A jab at gaming – with love

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Review

-By Allyn

Okay, so I posted my initial impressions of the latest installment of the Battlefield series after some initial gameplay with a fair share of excitement and criticism.  I waited a while to finish out the campaign and get a significant amount of online multiplay to write up a full review, and I’m very glad I did.  After some gameplay adjustments on my part, I began to enjoy the game even more than I did initially and some of my complaints seemed to fade into the background.  Without any further ado, here it is:

The Single-player Campaign:

I will actually only write up a short review of the campaign since I can honestly say it generated only a small part of my opinion of the game.  Overall, it was enjoyable, but not epic.  Fun, but not without frustration.  Compelling, but not that must-play withdrawal-inducing experience.  All that said, the environment, soundtrack, effects, and especially visuals, were absolutely amazing.  The destructible environments lent an additional dimension to the mostly linear story, although the story remained a semi-disjointed underdeveloped aspect to the game.  This is not to say the story doesn’t add to the game, it just does not drive the gameplay as  much as in the Call of Duty series or similar FPS games.  The shooting mechanics will take some getting used to, although I still cannot figure out exactly what it is that threw me off during my first few hours of gameplay.  The “gravity-correct bullet physics” are inconsistent from weapon to weapon and end up being more of a detraction from the game than a benefit, and the shotgun is still WAY too powerful (only in the hands of the enemy).  Other than that, I enjoyed the game but probably will not revisit the campaign anytime soon.

Online Multiplayer:

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 has changed my standard for online multiplayer.  This is now my new benchmark.  I was always wary about buying a game exclusively for the online component, and I have even ranted about how game developers have been skimping on single-player campaign in favor of beefing up their online multiplayer.  For this reason, I was even more wary of MAG, which completely abandoned the single-player component in favor of a more multi-dimensional, deeper online experience.  BF:BC2 gave us an online multiplayer which is truly a game-changer, and even I would be willing to shell out full price for this multiplayer alone.

What I liked:

Level/Soldier Class parity: In too many games, low level player will continually get dominated by groups of upper level players.  In similar fashion, games with various soldier classes will often have one class which is clearly dominant over the other classes.  BF:BC2 levels this playing field as best as any game can.  There are distinct advantages to leveling up offering new dimensions to the gameplay, without making newer players feel completely overwhelmed.  Each soldier class plays a very distinct, critical role in proper squad play and the absence of team members of a certain class will be felt by the whole team, and none of the classes feels particularly over or under prepared.

Huge Maps: Nothing is more frustrating than continuously spawning into a chaotic melee of battle only to be blown up by an RPG fired from the other side of the map, since all corners of the map are viewable from all other corners of the map.  The maps in BF:BC2 are plenty large to accommodate sizeable teams, extensive vehicle combat, and strategic squad play.

Soldier Options/Arsenal: Your loadout includes a primary and secondary weapon, a gadget, grenades, two perks and an artillery option.  With four soldier classes, and a fairly extensive arsenal of options, the number of possible combinations in nearly endless, and your options only increase as you level up.  I find myself constantly tweaking my loadout to optimize for different maps, different classes, and different styles of team/squad play and I have been enjoying every minute of it.

Destructible Environments: I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I can’t say enough how much this changes the gameplay.  Somebody hiding in the attic?  Blow off the roof with a UAV.  A squad hiding in the second floor of a building?  Blow off the walls with a tank.  Enemy team hiding in the bushes on a hill?  Call in a mortar strike to clear out their cover.  I have seen previous attempts at incorporating destructible environments in games before, but BF:BC2 does it right, and has integrated the concept seamlessly into the strategy of game.

NO WAITING!!: Gone are the ever disappearing game lobbies.  Gone are the “unable to connect to game” messages.  Gone are the seemingly endless wait times to get into a game.  I have never waited more than 10 seconds to get into a game, and the dead time between games gives you just enough time to check your stats and the next map before you jump into the next game.

What is Questionable:

No Protected Spawn Spot: This has long been my criticism of many online multiplayer shooters and it unfortunately has not been solved by BF:BC2.  While I don’t have any problem with the vulnerability of spawn spots further into the battlefield, I find it incredibly annoying and unnecessary to have the backmost spawn spot be accessible to the enemy team.  I think it is one of the quickest ways to drain the fun from any match when you spawn back at your base only to find 4 enemy players behind you sniping people as they spawn in.  This is not competitive or fun.  This takes little to no skill.  This is not in the spirit of the game, and instead ruins the experience for players trying to play within the spirit of the game.

Lag. Fricken’ Lag.: During the first 1 1/2 weeks of online play, I never had a problem with lag.  Then came the “patch” to fix the in game store.  So much for the clean play.  Ever since then, I have experienced varying degrees of lag which have ranged from lightly frustrating to controller-throwing obscenity-inducing rage-fests.  Thankfully, the lag is only a significant issue in about 20% of the games that I’ve played, but nonetheless, it’s still frustrating to deal with.  I don’t know if there will ever be large scale online multiplayer that will be lag free, but I can  dream can’t I?

Sniper (some Scope) Aiming: I would ask any Recon player to dispute this.  Go one by one through each sniper rifle, or even other scoped weapons.  Line up a headshot from similar distance with each one, crosshairs directly on the target’s head.  Some guns will give you a headshot kill, some will give you a non-headshot kill, some will give you a hit without a kill, some will miss entirely.  This is supposedly a result of more “realistic” gravity-corrected bullet physics.  I was evidently unaware that certain weapons were immune to gravity while others must induce a supergravity paradox.  Whatever.

Overall:  4 of 4 Stars.  I would say this game is a must have for any FPS player, and would definitely be worth playing for anyone who even remotely likes shooters.  Trust me, it will make a multiplayer addict out of you before you know it.  Stunning visuals, arsenal variations, destructible environments, and complex squad gameplay set this game above all of its competitors in the genre, including the juggernaut Call of Duty series.


2 Responses to “Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Review”

  1. BF:BC2 has an awesome online multiplayer. I just wish more people had headsets and played together as a team.

  2. I agree, but I think this can be said of almost every online multiplayer out there. The one nice thing is that there are hardly any people being obnoxious or vulgar, unlike most of my experiences with the COD series, Killzone, and Resistance.

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