Sunday, March 14, 2010

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 PC Review

Battlefield Bad Company 2
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is a new installment into the Bad Company series that started off as a console game but now DICE has developed part two with the PC gamers in mind. The end result is a game that doesn’t feel like the quality has been dumbed down because of being multiplatform. This review will concentrate more on the PC version rather than console comparisons in order to be more precise in this review. I’ll start off first by saying that this feels like a product that is a true successor to Battlefield 2 that was released 5 years ago on the PC. Those who have not played a Bad Company game before will notice that with the Frostbite engine the game brings environmental destruction as a core gameplay mechanic and can dynamically change strategies deployed on the battlefield. If you have not read a review by me I divide it into multiple sections that talk about story and single player campaign, multiplayer, graphics, controls, and sound. This allows me to analyze each section to say what I do and don’t like about the game so the reader can get a better grasp at what I’m trying to dissect from the game. Just one minor note, I did not play the first Bad Company game on the console so I won’t be comparing any type of changes from that game.

Story and Single Player Campaign:

You play as Preston Marlowe and you go through the campaign with three other characters named Sweetwater, Haggard, and Sergeant Redford. The characters do have some personality and have chemistry with each other. Throughout the game you will hear them talking to each other which brings in some comedic relief from the otherwise tense war vibe you are supposed to get. The campaign itself starts off sometime during World War 2 and puts you in control of a soldier that you really won’t care about during that time. This part seems to be there so you can get a sense of the danger of this Scalar weapon that seems to be the driving force of the story itself. So somehow your squad gets mixed up in all this and you travel to various destinations like Russia and mainly South America. It’s linear and straightforward and you can’t really deviate from the path game sets upon you. There is a desert level where you can drive to different destinations and do them in a non linear order but there is nothing that changes the outcome of the game completely. The campaign in short and I think I clocked in about 5 hours before completing it all. The game isn’t all that challenging, as I played on hard difficulty and got through just fine without too many deaths. There are some weapons to collect and when you pick one up you can outfit your load out in these crates throughout the campaign. I would have liked to see some more squad customization and outfit your crew in different weapons but they seem to have the same weapons throughout the game. The squad AI is also not too great, you can’t order them at all, and they either help or they don’t so you’re basically stuck doing most of the dirty work in the campaign. The campaign is fast paced and has its moments but you probably won’t remember it in a week.


Multiplayer is probably why you will buy this game. The Battlefield franchise has a long history of being multiplayer exclusive and with good reason. They make a damn good multiplayer game. If you haven’t played a Battlefield game here’s the quick rundown. It’s a class based teamwork oriented shooter, which basically means that you specialize in a particular class for example the medic will heal up other players and resurrect dead players with defibrillators, while the assault class are front line soldiers who will resupply you with ammo. So basically it helps to play with a variety of classes to help the team win the round. The class structure is a lot more streamlined than previous battlefield games and has condensed them into four focused classes which are Assault, Engineer, Medic, and Recon. Assault is the backbone of a squad and provides the most firepower with various assault rifles and 40mm grenade launchers while being able to resupply teammates with ammo. Engineer is your anti-vehicle class because they are provided with rocket launchers and anti vehicle mines. You can also repair teammate vehicles to score points and keep that tank holding the line alive. Medic I have sort of described already but they complement any squad they are on. They have the least firepower but the light machine guns aren’t firing pellets either. Recon is basically your sniper class; they mainly stay in back of the front lines and try to keep people off objectives and spot enemies before they are on top of your teammates. Recon are also mini UAV’s because they have motion sensors that they can throw in an area that tracks enemy movement and points them out on the map. The class structure seems a lot more focused and easier to know what your role is. One major change that you will find in Bad Company 2 is the squad spawning system. If you’re a lone wolf then you will be missing one of the greater conveniences in the game. Basically you get to spawn on your squad mates if they are still alive. This alleviates one of the major complaints about Battlefield games in the past where you have to run long distances to get back in the battle. The game has a ranking system and you earn points per class. Each class can be upgraded and you will unlock new weapons and gadgets per class. The way you earn these points are to basically do your role and kill enemies. Ammo resupplies, spotting enemies, medic heals and resurrections all earn you points. You will then be able to customize your character and add any attachments to weapons to your desire. This gives a little more variety to players who like to customize their weapons certain ways. Vehicles are back in a few flavors, you have your tanks, helicopters, humvees, atvs, and boats. Vehicle combat is probably the best you’ll find that isn’t a focused simulator. UAV’s are also handled a bit differently since you can now use them to shoot missiles and can upgrade to eventually have a machine gun alternate fire on them. Bad Company 2 has a few different game modes this time around. Conquest is about capturing flag points on the map and holding them until the other teams tickets run out. Rush is an objective based mode where you must destroy two m-com stations on the map, once you destroy them, the enemy falls back and you must destroy another two m-com stations and so forth. Squad Rush is the same as Rush but you play it as a four player squad against another four player squad, I have not played it much at all and I would assume that the pace is quicker. Squad Deathmatch is basically a free for all but you play with three other players and you basically have to kill all other player squads for points. This mode I found to be the most fun and hectic in the game. You will want to play this when you don’t have much time on hand and want to get a quick session going. With all this being said there are a few flaws, there are some balance issues that you can see right off the bat. Some weapons are a bit too strong and you will probably find people using these weapons exclusively. I also found a problem with the knife in the game because it seems to auto target any player in front of you and lunges forward giving you an easy kill. Assault can also grenade spam because they can resupply themselves. Vehicles also spawn extremely fast because once you kill one it only takes maybe 30 seconds to a minute before another spawns and vehicles can be very hard to kill. There’s also the “imma sniper syndrome” where you will probably find a team of recon not going for objectives and just sitting back and sniping. Unfortunately you can’t patch idiots so you’ll probably see this type of game once in awhile. There also have been problems with EA servers providing the necessary bandwidth to keep the servers up and running. So the first few weeks have been rocky and I’ve spent some days offline because of these issues. Another complaint I could find is that the server browser is very unsatisfying; it takes a long time to load and doesn’t have many filters. It does not have real time updates to the server list so you can sometimes spend a few minutes looking for the right server only to be denied because the server is full already. Problems aside this is a very polished online shooter and will only get better as problems are squashed.


The game does look very good and scales very well with hardware. You can finally see that games are finally catching up to Crysis which set the benchmark in looks a few years ago for the PC. Animations are well done and the environmental physics are pretty awesome. The game engine seems to handle destruction and large levels very well without straining most systems to a crawl. I think the only gripe I have is that shadows could have been better because they seem very blocky and distracting in some ways. I don’t know if it’s a Nvidia problem or just the way the game handles the shadows but self shadows were very distracting at all quality levels.

Gameplay and Controls:

Bad Company 2 is a slower paced shooter than let’s say Unreal and Call of Duty games. It does try to bring in some realism and that can be seen with all the weapon physics in the game. Physics are a big part of the gameplay and bullets will travel distances. It’s not so much a point and shoot game but more of a lead the sights a little in front of the target so that when the bullet travels it hits the target. This is especially true for sniper rifles, the further away you are from the target the more time it takes for the bullet to get there. At the same time the bullet is also affected by gravity and starts to fall after a certain distance. So it takes some time getting used to the mechanics of the game but once you get the hang of it you start learning to deal with the game physics in real time. You have options to use a controller in this game instead of the mouse and keyboard but this is all personal preference. Most people find a controller to work better for vehicles than the mouse and keyboard.


The sound for this game is very high quality. Weapons sound very authentic and you get a sense of distance of where the action is. There is a sound option called War Tapes and it just makes everything sound very epic, just a warning it may blow out your ear drums if you’re using headphones. I don’t speak Russian so I can’t say for certain that their voices are authentic during multiplayer but the American soldiers do sound like they are in a war. It can get repetitive but it doesn’t really harm the game in any way.


Although it was announced that Battlefield 3 was in development this game in particular does feel like a successor of Battlefield 2. It is a game that will make many veterans of the series get back in the groove and feel nostalgic about the old days. The single player will not win any awards for being the best in genre but serves as a good tutorial for what is the meat of the game which is the multiplayer. If you’re looking for a multiplayer shooter that will eat a few months of your life or keep you occupied until Battlefield 3 then I highly recommend this game because it may be the best of the year.

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