|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|
by Jonathan Marx
What happens when you cross one of the best PC shooters of all-time with a modernized Kelly's Heroes storyline and then build the game from the ground up for current-gen consoles with proprietary technology? A whole lot of awesomeness! Dare I say magic?
Battlefield: Bad Company improves upon the vast multiplayer killing fields of its PC predecessors, throws in a ton of vehicles and weapons to find and play around with, and then ups the ante with a single-player story and script that are both funny and exciting. To top it all off, the multiplayer side via Xbox LIVE or PSN is chocked full of expansive maps with varying terrain, loads of cover, unique weapons, and vehicles galore. Put away your Modern Warfare Ghillie suit, hightail it down to your local gaming store, and get ready to stay inside this Summer.
The story in Bad Company is reminiscent of the classic war movie Kelly's Heroes. For those of you unfamiliar with the 1970 film, it starred a host of Hollywood heavyweights including Clint Eastwood, Donald Sutherland, Don Rickles, and Telly Savalas. Kelly's Heroes followed the exploits of a ragtag bunch of military misfits intent on claiming a ton of Nazi gold by going AWOL and pushing deep into enemy territory. The combination of quirky characters, intense action, and phenomenal writing made that movie a smash hit and an instant classic. Bad Company works on the exact same premise, but modernizes it much like 1999's Three Kings did.
As Preston Marlowe, you will join the ranks of the 222nd Army battalion, B Company, ominously known as Bad Company. This collection of troublemakers and criminals is deemed expendable by the U.S. Army. As such, squads and platoons within Bad Company are shipped into theaters of war long before even Special Forces units such as Green Berets and S.E.A.L.S. are sent. That makes life very hard and very short for newly transferred men. Thankfully, Preston is one of the lucky few who have the skill and the gumption required to make it out of harry situations alive. You'll be matched up with the commanding Sarge Redford, the whining Sweetwater, and the bumpkin Haggard as you comb Eastern Europe and the Middle East for mercenary baddies and relieve them of their shiny stacks of blood money gold.
The first thing you'll notice about Bad Company are the truly vast battlefields within which your squad will fight. These maps are incredibly detailed, feel very real, and are almost completely destructible. They do a wonderful job conveying exactly what the Army has gotten Bad Company into. Speaking of trouble, you are given a series of objectives by the mission operator, Mic-1 Juliette (aka "Miss July"). Her soothing voice makes Sweetwater's loins tingle and keeps your squad on track. There are many ways to accomplish each objective marked on the mini-map. You can try to flank enemy positions on foot, barrel right up their gut with IFVs (Infantry Fighting Vehicles) and heavy armor, or use the available cover and enemy emplacements to your advantage. In any case, there's going to be a healthy number of exciting and challenging showdowns.
These conflict chokepoints are numerous as well as varied. They allow for differing strategies and the use of different kinds of armament. As such, you will hop into tons of cool vehicles and find lots of collectable weapons along the way. The vehicles are broken up into five categories from Soft to Heavy Armor and even Attack Helicopters. These vehicles have a bunch of cool weapons and allow you to select a first person view for both shooting and driving that seems to really help with any camera issues experienced while fighting close to trees, buildings, on roads, etc. in third person view. I did wish my squad mates were able to drive for me, however. Alas, if you want to take over on the mounted boom sticks in automobiles, you'll have to stop your jeep or IFV. On the other hand, piloting helicopters and tanks still allows you to do both shooting and steering, but this feature is sadly missing from the lightly-armored troop transports.
In addition to vehicles, weapons seem to be introduced at the perfect time. For example, you'll find your first shotgun when enemy targets need to be cleared out of tight spaces; you'll pick up a sniper rifle just before entering a section of fortified emplacements; or you'll pick up gadgets and secondary weapons like C4, RPGs, or a laser designator before taking on tanks. In addition to a set amount of collectable weapons, there are also several cases of gold bullion spread throughout each level. Finding every collectable and every case of gold makes for a challenging proposition indeed for completists.