PC gamers have been waiting since 2005 for a spiritual follow up to the classic Battlefield 2. There has been an actual follow up, Battlefield 2142, but the less said about that the better.
When the first Bad Company appeared as a console exclusive in 2008 and little more was seen or heard about the BF franchise apart from the oddball Battlefield: Heroes and the budget console frag-fest Battlefield 1943 it was almost looking as though DICE was going to leave us hanging.
But no, it’s here. Battlefield: Bad Company 2. It looks like Battlefield 2 and it plays a lot like Battlefield 2 - stick the fatted calf on the grill, our prodigal franchise is home.
Plebby little jungle shacks fold up at the merest grenade hit
The key difference between Bad Company 2 and the Battlefield games that PC players will be used to is the presence of an orthodox single player campaign, rather than just a big pile of multiplayer maps.
This story revolves around the titular Bad Company squad, an elite four man special forces team on a mission. We’ll not say much more than that about the specifics, because if we mention that there’s a race against time to prevent the use of a super weapon we’ll pretty much have told you the whole thing. Oops.
Frankly the story could not be more unoriginal if it tried to be. Nor could the characters, from the oddball helicopter pilot (when was a helicopter pilot ever not quirky?) to the assorted good natured grunts that make up the team it’s all done exactly by the numbers.
Equally, there is almost no explanation of the earlier games events either, so it’s just as well that it’s all nice and simple. Your own character is not explained beyond having a name, Preston Marlowe.
Shoot him in the funnybone!
By the normal run of things such a lazy effort with the story would be grounds for a panning but what Bad Company 2 manages to pull off is that rare trick of making it all fun, despite the cheese. Pure, mindless destruction and fun over eleven missions, like an extended episode of the A-Team except you actually hit the people you’re shooting at.
Missions take you all over the world but take a traditional form, corridors of one sort or another leading to large open fights, interspersed by plot related dialogue, scripted events and the odd bit of vehicle action. The shooting from a moving vehicle sections when they come up are about as dull and repetitive as they were when they first appeared around the turn of the century, but the parts of the game when you’re actually driving are great fun and the vehicles handle really well.
There are some little twists to the basic game play dropped in from time to time too, such as having to keep an eye out for tripwires or having to snipe sentries without alerting their comrades.