Review: Battlefield: Bad Company 2

Just a quick intro, before you read this review. This is NOT by any of the TGD team, it’s from a good friend of ours, td90uk (Follow him on Twitter :P). Just thought we’d host this review for you guys, as it’s really good, and deserves to be seen. It’s over 3000 words in length, so be prepared for some longer reading than you may be used to! So, here ya go. Enjoy!

Bad Company franchise’s history:
Battlefield Bad Company 2, BC2 for short, was released back in March of 2010. Before I continue, I must enlighten you as to the history of this series.

The first in the Bad Company series was, as you guessed, Battlefield Bad Company. This was a game that not many people liked, a bit like burnt toast. I was one of the crowd who didn’t like it. It was too serious, yet at the same time had an eerie unrealistic and comical feel to it. The destructible environments and plot were serious, but the somewhat plastic looking graphics and the constant jovial quips between the soldiers made the game seem like a farce. A bit like having a barbecue in a library, the backdrop is serious, yet the participants are cracking jokes and are a little drunk. This put me off the franchise as I never completed the single player nor bothered with the multiplayer and quickly resorted back to Call of Duty 4, which was the big game of the time.

Initial Pessimisim:
When I heard of the sequel to Bad Company, I shushed it away like I was reading news of someone finding an ingrowing toenail that looked like Jesus or a crazy woman throwing a cat into a recycling bin. This all changed when I noticed that a free demo had been released. I downloaded the demo because it was free and there was no harm in having a punt on it. Boy, I was hooked from the first second I played it. It was serious, the graphics had improved tremendously and most importantly, it had that feel that good games have to them. Of course the demo was multiplayer only and seeing as I had just got into multiplayer, I played it avidly until it expired sometime in February 2010. I pre-ordered the game, at a hefty £40, and received it a day before its official launch, which I was chuffed about.

Verdict:
So now that I have possessed this game for just over 5 months, what do I think of it? The answer: I still like it. It has, I grant, gone a little stale. The repetitiveness of the game, the fact that you unlock no new guns after level 25 and the fact that DLC maps are not new, merely old maps made available in different game modes. I do still enjoy playing it though and DLC is promised for the near future, such as the Vietnam Expansion Pack that will be released, rather coincidentally, at the same time as Call of Duty Black Ops in the winter of 2010. This will bring a new lease of life to the game and will help the game compete somewhat with Black Ops, although to what extent, I remain pessimistic about. The game may have lost a large heft of its online community by then and with the not-so-reliable multiplayer, constant server dropouts, I remain doubtful of a continued success of the DLC, especially with it being released around the same timeframe as Black Ops.

Other Opinions:
There are many a mixed review on the internet about BC2. Some like it, raving endlessly about its qualities, yet some hate it saying how difficult it is and obviously mentioning the lack of new DLC. General reviews suggest that BC2 is the Marmite of video games, you either love it or you hate it. I love Marmite, just as I do love this game. To those who complain about the difficulty and the seriousness of the game, by seriousness I mean the lack of player assists such as UAV recon planes that games such as Call of Duty possess, there are two types of FPS (first person shooter) games, there are the serious games that focus more on intensity and fun such as Modern Warfare 2 and there are the games that focus more on serious, but add some fun as a secondary agenda such as Bad Company 2.

Single player Campaign:
The single player campaign in Bad Company 2 is something I am not overly experienced in as I only completed 2 or 3 missions before leaning towards multiplayer (I pay £5 a month for Xbox LIVE, so I’m getting my money’s worth!). From the half hour of gameplay that I worked through, however, the storyline seemed realistic, yet intense, which is a somewhat rarity in modern video games such as Modern Warfare 2’s insanely farfetched storyline. There is a difference between Bad Company 2’s storyline and Modern Warfare 2’s, as BC2’s is realistic and realistically intense, whereas MW2’s is a ferociously intense but unrealistic story but at the same time great fun. Bad Company 2’s has a near perfected mix of the two factors, real but fun at the same time, which again, is a rarity. Moving on to the pièce de résistance of the game, the multiplayer.

Multiplayer Experience:
The multiplayer mode of this game is something to adore. Matches are found quickly due to dedicated servers and games very rarely suffer lag like the Peer-to-Peer method that Modern Warfare 2 unsuccessfully uses. You are put into squads of 4 who can communicate using the consoles chat feature and gain extra points for healing squad mates, repairing squad mates’ vehicles and giving ammunition to squad mates. Multiplayer (or MP for short) is all about teamwork, another reason MW2 fans don’t adore this game, and there is no real option to be a lone ranger. You gain points for helping squad mates by doing tasks mentioned above.  There are four classes available to the player; Assault, Engineer, Medic and Recon.

Assault
With assault, you have a choice between several assault rifles of varying appeal (AEK-971, XM8 Prototype, F2000, Stg.77 AUG, AN94 Abakan, M416, M16) and a weapon attachment such as a 40MM grenade launcher, smoke grenade launcher or under slung shotgun. This is the choice of kit for the runner and gunner or avid defender dependant on the game mode you are in.

Engineer:
With the Engineer kit you endeavour to repair friendly or squad mates’ vehicles. You are equipped with a suppressed sub-machine gun (9A-91 Avtomat, SCAR-L Carbine, XM8C, AKS-74U Krinkov, Uzi, PP2000 Avtomat, UMP-45) and a wrench to repair vehicles with. You are also armed with an anti-tank rocket, a RPG-7 (seen in MW2), a Karl Gustav or a M136 AT4 (also seen in MW2 simply as the AT4). The engineer gets points by repairing vehicles, even more if it is a squad mate’s vehicle, and is not really equipped to wage war on the enemy, but to repair its mechanised armoury.

Medic:
As a medic, you are expected to heal and revive enemies should they, well, when they get injured or killed. You get a hefty amount of points for doing so and are kitted out with an LMG (light machine gun) (PKM LMG, M249 SAW, T88 LMG, M60, XM8 LMG, MG36, MG3) and a choice of upgraded medic packs. As a medic you are expected to stick close to your team mates and provide medical assistance as and when required. This may sound boring, but you are forever running around resuscitating the dead and healing the wounded with your defibrillator and medics pack.

Recon:
Many see the Recon class as the snipers choice. It isn’t though, true, you do possess a sniper rifle (hefty ones too!) (M24, Type 88 Sniper, SV98 Snaiperskaya, SVU Snaiperskaya Short, GOL Sniper Magnum, VSS Snaiperskaya Special, M95 Sniper) and are suited up in the respective Ghillie suit, but your main role is to sit and wait with your sniper rifle and spot targets by pressing the back button and pick off opportune targets. You get points for when you spot someone and they subsequently get killed and you get points when you kill enemies with your mortar strike or C4 booby trap. You are equipped with a sniper rifle, a pistol, a mortar strike or C4 and the usual gadgetry. You cannot run and gun in this class, nor can you “quickscope” as it is difficult and it is not fitting with your role. You
are designed to sit back in wait, spotting and picking off opportune targets and you are kitted out to do so with your powerful sniper rifle (usually a one-shot-one-kill affair) and your hefty camouflage outfit.

Available in all classes:
Each class has a secondary weapon available to it which are: Tracer dart, M9, MP-443 Grach, M1911 .45, MP-412 Rex, M93R (also known as the M93R Raffica from MW2). You have three speciality “perks” with each class, one for things like optics, extended ammo and advanced equipment, another for body armour, Magnum ammunition etc. and another for vehicle attachments such as optics, secondary weapon or enhanced sensors. Each class also allows you a frag grenade and a knife (although the knife isn’t much use).

Vehicles:
This is one of the best features of multiplayer. You have the ability to drive vehicles! Tanks (yes, the guns work too!), quad bikes (for fast, manoeuvrable transport), armoured cars (like the HUMMV and Russian Cobra equivalent) and helicopters (including rockets and a second seat for a team mate to fire a 20MM cannon). The helicopters do take a while to get used to manoeuvring, but after a while it becomes a synch. Tanks, quads and armoured vehicles are super-easy to operate. There is also a strange little UAV helicopter which is flyable at a station on each map, you can fly it around, fire rockets and shoot guns, but beware, your character is exposed whilst he is stood at the station and is subject to generally increasing fire from snipers who do not like the efforts of your UAV piloting.

Destructible Environments:
Destructible environments are truly biblical in Bad Company 2, giving an edge to the game that no other has. Every hiding place you can dream of can be destroyed by a rocket, a grenade or a helicopter. Blow walls out, leave holes in the ground and do something you couldn’t in Bad Company, knock entire buildings down and instantly kill the occupants with the weapon listed as “DESTRUCTION 2.0”. This is truly brilliant, but does not suit “campers”; you have to keep moving between buildings because as soon as someone knows where you are, a swift rocket or tank shell puts your life in severe jeopardy. That is the thing with this game; in Modern Warfare 2, if a chopper is shooting at you, you can just duck into a building and you’re entirely safe, but with BC2, you aren’t, a mere few rockets will send the building down on top of you. This can be remedied, however, because vehicles are equally as vulnerable to destruction. This is where the relatively dormant engineer class comes in, although dormant is incorrect as there are always vehicles on the battlefield, both friendly and hostile, as an engineer, you are equipped with a rocket launcher. Rockets tend to fire in straight lines (unless you are using the M136 AT4 as that is controllable by the launcher) which can be inaccurate, however, if you use the tracer dart gadget which replaces your pistol, you can attach the tracer dart to a tank/helicopter (instantly giving you 30 points for doing so) which allows your, or your team mates, rocket launcher to lock on and home in on the dart and after 2 or 3 rockets, the vehicle is destroyed, although you only need one for a helicopter because they are difficult to get a tracer dart onto, although nonetheless possible.

MP Reliability:
For the first few months after launch, the multiplayer reliability was somewhat unreliable and untrustworthy because EA kept on shutting down the servers for a few hours for maintenance and some teething problems stopped games from being created and joined, which was a pain, but luckily these problems have now been remedied.

DLC availability:
As I have previously mentioned, DLC is a bit of a let-down, but is nonetheless free and therefore good. When DLC is released, there are six map packs up to now; it doesn’t contain maps, but new game modes for existing maps. There has also been an Onslaught mode released, at a price; 800MS points, which is similar to Gears of War 2’s Horde mode where your 4 man squad is pitted against an Onslaught of AI controlled soldiers and your task is to capture waypoints and exterminate as many of the AI soldiers as possible whilst doing so. The lack of fresh and new DLC is to change in the winter of 2010 when, coincidentally timed with the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops, the Vietnam Expansion Pack is released, bringing a new host of maps, weapons and vehicles to the game giving
a renewed life to the game. I will be purchasing this expansion pack, unless of course I become obsessed and engrossed with Black Ops which is inevitable. There are also several kit related DLC packs such as the SPECACT kit which gives your trooper new camouflage and camouflaged weapons, this comes at a price, 440MS points to be precise and if you are the type to want to skip unlocking all the weapons in the game, you can also purchase access to them early on.

Graphics:
The graphics in Bad Company 2 are astonishingly good. The visuals are excellent, the foliage on trees is detailed, the buildings are of the same quality and it is generally excellent. When explosions go off, which is very regular, dirt flies up, bricks fly out and tanks bounce around with the explosive force. Visuals are something that cannot be complained about in Bad Company 2, it is eerily realistic. Dust flies from the ground, so does snow and sand depending on the environment and even more so when a tank shell or 40mm grenade has landed nearby. Definitely something to remain in awe about.

Sound:
Something that is not often reviewed about a game is the quality of the sound. You can hear feet crunching the snow or dirt, the sound of the grenade launcher have been accredited by people who have heard the real-life counterpart, the explosions and the sound of vehicles are truly excellent and are in surround sound to boot. When a nearby explosion goes off, sounds are muffled which can be disorientating when you are surrounded by the dust that has been kicked up or the flying bricks from the building that you are in.

Motion:
When you move, the gun moves around too like it would in real life. This seems like nothing, but it gives that realistic feeling, although games will never ever give you the truly realistic feeling of actually being shot, but this gets close. You jerk around as the bullets impact you and get a direction marker from where you are being shot. Once you have passed (by which I mean, copped for it), you don’t see the “killcam” like you do in Modern Warfare 2, but the players character and where he is which is handy for when you are hunting him down to take revenge.

Environment:
The maps in the game are well balanced, unlike those in Modern Warfare 2 which are either for snipers or assaulters. Each map caters for any class, having open areas for snipers and enclosed spaces and areas such as buildings for assaulters. The maps are huge in comparison to Modern Warfare 2’s, you definitely require the use of a vehicle to fully explore them and there is plenty of room to throw your helicopter about. The maps are well designed, with buildings dotted here and there, big factories, nice little gun emplacements with anti-tank rockets or heavy machine guns which are placed in really nice places and excellent vantage points for the Recon class. You can sit on a hill, your back covered with motion sensors, and pick off and spot opportune targets and call in mortar strikes on buildings, concentrations of hostile infantry and static vehicles and positions.

Game Modes:
There are several game modes to choose from.

  • Rush – where there are defenders and attackers, defenders who defend the MCOM stations and defuse the explosives and attackers who set charges at the MCOM stations and subsequently met by heavy resistance from the defenders.
  • Conquest – A bit like Modern Warfare 2’s Domination game mode, conquest lets you capture flags from the enemy and whoever holds the flags the longest wins.
  • Squad Deathmatch – A little like Modern Warfare 2’s Team Deathmatch, but with more sides. In Squad Deathmatch, you have 4 squads of 4 players, who are pitted against each other, the first to get to 50 kills wins. It’s as simple as that.
  • Squad Rush – This has two teams of 4 who are teamed together in squads. Your goal is to destroy the crates in two bases on the map.

The brilliant thing with Bad Company 2 is that you can choose the map you want to play on, with Modern Warfare 2 you are given a random map to play on, but in Bad Company 2, you can choose. Its little features like this that gives the game the edge over other FPS games.

Conclusion:
I would recommend this game to anyone wanting a change from Modern Warfare 2, but prepare for a shock because this game relies entirely on the quality of teamwork. Teamwork is the backbone of the game, you have to work together to repair vehicles, supply ammunition and supply health, revive the dead and spot the enemy; each class has its own role as previously explained and you will not win the game if you do not use that role to its full potential. Your team mustn’t consist of 4 assaulters or 4 engineers; variety is the spice and also keeper of life in Bad Company 2. Overall though, this is a truly brilliant game and with the upcoming winter 2010 release of the Vietnam Expansion Pack, promises to be a good game for at least another 12 months. There is a sequel in the works for the Battlefield franchise; called Battlefield 3, you can get access to the beta if you pre-order Medal of Honor. I leave you with the fact that if you are looking for a good alternative to the repetitiveness of Modern Warfare 2 and something to tide you over until the release of Call of Duty Black Ops, this is the game for you, without a doubt. Sure, there may have been hiccups after the initial release, but they have been all but rectified. Due to the dedicated server system that Bad Company 2 uses, there are still an hour or two every month where the system goes down for maintenance that is nothing and is usually at a time that does not affect the UK.

~Tom D

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About TGD Guest Writer
At TGD we like to let other people join in the limelight, so we made this Guest Account to host their articles ^.^

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