Coming months after the spectacularly successful Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (MW2), game development studio DICE’s Battlefield Bad Company 2 (henceforth Bad Company 2) may seem like a late arrival. But a mere 5 minutes with the game will convince you that it isn’t just a me-too joining the ranks of the “modern” shooter, but a compelling and solid game that betters MW2 in a number of interesting ways.
Shock and awe: Bad Company 2’s smoke and dust effects are stellar.
First brownie point goes to Bad Company 2 for its cheeky sense of humour. The game makes a number of underhand references to its big-budget cousin (at one point, one squad member remarks: “Snowmobiles are for sissies!”). The plot, while still full of chest-thumping American patriotism, is more coherent than MW2’s hopeless mess. A secret weapon from the murky depths of World War II returns in the modern world, with a Russian cabal racing to get hold of it. You play army grunt Preston Marlowe, a member of a four-member Special Forces team (called Bad Company) on assignment in South America. The script is tight and occasionally funny, and works well enough to keep the single player campaign going. 1-0 to Bad Company 2.
The visuals are fantastic, and the Frostbite engine that powers Bad Company 2 is stunning at rendering large, open grounds and cityscape vistas. Smoke and dust fly everywhere, and there’s a convincing destructibility to the environment that adds a dose of realism to the proceedings. One minute you’re hiding behind cover, and... “Boom!”—a well placed rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) hit reduces it to rubble. Houses, electricity fixtures, turrets—everything explodes and destructs satisfactorily. Bad Company 2, in a way, is the closest we’ve got till now in gaming to a Hollywood war film. There are epic explosions, shakiness and jitter, smoke dust and bullets—it’s a convincing simulation of war as seen on film (for a more gritty, disturbing image of war as it is in real life, Bohemia Interactive Studio’s ARMA II is highly recommended). Of course, MW2 has its share of incredible visuals, so we’ll call this one a draw and keep the score at 1-0.
Company of heroes: The game’s plot suffers from too much chest-thumping patriotism.
The audio and sound effects are top-notch. Witness the roar of your wimpy guns as you enter enclosed spaces, or the ominous foghorn siren of the plot’s main secret weapon. The music, while consisting of the usual Hollywood-esque combination of epic string sections and brassy fanfare, is never intrusive, and swells and ebbs with suitable dramatic flair. Remember that all this prettiness requires a powerful
computer, so make sure your system meets the game’s hefty system requirements.
The single player campaign, while solid enough on its own, isn’t the main draw of Bad Company 2. Multiplayer component of the game is the main draw, and it does not disappoint. A vast array of options, quick and easy ways to get connected and start playing, and a huge online community means Bad Company 2 will give you many, many hours of productive play time. That’s 2-0 to Bad Company 2. Go play this game.
Battlefield Bad Company 2 is available for the XBox360, Playstation 3 and PC platforms. The version reviewed here is the PC variant, priced at Rs999.