Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Review

Review Score

Battlefield: Bad Company 2

PSU Review Score
8.5
Avg. user review score:
8.2

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Summary

A polished entry in the Battlefield series, with a deep and engaging multiplayer component.

We like

  • The outstanding audio and visual experience
  • The action-paced single player campaign
  • The deep multiplayer mode and maps

We dislike

  • The predictable storyline

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

To say that the PS3 is inundated with first person shooters would an understatement of epic proportions; it's absolutely suffocated by them. With 49 games in the genre already clogging up the shelves, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 represents the latest entry into that sea of shooters hoping to set itself apart from the crowd. Though no one can question developer DICE's excellent contributions to the Battlefield series, the Sweden-based developer has had a rough time translating its PC success to its console iterations. The original Bad Company underwhelmed both critically and commercially. However, with two years and two console games under its belt since, DICE has taken another swing at it, and though Bad Company 2 occasionally falters, it finally manages to deliver a performance on par with its PC counterparts.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 once again follows the Bad Company, a ragtag squad of soldiers delegated to some extremely dangerous missions. This time, the B Company is tasked with thwarting a Russian plot to obtain a weapon of devastating power, codenamed “Aurora”. The Bad Company's final mission takes them globe trotting from Alaska to Columbia, toppling terrorists every step of the way.

Though the outcome is predictable, it's with this group of soldiers that the game's single player campaign manages to really separate itself from its competitors. The banter exchanged between the heroic quartet really helps to bring them to life and give them personality. They'll crack jokes about each other’s sisters and argue about what the coolest superpowers are, but their sense of camaraderie shines through it all, and you really can't help but become attached to them. That makes it all the more trying and immersive for you as the player when the game throws them through some dire situations. The charismatic Bad Company provides a much welcomed relief from the monosyllabic meat-heads of most contemporary military shooters.

And that's a good thing, because it would be awfully hard to care about the storyline otherwise. The narrative is weaved together from some of the most tried and derivative action clichés, more fitting for a B-tier 1980's anti-Communist potboiler than a turn of the century military epic. If Modern Warfare 2 is a Tom Clancy production, then Bad Company 2 is decidedly a Sylvester Stallone-directed action flick.

The story does facilitate a good six or seven hours of heart pounding action sequences, though. DICE has adopted a more scripted experience for Bad Company 2, and it’s largely the better for it. Whether you're tearing through a lush forest on the side of a mountain in Chile with an ATV, protecting a satellite in the midst of treacherous blizzard in Bolivia, or escaping an enemy encampment on the back of a rickety truck in Russia, the game is absolutely unrelenting in its pacing. The action packed set pieces are really driven home by the fully destructible environments, made possible by the latest iteration of DICE's Frostbite engine. Wooden fences splinter, concrete walls crack and crumble into chunks, and entire villages are reduced to nothing by prolonged fire fights. The wanton destruction is more than just window dressing, and actually gives you some tactical advantages. Instead of fighting a caravan of armored ATCs head on, for example, you can simply destroy the bridge as they cross over it. This added layer of depth makes the whole campaign feel quite dynamic.

The enhanced destructibility is not the only perk of the upgraded Frostbite engine, either. While the original Bad Company was a mixed bag in the visual department, Bad Company 2 is a huge leap towards the better. The environments are incredibly varied, and each location is a real treat for the eyes. The tropical jungles of Bolivia define the word lush, while impressive particle effects bring desert sandstorms in Chile to life. It's not without a few niggles here and there, the game is marred by some screen tearing on occasion, but it's definitely one of the better looking multi-platform games to date.

The visuals are also beautifully complemented by a booming sound design, completing the cinematic feel. Explosions will shake your house, lightning strikes electrify the air and the sounds of bullets ricocheting will have you ducking for cover. The orchestral soundtrack rounds it off nicely, and the ... (continued on next page) ----

A gamer since the days of the ZX Spectrum, Steven Williamson now works as General Manager for PSU. He's supposed to be managing, but if you're reading this, it means he's dipped into editorial again.
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