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Critical Reception: EA DICE's  Battlefield: Bad Company 2

Critical Reception: EA DICE's Battlefield: Bad Company 2

March 3, 2010 | By Danny Cowan

March 3, 2010 | By Danny Cowan
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More: Console/PC, Columns



This week's edition of Critical Reception examines online reaction to EA DICE's FPS sequel Battlefield: Bad Company 2, which reviews describe as "instantly rewarding." Bad Company 2 currently earns a score of 89 out of 100 at Metacritic.com.

Mitchell Dyer at GamePro rates Bad Company 2 at 5 out of 5 stars, describing a standout moment during his playthrough.

"The frostbite is starting to overwhelm," he recalls. "My desperate dash to the nearest hillside house slows as my body begins shivering violently, and my vision is fading under a veil of ice. Just as things start going dark, I burst into the house, put a few bullets into its armed occupant and cozy up to the fireplace. My eyesight returns to normal and I'm quickly back outside in the cold, zigzagging from one warm spot to the next, all the while evading enemies."

"This moment [...] perfectly demonstrates why the game is so interesting: it offers a unique and varied take on established FPS genre conventions," Dyer continues. "In any other game, I would expect to simply run-'n'-gun my way out of a situation like the one I detailed above, so Bad Company 2's unexpected emphasis on survival skills caught me completely off guard."

Dyer also praises Bad Company 2's multiplayer component. "I became hooked on BFBC2's multiplayer not just because it's a great shooter, but because it is instantly rewarding," he explains.

"Everything you do -- and I do mean everything -- earns you experience points. High kill-counts bring in the big points, but I grew fond of playing support roles to nickel and dime my way to the top. Defibrillating dead teammates back to life, dishing out boxes of ammo and repairing battered vehicles contributes a considerable amount to earning promotions and earning new weapons."

"With Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare 2 being regularly victimized by bugs, glitches, hacks and other exploits, there's an opportunity for another game to come in and do some real damage," Dyer notes in conclusion. "Bad Company 2 definitely has the necessary chops to give the current king of, well, modern warfare, a run for its money."

GameSpy's Anthony Gallegos gives Bad Company 2 4.5 out of 5 stars. "Destructible cover isn't anything new in shooters," he admits, "but no game I've played has ever implemented it as well as Battlefield: Bad Company 2. In the past, 'destructible environments' meant I could blow apart a few boards or shatter a few windows, but here, almost everything save the heartiest buildings (or pieces thereof) can be shattered to bits, given enough explosive power."

The result offers new tactical situations rarely seen in other shooters. "With plenty of grenades or rockets on your person -- not to mention a host of conveniently placed combustibles scattered through the environments -- this translates to a shift in play style," Gallegos explains.

"Players are both empowered with the ability to create their own avenues for attack and escape, and imbued with a sense of insecurity when they linger in cover too long. The result is a game where everyone except snipers is almost always moving, creating a battlefield that's constantly changing from moment to moment and giving players plenty of reasons to use destructible terrain to their advantage."

Gallegos finds that Bad Company 2's single-player campaign is absorbing and entertaining. "The pacing is excellent," he says. "The campaign mixes things up regularly with vehicle and ground combat segments, the characters add levity to the most intense situations with their hilarious dialogue, and the destructible environments allowed me to mix up my tactics for each skirmish."

"The campaign is a blast, but the staying power for BFBC2 lies in its multiplayer," Gallegos continues. "No mode feels thrown in for the sake of a back-of-the-box bullet point; each is a testament to the experience and legacy that DICE has in creating wonderful online shooters that somehow manage to mix the chaos of infantry firefights with tanks, jeeps, boats, helicopters, and more."

"Sure, a number of minor things got under my skin (some painfully spread-out checkpoints, crappy multiplayer unlocks, and a few bad online spawn points), but they'll scarcely prevent it from marching into the homes of millions of people for me to blow up," Gallegos writes. "In times when 'modern' is the word-of-the-day for military-themed shooters, Bad Company 2 proves you don't need to stand at the top of the medal podium -- you simply blow it to goddamn smithereens."

OXM UK's Ryan King scores Bad Company 2 at 8 out of 10. "There's a dream out there among gamers," he begins. "The dream of total destruction: puncturing holes in walls with explosives and blowing up doors when keys can't be found. We're used to claymores, rocket launchers, C4, RPGs and the like. What we're not used to is blowing anything up besides enemies, cars and that suspicious red barrel."

"So it's not really a surprise to see that the sequel meets that dream halfway again, as well as taking one step further," King continues. "It's not a big step, mind you - stairways still remain curiously impervious to explosions, building frameworks are able to survive nuclear blasts and the game is framed by invulnerable concentrate - but you're happily thrown more toys to cause destruction with."

King notes that Bad Company 2's single-player campaign sticks closely to the standards set by the original title. "In Battlefield: Bad Company, DICE seemed hesitant at times," he observes, "offering you a brand new playground to blow up, but still reluctantly prodding you along the same old go-here-kill-them mission parameters - as though anything else would be one radical innovation too many.

"It's a thought process that still lingers in places, but here it's been well concealed by strafing helicopter runs, assaults in freezing weather where you need to keep warm, sniping patrols, blowing up buildings to create your own entrance, and deadly races on top of wintry mountains."

King feels that Bad Company 2's multiplayer modes are more successful. "The maps are brilliant and work across all modes, while Squad Rush is the highlight of the new additions - sacrificing some tactical nuance to cram more action in," he writes. "The destruction angle is curiously underplayed for the most part and yet works really well when it is brought into use - players blowing holes through walls to fashion their own paths, snipers creating their own spots to shoot from and so on."

"Destruction tends to get lost among the fast pace and carnage but watching maps slowly crumble and warp under the constant bombardment of tank shells and missiles is something of a sight to behold," King concludes. "So while Battlefield: Bad Company 2 has improved in single-player, it's the leap in multiplayer that makes it worth the reinvestment."


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