|System: X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA DICE||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: EA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 23, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 (24 Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
As good as gameplay is, there are two drawbacks to the formula. One is the fact that enemy A.I. has an uncanny ability of knowing where you are. And second, you can't split up your squad. Because of these flaws, you'll get pinned down frequently. Consequently, sneaking around the side of an objective to flank unwary grunts is an impossibility. There are a few token dingbats that will be making their rounds just screaming for a headshot, but more often than not you will taste their hot lead first (that doesn't feel very heroic).
Even if you were to creep at a snail's pace through the woods and position yourself squarely behind a rock outcropping, once you've "aggroed" the enemy they will know exactly where to shoot and will most likely tag you first. Fortunately, the in-game healing system employs a Life-2 injector that replenishes your health completely. If you do fall in battle, you and you mates won't have to start the section over completely; the facilities, emplacements, vehicles, and troops you already took out will remain out of commission.
Nevertheless, getting pinned down gets frustrating while trying to take out tanks or helicopters. Using gadgets like the laser designator to call in a JDAM strike, while fun, takes time and enemy tankers never seem to lose track of you. If you could split up into pairs, ala Ghost Recon, tackling certain objectives would be far more enjoyable and tactically engaging, as they are in multiplayer. I don't mean they should have slowed the single-player pacing down to a crawl by constantly having to tag enemies, toss in flash bangs, breakdown the door, etc. It just would have been nice to divide the force with the press of a button to get some breathing room. It may sound as if I was truly bothered by these missteps, but the truth is, they weren't that big of a deal. I plowed through game giggling at both the story and my keen ability to kill the enemy.
There's really not a whole lot to nitpick in this beauty, but the lack of co-op play was also somewhat of a bummer. Fortunately, the campaign portion is great enough that it's still worth passing the sweaty controller back and forth between you and your friends. Other than the stellar single-player campaign, online multiplayer should be a real treat for regular fraggers. There are currently eight huge maps to play around in. They cover forests, mountains, rivers, towns, open fields, and industrial complexes. Players are allowed to choose between five kits whose weaponry and items vary. Additionally, there are a few tools that can be unlocked to make you an even more devastating threat. If you're impatient, you can spend $10 more and get the Gold Edition and the "Kit Unlocks" will already be available to you.
Furthermore, vehicles and weapon emplacements are still fair game in multiplayer, so look out for entrenched forces and armored infantry. Likewise, vehicle operators who get tagged with tracer darts will find an RPG projectile soon to follow. Battlefield: Bad Company features an all-new multiplayer mode of play called Gold Rush. This mode is an objective-based game that allows up to 24 players to jump in and play as either attackers or defenders. Attackers try to destroy the gold crates at each objective before running out of lives. Meanwhile, defenders simply have to mow down the onslaught and their reinforcements before they destroy all the bases.
Finally, controls and presentation in Bad Company are phenomenal. It is incredibly easy to switch between weapons and items. Unfortunately, you can't lay prone, but this is only a minor concern. It just means snipers have to shoot and scoot. The graphics are amazing for the simple fact that the environments are so incredibly detailed and lifelike. Unfortunately, the backgrounds are pretty grainy and some of the cutscene character animations are too exaggerated. Luckily, the music is great and the voiceover work is flawless. The great and varied tunes succinctly communicate the cinematic feel of the title, and the writing and line delivery is both comical and interesting. Therefore, the personalities of each of your squad mates really come through. I especially liked Haggard. He is a hilarious hick that shouts "Wooohooo!!!" when you get headshots and asks the others for a "band-aid or something" when you take a 50 cal to the chest. It all really comes off well and will keep you laughing till the end!
Battlefield: Bad Company is definitely one of my favorite games of the year. It's not entirely perfect, but it is thoroughly enjoyable. If you've found yourself stuck in a gaming rut, I'd suggest combating it with a little levity and a great story. Bad Company has all the components of a great game and will provide you with hours of delight.
CCC Editor / News Director