Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Official Review
by Curse


Basic Information:
Developer: EA DICE
Publisher: Electronic Arts
North American Release Date: March 2nd 2010
European Release Date: March 5th 2010
Trophies: 41 7 2 1


Overview
In the midst of what can only be viewed as domination of sale within the first person shooter genre by Call of Duty, outcomes another addition to the Battlefield franchise. Based on the core foundations left behind by the likes of Battlefield 2, and the destruction elements from it's predecessor Bad Company 1, we have Battlefield 2. A visually pleasing, well put together first person shooter, that should feel like an original breath of fresh air to most console gamers.

Gameplay
Strong gameplay based on large maps has always seemed to be a recurring the for the Battlefield games. Unlike with a lot of sequels of this generation, Bad Company 2 feels like a great improvement from number 1. The whole feel of the game, feels more streamlined for me, and despite the game influencing you towards more longer ranged gameplay with assault rifles and snipers, making great use of cover, it's equally capable of handling some fun play in close quarters with SMG's and shotguns. The guns feel fairly balanced in terms of power, there are obviously better guns than others, but everything can be counter acted by another gun for the most part. Your AI allies and enemies act with a fair amount of intelligence, and I was never left thinking "Why is that guy doing this? Instead of doing this other thing". Improvements have been made on the destructive elements of the game, and this is due to the support of a new game engine, Frostbite 1.5. Explosives now destroy pieces of buildings in a more precise manner, adding an entire new dimension to the gameplay. It's great to see DICE doing this, creating a new game engine for a sequel, compared to Treyarch and Infinity Ward with the Call of Duty franchise, where small changes are made to older engines, shortening the development time.


Stunning visuals mixed with realistic explosions

Singleplayer
Despite the positives elsewhere, I felt somewhat disappointed with the singleplayer to bad company 2. In number 1, the story fitted in well with the more laid back feeling and fun gameplay. The humorous characters were a change of pace and a change of heart in the FPS genre. But I felt like they'd gone back to a more mature approach with Bad Company 2, and the story didn't fit in well with this at all. We were still left with characters and a story that were basically a gimmick, mixed with a more real feeling game than last time. This left me feeling quite unattached to the characters and I didn't really care the actual narrative. Ontop of that, the story was fairly short, after the first day of owning the game all I had left to do was the multiplayer, which thankfully was a lot more than enough. This isn't to say I didn't have a few laughs with it, but it wasn't personally what I was looking for.

Despite what felt like a let down with the actual narrative section the pacing of the story was pretty decent, if you ignored the gimmicky feel of it. There was enough variation between levels to keep you playing with a smile on your face. The levels were planned out intelligently, and they fully took advantage of the fantastic destructibility. As mentioned before, a new dimension truly is added to the game and this is portrayed best in the singleplayer. The destructibility is at its most powerful in the singleplayer (When compared to how it is in multiplayer) and your approach to the game can end up being changed completely in a good way.

Multiplayer
I found the multiplayer to Bad Company 2 to be incredibly fun, I'd even go as far as saying I found it to be one of the best online experiences I've had this generation. For starters, the online gameplay feels like a great balance between fun and tactical gameplay. By this I mean that whilst there is still a lot of fun to be had through things such as quad bike driving into an enemy base, large amounts of explosives, taking down buildings and flying helicopters. There is still a more tactical edge within how you can infiltrate an enemy base as a squad, each with a different role that will benefit one-another. The only downside to squad based gameplay is the limit of four players in one squad (Headset communications are squad based) which is a little harsh on any groups bigger than 4, as it makes you have to separate the group up into squads.


Quad-Bike warfare, a timeless classic

You'll find yourself coming back to this unique style of online play time and time again, and one of the main contributors to the lasting appeal is the lengthy leveling up system assisted by a large amount of pins and insignias to unlock. The leveling goes all the way to rank 50, which will take you a great amount of time. Aswell as leveling up your overall rank, you also receive unlocks based on what class you've been using, for example, if you constantly use the recon class you'll unlock sniper related guns, attachments etc. And the same goes for the other three classes. I found this to be more beneficial than the leveling up in other online FPS' where you're just given any old gun when you rank up. On bad company 2 your unlocks are more concentrated towards guns that will benefit you and your style of play. Pins are given for performing certain tasks in one round, for example 'Perform X amount of actions in one round'. Insignias are rewarded for receiving X amount of pins, which give the player something to aim for. Ontop of all of this you earn stars on each gun, based on how many points you've scored with the same gun, meaning that when you get killed by someone with a platinum star in a sniper rifle, you'll instantly know what kind of player they are. The only downside to all of these pins, stars and insignias, is that there is no real reward for earning them, other than personal recognition. It would've been nice to earn something along the lines of skins for your guns, or if they were to implement a customizability feature similar to that in Rainbow Six Vegas 2, where you unlock more when you rank up

The online gamemodes feel well put together and thought through, but they're limited, with there only being four game modes. The two main game modes are rush and conquest, but there are also 'squad' based gamemodes. Rush is based on one team attacking, one defending. The attacking team have X amount of tickets and two objectives to destroy, if they tickets reach 0 the game is over, if the objectives are destroyed then you move on to the next round, the tickets are reset and you have two brand new objectives to destroy (The tickets are like lifes, when you die, you lose one, you can only get more tickets by winning the round or reviving allies). The defending team have unlimited tickets and are there only to defend objectives and take tickets off of the attackers. This system works tremendously well in my eyes, it adds variation and a real sense of depth to the size of the map. Conquest mode is an old favorite of battlefield fans, this is based on an odd number of flags set about a map, both teams battle over the flags, and again the scoring is based on tickets, tickets are lost through players being killed, or the team having less than half of the flags. The other two are squad deathmatch and squad rush, neither of the two really stuck it for me. Deathmatch is set between four teams of four, in a simple team deathmatch format, Squad Rush is the same layout as regular rush, both of these are set on smaller versions of the other maps but they just didn't have the same appeal to me as the other game modes, which is probably due to the smaller amount of action compared to the others. With the main two gamemodes however, you could soon become lost in the large maps, or feel that the action is becoming a little slow paced. It's all personal preference though, and I personally love the pacing of the online

Technical
Bad Company 2 doesn't only play really well, it also looks great. Throughout the game you've got mainly a combination of snowy, jungle and desert themes, they all look as good as the next. The explosions and pieces of the maps being destroyed are some of the most realistic looking I've ever seen in a game, and it's impressive that the majority are man made, as in you caused the explosion. Throughout the whole game, including days spent online, I cannot remember any problems with the game. No off-looking textures, no game breaking glitches (The odd crash online is understandable). The games sound effects and soundtrack fit the mood really well, and give it a real 'warzone' feel to it. However, you may of noticed that the adjectives used above to describe the game have been fairly mediocre, they've been nothing special. Well, the same could be said about the technical side of the game. As great as it is, there is room for improvement. But at what it does, it does incredibly well, and as of such a really smooth, easy on the eye and fun to play FPS has been created.

Trophies
I must say, the platinum for Bad Company 2 was a fun run-through. The singleplayer trophies are easily completed, however it would've been nice to have a little more difficulty with the singleplayer side, the only difficulty related trophy is to complete the last level on the hardest difficulty, then there are a few collectable related trophies, but you'll have the majority of the singleplayer trophies completed in one short sit-through. The multiplayer trophies were great a times, and a pain other times. It was nice to have something to aim for when leveling up, and that was created with the multiple "reach level X trophies". Ontop of that, the other trophies just get you to experience a bit of everything, but the only annoyance was in form of two trophies. Et tu, brute? Was the first one, this requires you to knife 5 friends. Simple right? Just knife a team mate? Wrong. The trophy requires you to knife a friend on the opposite team, this requires you to try and trick the game into placing you on the other team, which I don't understand the logic behind them adding that as a trophy. Demolition man is the second, get 20 demolition kills online. Again it sounds quite easy, but with a large amount of people on each team battling for the kills it gets a bit messy, and in the end required some boosting for myself.

Closing Thoughts
As mentioned, one of the most fun online games of the generation for myself. It runs smoothly and feels realistic, and the finely tuned destruction elements just adds to all of this. The multiplayer has kept me coming back for more, and I've played more of it than most other games. The game is now supported by quantities of DLC, including the very reputable 'Vietnam' pack, which all lasts to the lasting appeal.

Gameplay: 9/10
Fantastic twist of realism and fun gameplay, very minimal faults

Singleplayer: 7/10
Good start, but not quite there yet, feels too gimmicky so to say

Multiplayer: 9/10
Great lasting factor here, squad based gameplay is some of the most fun I've ever had

Technical: 9/10
What's there works really well, but there is still room for improvement

Overall: 9/10