Battlefield: Bad Company 2

Released: 05/03/2010
Developer: DICE
Publisher: EA
Hours played: 64
Last played: 23/11/2011

You may have noticed that so far I’m posting reviews of games I’ve already played, and not particularly recently at that. I’ve not written like this before so I’m just trying to get a feel for it, when I’ve found my feet (oh, there they are) I’ll start getting in to entirely new games.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is pretty much to Battlefield what Lego Star Wars is to Star Wars. It’s the same game, but a little sillier, simpler and more friendly. This is because Bad Company was the name given to Battlefield games designed specifically for consoles, which meant two things: It had to appeal to casual gamers as much as hardcore ones and it had to downsize to fit the hardware.

The former is apparent in the persistent ranks and unlocks. Although Battlefield 2 was the first First Person Shooter to introduce unlockables, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was the first game to really sell it to console gamers. As a result, Bad Company 2’s system seemed to be attempting to copy Modern Warfare (widely regarded as it’s closest competitor, for some reason; they’re completely different games), but it appeared to work for the most part. Ranks were obtained just by playing, unlocks were either class-specific or overall and then each weapon had a rank system of it’s own to show off how much each weapon is used. Pretty simple and ubiquitous by this point.

I only have two hours on Battlefield 2, so I can’t talk about how Bad Company 2 compares to it, but I will say it’s very different to Battlefield 3. The maps are designed so that in Conquest mode, all the flags are in a line, whereas in Battlefield 3 (and the Back to Karkand maps from Battlefield 2) they tend to be less linear. The result of this is Bad Company 2’s battles tended to have a defined yet dynamic front line and the game would play out a bit like an arm wrestle; weak teams would get penned in to their uncap (i.e. permanent base) and evenly balanced teams would be fighting in the middle of the map. Battlefield 3 plays out differently, the most successful tactic for most maps is to keep the middle point at all times and use it as a base to attack the two nearest points; if you keep all three of those points for most of the game it would be very difficult for the other team to win as they’d be continually losing lives.

It’s not necessary to comment on the shooting, the vehicles, physics, graphics and all that because it’s all pretty rock-solid stuff. The net code and hit detection can be a bit odd sometimes, with people simultaneously killing each other quite often and lag having the most annoying effect on your game, in that you can move quite far but if you’re lagging, you might find you unexpectedly backtrack several metres, into the line of fire, tanks or whatever else. Not much can be done about that, though, lag is lag.

The balance is probably the worst part of the game, new players starting out are just prey to those with Magnum Ammo (higher damage bullets), which makes the Body Armour (reduces damage taken) a requirement and therefore also makes Magnum Ammo a requirement again (so the damage reduction is nullified); it’s a vicious cycle of the most ridiculous kind because it would just be simpler to remove both perks so people can use other things, surely? Then you have the snipers, attack choppers and RPGs, none of which were particularly well-balanced.

Free map packs were great though, there’s no denying that, and the BFBC2: Vietnam DLC was of a very high standard, however I didn’t get the opportunity to play it much as I bought Bad Company 2 not long before Battlefield 3 was being hyped.

TL, DR: If you don’t have a Battlefield game yet and you’re not a hardcore gamer but you want something more than a simple arena shooter, you could do much worse than Bad Company 2. It goes for about £5 on Steam during most sales now.

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