper who has his back on the edge of a cliff (yes I did that to some one) but take a few seconds and the game will show you some in-game footage of the person you are looking to spawn onto, so you get an idea if the person is under fire, or in a safe spot.
Lets get down to the main feature of the Multiplayer, the maps and classes. Bad Company 2 features 4 classes. The standard assault whoâ€™s job is to not only be your teams main front line soldier, he also provides ammo for his team (and the enemy) with ammo boxes. The assault also features 3 gun attachments: the 40m Grenade, a long-range projected grenade launcher (or noobtube), the 40 m smoke grenade launcher, and a deadly close range shot gun attachment, along with an array of guns from the Burst to fully automatic assault rifles. Next up is the medic. A rather self explanatory role, the medic can both heal and revive his team. But donâ€™t underestimate him in combat, as the medic packs a wide variety of light machine guns, making him a great mix and probably the best class for newcomers. The recon is the games sniper or â€œhackerâ€, as they get known quickly online. Hey, if I canâ€™t see you, how can you see me, right? The recon comes with the standard fare of slow but deadly long-range rifles, and some fast but lower damage auto snipers. But its all the gadgets the recon gets that makes him deadly.Â Once unlocked you are given the choice of either the C4, ideal for blowing up tanks and objectives, or the deadly Mortar. The sniper is not all out for himself however, any good sniper will use his long-range to take advantage of the games â€œspotâ€ feature where, by pressing a button, you are able to show your team mates where any enemy is on the map, who is in your sights. Last but not least is the engineer, whoâ€™s main role is to destroy enemy tanks and vehicles while also repairing his own. But with an array of sub machine guns at his disposal he is tough to beat in close range.
But this is BattleField, not Call of Duty, so there are vehicles, and a lot of them. Simply you have 3 types. Transport, Tanks and Helicopters. Transport features two-seater Jet skies and Quad Bikes, to 5 man armoured cars. All of these serve one purpose, to get you into combat and into the enemies lines fast. Next up are the tanks, from theÂ M1A2 Battle Tank to the M3A3 light tank. They all serve a purpose, be it blowing holes in buildings, or tanking out multiple enemies with a machine gun like main gun. Then we come to the air vehicles. Sadly Bad Company 2 is without AirCraft, which is a notable omission from previous battlefield games. But we still have choppers right? Yes we do, and some fine ones at that. You have the standard personnel carrier helicopters, but the best of the bunch has to be the apache, with its deadly main gun it can take out any heavy vehicle on the ground, and with its second gunner having the equally deadly machine gun rounds, it can kill countless ground units.
Lastly we come to the maps. The game features 8 maps (10 if youâ€™re a VIP) across 4 games modes. In Rush, akin to Counter Strike, your team races against diminishing reinforcements to destroy the two enemy positions, marked A and B. The objective is to reach the defending teams last site before you run out of reinforcements. The defending teams job is to hold you off until you run out. Conquest is the Battlefield staple game mode. Its been there since the first game and itâ€™s a great inclusion on Bad Company 2. The idea is capture the flag. You must take the points marked A through D (depending on the map) reducing the enemy teams resource count to zero before they do the same to you. Then we have Squad Rush, itâ€™s the same as standard Rush, but 4 v 4. Lastly is Squad Deathmatch, which pits 4 squads of 4 against each other until one teams hits the score limit. All teams spawn at random points and each map features a vehicle, giving teams a choice of either fighting to the vehicle and taking it, or sitting back and using it as bait. You will find yourself fighting on the same maps in the game modes, however the maps have been tweaked with each game mode in mind.
Destruction 2.0 was one of the main features of Bad Company 2. In the first game we could destroy most parts of a building, but it would stay standing. In this game, most if not all buildings with multiple floors can be brought to the ground. This is both a major graphical improvement, and a huge gameplay innovation, as ruble can be great cover for a recon. It also plays a part in terrain, causing massive road bumps that make driving a tank or quad bike a living hell. Destruction 2.0 is also visable in more subtle ways, like how you can break someones cover, such as a fence or stone wall, but rather than just destroying it, you can chip away at it. You also notice if you hit a vehicle in certain spots, you can make bits fall off, be it a door, or the smoke launchers on a tank. All in all, its a great update to an awesome feature of the frostbite engine.
Destruction 2.0 is only one part of the beauty of this game. The visuals are stunning. Ok, itâ€™s no Crysis. But this game features some of the best lighting during its Jungle areas I have seen in any game to date, allowing the lights to fall softly through the trees, and beam onto the ground with out blinding you with light. Sound plays a huge part in the over all presentation of this game, and DICE have nailed it. From the sound of bullets flying over your head, to the popping sound when a tank shell misses you by a matter of feet, the guys at the DICE sound department really do deserve a round of applause for this master piece of audio. I could talk about the visuals forever, but I have to end this review some time, it is simply one of the best looking games for a while, and it might end up being the best looking game of the year.
Bad Company 2 is easily my FPS of choice. That is not an easy feat when you take into account it took Left 4 Dead to pull me away from Counter Strike, and for Bad Company 2 to grab me in such as way, is a great achievement. I am glad it did so. I can see myself playing for months maybe years to come. With around 6 months of DLC in the form of maps and game modes planned, it will easily keep up with Call Of Duty. It proves, yet again, that the Battlefield series is here for the long run.
This review was written by David Hollingsworth, editor of GeekMandem