reviews\ Feb 28, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 - PS3 - Review

An interesting experiment, the original Battlefield: Bad Company was a solid take on the Battlefield franchise, opting to put a new focus on a story-driven single-player element instead of a purely multiplayer one. The result wasn’t quite an instant classic, and had a couple of issues that kept it from being truly great. However, the framework was laid down, and now Bad Company is back in this much-improved sequel that moves out of its predecessor’s WWII setting an into modern times.

Bad Company 2 ups the ante with a great graphical engine, solid AI, and a better, more cohesive storyline. The game plays extremely well too with solid gun mechanics and fluid controls. While there are a few pacing problems with the single-player campaign, this is a great improvement over the original game, and features an excellent multiplayer component to boot.

In Bad Company 2, you play as the leader of Bravo Two squad (formerly B-Company in the first game) as they search out a secret weapon called “Aurora”, revealed in a prologue set in the Pacific Theater of World War II. After this prologue, you are put into Preston Marlow, the leader of Bravo Two, to search out this weapon, a mission that will take you to a variety of locations, including Russia, the jungles of South America, and even locations throughout North America.

The single-player campaign feels more linear than the one in the first Bad Company, but this can be attributed to the more cinematic approach to the storytelling. The game moves along at a pretty intense pace, with cut scenes explaining a good portion of the story, while your squadmates will provide some banter and comic relief through the campaign’s 13 missions.

Speaking of your squadmates, they react pretty intelligently throughout the campaign. Whereas other shooters might have them simply waiting in the rafters while you take the brunt of the gunfire and deal with most of your enemies, your squad in Bad Company 2 actually contribute their fair share to the combat, reacting to demolished cover and taking out enemies with some great maneuvers. The AI has definitely gotten a boost this time around, and it’s much appreciated.

The game’s arsenal is also handled very well. Each of the weapons reacts realistically and feels great, whether you’re shooting a sub-machine gun or heavy weaponry. Another great feature is the much improved environmental destruction model. While the original Bad Company had a fine system in place, the sequel builds upon this, allowing you to not just knock down pieces of a building, but blow the whole thing to the ground so that not a piece is standing. However, it’s also possible to make smaller damage to objects in the environment, which helps add to the realism.

With all the work that went into the single-player campaign, it still plays second fiddle to the multiplayer element. The campaign is awfully short, clocking in at around the six hour mark. There are some incentives to go back, as completists will want to make sure to grab all of the collectible weapons, but most people should get their fill from just one go-through.

The people who will definitely get the most out of Bad Company 2 are online shooter fans, as the game delivers a great multiplayer component. The game features a similar brand of harrowing firefights as other Battlefield titles, allowing tons of players to take each other on in huge environments, complete with a host of vehicles. The game features a very deep class system as well, allowing you to find a class that suits your specific gameplay style quite easily. Each class has their own unique abilities that they can bring to their squad, and working in tandem with your group will allow you to strategically dominate the map. Additionally, the improved environmental destruction model adds a great new element to matches, as cover can often be short-lived and razed to the ground with some heavy explosives, meaning that you’ve always got to be on the move.

The multiplayer portion of the game is also very scalable, allowing you to customize a match pretty much any way you want going in. You’re able to choose from a variety of different gameplay modes (including a newly revised “Gold Rush” mode simply called “Rush”) and maps, as well as upgrade your character with new weapons and special perks as you play through the multiplayer component, something that Call of Duty fans will be immediately familiar with and enjoy.

Graphically, Bad Company 2 is definitely a great looking game. There are several tweaks and improvements to the engine that make it much more of a looker than its predecessor, including some great depth of field effects and fantastic levels that add to the cinematic feel of the campaign. While there are a few hitches in the gameplay, including some pauses that go on a bit too long, the game performs generally well at a solid clip. However, the real winner here is the destructible environment, which is a great touch that adds to the realism.

The sound is also done very well. The soundtrack does a great job of sticking with the intensity of the action, and the voice acting is pretty good. The silly quips from the original Bad Company have been scaled back a bit, but that’s not to say that your squadmates don’t drop some one-liners here and there. The banter does a pretty good job of keeping you invested with the characters.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is definitely an improvement over its predecessor, and a solid experience for any shooter fan. While the single-player campaign could still use a little more love and attention, the multiplayer will keep you coming back again and again.

Review Scoring Details for Battlefield: Bad Company 2

Gameplay: 8.5
The game features a host of improvements over its predecessor, playing much better and more polished than the original in just about every way. The environmental destruction model has been improved quite a bit, and the cinematic approach to the campaign is a blast from start to finish. Unfortunately, the whole affair is awfully short-lived, feeling over far too quickly.

Graphics: 9.0
The graphics have received a nice boost from the original game, with more detailed character models and great looking levels, as well as special effects like depth of field pulling you into the action.

Sound: 8.5
The voice acting is nicely done, with your squadmates letting loose with some one-liners that give them a bit of character. The music does a good job of building the intensity.

Difficulty: Medium

Concept: 9.0
The campaign is a bit too short, but the story-driven campaign is engaging from start to finish.

Multiplayer: 9.5
A fantastic suite of online modes and maps, Bad Company 2 has a deep and engaging multiplayer element that will keep you playing for months to come.

Overall: 9.0
Even though the single-player campaign still isn’t where it needs to be, Bad Company 2 is definitely a great sequel that builds on its predecessor in every way, making for one that no shooter fan will want to miss, especially if you go online for your gaming.


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