Battlefield: Bad Company Review
[Editor’s Note: Score difference from the PS3/360 version is not because the 360 version is superior. The score difference reflects two different editor’s opinions on the same game. PS3/360 versions are, for all intents and purposes, similar.]
Battlefield: Bad Company has one major thing going against it: The console first-person shooter (FPS) market is supremely over-saturated (hell, the shooter market in general is). With Resistance, Call of Duty 4, and the copious amounts of both PC and Xbox 360 shooters at your disposal, it’s hard to stand out from the pack. Battlefield: Bad Company doesn’t manage to stand out, but that’s not completely the game’s fault.
Just because it doesn’t stand out doesn’t make it not worthwhile. Battlefield: Bad Company offers a standard length campaign (6-8 hours), great shooting, and insanely destructible environments. If you need to enter a building, but the door is blocked off by enemy fire, you don’t need to worry. Simply use your grenade launcher to blow a hole in the side of the building and get down to business. You’re not going to be tasked to use this out of necessity too often, which is a slight bummer because of the possibilities it provides, but as it stands, the destructible buildings and environments at least make the battlefield feel a lot more real and lively.
A shooter is only as good as its controls, and Battlefield: Bad Company, overall, features great controls. The act of aiming down your iron sights and squeezing the trigger feels right. (And looks pretty dang good to boot.) Vehicle controls are more of a mixed bag, with an odd control setup. L1 is the accelerator, while the L2 button is the brake. I haven’t seen that in a game before, but it works well enough. Tanks and helicopters were the two vehicles I had major problems with. Granted, I’ve never had the pleasure of playing a game where I’ve felt that both the helicopter and the tank controls were intuitive enough to wrap my head around, and Battlefield: Bad Company is no different. Getting around in a helicopter is fine, but firing the rockets with any sort of accuracy is a pipe dream. I was constantly fumbling around trying to hit my targets, to no avail. I felt powerless, when the opposite should have been true. Luckily, tanks and helicopters are shown limited action in the game, so these issues aren’t going to drag down the experience too much.
The biggest strength and potentially one of the biggest weaknesses of the Battlefield: Bad Company is the expansive war zones it has. This is not your usual corridor shooter, even though the game is quite linear when examined closely. When the game excels the most, it’s when they use the size of the map to test your battlefield awareness. In one instance of the game, you’ll have your only means of forward progress blocked off by a tank. You will have no rocket-launchers, and grenade launchers do little to no damage to the tank’s armor. Finding the needed armaments by looking at your surroundings will be key. The problem the game can have is that there aren’t enough of these moments to be had. By the end of the game, it felt like it was better for me to run away from battles and onto the next checkpoint instead of fighting. It’s not that the penalty for dying was high, (far from it–you little to no progress) but when you’ve got a helicopter shooting at you and your squad mates and don’t have the equipment to fight it off, it’s better to just run.
Unlike past Battlefield single-player titles, this one has a story. It’s not going to set the world on fire, but DICE (the developer) did a commendable job of making four likable AWOL soldiers: Marlowe, Sweetwater, Haggard and Redford. You’ll follow them through a mostly enjoyable journey through Eastern European countries, on a search for gold. There’s not a whole lot more to tell you, but needless to say, you will enjoy the light-hearted nature of story. (Until the end, which supplies one of the worst “surprises” ever. Needless to say, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 will probably be hitting shelves next summer.)
The part of the game that should receive unequivocal praise is the visuals. They are, in a word: excellent. The gun models are fantastic and shake realistically as you move your character about in the world. The aforementioned destructibility of the environments are only helped by the believable way that pieces of the rock and rubble are strewn across the world as you blow up buildings. Helicopter rides, while they might not control the best, offer some breathtaking views of the land below. Sound is solid, but not memorable. Some good tracks can be found here, weapons that don’t break you out of your immersion, and some good voice acting from all parties.
A shooter can often be defined by how good its multiplayer is, and Battlefield doesn’t disappoint. It’s up in the air whether or not this will overtake people that are hooked on Call of Duty 4, Team Fortress 2 or Halo 3, but needless to say, Battlefield: Bad Company offers something a bit different than what you see in those games. Expansive battlefields, good balance and a seemingly well populated community could get you hooked in.
Overall, Battlefield: Bad Company is a good shooter. It might not re-invent the wheel or “wow” you, but it’s consistently worthwhile. If you’re really starving for a new FPS, Battlefield: Bad Company just might be for you.
Originally Written By: Art