STAFF REVIEW of Battlefield: Bad Company (Xbox 360)

Friday, July 11, 2008.
by Rick Wallace

Battlefield: Bad Company Box art The second iteration of the Battlefield series on the 360 comes to life as Battlefield: Bad Company. DICE and EA have introduced new gameplay and a seamless storyline into the series and it seems to make the game extremely fun to play online and offline. Battlefield 2 still had many followers online, so is Bad Company enough to entice those folks into the new world that awaits them. Many folks got the opportunity to play Bad Company in a Beta Test a few weeks back, and there is also a demo that gives you a glimpse of single and multiplayer segments. For those that dont know, you can play the demo an actually gain some rank that will unlock weapons for you in the full version of the game.

A few new twists have been brought into the series. A mixture of Mercenaries and Battlefield add a whole new style of play and storyline. In single player mode you play the role of Preston, convicted of a crime by the military and sent to Bad Company as his punishment for his crimes. Bad Company is mainly made up of misfits from the military branches. As you continue through the storymode gold becomes your main objective while doing dirty work for the military. Online play is also highly focused on obtaining gold and defending you stash. While the single player is great and enjoyable to play, the online play is really where Battlefield stands out.

There are plenty of collectables and unlockables scattered throughout the single player and multiplayer. Youll search buildings and crates in hopes of recovering new weapons and gold bars in single player, while in multiplayer youll earn credits to purchase new weaponry and gadgets when ranking up. There is ranking system online that consists of 25 total ranks and you move through those ranks based on the amount of points you accumulate as you play online games. You earn points for kills, vehicles kills, assists, defenses, etc. There are many similarities to the Call of Duty 4 ranking system in this sense and why not, it works well.

The graphics are very well done with high resolution explosions that look very realistic at times. The terrains are details, and the destruction is abundant across the maps. Youll be able to blow holes into buildings to get a better shot at enemies hiding inside, or maybe youll mow down a tree line with a 50 cal or tank to get a better view. The ability to blow holes into buildings definitely adds new gameplay strategies in online and offline play.

Once again, Battlefield is loaded with drivable vehicles. Youll be able to hop into all sorts of light armor and jeeps, tanks and attack gunships. The vehicle controls are extremely simple and will allow for anyone to hop in and ride off into the sunset to fight their enemy. But be careful as there is plenty of anti-vehicle weaponry at the disposal of your enemy. From heavy artillery to laser guided missiles and rocket propelled grenades. Again all of which are easy to use and can take you out in a heartbeat if executed properly.

Youll also be able to earn patches and medals to proudly display in your profile which is viewable at Speaking of the website, youll be able to view your statistics and upload battlefield moments from online game sessions for your friends to view and behold. One of the really cool things you can collect while playing online is another soldiers dog tags. You do this by sneaking up on someone and using your knife to take them out. Youll be able to brag to your buddies about taking their dog tags as well!

In typical Battlefield fashion that maps are huge and expansive. Even though multiplayer is 12 on 12, youll feel like there are many more folks playing then thee actually are. Part of this reason is because of the spawn system. When you get killed, you are returned to a screen that allows you to select your soldier class, weapon kit and where you would like to spawn. You can either respawn with your squad or back at the closet base to pick up a vehicle or just get out of the action for a moment. Youll also see what your squad mate is doing before deciding to spawn on him which is cool because if he is in the middle of a fire fight with 5 enemies you may not want to spawn there.

As mentioned previously there have the ability to select your soldier class and weapon kit before entering the battle, and youll have the ability to change up that kit each time your die. The kits are as follows: Assault, Demolitions, Specialist, Support, and Recon. Each kit has its own set of weapons, gadgets and unlockables. Each kit is also designed for a specific task. For instance the scout is obviously your sniper kit and will allow you to use laser strikes to drop a barrage of missiles onto enemy vehicles and e have been many complaints from folks about he lack of proximity chat, the limit of 4 man squads, etc. But all of this comes together online very well if the game is played correctly. Dont get me wrong, proximity and team chat would be welcome editions to the game but the lack of them does not make the game any less fun. You have to remember that this is not your typical team deathmatch, but more of an objective based game online. If you are labeled the defenders than its your responsibility to see that the gold creates stay in tact and out of enemy hands. If you are the attackers, well then its your responsibility to destroy the gold crates by arming them with a charge or just blasting the crap out of them with conventional weaponry and lsowly push the enemy front backwards until you take over their base. Many folks dont take into account that you can disarm a charge as a defender once its been armed. Youll here a siren and a red flashing light will be illuminating the area alerting the defenders that the crate has been armed with a charge. Whats frustrating is many folks continue to just run and gun and ignore the alert. This can make the game frustrating. But when you get into a room or squad with folks who know how to play the game it becomes very strategic and team based. Thats what the game is all about.

While working as a squad youll receive radio communications from HQ which will inform you of things happening on the battlefield. When you or one of your squadmates identifies a hostile whether its a vehicle or a sniper, youll be alerted by this and a red icon or dot will show up representing the enemies location on the map and on your screen. If an enemy gets out of your line of site, the dot will eventually go away unless another member of your team has their sites set on him/her. Youll also receive communications when under attack from behind or when your gold crates have been armed with a charge.

The sounds are nothing over the top, but are still very well done. Tanks sound like tanks, choppers sounds like choppers, etc. Youll here the distant explosions and gunfights as you hear in most shooters. There is some comedic relief in the single player storyline and the voice acting is pretty well done and gives the story some personality. Will you fall in love with the characters? Eh, probably not, but they do keep the storyline moving along. The lack of proximity and team chat tends to bum some folks out, but it really isnt a glaring issue as stated earlier.

Overall Battlefield Bad Company is a great game and a step up from the previous Battlefield title on the 360. Folks will have fun with the game for quite a while, and any additions of maps and possible game modes will only help this game maintain a long game life online. There are plenty of maps, weapons and unlockables to keep folks busy for a while. As well as the ranking system for folks to obtain those officer ranks will keep folks playing.. But will some folks go back to COD4 fairly quickly? Yes. While this game is great, it really doesnt stand up to the bar that COD4 set back in November of 2007.

The inclusion of team chat or proximity chat would be a big plus in the game. Team chat could definitely add to the strategic value of the gameplay. Would love to see more stat varied weaponry as well and maybe the addition of some new unlockables or special equipment for each class. Overall though, great game.

Overall: 9.1 / 10
Gameplay: 9.3 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 8.5 / 10


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