Battlefield: Bad Company is the latest console title in EA/DICE’s “Battlefield” Series
My first taste of EA/DICE’s first person shooter was Battlefield 2: Modern Combat on the PS2… in-fact I was such a fan of that game that I persuaded all my hooked up friends to get the game so we could go and cause some organised chaos in a clan – our finest hour was defeating a top ranking French clan called *FRA++!! (or something equally silly) the victory was especially sweet as the Frenchies were famous for using glitches and bugs to rank up. So why share this memory? BUGS: The Battlefield series is famous for them, ranking glitches, killing glitches, weapon glitches, health glitches, map and scenery bugs, whether of PC or Console it’s like playing in an ant farm… yet when a Battlefield game is good its very good!
And Bad Company looks like it may be the best so far. The Demo released today gives a taster of both single player campaign and the online multiplayer, if you have never played a Battlefield game before I strongly recommend you download it. So first thoughts? The single player is a definite improvement on those included in previous titles, the plot revolves around “B Company” a company made up of the worst and most corrupt units of the US Army I won’t go into much plot detail but if you have ever seen Kelly’s Heroes starring Clint Eastwood and countless other big names you’ll notice the similarities… and some of the humour, which, in the demo at least, is dead on target. Graphically the game is chaotic in the heat of battle with explosions, fog, dirt and shrapnel flying around the cut-scenes and quietr moments are also suitably impressive. The learning curve is a little steep, the AI although not tactically gifted do all appear to be Olympic Gold Marksmen. Although the single player demo is by no mean hard it’s no walkover either.
However nothing quite prepares you for learning curve in the multiplayer game. The objective in the demo version is simple Team A has to capture crates of gold, Team B has to defend. Like most FPS online it’s a hectic, relentless battle that for your first few rounds seems to consist mainly of spawning and dying. Although you’ll zone in eventually it’s a shame that your not able to see how you were killed as in COD4’s “Killcam” or even be shown the general location of your enemy as in Battlefield 2: Modern Combat… to my mind that’s a step back and won’t endear the merciless game-play to first timers. Vehicles (of which there are plenty) are easy to control… though lack finer precision. The Helicopters offer a very simple (but as in the PS2 title) often misunderstood control system… once you have the gist of it you can easily zip around the map and with some skill survive a whole game with only one chopper… much to the disappointment to the other fly-boys on your team, lacking in this next generation title are the repair bays so if you plan to survive in the chopper (or any other vehicle) for any length of time it’s worth playing as the support class. The one really big upset to fans of Battlefield 2: Modern Combat has to be the omission of a parachute, no longer can you mount fast aerial assaults on enemy positions, perhaps in the next release? One great addition to the online play is that when a team mate engages an unseen or hidden enemy, anyone close to him/her is shown the enemy location on their mini map, and can hear dialogue telling you who and what it is… much better than relying on some squeeky american kid yipping away in terror as he’s run over by a tank.
What of the much hyped damage and the ability to (Technical Term) “Blow Stuff Up”? Just from the demo you can see this is much more than a gimmick, destroying a wall to get to an hidden enemy can turn an online game around, COD4’s damage model made it FPS King in 2007, I will be more than surprised if Bad Company don’t usurp the throne in 2008, yes it’s true that not all structures can be demolished, and while it’s a shame that although you can blow away a sturdy brick wall you cannot smash a few tiles and drop in through the roof SAS style to be honest I can’t see how anyone would find the time to in the hectic world of Battlefield: Bad Company.
So what do I think, and what about those bugs? Well I can’t say i spotted an bugs in the demo, though the VOIP is full of white noise and there didn’t seem to be any obvious way to disable it. You can take friendly fire… which given the appalling behaviour of the team killers on previous versions is not a great omen. However I’m pretty certain this will be a big title, possibly a GTA4 beater and certainly stealing COD4’s dominance of the FPS market. And as soon as I’ve finished writing this I’ll be pre-ordering my copy on the store here… someone has to pay the server bills!
The Good: Blowing Stuff Up, Black Comedy, GOLD, AN94 (a super cool version of the AK47) lots of upgrades, lots of vehicles, great sound effects, brilliant intro and menu music.
The Bad: Missing parachutes, online soundtrack not as good as previous title, GOLD is not real.. it’s just a computer game! No Finnish RK 95 (Sub zero version of the AK47)
The Ugly: If only they could have got Clint Eastwood in the voice cast….
You can pre-order the title for xbox360 and PS3 in our store today