Review by horror_spooky

"Snowmobiles are for sissies!"

The Battlefield games have been relatively hit-and-miss for me as a gamer. I hated Modern Combat, but I found Bad Company to be an enjoyable experience that was kept from reaching its full potential by a few flaws. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 though is my favorite game in the series, and that's for good reason.

Bad Company 2 makes significant changes in the formula. The game plays a lot more like a Call of Duty game, abandoning the BioShock-like checkpoint system in the original as well as the health packs for old-fashioned checkpoints and a regenerating health system. The controls have been shaken up a bit as well, with some improvements made and some really weird decisions made as well.

For example, if you want to use your knife, you tab the right bumper. That's all fine and good, except explosive fragmentation grenades are thrown using the left bumper. If you're at all familiar with first-person shooters, you can see how this can be a problem. For basically every single FPS game that's out, the left bumper usually doesn't even throw grenades and when it does, it's generally harmless grenades like smoke grenades or ones of the flashbang variety. I guarantee there will be many times that you'll go to knife someone or something and then press LB and end up throwing a grenade and causing havoc you didn't necessarily mean to create.

This control issue is pretty much Bad Company 2's biggest flaw, and it's not even that big. The rest of the game is awesome and definitely worth the price of admission. So, what's the rest of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 like?

The game plays very similarly to the original in that the levels are generally large and you will have to do a decent amount of exploring to get to your objectives. There is a focus on vehicular exploration (the controls for these have been improved and it works out a much better, though there are occasional hiccups) and blowing things up. Emphasis on “blowing things up.”

The main draw of the Bad Company series is the destructibility of the environment. The original game wowed everyone when you lobbed a grenade at the side of a house only to see the house explode in such a perfect way that it was beyond mesmerizing. Destroying things is just as fun in this sequel, with the destruction kicked up a few notches. All of the explosions look a lot better and everything is destroyed more realistically. You can also completely destroy buildings instead of just blowing giant holes in them. It's amazing, really.

At certain points in the game, you will come across giant crates that have every single weapon you've ever had equipped stashed in them. These are very helpful when planning out whether or not you need to kill enemies from afar with a sniper rifle or blow them to Hell with an RPG.

One thing I like about Bad Company 2's campaign is that it has a certain rhythm to it. Its main competitor, Modern Warfare 2, had a campaign that jumped around, introducing new gameplay mechanics in nearly every level and never really expanding upon them. Bad Company 2's campaign is a lot more engrossing and entertaining just because it feels like DICE didn't try to stuff all of their ideas into one package. There's a lot more breathing room.

Multiplayer is another story. The multiplayer in Bad Company 2 is better than the original, with less lag and it's just simply more fun. However, there have been some server problems for the online play and there are still no split-screen options available. While Bad Company 2 has Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare 2 trumped in the single-player department, it ultimately fails to reach the level of entertainment that the multiplayer in MW2 provides.

Storyline-wise Bad Company 2 is better than its predecessor, but there are some problems. There are unanswered questions between the two games, and the campaign isn't long enough to have a strong enough impact on the player. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 follows the story of B Company as they are thrust into a mission to retrieve a very powerful, top-secret, and very destructive weapon whose origins date all the way back to World War II. The game is hilarious, drawing heavily on the comedy elements that made the first one so entertaining, and there are twists and turns quite a bit. Overall, Bad Company 2 provides a great action story with memorable characters, though it seems like BC2 simply ignores some of the events of the original title.

Usually when a game has a high level of destructible environments, the rest of the visual presentation takes a sizeable hit. That's not the case with DICE's awesome first-person shooter. The environments are stunningly beautiful and perfectly detailed. The explosions and the particle effects are amazing, and the character models are just as good. Despite all this, the game still never lags and is much less glitchy than the original title, plus the AI is fantastic and poses a serious challenge that never feels cheap. The colors pop out majestically when they are on screen, and you can really tell that DICE was behind the gorgeous game Mirror's Edge when you see the yellows, the reds, the blues, and the greens throughout the title. The lighting is also very well done, and is an integral part in roping you into the fictional war between Russia and the U.S.

Voice-acting is also great, with the same voice actors from the original reprising their roles to sweet results. The dialogue is hilarious, and the soundtrack can get your blood-pumping. I loved the music and the sound of houses exploding never gets old.

Bad Company 2 will run you about five to six hours your first time. The campaign isn't nearly as replayable as other shooter games though thanks to the achievements, but what are ya gonna do. There are a lot of online-only multiplayer achievements that will surely piss some people off, but there are some interesting ones that offset the annoyance of people constantly trying to go for achievements during matches. Collecting all of the guns and finding all of the computers in the levels will take a decent while, and just messing around blowing the living hell out of everything is fun, too.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is better than the original in every regard, and if you liked that game, you're sure to love this. EA has said that they are ready to take on Activision's Call of Duty giant, and their first step in that direction, DICE's Bad Company 2, shows that they actually stand a chance (especially with the current legal troubles Activision is experiencing with Infinity Ward). The multiplayer options need to expand to split-screen play, the campaign could stand to be a bit longer, and there are minor control issues, but Bad Company 2 is an awesome first-person shooter that fans of the series and fans of FPS games in general will have a blast with.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 03/08/10

Game Release: Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (US, 03/02/10)

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