There is no shortage of online destinations for those who enjoy first-person gun-wielding combat, but no matter how many opportunities you get to shoot another player in the face, there is always room for one more. Especially when that one more is as exciting and intense as Battlefield: Bad Company 2. The online multiplayer in this modern military shooter is a standout, featuring huge maps, incredible destructibility, powerful vehicles, and excellent sound design. These elements combine to foster the sense that you are fighting on an actual battlefield, making many other online shooters seem more like combat arenas than believable war zones. Multiplayer battles are invigorating and addictive, but they aren't all that Bad Company 2 has to offer. The sizable campaign takes you to beautiful and exotic locations where you'll be sorely tempted to take a break from shooting bad guys and blowing things up to admire the scenery. Your hilarious and endearing squadmates are great companions, giving the campaign a rich sense of character not often found in the genre. The result is a very entertaining adventure that, coupled with the excellent multiplayer and top-notch technical presentation, makes Battlefield: Bad Company 2 something special in the world of shooters.
6252903NoneThose houses won't be keeping anyone warm this winter.
The beginning of Bad Company's second tour finds Sarge, Marlowe, Sweetwater, and Haggard stationed in a wintery valley, supposedly serving out Sarge's last tour of duty. Lofty mountains loom high against the bright blue sky as you sneak your way between snow-laden trees and out across a frozen river. As you infiltrate a small village, the snow muffles the sound of your footfalls, and when a firefight breaks out, your ears ring from the concussion of nearby explosives. One daring escape later, you're dropped into the Bolivian jungle, where mosquitoes whine in your ear as you walk in the dappled light of the jungle floor. Gunfire doesn't echo very far in the forest, but beneath the corrugated tin roof of a logging outpost, each bullet is a cacophony unto itself. This vivid, engaging world is a testament to Bad Company 2's remarkable technical presentation. The stunning landscapes are matched by the diverse, intriguing terrain in both rural and urban environments. The excellent sound design further enriches your sense of place, and each gunshot, footstep, and exclamation fuels your battlefield awareness and informs your tactical decisions. Though there are some blurry textures, occasional screen tearing, and awkward moments caused by the pervasive environmental destructibility, these are mere blemishes on the ambitious look and immersive sound of Bad Company 2.
Of course, just because the scenery is great doesn't stop you from wanting to blow it up. Trees, barricades, vehicles, buildings, and bridges all splinter and break apart when exposed to gunfire or explosives. Not only is it immensely fun to destroy things, but it's crucial to your survival and success. Say there's a sniper perched in a tower covering your approach. You can try to pick him off without exposing yourself, or you can bust out your underbarrel grenade launcher and blow the platform to smithereens. The explosion showers debris in a realistic and satisfying way, and the sniper is taken care of. Destruction is a double-edged sword, however, as you'll learn the first time that the window you are shooting out of explodes and becomes a gaping hole through which your enemies are more than happy to shoot you. Most buildings can be completely leveled this time around, provided you have enough firepower, though metal structures like shipping containers are nigh impervious. Occasionally the rampant destructibility will get a bit too ambitious, leaving objects stuck in strange positions. Yet the scale of destruction you can wreak is impressive, and the best part about it is how your destructive power becomes a seamless part of your battlefield strategy. It makes you feel powerful in a logical, invigorating way and makes Bad Company 2 unique among its peers.
Strolling down a corpse-ridden street in a half-destroyed Bolivian jungle village is business as usual for Bad Company.
Humor is another way that Bad Company 2 distinguishes itself. Your squadmates each have great personalities, and their banter is witty and entertaining. You may have to wait for a quiet moment to hear some of their best conversations, but it is well worth it. Haggard's love for the Dallas Cowboys and command of the Spanish language are two amusing subjects, while a conversation about respecting the dead adds enough emotional depth to elevate these characters above one-dimensional stereotypes. They are competent and helpful on the battlefield, and though the squad-based action seems a natural fit for cooperative play, you won't lament playing solo because the men of Bad Company are such delightful companions.
The campaign is a focused, largely linear adventure that takes you to a variety of gorgeous locations. The aforementioned arctic and jungle landscapes are standouts, but other places live up to the high standard. Driving a tank through a countryside in the full bloom of autumn provides eye candy and cannon fodder aplenty, while speeding around a dry seabed in an ATV brings strange sights, not to mention a particularly fierce firefight in the courtyard of an old fortress. You have to be sharp to defeat the smart, aggressive enemies who use destructibility to their advantage and avoid your line of fire. The action is challenging but not overly so, ensuring you have plenty of time to revel in the havoc you are causing. Despite one oddly forced situation, the campaign moves through exotic locales at a great clip, providing ample opportunity to flex your firearms and enjoy some intense vehicle sequences. This is a very entertaining, very exciting adventure.