Battlefield: Bad Company 2 – PC Game Review
Battlefield: Bad Company 2. PC Game. Publisher/Developer: Electronic Arts. $49.95.
Passed inspection: Intense multi-player combat, highly detailed and completely destructible environment.
Failed Basic: No prone, just 32 players max on a multi-player map.
Walls, fences, trees, entire buildings—everything can be damaged, torn down and destroyed.
The basics of the Battlefield series are simple: a squad-based, multi-player, first-person shooter. The player is presented with different capture-the-flag modes, four different kits or classes, and a wide array of weapons, most of which have to be unlocked and earned by the player’s actions. The Battlefield franchise is a series of computer (and console) games that started back in 2002 with the PC game Battlefield 1942. Since Battlefield 2 (BF2), all games in the series record online statistics for each player, allowing the players to receive promotions and weapon unlocks based on their statistics, as well as awards such as medals, ribbons and pins based on their achievements.
In contrast with most other first-person shooters, Battlefield puts a big emphasis on piloting and fighting from vehicles: tanks, helicopters, jeeps, boats, etc. To facilitate this, the maps are big and there are a lot of players playing on a map at the same time—in BF 2 and BF 2142 as many as 64 players could be pitted against one another. Unfortunately Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (BFBC2) only supports 32 players, 16 for each side, resulting in combat that is less hectic and intense than in the 64-player games.
Eye and Ear Candy
BFBC2 gives you a lot of bang for your buck! The graphics are splendid, with realistic-looking explosions, dirt thrown in the air, lightning, and clouds of snow and dust. Individual bricks and roof-tiles; wallpaper on the interior and signs on the walls outside; rubble, jerrycans and oil drums; leaves blowing along the streets—it all adds up to a real sense of depth and a convincingly realistic environment.
And there are a variety of environments. In one game, you’ll find yourself fighting for control of a blasted Arctic village; in the next, you’re battling in the dense South American jungle; then, you’re driving through a dusty town … All are set in an alternative modern timeline pitting the Russians against the Americans.
Detailed scenery is one thing, but where BFBC2 really stands out is in how this environment is transformed during the course of a battle. Total destructibility!
No longer will you feel safe hiding behind a wall from an onrushing tank, because the very next moment the wall might come tumbling down, leaving nothing but a gaping hole, falling bricks and clouds of dust.
Walls, fences, trees, entire buildings—everything can be damaged, torn down and destroyed. A house, for example, can only sustain so much damage before it comes crashing down. It’s better to not be inside when this happens.
Splinters of wood and stone fly about when bullets slam into walls. Bricks, rubble and assorted debris are blown sky-high by the force of explosions. The battlefield is as vivid and real as virtual reality can be. You press the trigger until it seems your ears will bleed from the rattling of your machine gun, and the continuous deafening explosions. It all adds up to a high level of immersion and an intense adrenaline rush.
The Battlefield games have always focused on the multi-player action; in fact, I could have sworn there was no single-player campaign in the previous games of the series. After bit of research, I found out there were, but this illustrates the extent to which the games focus on the multi-player aspect.
The single-player campaign likely isn’t the reason you’ll buy BFBC2, but playing it for a couple of hours is entertaining and a good introduction to BFBC2‘s game mechanics, weapons and vehicles. To say the single-player campaign is just a great tutorial would be unfair, however, as it is, all-in-all, a complete campaign experience.
In one respect, the graphics in single-player can seem even better and combat more intense because everything is focused on one player. The first mission, set on a Pacific island in 1945 is jaw-droppingly beautiful.
There are, unfortunately, also many flaws in BFBC2. Every mission is completely linear, so you can only pick one, or at best two routes through a level. And then there is the enemy’s AI. Battlefield‘s main focus is on multi-player mode, so there is little need for a superb AI. It shows.
One annoying flaw is an over-abundance of snipers. Another is that I missed being able to go prone: in jungle and destroyed urban-environment, lying in cover with finger on trigger would have been thoroughly enjoyable, but alas. In "normal mode," you will need half a magazine to kill somebody, although that isn’t the case in "hardcore mode." All of these flaws are, however, only minor compared to what BFBC2 has to offer.
As expected, this is where BFBC2 shines. Don’t be shocked to discover you’ve been running, driving, shooting and "camping" for over 24 hours. Without a doubt, this is the best multi-player game I’ve played so far, and players will be drawn back to it time and again. The many possible personal goals are an important part of this: unlock the M16A2 assault rifle or the M60 light machine-gun; earn a medal for a hundred "headshots" or fifty assists; reward galore!
There are (currently) four multi-player modes: Conquest, Rush, Squad-rush and Squad Death-Match, of which the most-played are the first two. Every MP mode has its own selection of maps, some of which are used, wholly or in part, for more then one mode, and you will come to dislike some and love others. You’ll have your own favorite spots, attack routes and places from which to spring an ambush. My personal favorites are the villages in White Pass and Arica Harbor (Conquest) and the fast-paced combat in the jungle of Valparaiso and Laguna Presa.
In Rush-mode your team will have to destroy two objectives (M-com stations) before being able to go on to the next set of objectives, four in total. All other versions are variations on the capture-the-flag theme.
All of these modes and maps are also played on “Hardcore-servers,” which further enhances the game’s sense of realism. No longer do you need a dozen bullets to kill as you do in "normal mode." No longer do you have a map telling you where the enemy is. Oh, and don’t forget about the number of bullets in your rifle. You don’t want to notice that only after it is empty.
Your pinky finger will probably hurt playing BFBC2; you’ll need it to run and crouch (shift+ctrl) while simultaneously using the aswd keys—and you won’t stop playing once you start. If BFBC2 were a book, it would be a real page-turner. You’ll keep coming back again and again and again.
Armchair General Score: 87%
About the Author:
"Singleton Mosby" is the pseudonym of Mark Spierenburg, author of The Art of Armchair Warfare blog. He is a gamer, writer, wine lover and classic car enthusiast but perhaps foremost an amateur historian. His main fields of interest are the American Civil War and the Napleonic era, as well as near-Eastern and Mughal history. At college he spent more time reading history books than paying attention in class and, thus, soon left school on an uncertain path. He now works at the office during the day and plays and writes about historical wargames at night. A glass of great wine, fireplace blazing and Napoleon looking down. Life is a bliss.