Publisher: Electronic Arts Platform:PC, Xbox 360, Playstation 3 Release Date: 5th March 2010
The Battlefield series is one of those rarest of orchids in gaming: a franchise that's prepared to innovate and take risks. Over eight years and eight games DICE has taken its combat game from the tried and tested warzones of WW2 to wastelands of the near future, to a cartoon world and to the modern era. The core of the Battlefield games has always been, unsurprisingly, the big mechanised multiplayer battles, but past that it’s hard to know for sure exactly what you’re going to get.
As with the preceding Bad Company game, Bad Company 2 offers a fully-formed single-player campaign, as well as the promise of large scale online mayhem. The story itself is yet another retelling of the classic International MacGuffin Hunt. There is a thing! Go around the world looking for it! Find it, job done. There may or may not be twists along the way, but that won’t change your modus operandi at all. Also don’t worry readers, as with all great action games the act of ‘looking’ for the MacGuffin actually just involves turning up in one of many sumptuous locations and shooting the crap out of everything along a linear route until you’re shipped off to the next location.
Although at first this might make the Bad Company 2 single-player experience sound frightfully generic the game has a significant innovation over its peers that makes it play very differently to comparable games such as Modern Warfare 2 or Rainbow Six: Vegas 2.
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This innovation is the ability to destroy the levels. Whether it's buildings, trees, or those mysterious crates that seem to litter any location where men gather in games to shoot each other, in Bad Company 2 all of these things can be demolished. This isn't only deeply rewarding on a spiritual level to those of us who like nothing more than a bit of mindless destruction, it also means that the game is much more dynamic than a traditional shooter.
For example in a typical shooter you get hit, you duck behind cover, you give it a few seconds and you’re healthy again. No worries. In Bad Company 2 the same health mechanics apply, however you’ve got the ever present concern that some heavily armed socialist is going to demolish whatever it is you’re hiding behind with a rocket propelled grenade so that he and his mates can shoot unnecessary additional holes in your face. This means that cover becomes temporary and it's moving, not hiding, which becomes your key survival skill.
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In the spirit of promoting mobile combat as opposed to hunkering down in hard cover like a hermit crab with a grenade launcher Bad Company 2 takes the somewhat bold step of not granting the player the ability to dive to the ground or lean around corners. At first this feels horribly unnatural, especially if you're toting a machinegun, but if you're aggressive enough it becomes less of a problem, particularly as your trusty knife is a one hit kill if things get close enough.