The Quickfire Q&A is our schizophrenic antidote to over-worded, boringly constructed articles, giving you all the key info plus a joke or three in snappy question-answer format.
Next between our cross-hairs is the follow-up to the fun but flawed Battlefield: Bad Company, in which men in padded camo helmets fire RPGs at walls to knock them on top of other men in padded camo helmets.
So what were you playing?
A 10-man round of Capture the Flag on an arid seaside map called “Flag Map C”. Probably a provisional title, yes. It was an Xbox 360 build.
Where were you playing it?
Ooh, can’t tell you that. Bit embarrassing. Let’s just say I was at an event in London run by a certain “E. Gamer”. No wait, that’s too obvious – how about “Euro. G”.
What’s Flag Map C like then?
Seems to be an old industrial port town near a dried-up river delta – think abandoned shipping containers, old sailboats sunk to the oarlocks in sand. I saw an entire tanker high and dry in the dunes, just like the start of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. On the outskirts of the town you get low brickwork houses, but there are two or three storey buildings further in. Plus a lot of corrugated metal fencing and bombed-out cars.
Your immediate impressions on picking up the controller?
It didn’t feel too different from Bad Company, really. The combat knife is now on left bumper rather than being buried in the weapon select, which makes it easier to melee kill. Other than that, business as usual. Left trigger for iron sights, click the left stick to sprint, right trigger to fire.
Can you lie prone this time, or is it still just standing and crouching?
The latter. It’s hard to spot other players in Bad Company 2 even when they’re standing – few primary colours or clean edges, lots of incidental detail, and damaged buildings generate huge, lingering clouds of dust – so I guess they didn’t want to make it too noob-proof.
What about the freeform destruction part? Did the game look like it was working harder than its predecessor in that respect?
Not that I noticed, but then I spent a lot of my time at the controller crashing helicopters. The man behind was most amused. Objects seem to come apart in smaller pieces, and I was able to level buildings with airstrikes, but you can’t knock them to the floor, piece by piece, with things like RPGs and rockets.
What about classes and loadouts?
You’ve got Assault, Engineer and Recon roles as before – no Specialist or Support this time, though the new Medic class retains some of the abilities of the Support class. Assault players get rifles and grenades, Engineers pack shotguns, repair tools and anti-vehicle rockets, Medics get those chest-zapper revival things and Recon troops are the snipers.
Your prognosis, then?
I liked the original Bad Company, and the sequel’s dancing to the same tune. Could face serious competition from MAG though – there’s the same rough-and-ready urban warfare vibe, but MAG supports more players per side and gives you more unique, interesting ways of organising them.
The game’s out on 2nd and 5th March 2010 in North America and Europe respectively for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.