March 23, 2010
Battlefield Bad Company 2
by Chuck "Magnum" Ankenbauer
The Battlefield series of games has been around since 2002 when EA first released Battlefield 1942. Since that time we've had 7 games in the series, Battlefield Bad Company 2 being the 8th, and a follow up to Battlefield Bad Company. Since you've had 8 years to play the Battlefield games I'm willing to bet you already know if you like the series, or not.
It's kind of funny. SimHQ on the one hand is not an advocate of the Battlefield series, because it's too action, too run and gun, and not the methodical, tactical aspect of gaming we usually prefer. We even have a SimHQ Forum smiley that says "This isn't Battlefield 2!”
But truth be told, most of us secretly do love the series, love the game play, love the action, and most of all, love the fun. Sure, ! prefer a good tactical game like the original Ghost Recon game or SWAT 4 game for example, but there’s no denying that I love the gaming fun that comes with the Battlefield series.
Like I said and most already know, Battlefield Bad Company 2 (BFBC2) is the follow up to the Battlefield Bad Company game that came out on the Xbox 360 and the PS3 in 2008. The good news about BFBC2 is that it also came out on PC this time, and we thought we were being forgotten. The single player game continues the great and comical story line featuring the just plan crazy HAGGARD who loves to just blow everything up. SWEETWATER returns as the not-the-sharpest-tool-in-the-shed support gunner. Both of these characters humorous interaction with each other remind me of SimHQ's own Jedimaster and PanzerMeyer. The not-so-tough and mean SARGE returns days before retirement to lead the squad, while you the player again as PRESTON MARLOWE, the one character that doesn't seem to really fit in this Company B of misfits.
The first Battlefield Bad Company game had a great and funny campaign story, where the characters mentioned above made the single player game fun — even though the friendly and enemy AI was absolutely terrible. It was worth playing through once just for the laughs. BFBC2 follows the same formula. Its single player campaign is like most others in this type of game. You’re the star of a movie, and you have to play your role. You're guided strait down the script of the movie with the cool cut scenes and farcical mischief. For example, when HAGGARD goes off on the liberal Blackhawk pilot. That's funny stuff. There is a lot of satirical reference to other games of the same type. Like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 for instance, when HAGGARD says (while racing a 4-wheel ATV) that "snowmobiles are for...". Well, you'll hear it.
As before, in the single player campaign, you’ll fight in different locations and vehicles. You’ll fight on foot, in vehicles, in a tank, and in an attack helicopter.
If you liked the first Battlefield Bad Company single player game then you'll like this one too. Same thing just bigger, better, and badder (that's my cliched review phrase of the year).
Of course where BFBC2 really shines is its new and improved multiplayer. EA really did a great job on the multiplayer this time around. Minus the first week server problems that every big EA game seems to have upon launch of a new title.
The key and great thing about multiplayer in BFBC2 is that teamwork is a requirement. You will not get far in this game as a lone wolf.
There are four different classes of multiplayer characters (or "troop kits" in BFBC2 parlance), and each have a purpose and a goal. Teamwork and communications is the key.
You get four game modes: Conquest, Rush, Squad Rush, and Squad Deathmatch. You can also play some of these modes in hardcore mode which makes it less action-oriented and more decisive, slower-moving tactics. There is the "assault" guy who can resupply the team with ammo; there is the "engineer" who can repair vehicles; there is the "medic" who can drop med kits and revive downed team mates; and there is the recon guy, who usually carries a sniper rifle, C4 and provides some deadly mortar call-ins. Unfortunately there’s no way to balance or force balance classes in matches so the recon class is usually abused and over-populated in the multiplayer games.
As you play you get points, points for kills, headshots, tagging enemies, dropping kits... extra points for accomplishments with your teammates. There are points for everything. The point system is really done well and not only rewards the best run and gun shooter but also the guy who plays as a teamer, who helps and leads the team. As you gain points you unlock weapons, tools, and add-ons. You also get promotions and skill points. Its tough for the new recruit because you start off with limited weapon choices, and they usually suck, but once the weapon unlocking starts, things get better. The game itself gets better and you start getting more kills. It rewards the player who plays the most — which for working men and women isn't really all that fair, but that’s the reward for playing non-stop without a life.
The game ships with 10 multiplayer maps, a few for each type of game. So in reality their is only 4 or 5 different maps. The maps are well done, and large enough to use basic military tactics, and definitely large enough for some good old fashion teamwork. Their is a desert map. Its my favorite. I kick ass with the tanks thanks to the armor tactics I learned in SB Pro PE. There is a winter map, a jungle map, and a small village map. More maps are coming. Two more are due out anytime now.
Here are videos I took of each map.
You know a game is good when you...
...play 3 or 4 rounds, exit, then boot it back up 15 minutes later to play again.
...play it so much that while at work or school your thinking about what upgrades you will unlock next.
...go to bed and dream about playing it.
...sit down to play just 1 round before work and end up 2 hours late.
All of the above have happened to me with Battlefield Bad Company 2. I can't stop playing it, and I want to go play right now as I write this!
The problem with the single player is the usual idiotic AI. At least its not as bad as the first Bad Company was! The problem with the multiplayer side — besides EA's server problems — is what some gamers do while in-game. They can ruin the game experience. The game works fine if everyone plays the objectives, plays as a team, and communicates.
Speaking of communications. You can only use in-game chat with your squad of 4, there is no way to talk to the whole team. I’ve never been a fan of that approach. I think the comms should work with the whole team or the ability to select who to talk too. In the PC version you can of course use Teamspeak or Ventrillo, or at least type text to your other forces. But not in the console version.
If you like what you see and hear about BFBC2, time to stop reading, go buy it and join us on the SimHQ BFBC2 servers!
In closing, here is a list of BFBC2 tactics I put together to help you survive and enjoy the game more.
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