Battlefield: Bad Company Review for Xbox 360 (X360)

Battlefield: Bad Company Review for Xbox 360 (X360)

Bad Company is Solid Gold!

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 screenshot

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.

Battlefield: Bad Company screenshot

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.

Battlefield: Bad Company screenshot

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.

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).

Battlefield: Bad Company screenshot

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.

Battlefield: Bad Company screenshot

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.

The environments are astounding! The background graininess and exaggerated, cutscene character animations are the only things keeping it from a perfect score. 4.5 Control
The controls are very easy to use. I found the lack of laying prone a minor issue. 4.9 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The sounds and music in this game are just shy of perfection! 4.2 Play Value
The game is very fun, but enemy A.I. can get annoying, and the lack of co-op play through the campaign is detrimental. 4.4 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Cinematic single-player experience: A deep campaign loaded with attitude follows a wayward band of ordinary soldiers who risk it all on a quest for personal gain.
  • War, your way: Battlefield: Bad Company environments are 90 percent destructible, meaning that any structure can be demolished down to its foundation. Gamers can shape the battlefield to match their play style – the possibilities are literally endless.
  • New vehicles, weapons and toys: Land, air or sea, dozens of new tools are waiting for explosive experimentation. Battlefield: Bad Company gives gamers the building blocks to get creative and usher in a new era of their own “Battlefield moments”.
  • Frostbite game engine: DICE’s Frostbite game engine raises the bar for next-gen gaming, with stunning HD graphics that bring characters, vehicles, and environments to life like never before.
  • Genre-defining multiplayer: Support for 24 players online in a world designed to take full advantage of the game’s massively destructible environments.
  • True “Through the gun” experience: DICE’s attention to detail is applied to the act of firing a weapon. Dozens of subtle changes to the FPS formula add up to a vastly improved shooting experience.
  • Screen Resolution: Up to 1080p (Full HDTV, Widescreen).

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