Game: Battlefield Bad Company 2 (Single Player part)
Developer: EA Digital Illusions CE
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Reviewed: February 2013
Game Type: First Person Shooter
I've never played any of the previous Battlefield games, mainly due to the games concentrating on the Multi Player aspect rather than Single Player. In the more recent games released in the series, more effort has been put into making an enjoyable Single Player experience too, and so, now that the game is at bargain prices, I thought it was time to check out what they have to offer.
I'm concentrating this review solely on the Single Player portion of the game, as I'm not really a hardcore Multiplayer gamer anyway, especially when the only mode I would try, Deathmatch, is not included. There is an option for Squad Deathmatch, but unless I found a group of friends to play with, I'd only just end up annoying a group of complete strangers who would then either kick me or leave.
There isn't a great deal to explain about this type of game, as it is your common as muck, bog standard, first person shooter with a war setting.
My initial installation of the game required a hefty 2.6Gb patch, which downloaded rather slowly, and meant I had to entertain myself with something else when I had wanted to just get straight in and play.
On loading the game, and setting up my controls, I found that I couldn't look left or right, and couldn't find a way to alter any such setting. I subsequently found out I must have accidentily clicked on the mouse options for an action, and by simply moving my mouse I had re-binded that action to something else. Annoyingly I had to then reset my controls and set them up again. Fortunately, that was the last of any issues I had with the game.
For most of the game, barring the very first mission, you play as a soldier called Preston Marlowe who is part of the 'Bad Company'. You are in a small group of, generally, four soldiers, occasionally, more, and although they are nearly always with you, making it feel like a team effort, it is down to you to progress forward. Your squad mates can't die fortunately, and you don't have to worry about looking after them, so you can just concentrate on keeping yourself alive.
Your squad mates make interesting enough characters at times, and by the end of the game they feel quite familiar to you. Possibly because one of them looks like Michael Biehn's character in The Abyss!
The game starts off relatively weakly, and seemed kind of uninspiring at first. Luckily though, very quickly the battles get more intense, and enjoyable, even if at times they can be quite difficult.
Quite often, if you stick your head out in the open a little too long, or try and charge towards your foe, you'll be shot down in seconds. At this point you'll encounter the downsides of having a checkpoint based system, because you'll sometimes have to redo what I'd consider just a bit too much to get back to where you were. The system generally works overall though, and at least you don't have to worry about saving in the thick of the action. It actually makes you a better player, in a way, because you'll find that taking cover, and staying back as you'd need to in a real battle, are far better options than rushing in all gung-ho.
There are no health meters and pickups in the game, and like with the Call of Duty series, if you get shot, the screen just gets progressively redder with vision more blurred, and it's then time to find cover quick, to recover, or else you will die.
The action takes place in a number of locations, from cold snowy mountains, to jungle, to the middle of a desert, and even in a city. This helps keep things fresh throughout the game, as you're not stuck in the same location.
For the most part, you are in a linear environment, with the illusion that the game world is bigger. If you stray too far, you're told to come back or it's mission over. Occasionally the game does allow you to stray a little for an alternate approach to an enemy, and in one desert based level, you have a relatively large area you can traverse through via a buggy.
You are given 2 weapons to carry at any one time, and one of your weapons will have an alternate mode, effectively making it like you are carrying 3 weapons. For the post part, you'll have either a sniper rifle or a rocket launcher, and the other weapon will be a machine gun of your choice, with a grenade launcher mode tacked on.
The machine guns feel relatively good to use, and with some of the zoom modes they can double up as sniper rifles themselves. The sniper rifle itself is accurate, but can feel painfully slow at times, so if you don't get your shot right first time, be prepared to run back for cover as reloading takes a while, and in that time, the enemy will have found ways to reach you. Or rather their bullets will.
At various points through the game you'll get to try some vehicles too, mainly little buggies and jeeps, with the latter having mounted machine guns you can use. At other times you'll be in a vehicle, but just control the turrets, and these sections take place in both cars and helicopters. For the most part they are decent, except a later helicopter mission when I kept getting killed far too quickly, even though I'm playing on Easy settings. Luckily though, after my third attempt, the game converted my helicopter to full health at the last save point, which meant I could then easily complete it, so it's not completely bad.
Graphically, the game is a mixture. It generally looks nice, but sometimes things are either a little too washed out, or too bright. A lot of times there will be plenty of dust in the air, and I gather that was done to make the game-play a little tougher, as you're trying to fight almost blind. It does look quite effective visually, but it can be a pain at times when you can't take a shot because you just can't see through your scope.
Sound wise, the game portrays a decent wartime atmosphere, with explosions and guns sounding satisfying enough. There is nothing exceptional, but the game does a good job nonetheless.
There is plenty of banter between the characters throughout the game, which is good for atmosphere at most points, except when in the first jungle area, the game developers thought it would be good to include a zillion Predator film references, basically coming out with many of the memorable lines used in the film. Some of the scenes too seem to make me think directly of the film, so it's obvious someone there is a big fan. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's just I feel they overdid it just a bit too much. However, on my second session of playing the Single Player, I never heard any more , so I can't complain too much!
While Battlefield Bad Company 2 started so-so, for the most part it is a decent and enjoyable shooter, with varied action and locations. The graphics are generally nice too, although not pushing any technical barriers. The basic plot and story is presented clear enough that I could understand what was going on and what the game was about. I won't go into details here as I'd just give away what bit of story is included. It isn't heavy stuff, but it's good enough for your average FPS game.
The single player portion is quite short, and I took just around 8 hours to complete it. At least it's twice the length of your average Call of Duty game, and for those that want it, there is always the multiplayer too, which is still quite popular now, and so there are plenty of active servers two years after release.
If you have never played a Battlefield game before, then picking this game up in the bargain bins is worth your effort, as it is a decent action title, if slightly too short. For that reason as always, I'll take account of the length in my scoring.
Comparing it to Homefront, which I played last year, it is similar in game-play, but that had a slightly more interesting plot and different locations when compared to your average shooter. It was also much shorter too though. Overall, those things cancel each other out for scoring purposes. I also have to consider that this game actually has an active Multi Player community, but alas, as I stated at the start of my review, I shall stick with the Single Player portion of the game, and thus my score is the same for this game too.
Arbitrary Final Score (for Single Player):
If you like this, you might also like: The other Battlefield games, Call of Duty series, pretty much any FPS game
Is playing this game a battle? Are EA a Bad Company too? Let us know in the forum!