Review by GodOfWarFanatic
"War with guns, jeeps, helicopters, and..........golf carts?"
Battlefield: Bad Company is yet, another First-Person Shooter. But a good one at that. It's a war-based game, obviously, and it actually gives you a little freedom with the sandbox-esque environments. It does host it's share of flaws, but few in number (I will explain them later). Now not being a big fan of the line-up of Battlefield games, considering I haven't played any of them besides this one, my history knowledge will most likely be inaccurate. But the original Battlefield games were for the PC and I think they were multi-player only. If that is true, then I will say Bad Company hosts a decent length Single-Player campaign, making it different from other Battlefield gamers. It does have multi-player, but some of you who have read my reviews or seen me on the messageboards will know I don't play multiplayer on the 360 (due to lack of Wi-Fi and a yearly fee [Yes, I know it's cheap, but still]). Well anyways, lets get onto the review.
Better than my grandfathers stories of Vietnam
In fictional war games, you can't really expect a good story. Bad Company actually has a decent story, but it suffers from the stereotypical characters (explained later), but it really isn't enough to fully bring it down. B-Company, or Bad Company is a Special Ops squad compiled of hoodlums, hence the name "BAD Company." They are basically the lowest rank and sent out in the war at the most perilous times, in the sense that the army sends them first before everyone else so they can make it easier for them.
You take the role of Preston Marlow (or Marlowe) and instead of going to jail, you joined Bad Company. You are teamed up with three other guys: Sarge, Sweetwater, and Haggard. Now you might be wondering how they are stereotypical. Well Sarge is your stereotypical Sargaent with no sense of humor, but knows how to take charge. Sweetwater is your stereotypical tech guy who is a ***** (derogative term for a scaredy-cat, wimp, etc). Haggard is your stereotypical explosives guy. He's ugly, but thinks he's the sexiest man ever (like Reiner from Gameinformer), cocky, and he can't hit jack-**** with his own weapons that he's an "expert" with. You are just the "new guy" that ends up doing everyone else' job.
Regardless of the lack of character development and them being massively stereotypical, the story is pretty good, even though I found myself skipping most of the cut-scenes (except the ones at the beginning and the end). It's not deep in the sense of the word, but it's good enough, especially for a FPS.
Haven't I been here already?
The overall outdoor environmental graphics are impressive to say the least. Especially with the sandbox type graphics that stays at a consistent frame-rate. The trees are impressively detailed, the guns look like they were taken from Black (which is a good thing), vehicles look good, etc. Explosions also look wonderful.
On the bad hand, the indoor-environments are repetitive and generic looking. It was obvious that not much work was put into the buildings. But whilst the overall graphics aren't the most detailed, you have to be informed that the open-world is HUGE, I'm surprised they were even that good, ya know?
[Insert witty sound tagline here]
The sound is impressive. And when I say that, I mean IMPRESSIVE. In-game in the midst of a battle, the bullets firing the the guns are overwhelming. Some of the best sound in a war game that I've heard, thus far, almost as good as Call of Duty 2 (which is almost as good as Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2). They even implemented a realistic sound with ricocheted bullets. Explosions sound even better, all though exploding vehicles is a bit lacking. The voice-acting is really nothing remarkable, but it isn't horrible by any means.
Sound is where this game truly excels and stands out from many other games and it's easily my favorite thing that's hosted here (No, that's not a bad thing, just that the sound is that good). Trust me, you'll love it. While it's not the best sound in a video game, it definitely has that "wow" factor.
Things go boom
The core concept of gameplay plays out like your regular First-Person Shooter. You have a weapon, you kill your enemies, blow **** up, and carry out your objective. There are a ton of guns hosted, along with a small array of vehicles consisting and Humvees, tanks, armored trucks, golf carts, and more. Unlike like other First-Person Shooters which are compiled of linear levels with barely any freedom, Bad Company gives you a sand-box esque environment. It doesn't give you much to do, but most guns that are unlockable are in buildings on-top of silver briefcases. Some of which are in places that you probably wouldn't explore in a more linear FPS. Most of the time, you have only one objective at a time, but on occasion (like the helicopter mission(s) and stuff) there are several objectives, in which you can do in whichever order you want. However, they are usually in order (like one after another) and not spread out.
Now the best thing about gameplay? Destructible environments. One of my all-time favorite features in any game with weapons, or violence, is interactivity with the environment. Whether it'd be blowing a hole into a wall or pushing a dresser, I love games that includes interactive gameplay. In shooters where you can drive, most of the time if you go through a forest, a tree will stop you. In Battlefield: Bad Company, you can just run over those trees with a powerful vehicle or shoot them down. Destructible environments in war games, or in general, really creates more strategetic tactics to carry out your objective(s). For example, if there are several enemies in one building right at the door and it's virtually impossible for you to get in, you can blow a hole into a wall (unless it's steel or very thick) and flank them, or just shoot a grenade towards their directions to give them less cover and you more shooting space. Now this may not be exciting from reading it, but once you'll play, you will wish every game would let you do it...trust me. Aside from blowing holes in a wall, you can destroy various things, such as turrets and different kinds of cover (which is another thing most war games need to add), also trees of course.
However, there are plenty of downfalls, but don't take them too seriously and decide not to give the game a chance. First I'll start with the major downfalls. First, the dieing system. Now this is both good a bad. Say you carry out an objective and suddenly, you die afterwards. Instead of having to start it over, you just start back where you last saved with the objective completed. It's almost exactly like the Vita-Chambers from Bioshock. But say you don't have a vehicle and your last save was at a remote village that you already took care of and you have to travel on foot. Sometimes, you just travel across desert, and suddenly, you see enemies and/or tanks (or whatever), but it didn't save since you were at the village. If you don't have a rocket launcher, laser designator, or a scarce amount of grenades, you probably won't be able to destroy that tank. So you'll die over and over and have to walk all the way back to the tanks everytime, making it tedious and overall, frustrating. Not all of the game puts you in these flawed situations, but on occasion, it does. Both the enemy A.I. and comrade A.I. is disappointing. I'll start with the enemy A.I. At first glance, the enemies will seem like your average enemies. They will attempt to do anything to kill your, whether it's shoot at you non-stop or flank you or whatever. Now what's bad? They aren't smart enough to blows holes in the wall to get to you, I've seen some not even know I was there (even when I made it obvious), and I've seen 1 or 2 get "stuck" behind cover. Friendly A.I. is even worse. They do a good job applying heavy force on vehicles or when mounted on a turret that's on a vehicles, but anything else, they are dumber than a drunk redneck trying to speak Mandarin Chinese. They will lay surpressing firing, but you'll get hit anyway. They hardly kill any enemies, like most friendly A.I. in First-Person Shooters. And this creates a problem when in heavy situations where it is perfect for Haggard to fire his rocket-launcher (I've only seen him shoot his rocket launcher when you had to blow up those two bridges).
Now the nit-picks. Whilst the dialogue is witty and humorous for the most part, most of the cut-scenes bore the hell out of me. The sprint button requires you to push down (and hold) the left-analog stick which really makes my thumb sore. If you have ask me, there you are too many guns. Where I'm getting is it's not necessary to have 10 different machine guns when they all seem to do the job, it really doesn't add any strategy to what weapon you're going to use to kill your enemy(ies). You can only carry one weapon (aside from the syringe that restores your health and the secondary slot which usually consists of a laser designator, rocket launcher, or drill to repair vehicles). Also sometimes the littlest thing will stop a tank, like an invisible pole that you could be easily run over. And last, but not least, the laser designator that I've just mentioned and mentioned before. It's really only helpful if a vehicle doesn't know you're there, otherwise, you'll probably get killed (unless you're on easy). What it is, is binoculars and you lock them onto a vehicle and hold it there for a certain amount of time (which is too long). When the time is done, a man will say something and a missile will drop to destroy the vehicle. What sucks about it? YOU control it. It may sound good on paper, but the controls are horrid.
Aside from the negatives, the positives about this game are outstanding. To make this game nearly flawless would be to get rid of the "Vita-Chamber" system. I liked it in Bioshock, but not this. Regardless, this game is filled with fast-paced and explosive action that will definitely keep you entertained. It is one of the funnest games I've played this generation, it just suffers from one major flaw, one big flaw, and a couple small flaws, but the many positives overcome most of that.
Final Rating: 7/10
Since there really isn't much replay value, I probably wouldn't buy this. I'm not going to say definitely buy it if you like multiplayer too, since I'll make a biased statement, but from what I heard of the multiplayer, it seems pretty awesome. But either way, if you play multi-player or not, you should definitely rent this intense First-Person Shooter.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 07/22/08
Game Release: Battlefield: Bad Company (US, 06/23/08)
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