Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (Available for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC)
ESRB Rating: M
Release Date: March 2, 2010
Parent Talk: It should raise a red flag any time a parent spots a game box stamped with an ‘M’. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is a war game…and all about filling hostile soldiers with lead, which means plenty of blood-spilling violence. The members of Bad Company: Marlowe, Sweetwater, Haggard and Sarge, also don’t spare many expletives as they traverse the globe to stop a plot to incite World War III. While this content is more acceptable in today’s culture, that doesn’t give younger gamers a free pass at being exposed to a product solely intended for those of at least 17 years of age. Approach with caution.
After laughably losing out on their quest for personal fortune, the members of Bad Company have returned, only to be enlisted once again for the prevention of what could very well be World War III. Marlowe, Sweetwater, Haggard and Sarge navigate the globe in search of important persons of interest and intelligence…but more importantly, the location of a highly classified weapon of mass destruction capable of bringing the world to its knees. Will you help this armed and dangerous wide-cracking quartet accomplish their goal, or is Sarge’s desperation for an early retirement humorously delayed once again?
The Great: The return of Bad Company. If not for our heroes mentioned in Parent Talk, this shooter wouldn’t have a unique leg to stand on. Each personality is a convict that’s been enlisted to do the government’s dirty work with the promise of freedom if the job is done well. You could imagine then how their conversations would fare. When they’re not exchanging verbal jabs, Sweetwater and Haggard especially turn what would normally be painfully obvious observations into absolutely hilarious comedy. Some games don’t need innovation or the latest technology to be special; Bad Company 2 is one.
The Good: + The Frostbite engine. Bad Company 2 employs incredibly realistic particle and elemental effects and environmental destruction that no other shooter has touched. In this Battlefield sub-series, cover is your friend, but only for as long as the enemy pleases it to be. The campaign also has Bad Company explore several areas of the world (snowy mountains, tropical south), doing wonders for the visual variety.
+ The high-dynamic range audio. While the volume and echoing of the gunfire strangely doesn’t sound as in-your-ears as that of the predecessor’s did, it’s still noticeable and adds to the authenticity of this virtual war.
+ The boomstick. Need I say more?
+ Greater stability for online multiplayer. The original Bad Company was nothing but a lag fest, but the net code here has been optimized to be more reliable. I’ve yet to be disconnected from a match, or witness more than a few seconds’ worth of technical hiccups.
The Bad: – A function for going prone still doesn’t exist. I don’t understand why what is one of the most common front line physical poses in the armed forces isn’t possible in Bad Company 2. Crouching to one knee is fundamentally useless if your cranium is still ripe for bullet-chewing.
– There’s no mercy for new online multiplayer participants. When starting, it’s inevitable for you to engage enemies of at least fifteen or higher rank. Said adversaries are also guaranteed to be equipped with far more superior weapon loadouts. In Squad Death Match, newbies would probably feel like target practice more so than meaningful contributors.
– Your Bad Company squad mates can’t be incapacitated, but aren’t very helpful. When an intense gun battle is taking place, fully expect to eliminate the enemy majority by yourself (as Marlowe). The other guys are more inclined to just shout like a drill sergeant and point out worthless details.
The Ugly: Unlocking new, better toys for your weapons, and the more powerful arsenal altogether takes absolutely forever. Worse, many of the first weapons you gain access to never beg to be used if you’re a sane shooter fan. There’s no reward for killing with specific loadouts or properly using gadgets; Instead, you’re forced to wait on points that accrue for using a kit, and that’s difficult for new online players. I’m not a fan. (That’s my Call of Duty fanaticism talking.)
The Lowdown: Bad Company 2 isn’t a significant improvement over its older brother, but an improvement nonetheless. It will never overshadow Modern Warfare 2, Halo 3, and perhaps Killzone 2 for that matter, but gamers who don’t care for those titles have a great option here. Plus, Soap/Price/Ghost simply can’t hold a candle to DICE’s Fab Four. The follow-up campaign and all-around presentation is well-done, if not mind-blowing, and blatantly invites a Bad Company 3. Add to that a sustainable multiplayer that should be more new player-friendly, and Bad Company 2 is a worthy pick-up.