For the last couple of months I have been getting my killing fix by playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. However, something tragic occurred through my many months of playing the title and that tragedy was that I forgot what it was like to play a real PC shooter. Then I played Battlefield Bad Company 2 and I felt like I was home.
So where to begin… I guess it’s only right to talk about the weaknesses first, because I really want to get them out of the way. Most of the games weaknesses show up in the single player, the campaign is short and the story is utterly uninspiring. The pacing of the plot really throws you off because you’ll be introduced to a character, and then you’ll never see them again, or one moment you’ll be in South America and then the next you’ll be in Russia, and then literally you’ll be back to South America for the next mission. The length was extremely short as well, shorter then Modern Warfare’s, and considering that was unacceptably short, this was even worse. The ending came very abruptly and in a very anti-climatic fashion. The problem is only compounded by the fact that I felt like I was playing the same levels over and over again, I can’t count the number of Lumber mills I went through in the game, or warn down villages in the mountains.
However Bad Company 2’s problem are not just limited to the singleplayer, the multiplayer has also had a host of problem that have left me pulling my hair out. The first is the fact that for the first couple of days I could not connect to a server, no matter how open my firewall was, or what ports I opened I could not get in. Then when I was able to get in punkbuster would kick me out. It took awhile and a lot of searching online to fix the problems, but I still find that there are times where I want to get on and have trouble doing so.
However regardless of these rough edges Bad Company 2 is still a fantastic addition to what has already been a stellar year. Even though the single player is short and the environments don’t vary much, the writing and dialog is fantastic, in the B movie sense. I particularly loved the shots they took at Modern Warfare 2. One of the best lines in the entire game goes a little something like this. “Cowboys haven’t fought in a war in over a hundred years.” This statement is retorted with, “The Dallas Cowboys go to war every Sunday.” The banter of the characters and the variety in mission objectives still allows you to enjoy your time in the singleplayer.
Of course this being a Bad Company title, the world in which you fight in is completely destructible and it makes going through the single and multiplayer that much more fun. Of course the fact that the game looks amazing doesn’t hurt either and with all the settings turn to the max I never experienced any slowdown in either single player or multiplayer. Explosions are a particular high point in this reviewer’s opinion as they are coupled with blinding light and an actual forceful impact that make you stop for a moment when one happens near you.
Mixed together these visual elements help to make you feel like you’re really in a war torn battle, buildings explode, vehicles zip past and all around you up to 32 people are going all out.
Sound is another major aspect that is done extremely well, especially in the multiplayer portion. If a sniper takes a shot at you or someone on your team, the teammates will scream that a shooter is around, you go deaf for a few seconds when something explodes beside you, and, speaking of snipers, you will freak out the first time a bullet hisses by your ear and you actually hear it.
Considering this is the PC review of Bad Company 2 I am beyond ecstatic when I tell you we have dedicated servers and server lists, something that was becoming nonexistent in PC shooters and after getting it again after so long, it feels right. I can’t stand going back to Modern Warfare 2 anymore and dealing with the mind numbing matchmaking and poor host connections, Bad Company 2 has spoiled me in the way that a PC gamer should be spoiled, and in a way that I thoroughly appreciate.
Gameplay wise the multiplayer is now my new king. (until Halo Reach)For all intents and purposes Bad Company 2 has blown Modern Warfare 2 off its thrown and firmly sat down. While the number of modes pales in comparison to Modern Warfare 2, the level of fun and immersion you get is unrivalled. Parachuting into enemy lines, sneaking up behind a tank to plant C4, or crisscrossing a battlefield on an ATV while a mortar strike is dropped on your head makes every round an exciting and heart pounding experience.
Speaking of the vehicles let me just say they all handle really well. Helicopters do have a learning curve to them, they seem overly complicated when you first jump into one but once you have a handle of it, you’ll realize that it was done to give the player a lot more control. The ATV and Humvee are by far my favourite to drive merely because they handle so well you can just zoom through the battlefield, dodging tank rounds and hostile players.
Aiming is also solid, guns have just the right amount of kick back and no gun feels overpowered when compared to the others. Another good choice is the fact that the sniper rifle doesn’t have a breath mechanic to deal with. The crosshair still sways slightly if you linger in a single spot, but it’s a much more effective style for this type of game.
Multiplayer is pretty much dominated between two different modes. The first is Conquest, this is the one that will be familiar to most Battlefield vets, you must take spawn points scattered around the map to help reduce the other team’s reinforcement score. The first team to drop to zero loses. I spend most of my time in this mode because I find it to be the most enjoyable for the time that I invest in the game. The rounds usually end within 20 minutes and regardless of how lopsided one team may be, you never feel like you’re getting completely destroyed.
The second one is called Rush. Rush is an attack and defend mode, one team protects two computers of sorts from the attackers and the attackers must try to blow the computers up. If the attackers blow up the computers the defenders must retreat to another base and defend that one. This repeats until you push the defenders all the way back to their last base or if you hold a base long enough to drain the attackers lives.
Rush is a really great mode if you have two sides of equal numbers and skill, it becomes an intense battle of wills as you desperately try to punch into a base or push back an attacking force. But it takes a much longer period of time to win if you’re on the attacker side.
Even though most people would see the lack of modes as a negative it’s not a notion that I hold. Bad Company is a game that gains its variety from the chaos of the Battlefield, even though each mode only has 5 maps, they never get boring, I never see the same stuff happening because with all the other elements of the game packed in, no two rounds are alike.
Bad Company 2 is definitely a diamond with some rough edges, the singleplayer, while funny, is completely forgettable, and a host of server and connection issues have hampered the multiplayer. This however doesn’t change the fact that the game is really amazing, the destruction adds a great level of immersion and gameplay, everything feels polished, and the attention and respect the PC version has gotten has been a hit for Dice as they reported that the PC version of the game is the highest seller right now beating out the 360 and PS3. So if you’re looking for something to become your new addiction you can’t do much better then Bad Company 2.
Review copy provided by publisher.