Battlefield: Bad Company 2

ReviewLet me recount some of the ways I have died in Battlefield: Bad Company 2. I died when a house fell on me. The game rather cheekily called it ‘Death by Destruction 2.0′. I got run over by a toy chopper, which was pretty embarrassing. Some smart ass Engineer killed me with the repair tool, and after the game, he unnecessarily sent me a message thanking me for helping him out with an Achievement, assuring me it was quite “lol”. Personally, I didn’t really see the funny side, but let’s roll with it. The point I am trying to make is that you will die. A lot. But what makes Battlefield truly unique is that its one of those rare multiplayer games where regardless of how much you suck at it, you still end up having fun.

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It’s not just multiplayer that’s seen improvements. DICE has actually put some genuine effort into making the single-player campaign stand out as well. They seem to have taken most of the complaints about the campaign from Bad Company 1 on board and tried to fix them, and while it hasn’t quite worked out as well as one would have hoped, the campaign still manages to be enjoyable, if only for one playthrough. The level design is much more refined and it doesn’t feel like you’re playing multiplayer maps with bots any more. There are still plenty of opportunities to flank enemies and the destruction brings its own set of tactics into the gameplay.

The AI could use some more IQ points though, especially your squad AI. Its not that they are tactically useless, but they just can’t aim for toffee. Way too often, you will see them standing five feet away from the enemies, emptying clip after clip into thin air. The enemies too seem to be aware of this and respond by shooting at you, and only you. It’s not a deal breaker, but it does mean that you will die some cheap deaths as the enemies will ignore your team mates (even if they are standing right in front of them) to shoot at you.

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Another change from the last game is that there is a coherent plot this time around, but it’s hard to classify that as an improvement. The first game might have had very little in the way of a central storyline, but the charm and humour of the game carried the whole story through with some flair. In Bad Company 2, there is still the occasional wisecrack here and there, but as far as the writing is concerned, by and large, you might as well be playing Ghost Recon or Rainbow Six. Yes, it’s another one of those ‘evil foreigners threaten America’ plots. Still, regardless of its fallacies in certain departments, the single-player is mostly enjoyable, especially the excellent opening and the ending. It will last you about seven hours or so and, at best, it’s a fun little distraction if your internet connection is down. But its multiplayer we came here for, and its multiplayer that makes or breaks any Battlefield game.

This is probably one of the best team-based multiplayer games to come along in a very long time. Divided across four classes – Assault, Medic, Engineer and Recon, everything has been balanced to absolute perfection. Yes, the snipers will bitch about the medics being overpowered, and the medics will bitch about the assault class noob-tubing them, etc. But look behind all of it, and you will find a perfectly crafted game of rock, paper, scissors, or since there are four classes and vehicles, rock, paper, scissors, lizard and Spock. Almost every aspect of the gameplay is based on the simple fact that everything has a counter. The game offers unlimited flexibility to deal with any situation, provided you are willing to experiment. Tank hitting your team pretty hard? Spawn as an engineer and go to town. Snipers being a pain? Spawn as one and counter-snipe. The solutions are only limited by what you are willing to do.

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However, all of that balancing wouldn’t count for much if the maps weren’t fun to play around with. But the game’s excellent destruction physics and some seriously amazing map design ensure that each map has its own distinct look and game dynamics. Smartly placed chokepoints, the clever use of height, and stationary guns make for some breathtaking push forwards and hasty retreats. Throw some vehicles into the mix and you will find there is an almost rhythmical flow to the controlled chaos. Boats and choppers add another dimension to the warfare.

Next page: IVG Verdict

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