Battlefield: Bad Company Review – The latest Battlefield game is golden.

Battlefield: Bad Company

Electronic Arts, DICE

Ps3, Xbox 360

War never takes itself lightly. Sometimes the soldiers do. Of course, I’m talking about the latest Battlefield game from DICE and EA, Battlefield: Bad Company.

Preston Marlowe finds himself headed to B Company, where the US Army sends all of their “loose cannon” expendable soldiers. He meets up with his squad, Sweetwater, Haggard, and Redford. The four of them are just trying to get by the next few days smoothly, so that Redford can retire in peace. They find themselves battling Russians in a very cliche fashion, but get sideswept on a quest for gold. The story is told all through in engine cutscenes and conversations during action. At first, Bad Company’s tale appears to be really average, but it quickly fastens up, and in the end, it’s a satisfying adventure about personal gain.

Throughout the game, you’ll be witness to a surprisingly hillarious performance by the script and voice actors. Even during moments of intense war, the soldiers of B Company constantly make light of the situation, joke around with each other, and tell stories about their odd families or desires. It would seem to hurt the intensity of the battles, and although it does a slight, it actually helps out the overall enjoyment of the game. It’s unique to see such a funny lineup in a first person shooter, so congrats to the developers for taking a chance. The story wouldn’t be as acceptable as it is, if it wasn’t for the hilarity. You get attached the the characters because of this.

Most Battlefield games are pretty simple shooters. You’re a soldier, you’re put in a wide open sandbox area, and you’re given guys to shoot. The twist with Bad Company is the destructibility of the environments. You usually have a grenade launcher attached to your main weapon, or you have smiley face pinned grenades. Also, there are barrels and boxes of explosives set up in all the right places for some reason. People could wonder “why are there explosives everywhere?”, but they really shouldn’t because it’s fun to see things go boom. Now, when an explosion goes off, if it’ close enough to a buliding, that part of the wall will crumble in a satisfying fashion, with bits and chunks of rock flying everywhere in a convincing cloud of smoke. The frostbite engine does a good job of making you think that the scripted destruction is all organic, and it’s a neat effect.

The destructible environments aren’t just for show, however. It is an important gameplay function that you’ll use all the time throughout the campaign and in multiplayer. Sometimes when there’s an enemy in the window, and you can’t get a good shot at him, you can blow a hole in the wall, and kill him from behind, if the explosion itself doesn’t get to him. You can just obliterate any sort of cover that your opponents can use. It’s not just a gimmick, it’s an important gameplay mechanic.

However, your enemies can do the same to you, so it’s balanced on both sides. However, it’s very rare that they’ll do that to you very often due to the fact that most of your enemies, save a few who are seasoned veterans of war, have less than desirable AI. Usually, the AI is decent, but sometimes they’ll refuse to shoot at you, or get stuck in a loop of functions, like pop up and down. The rest of BC doesn’t fare too well against them. You’ll find that most of the damage will be done by you, the player. The AI isn’t necessarily bad, it’s certainly good at times, but it does leave a lot to be desired often.

Visually, Bad Company sets the bar high in a lot of places. Buildings all look great, although they all share similar indoor features. The game runs well at all times, even with all the commotion going on. Destruction definitely looks incredible, you’ve never seen anything like it in a shooter before. Lighting is great, at all times, even at night. With the exception of some pop in with the grass, and a grainy look, Bad Company is one of the best looking shooters yet this generation.

In addition to the incredible script and voice acting, Bad Company sports some of the best gun sound effects and explosion noises around. Just about every sound effect you can think of when describing war is here, and it’s here well. Preston’s ears even ring when there is an explosion nearby. The attention to detail with the sound quality is astounding, and it puts you right in the middle of war.

The orchestral score is well done and suits the tone well, although the lack of tunes is a little bit disappointing. The soundtrack, on the other hand, is full of really cool jazzy licensed songs, which you hear throughout the game, either in the menu, or on any of the radio stations in the game.

There is a large variety to the weapons. There are a lot of different kinds of weapons, such as snipers, assault rifles, machine guns, shotguns, just about anything you can think of. You’ll use a handful of them throughout the campaign, and they all have different attributes such as rate of fire, firepower, or reload time. Certain weapons are better in different situations, and the game gets that down properly.

Unfortunately, there is no weapon customizing to be heard of. After seeing such deep options in Call of Duty 4, it’s a real downer to see that not even remotely present here.

Along with the loads of weapons, you have a lot of cool gadgets at your disposal. There is a laser designator, which locks on to any weapon or vehicle, and once locked on, you can control a missile which comes down from the heavens. You have a mortar strike, a variety of rocket launchers, and a health replenisher. The health replenisher is a needle you can jam into yourself every so often, and you’ll have it the entire single player campaign. You need to unlock it for online. It makes the game a little simple, but it’s really useful for getting through some tough parts.

After all, this is a Battlefield game. Bad Company features huge, wide open levels, which are all played sandbox style. The vehicles in the game are all a blast to drive, whether it’s a tank, jeep, armored car, dune buggy, helicopter, whatever. They all handle properly with smooth controls, and a lot of different turrets and other weapons on them. The whole sandbox feel translates rather well into online multiplayer. You have a nifty little radar that shows you where to go, although you can use any route you want to get there. It’s really unique, and no other shooter that I can think of does it this well, if it does it at all.

Sometimes, this can be a very frustrating shooter. The wide open levels often have a lack of cover to use, especially when any cover you do have can just be shattered. Sometimes, it just comes down to whoever started shooting first, will live. It really lessens the experience at a few times in the game, and it’s just a bad design choice, to not have more sustainable cover. Often, you’ll find yourself up against a tank, with nothing to do but run.

What sort of balances this out, is the lack of a death penalty. When you die, any damage you’ve done, anyone you’ve killed, any ammo you’ve used, and buildings you’ve leveled, will stay the same once you’ve come back. The game doesn’t make you redo things, as much as it does respawn you back on the map. Some people won’t like this, but I thought it was helpful,and kept the game light and not so harsh. It fits the theme of Bad Company well.

The single player campaign is a solid 7 hours of explosions. It can feel repetitive at times, but things change up often enough to keep that from becoming an issue. There’s no coop at all, which sucks, considering there are 4 members of Bad Company, all with bad AI. There’s good replayability, as you can return to any level you’ve finished, on a different difficulty. There are a lot of collectibles, although I’m not too sure what they’re for. The story is also good enough to bring you back later down the line.

Aside from the fat single player campaign, there is multiplayer online. It’s probably what you should buy the game for. There’s only one game mode, Gold Rush, but it fits the bill well, and it’s a blast to play.

MP holds up to 24 players on EA’s servers. There are different classes that you can take up, such as on the assault, recon, engineer, demolition expert, and specialist. Your team benefits from working together. There are two sides, Attackers, who have to destroy gold crates, and not die, and Defenders, who have to defend the crates, and kill the attackers. The two sides balance well, and the game mode is unique and cool. It’s kind of like Attack and Defend in Vegas 2.

Multiplayer is intense. It works well, and it shares the same gameplay features as single player. You feel as if you are on a team, all sharing the same goal. It’s much different from team deathmatch, where everyone goes off and kills. Here, you need to work as a team to succeed. With the sandbox like gameplay, and the vehicles which fit 4 people, that is heavily evident here. Multiplayer can be very addictive, and it’s a great compliment to the great single player campaign.

However, Gold Rush is the only game mode. Maybe in the future, the original conquest mode from past games will be available. For now, Gold Rush is good enough and is addictive enough to get you by. The lack of cover from single player isn’t much of an issue online, since everyone feels the same way, so gameplay really feels more revamped and intense online.

The weapons unlock system is very neat, and gives the player freedom. Everytime you rank up, you get one unlock point, which gets you any weapon that is available for unlock. The player gets to choose which weapon or item to unlock, and it’s a nice touch that brings some depth and motivation to play.

I found all the issues I usually find with EA’s servers. You can’t choose which map you want to play on, which is a shame, because you may dislike one or two of them. Also, lag occurs fairly often, considering EA uses their own servers for all their games. It can get a little sad sometimes. Luckily, the lag isn’t everywhere, and you will enjoy most of your online games immensely.

There are a few bugs and glitches you might run into, such as a tank you’re supposed to defend, suddenly becoming an enemy tank that’s invincible, people shooting at you during cutscenes, where you can’t do anything, and sometimes the hit detection is off. It doesn’t wreck the game, but the game would benefit without them.

Battlefield: Bad Company is fairly simple, but it’s hidden depth and complexity is very noticeable at times. A cool story, addictive multiplayer, and the fact that there are no decent shooters this summer, are the reasons you should pick it up. It’s not the best Battlefield game ever, but it is an excellent shooter with unique ideas that are all pulled off well.

~ by smithbubbajones on June 28, 2008.

One Response to “Battlefield: Bad Company Review – The latest Battlefield game is golden.”

  1. It’s amazing

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