EA and DICE are back with another iteration in their wildly popular Battlefield franchise, a series of multiplayer first-person shooters covering combat across land, sea, and air. The first Bad Company introduced a singleplayer campaign, a series first, along with destructible buildings. The story followed four military misfits, more focused on stealing gold than completing objectives, during a fictional war between America and Russia.
The sequel drops the gold-hunting and ramps up the seriousness as the members of Bad Company try to track down a Japanese super weapon lost during World War II before the Russians can. The campaign is short, but enjoyable. Collecting weapons and blowing up hidden M-COM stations add some replayability. On consoles, these objectives are tied to achievements, but they do not unlock anything on the PC version.
The singleplayer campaign is step in the right direction for the franchise. The battles are exciting and the set-pieces are spectacular, but it isn't anything you haven't seen in similar games. The story is predictable, but doesn't take itself too seriously. The ending sets up Bad Company 3 and I'm all for more singleplayer from DICE.
But the true value of Bad Company 2 is its multiplayer component, unsurprising given the history of the franchise. Matches are long and intense. Some rounds can last well over half an hour as the advantage switches between the two factions. Coordination and communication will not only increase your effectiveness, but also add to the fun.
The unlock system is a bit slow to dole out the rewards, but most of the good specializations and weapons are unlocked early. No class is useless in any situation and the squad and spawning system is top-notch. Teamplay is heavily encouraged by rewarding behaviors like reviving fallen squadmates, resupplying your ally's ammo, or even spotting enemies for your buddies to shoot.
It's a tough game to wrap-up in such a short space, but I'll summarize my experience with a brief recounting of two moments in the same multiplayer round the other night.
In a full 32-player Rush game on the snowy Port Valdez, I'm on offense with a full squad of Shacknews community members. The defense was holding strong at a choke point. Deciding to make a flanking push around the enemy, I drop down from our hill and start running toward a nearby building for cover. I start taking fire from two enemies in the windows above. Expecting to die, I frantically toss a grenade at them as I continue running. Just before they kill me, the grenade goes off sending them flying over my head along with the walls. Double kill.
Later, my entire team is pinned down by enemy tanks and snipers against a mountain trying to push forward. It isn't working. We're losing too many tickets and getting no where. I tell the team as much and suggest we move left and try and advance from the coastline, offering some cover from half of the enemy forces. The go order is given and almost all of us run, in unison, from right to left. It confused the enemy and we advanced the frontlines to the next chokepoint.
I can't remember the last time I had this much fun in a team-based, multiplayer shooter. Oh wait, yes I can. It was Battlefield 2. Bad Company 2 is new in all the right places, while staying true to all of the things that make Battlefield such an exciting franchise.
Developed by DICE, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 was released for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on March 2, 2010 (North America) and March 4, 2010 (Europe).