Bad Company 2 Impressions

Posted by Alex Jordan on

I've been a very bad boy and have done hardly any work on Around The World recently. Partly that's due to the obnoxious urge to move onto other XNA projects, a feeling that always takes hold of me towards the end of a project. Fortunately, I've ignored this feeling. Around The World will be finished, hopefully within a month or so.

But another reason I've done hardly any work is because I've been busy playing Battlefield: Bad Company 2, the game that took my love for Modern Warfare 2 out into the woods and shot it in the head.

I stubbornly started playing BC2 singleplayer, despite the fact that (a) I didn't buy the game for the singleplayer campaign, and (b) nobody buys a Battlefield game for the singleplayer campaign. It's fun so far, and while I think the shooting mechanics are slightly inferior to MW2's, I appreciate that the enemies you fight are way, way more interesting. Also, shooting them doesn't feel like shooting cardboard cutouts, which is always a plus. The game also gives you lots of diversified weapons, but due to the allure and unavoidable usefulness of BC2's destruction system, one of your guns will always be the XM8 with the grenade launcher strapped to it.

I never played BC1's singleplayer campaign beyond the demo mission, so I don't know what the previous writing caliber was. Suffice it to say, the writing in this game is decent, although it's now slightly Grittier(tm) than in the previous game. As for the game's characters, I'm not a big fan of Marlowe's "Everyman" nonchalance, nor the Sarge's growl, but I do get a hoot out of Sweetwater's Joisey babble and Haggard's rambling incoherence. Unfortunately, Haggard's lines bear the mark of multiple writers: half the time he's cynically snarling war movie tropes like "We're fucked, man!", and the other half of the time he's being funny and talking about the Dallas Cowboys or pretending he can speak Spanish.

The plot? I don't need to say much about the plot. You don't play this game for the plot. Suffice it to say it involves some sort of World War II era doomsday device. However, any plot that involves your characters purposefully pulling a Russian satellite out of orbit, turning it into a flaming meteor, and slamming it into the Andes gets a pass in my book.

When I'm not giving the Appropriate Allocated Time to singleplayer, I'm obsessing over the multiplayer. It's good. Really good. The shooting mechanics aren't as tight as I'd prefer them to be, but the kick of the guns' recoil, combined with the guns' lethality, is pitch-perfect for a game where you're trying to engage bad guys at long range over open ground. Also, being a foot soldier gives you lots of options to deal with the everpresent Battlefield series vehicles, which is refreshing.

The progression system is pretty good, though a tad annoying. Whereas MW2 hands out XP and the first 10 levels of progression as if it was Halloween candy, BC2 prefers you to struggle on for a bit, since the game has less overall unlocks and levels than MW2 does. Furthermore, losing and playing on a bad team nets you significantly less Experience Points than winning does, so beware, as a lousy pickup group will hold you back. Also, all progression is linear and based on class. For instance, getting an ammo kit, unlocking new weapons, and upgrading the weapons you have are all accomplished in an A to B to C progression with the Assault class. Aside from the class itself, you can't pick and choose what you want to level up next... you just have to keep leveling up the same class.

In writing just this short piece, it occurs to me that BC2 is so complicated a game that to describe the small details, you have to ignore the larger picture. For instance, I haven't even mentioned multiplayer gameplay types. During my proper review, I'll try to rectify that.