Review by TyphoonGT
"There's gold in them there hills!"
The Battlefield series has been around forever now. It all started with Battlefield 1942, a WWII FPS. What was amazing about this game (and what would become the hallmark of Battlefield games) was that not only could you be an infantryman, but you could also be a tank operator (driver AND gunner), a pilot, a submarine gunner, or an artillery crewman. Battlefield: Vietnam pushed it to the next level with heat-seeking missiles (albeit somewhat unbalanced), and helicopters. Battlefield 2 (arguably the best one) stepped into modern combat, and despite its flaws won over hundreds of hours of my time. Battlefield 2142 was set in the future, and was received favorably. Now enter BF Bad Company, the latest game from DICE.
Yes, the single player actually has a story! Previous BF games either had an obvious story (WWII and Vietnam) or they had no real story (BF2... 2142 essentially said that the Earth froze over and war was waged). The single player puts you in the boots of a Preston Marlowe, a soldier in the US Army recently transferred to B-Company. B-Company is composed of the worst the Army has to offer, filled with soldiers who have screwed up and are punished by being meat shields. As Sergeant Redford puts it (I'm slightly editing the quotes), "They send us in before the Special Forces because they're too expensive to waste." Haggard, a squadmate, has a bit of a problem involving explosives, but lucky for you he tends to let out his stress in the form of rockets aimed at enemies. Sweetwater is a bit awkward but rather intelligent and wields an M249 SAW. Redford, the squad leader, is the only one asides from Marlowe and Sweetwater who takes his job seriously.
The story itself isn't amazing. It's entertaining, and the humor is good, but it's no MGS4. You essentially go on a hunt for gold and glory, and get into various fights along the way. Pretty short, but it's a decent play.
Gameplay - Singleplayer: 8/10
Let me just say: why did DICE make the enemy AI have laser accuracy?! Seriously, the worst part about the single player is that the enemy AI is usually heavily armed, appears in large numbers, and is deadly accurate. Meanwhile, your squadmates stand there being cannon fodder. You will die quite a few times in this game, but there isn't any real punishment for it. That said, after the first few missions the game gets a lot more fun (it gets more balanced). Overall it's worth the gameplay, but Battlefield has always focused on multiplayer.
Gameplay - Multiplayer: 9/10
Great. Probably the most significant part of this is the new destructible environment. The Frostbite engine technology allows for most anything to be destroyed - trees, walls, whatever. While entire frames of buildings won't fall down, you can essentially leave a skeleton.
BFBC handles very smoothly; I never find any awkwardness in the controls. The guns are fairly strong and accurate. You are indeed able to use tanks, IFVs, light transports, artillery, and helicopters. Jets were left out of the game, but it is still quite fun.
Battlefield veterans are familiar with the ranking systems used in BF2 and 2142. In BFBC the ranking system returns. You accrue points by killing enemies, capturing control points, and helping teammates. Every many points, you will be promoted to a new rank. Most new ranks give you an unlock credit, which lets you unlock a new weapon or item to use. Awards also make a return, with Trophies, Patches, and Wildcards.
There are five classes in BFBC. Assault is the everyman - he has an assault rifle, grenades and a grenade launcher, and you can unlock an auto-injector that restores health to your character. Demolition carries a shotgun, unlockable mines, and a rocket launcher for taking care of vehicles. Recon wields a sniper rifle, motion sensing grenades (giving you a sort of UAV), and my favorite: a laser designator that lets you call in bombs on vehicles (you have to guide the bombs yourself; a fairly easy task). Specialists get submachine guns or silenced carbines an can unlock C4; they're the Special Ops class of BF2. Support carries a mighty LMG (light machine gun), can call in mortar strikes with an unlock, and can heal teammates and repair vehicles (or damage enemy vehicles) with his power tool.
Gold Rush is the only current game mode, although a Conquest mode is promised to be released soon. In Gold Rush, one team defends and one team attacks. The defenders have two gold crates which the attackers have to destroy, either by brute force or by planting explosive charges. If the attackers destroy both crates, then the defenders are pushed back to their next outpost where two more crates await. If attackers can get all the crates, they win. If defenders can hold off the attackers until their reinforcements are depleted, they win. It's fun.
Graphics and Sound: 10/10
It's no Crysis, but the game looks pretty damn amazing regardless. The characters are very detailed, as are the weapons. A few textures are bland but overall the game will stun you (especially on an HD set). Not much antialiasing, but you get used to it. The sound is just amazing. I have never heard a game that sounds as good as this. Each gun sounds different, and each gun sounds different indoors and outdoors. Tanks and artillery are loud and powerful. Especially good when paired with a DualShock 3 controller, as the rumble makes for a more immersive experience.
The multiplayer will keep you coming back for more, especially once Conquest is released. I won't spoil anything, but let's just say the ending of the game screams "sequel".. probably in the way of some sort of downloadable expansion pack. If you want a solid multiplayer game, you wouldn't go wrong with BF Bad Company.
Now move out soldier! There's gold in them there hills!
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 07/01/08
Game Release: Battlefield: Bad Company (US, 06/23/08)
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