|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA DICE||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 2, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 (24 Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Jonathan Marx
As if the record-breaking multiplayer beta wasn't evidence enough, here's my two cents: people are going to love this game! Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (BBC2) is a brilliant FPS that will give players loads of fun while romping through the single-player campaign, and keep them coming back with an even better multiplayer online experience. DICE's proprietary Frostbite Engine, which makes destruction an integral part of you and your opponents' strategies, really helps to set this game apart from the competition. This title is definitely worthwhile, even in the face of the other big time shooters out there.
I really enjoyed the original Battlefield: Bad Company (BBC); the collection of goofy characters and the gold-fueled storyline really resonated with me. Perhaps that's because I was always such a huge fan of Kelly's Heroes - a humorous WWII film from 1970 about Yanks thieving Nazi gold behind enemy lines and inadvertently spearheading a major assault. That movie somehow managed to bring Clint Eastwood, Donald Sutherland, Don Rickles, and Telly Savales together in a compelling way by giving them all very distinct, characteristic roles. DICE went ahead and employed that formula in the first game, and the same memorable characters have made their way into the sequel. Though I didn't love the story this time around quite as much (a tale about saving the West from a mysterious, legendary WMD in Russian hands), the squad of Sarge, Sweetwater, Haggard, and Marlowe is perhaps even more enjoyable to venture into combat with in BBC2. Moreover, subtle gameplay refinements make the title superior to its predecessor.
If you haven't played BBC or have heard nothing about BBC2, know that DICE's Frostbite Engine makes the gameplay quite unique. While BBC2 seems like a conventional FPS on its surface - you'll shoot guns, take objectives, and save the day - dig deeper and you'll find a wholly original shooter experience. The fact that cover, whether it's a palm tree, corrugated metal, or two feet of cement, is permeable and ever-changing, means you'll have to shoot and scoot (or get crushed by your opponents) and can change the battlefield through destructive force. Inflicting indirect damage on the enemy by whittling away at their defenses and changing once advantageous installations into heaps of rubble is a satisfying and often cerebral game-changer.
Buildings will come down around you if you remain static for too long. Likewise, pesky enemy MG nests and TOW emplacements are not as insurmountable as they might seem. Because the physics and damage modeling employed in the game is so good, players will find themselves reacting to the opposition and the environment in ways that other games simply can't elicit. Both in single- and multiplayer, BBC2 is a distinctive, strategic shooter thanks to the powerful Frostbite Engine.
Like any self-described Battlefield title, BBC2 will give you access to a ton of vehicles and mounted combat segments. The single-player campaign will have you joyriding in behind enemy lines in all your favorite rides of war, and the multiplayer maps (some of which emphasize vehicle combat) are frequently shaped by the use of helos, tanks, boats, and quads. The implementation of vehicles makes for refreshing moments within the campaign (keeping the pacing up nicely), and allows for truly expansive multiplayer maps. Plus, it's fun to take out enemy positions with Blackhawks or via UAV without having to pull off a kill streak first.
Undoubtedly, players are going to want to jump into the story first. Though not particularly long (not as short as CoD: MW2, however), there are a lot of great moments and shootouts to be found throughout. Gameplay in BBC2 is extremely reminiscent of what was on offer in the original game. Thankfully, the unnecessary health booster mechanic was scrapped for a more traditional find-cover-till-you-heal system. Additionally, weapons feel better and there are much more varied environments to explore.
There are three difficulty levels to choose from when playing solo, so you can make the game as challenging or as easy as you'd like. Also, the game auto-saves constantly, making death less punitive than it can be in other titles. That said, especially at higher difficulties, you'll likely find yourself redoing a few segments several times until you employ a better tactic for tackling the objective. Also, as was the case in the original, there are a ton of hidden collectibles and secret secondary objectives (M-Comm stations) you'll want to find scattered around the maps. The campaign in BBC2 is a very good time filled with interesting set-pieces, adaptable strategies, and changing environments.