Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Xbox 360 Review

May 28, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox 360, Xbox

The original Battlefield: Bad Company was one part an enjoyable campaign and one part an excellent multiplayer game, although it certainly wasn’t perfect. The campaign was blighted by player deaths that were handled as simple respawns, and the multiplayer was initially limited to a single mode. As we have come to expect from sequels, the developers should look at what they did wrong in the previous game/s and then deliver a superior follow up. DICE have done just that.

The four expendable soldiers of the titular Bad Company return, each as witty as they previously were but now with a much more profanity filled script. The story is also more generic than it was previously, although it does have a sense of intrigue given that the game opens up in World War II, but sadly doesn’t really get terribly interesting following these early events. The entertaining dialogue of Marlowe, Sweetwater, Haggard and Redford is definitely the strongest element of the story.

One thing that soon becomes clear is that the environments are generally much smaller and more closed in than they were in the original game. Also, said environments are very unique in their look, meaning there’s more variety here – snowy climes, jungles, deserts, burning cities and more. This variety certainly makes the campaign more interesting than what was already a very good, albeit flawed, campaign in the original game.

Visually, there has also been some enhancements; chiefly in the amount of possible destruction that can happen in each varied level. The destruction in the original game, was – and still is – most impressive, although, try as you might, you could never fully demolish a building. Although not everything is fully destructible, here many of the standing buildings can be reduced to burning rubble if they receive enough structural damage. But it’s not only the destruction that looks so good, as Bad Company 2 is a very detailed game, with lovely lighting, smoke and some truly beastly looking guns.

I mentioned the way that the original game handled player death in the first paragraph; well the sequel has thankfully gone a lot more ordinary in its campaign. Those who played the original game will remember that health was refilled by plunging an eternally lasting needle into your body, whilst your death was only a mild inconvenience, resulting in you respawning, often not too far away from where you were killed – enemies that you had taken out also stayed dead, taking away much of the challenge. Bad Company 2 has a proper checkpoint system and recharging health, meaning that sensibly there’s added challenge, discouraging the recklessness that could get you so far in the original game.

When playing the campaign I never felt as if it was second best to the multiplayer portion of the game. The campaign is generally a very strong one and it feels like a separate and quality section of the game, although it’s not perfect: the last couple of missions come across as a bit of a rush job as they’re brief and just not as good as many of the previous missions that can be found in this varied, explosive and exciting campaign.

What makes the game such a joy to play is that the guns feel so good to shoot: feeling heavy, brutal and as if their purpose truly is to kill. Their booming feedback and echoes when the triggers are pulled also create the image that they are deadly weapons of death. I don’t know what real life warfare sounds like, although I would imagine that it’ll be very close to the ear drum bursting sounds of DICE’s virtual warzone.

Regardless of the strengths of the campaign, for many the main attraction is Battlefield’s wonderful multiplayer options. Fortunately, DICE have had the sense to include more modes from the off this time around: Conquest, Squad Deathmatch, Squad Rush, and Rush are amongst them. The popular Conquest mode is an old favourite and has teams fighting for the control of flags, and as long as a team has tickets available, players are able to respawn to continue the fight. Rush (squad and original varieties) involves teams protecting and destroying crates, if the attacking team’s tickets run out before they are able to destroy all the said crates, the defenders of the round are declared victorious. I actually prefer the squad variety, wherein there’s one crate and two small teams, each comprising of four players.

Multiplayer is also highly rewarding, with experience points eventually unlocking new gadgets, weapons and specialities for each class. It’s also a multiplayer game that truly encourages unity, as additional experience is earned for assisting your team in various ways: dropping ammo and health packs, repairing damaged vehicles and more. It’s now even possible to spawn next to other players in the majority of the modes, which is handy for quickly coming back from an unfortunate end to lend your gun in a firefight. In a game that has such an unsavoury title, this encouragement of team play actually means that you’re often in good company as opposed to the bad kind.

So, whether you love shooting real people through your broadband connection, like a tight and focussed single player campaign, or if you’re not partial to one or the other, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 has all bases covered. The single player campaign may be a little brief and a tad disappointing in its closing stages and its generic storyline, although it’s still an excellent and memorable campaign, and one that is highly improved over the original game, and then there are the top drawer online multiplayer options, which are quite simply some of the best you could find on the current consoles. All in all, there’s little to dislike here, then.