Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Review

FPSGamer goes duck-hunting in EA’s biggest Battlefield to date. Can DICE bring the house down a second time?

By Edwin Evans-Thirlwell, March 25, 2010


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There’s something suspect about the phrase with which the Bad Company sub-franchise is often associated, ‘tactical destruction’. It’s the ‘tactical’ bit, basically. ‘Tactical’ lends ‘destruction’ a veneer of complexity we’re not entirely sure it deserves. Being able to explode cars at people, or shoot fist-sized lumps out of concrete tank barriers, or level houses from the kitchen windows upwards is undoubtedly a thrill, but there’s not a whole lot of nuance to be extracted.


Talking up the first Bad Company, EA DICE explained to a baying public that its patented Frostbite engine would give players ‘total freedom to be daring and innovative, adapting to and tackling challenges in unexpected Battlefield-style ways’. A less sensational way of wording this – and thus of approaching the highly similar sequel – might be that players have ‘total freedom to blow up stuff to kill people or make them easier to shoot’.


Because that’s what the concept boils down to, doesn’t it? It’s the difference between there being something solid ‘twixt you and The Enemy (and you staying put) and there not being something solid ‘twixt you and The Enemy (and you running screaming for the horizon while The Enemy admires the cut of your trousers through an M95 rifle scope). It’s the difference between some bastard crouching in one corner of a bungalow, sub-machine gunning you as you enter, and you calling in a few favors with your good friend the F16 pilot, marking the camper’s hideout through laser beam binoculars and cackling as the entire building implodes in his face.


We sort of feel guilty for not really mentioning how good it all looks, but then, do we really need to?

We sort of feel guilty for not really mentioning how good it all looks, but then, do we really need to?

We’re not saying this sort of free-wheeling topographical butchery is a bad thing, because as the above thumbnail sketches suggest it most certainly is not. Few games are as exhilarating, as surprising as Bad Company 2 online. One instant you’re enjoying a mental cigarette break behind a warehouse, the next somebody’s driven an APC right through the wall. Defending one of the game’s obligatory Important Crate-like Objects from a team with a field gun or two in the holster is as edge-of-the-seat as it gets, beleaguered infantry clinging to jags of door frame while those outside do their best to see through clouds of brickdust (incidentally, EA, some sort of infra-red visor would be a great multiplayer unlock, providing it’s appropriately balanced).


We’re just not convinced the ‘daring and innovative bit’ extends further than ‘now I’m in shelter, now I’m not, better do something about that quic – AARGH I’m dead’. Other games (indeed, other Battlefields (indeed, this Battlefield)) inculcate much the same mentality by laying out maps in such a way that every cluster of cover points has its rear entrance, its secret tunnel, its inconvenient overlook. Flattening the area with artillery shells might induce more in the way of manic giggles, but you’d be pushed to distinguish between methodologies from the outcome alone.


You’d also be pretty pushed to distinguish between Bad Company 2′s single player campaign and that of any other console shooter, fluctuating numbers of holes in the scenery aside. OK, that sounded a little harsh. You’d be pushed to distinguish between the Bad Company 2 campaign and that of any other enjoyable console shooter, then.


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7 Responses to “Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Review”

  1. Brush says:

    I really like the look of this, however, I think I’ll wait because of EA’s ‘project ten sterling’

    I was not at all worried about this when i bought Mass Effect2, as i wanted the game new anyway (and do realise 2nd hand sales go entirely to the shops). Buuuut…now i would quite like to trade it in for something like Battlefield…i realise it’s me not said shops that take the hit in this menage a trois, the trade in price is rubbish.

    So…it’s making buying Battlefield…more of a risk should you not like it. In some ways i support the principle of what they’re doing, but games just cost too much.

    Anyway, i’ll keep it in the memory bank and make sure i pick it up sometime.

  2. Dan Dreyer says:

    It shocks me that you could play this multiplayer for more than a few minutes and conclude that it focuses on tactics no more than it’s genre’s predecessors. Blowing up buildings and driving tanks through (close to) real physics means SO much more than just giggly fun. With Bad Company 2 you have so many ways to do EVERYTHING you do. In previous games, you try to flank your enemy, hit him with a grenade, or shoot him quicker (usually this last). The winning team in Rush has little to do with technical skill. This coupled with each class’s distinct roles make for a multiplayer experience that is second to none when it comes to tactical game-play. I looked up a clan once I realized this, started playing with 8 ppl on a team, and now MW2 feels like an empty shell fit for playing only while intoxicated (for stupid people).

    This game does suffer from some little bugs, but when you compare it to it’s predecessors and keep in mind that it’s something like 20 times more complex… they are nothing. Remember the javelin glitch in MW2, the infinite crate glitch? Walking below the lvl in World at War? Getting your foot stuck on a piece of concrete feels tame compared to that.

  3. hassan says:

    moi mää haluna optla pisää psp peliä

  4. bob says:

    “Giggly fun”? You destroy my cover for giggly fun? What the hell. The game is only as complicated as the person playing it. When I go in with a full fireteam playing rush, you are the sort of person I order a cease fire on just to see where you will go. People who don’t understand the tactical aspects of BC2 screw everyone over. You didn’t once mention enemy highlighting in this game, a key feature. You didn’t bother to mention weapon balance, weapon customization, weapon variety, class use of gadgets or anything related to the multiplayer game in any meaningful way except for a few of the key innovations. Are you reviewing the playability of the multiplayer, or the durability of the gimmicks?

    • Eh, you make good points. The sparsity of fine detail on multiplayer in this piece has been bothering me, though I think I’ve expressed the gist adequately and no, I would not change the score/verdict on the basis of playtime since review. Fancy writing a more in-depth ‘pro-gamer’ piece for us about BC2 online as it stands today? Can’t pay you, but you’ll have the satisfaction of bitching at me in a semi-official capacity. I’d do it myself, but revisiting titles is a luxury we can seldom afford…

  5. ChazMaz says:

    EA…

    Fix the lag!

    The game is really sucking.

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