Short Version: Battlefield: Bad Company 2 improves on its predecessor on all fronts. That said, multiplayer is still its marquee feature. If solid, tactical, team-oriented combat is what you’re looking for, then Bad Company 2 will not disappoint.
Game Rant reviews Battlefield: Bad Company 2
Why is that? Well, to put it simply, we’re talking apples and oranges here. Yes they both may be first-person shooters, but that is really, in a sense, where similarities end. Modern Warfare 2 is a game where your feet stay on the ground, that relies heavily on individual skill and your ability to aim a crosshair. Though this is certainly present in Bad Company 2, it’s only part of a much broader experience.
The campaign in the first Bad Company wasn’t great. It had uneven pacing, and didn’t do much to encourage the player to push through it. Even so, it was a decent attempt at a real single-player campaign; something the Battlefield series had never included. One thing the first campaign did right was the cast of characters. You played as Preston Marlowe, the newest addition to ‘Bad Company;’ a rag-tag group of soldiers that are sent out to do the army’s dirty work.
Your squadmates are an interesting bunch of guys with unique personalities. Sweetwater is the squad medic, and nerd/tech guy. He’s not a big fan of violence, but you can always rely on his smarts and computer skills. Haggard is the demolition man, and a classic redneck. He lives in Texas, loves football, and nothing makes him happier than a good explosion. Lastly is Sergeant Redford, the man who keeps this group of unlikely soldiers alive. He is your leader, and the only one who volunteered to join Bad Company – so he could retire early and get to his real passion, fishing.
The first campaign started off with Redford a mere three days from his glorious retirement, when they’re tasked with a ‘simple’ reconnaissance mission. While fulfilling their duties, they get sidetracked on a journey for gold. This one picks up in similar fashion; with Redford ready to retire, the boys are called in for another tour of duty, but this mission is a little more serious than the first.
The game begins in World War 2, with a group of soldiers tasked to find and retrieve a valuable Japanese scientist. During this mission you are introduced to a secret super-weapon, codenamed “Aurora.” It’s Bad Company’s job to find this weapon, and do so before the Russians do. World War 3 could be right around the corner if they don’t.
As the campaign progresses, you’ll find yourself traveling to many locations across North and South America. You’ll trek through jungles, deserts, villages, and snow covered mountains. The environments in the game range from above-average to truly impressive. Some of the vistas you encounter are definitely worth a double-take, and I found myself spinning around to take it all in more than once.
Visuals can only get a game so far, as they lend themselves to just one of the senses. The soundtrack and audio really are a treat for the ears. The score is pretty subtle throughout the campaign, but it does a good job keeping with the tone of each mission. I apologize for the hyperbole, but the sound design is nothing short of amazing. Each weapon sounds just right, and the ambient noises of the battlefield really do make you feel like you’re there. It is immersion at its finest.
The dialogue between your squadmates isn’t always comedy gold, but most of them were at least worth a smile. There are a coupe indirect-but-obvious jabs at Modern Warfare 2 that are quite funny. From using “we’re oscar mike” a few times, to making fun of the army’s spec-ops team, you can tell the guys at DICE had a good time putting the campaign together – and that’s really what the campaign is – an enjoyable 7-8 hour journey with a bunch of funny guys.
Enough with the single player, let’s talk about what the Battlefield series is known for – its immense multiplayer experience. Bad Company 2 features three unique game modes: Rush, Conquest, and Squad Deathmatch.
Rush features an offensive and a defensive team, and breaks the map into sections. Each section has two objectives that need to be blown up to move on to the next. If all of them are taken out, the attackers are victorious. Alternatively, if the defense successfully holds them off for long enough, they are the winners.
Conquest is the standard Battlefield game mode. Capture and hold bases that then double as spawn points. The more your team holds, the faster the other teams’ tickets decrease. The team that reaches zero first loses.
Squad Deathmatch is a simple variant on team deathmatch. There are four squads each with four people, with the teams fighting to reach the kill limit the quickest.
Each mode is a lot of fun, and they all have their unique qualities. Rush is my personal favorite, as there really is nothing like blowing up the final objective when your team is 1 ticket (a death, in Rush mode) away from failure.
There are ten maps in total, with two of them exclusive to players who purchased the game new. Five of the maps are for Rush and five are for Conquest. Squad Deathmatch simply uses smaller versions of four of the maps for its mode. None of the maps feel like any of the others, and they are all well-balanced. Additional maps and new variations on old ones are planned as downloadable content in the near future.
The game features a leveling system based on experience, much like the one featured in the Modern Warfare series. Experience is gained not only by getting kills and fulfilling objectives, but also by being a team player.
This is where I feel the game shines. There are four classes: Assault, Engineer, Medic, and Recon. Though, each one is more than meets the eye. Teamwork is vital if you want to succeed, and the game rewards you generously for participating.
When you press the back/select button to bring up the scoresheet, you won’t see kills, deaths, or assists. Gone are the days when whoever got the most kills stood at the top of the leaderboard – and good riddance. The scoresheet shows just one thing, your score. Points are given for blowing up objectives, capturing bases, destroying vehicles, assisting squadmates and much more. The easiest way to get points is to play as part of your team, instead of trying to be it yourself.
If you like shooters you will love this game. The single-player campaign is much better than the first game’s, but I still wouldn’t call it “great.” The campaign collectibles are a fun little diversion, but don’t add much to the experience.
As expected though, multiplayer is the shining star of the game, and it’s a bright one. It does take a little getting used to if you’re coming from another game like Modern Warfare 2, but give it an hour or so and I think you’ll find that it offers a unique experience unlike any other shooter on the market.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is available now for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.