Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is one of my favourite games of all time to play but unfortunately it is not for the reasons most of you would normally love a game for. The single player experience in this game is sub-par, which definitely does not help the game out as much as it could have. The bright side to this is that the multiplayer is the best multiplayer I have ever played in any FPS game (yes that includes you Halo and Modern Warfare).
The developer, DICE, fixed everything that was wrong with the first Bad Company and actually created a multiplayer experience that went above and beyond expectations. Who needs a single-player campaign when you have this kind of multiplayer experience?
Let me talk about the single-player campaign for a bit. The player controls Private Preston Marlowe who is part of a fictional United States Army battalion known as ‘Bad Company’. Along with his 3 other squad mates, Private Terrance Sweetwater, Specialist George Haggard Jr. and Sergeant Samuel Redford, Marlowe is assigned to securing a dangerous Scalar technology.
The idea is typical of a war game. Have a squad, kill some guys, save a few people along the way and eventually find what you are looking for. As you play out the story, nothing exciting really happens even though the entire game is about action. Unlike the original Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, where events were original and mind-blowing, Bad Company 2’s single-player brings more of the same with its run-and-gun style play. The idea is to kill everything in your path while making sure you complete your objectives along the way. DICE through in a couple little extras to try and make the single-player replayable, such as destroying satellites or collecting weapons, but to be honest it is clear this was not their focus.
Even though the environments are beautiful and the controls are almost perfect (knife should not be a trigger button), the single-player experience takes a backseat to the multiplayer.
As soon as you jump into the multiplayer element of this game you are greeted with many options. You can play one of four modes (rush, conquest, squad rush and squad deathmatch) with another mode, onslaught, being available for download via the Playstation Store. Obviously most people begin with deathmatch because it is the easiest to pick up and play. Rush mode consists of players defending or destroying pairs of M-COM stations until either the attackers run out of respawn attempts or all the stations are destroyed. Conquest mode consists of players capturing and defending flags for as long as possible. This mode is an original to the battlefield series which is why most people are seen playing this mode over others.
Once in a match you have the option to select from four different classes: Assault, Engineer, Medic and Recon. Each class has their own separate experience bar (including a vehicle experience bar separate from the classes). As you kill enemies, capture flags, destroy stations, etc., you gain experience that goes towards whatever class you were using at the time. Let me be honest with you, some classes are a pain to unlock everything in *cough*recon*cough*. The recon class, A.K.A. the sniper, can be a really boring class if you are not constantly moving. Yes sniper fan boys, you have to admit that it sucks when you are the type of player that sits around waiting for the fight to come to you.
As experience is gained, weapons and accessories are unlocked as well as upgrades for these weapons and accessories. Basically the more you kill, the more you capture and the ways in which you destroy all count for different scores that go towards the experience points.
There is one over-powered class in the medic because of the defibrillator. When running around with your squad mates (and even squads that are still on your team but not directly yours) and playing as medic you have the ability to revive them once they have died (once you have unlocked the defib unit). Each defib on a squad mate gives you 80 experience points and a revive on a team mate that is not in your squad is 50 points. The cooldown time between defibs is only a few seconds so you can imagine how many points you can rack up by running around with the medic and reviving everyone on a hectic battlefield. You can even kill someone with the defib unit and get 50 experience points. The medic also has a health pack they can drop anywhere and get points for healing teammates. For example, if I play as a medic in a conquest map I can get over 2,000 experience points in every match just by reviving and dropping health packs.
There are no perks in this game like in the Modern Warfare series which is a disappointment especially when you can rack up big kill streaks. The dog-tag system returns from the Battlefield 2142 and the original Bad Company where you gain an enemies dog tags if you kill them with a knife. These dog tags are accumulated in a stats page along with all the other stats you gain from using weapons, accessories and vehicles.
The pure joy of this multiplayer comes from the destruction 2.0 element. Destruction 2.0 is the ability to destroy anything in the game and make it crumble to pieces. Is an enemy behind a wall in a building? No problem, just blow the wall up and gain access to that enemy. Is an enemy hiding in a building but there are too many walls protecting them? Bring the rain and drop a mortar strike on their ass which collapses a building and crushes them into nothing. There is nothing more satisfying than crushing an enemy under pounds of building material (besides owning a guy with a sniper pistol shot of course).
Overall, this game has a multiplayer that will be hard to beat. I had a hard time putting this game down and with an expansion just around the corner, I can’t wait to play it all over again. The single-player hinders the experience a bit but if you ignore that flaw and stay focused on what really matters then there are no real problems.