I’ve not played much of the Battlefield series, but it has a grand legacy of small-to-medium-scale tanks and troop battles. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 has a passable basically rail-shooter singleplayer, but gorgeous first-person-shooter squad-based multiplayer.
Still Haven’t Finished the Singleplayer…
Thankfully it definitely doesn’t take itself too seriously, since the singleplayer game I’ve still not had the sheer will to complete yet. It is both ridiculously easy and patience-testing boring – however becomes hard when you’re thrown into fighting large amounts of enemies since you simply can’t shoot them all. This comes from them being relatively easy to kill (they barely take cover or move), but you too are easy to kill (you can only crouch and a few good shots – or missles – can kill you).
Not having to prone and peek around corners is a bit refreshing but I do miss it from Call of Duty 4 and STALKER. Still, crouching and having simpler controls means it is fast paced until it gets more annoying with enemy troops spawning in huge numbers.
In any case, it’s passable if boring. The characters are sterotypical and macho as per usual, and the plot is random and doesn’t make much sense but at least it gives you a good feel for how the game plays.
Okay, actually I finished it…just…
Since I was taking my sweet time getting screenshots I went ahead and finished the singleplayer, which took a matter of an hour or so in any case. Not much to report apart from a few screenshots! I mean, some really silly things; “brilliant” writing and sequel fodder.
Multiplayer! But where is my kit…
Leaping into multiplayer is both a great and a sad thing from the outset. I did it only a few levels into the singleplayer and came off none-the-worse since I’m a competent FPS player. This is good since there are no tutorials and also everything apart from your first weapon and a grenade is an unlock!
This meant as a medic I couldn’t heal anyone, as an engineer I couldn’t fix vehicle damage, and as a soldier I couldn’t provide ammo. Luckily a sniper just needs to snipe, so his default kit is the fairest (apart from he gets his ability to place a motion sensitive item as an unlock, but at least that isn’t heavily needed for combat).
I’ve got major issues with this kind of treatment. I am competent enough to learn the maps and have fun while ultimately suffering a massive amount of deaths to mortars, guided missiles, super-explosive grenades, high powered shotguns…just to name a few. It takes a fair few hours to make the basic class unlocks, which is a real shame and I’m putting it down as by far the worst aspect of the multiplayer right now!
The rest is a joy however; it is fast paced, seemingly balanced gameplay with a lot of tactical combat options available. Usefully all the classes weapons can actually kill things, meaning cover and covering fire is useful – I’m so glad the medic doesn’t get a pokey gun! Aiming is a proper skill to get heavy fire on someone since headshots kill faster, and like the singleplayer there is no prone or corner-looking meaning you do get a decent shot back at someone who shoots at you.
You can also join a squad with up to 3 others that allows you to spawn next to them when you die (which when you do not have basic equipment is a godsend). Your squad can be given basic orders (as in what objective to take first), but more importantly you can point out enemies to your entire team by pressing Q. How useful! No more mini-map scouring for red dots, and enemies (especially vehicles) can be pointed out so others can shoot them or know where they are in their view.
The maps are also very fun to play in. You can blow up a great amount of cover and buildings, which is fun and strategic, especially for attacking a well defended position. I enjoy the Rush mode, where an attacking team has a limited time to destroy around 6-8 points (by planting a bomb there or simply throwing all your firepower at it for ages), 2 at a time, making the maps a manageable size. It never seems impossible to defend or attack either, and it swaps the teams over so both sides can play as defence or attack (and you even stick in the same squads when maps change! although sometimes one side can really be much better and dominate of course).
Vehicles are also included in many maps. Most require at least a second gunner to make full use of the equipment (and most have 4 passenger slots for an entire squad), and are highly entertaining to just blow up stuff with. They’re not game unbalancing either, since certain classes have the materials to stealthily or loudly blow them up, and they also can’t kill everything but do help push forwards forces into what are otherwise kill zones, or at least distract those people trying to blow you up for others to get. Helicopters are something I’ve still not learnt how to use though – the lack of a tutorial for these complex beasts is a bit annoying!
Finally, there is no singleplayer deathmatch or other nonsense. The Battlefield series never had this of course, but it is worth pointing out that the game is balanced for multiple people on a team, so you never feel alone or outnumbered and always have friends to fall back on (or get revived by!). I’m also glad there isn’t anything like capture the flag – all the modes require some form of proper tactical offence and taking over areas, not just temporary in-and-out attacks.
So, if I didn’t have unlocks and things to “earn” I’d be enjoying it a ton more (I can’t ignore it though, I want these “specialisations” – I keep getting killed by people with them!), however the fast paced nature with a realistic slant makes it a joy to actually play. I’ve not heard any voicechat however, which is a shame – I need to play with some friends to really use the squad combat properly and work with my squad correctly.