Battlefield has been a household name in PC gaming for many years now, a licence of which EA seem to be extremely proud of. Console gamers have never truly understood Battlefield, and to be fair Battlefield never understood console gamers either. DICE and EA have decided to change all that by releasing Battlefield Bad Company, which has been designed with console gaming in mind.
The major change that has been made with the latest is an engine that goes by the name of Frostbite, developed by DICE themselves. In some forms Battlefield Bad Company comes across as a mere platform to demonstrate the new engine, which is not a bad thing. The game has not had massive marketing as expected, holds far more humour and comical presentation than typically known of the series and revolves heavily around the tactical destruction feature of the engine. Whilst all three of those points might be concerning, trust us they are not! This is one reviewer who salutes the choice to take the series in a different direction, which results in some of the best action packed gameplay found in a first person shooter to date, namely thanks to the sheer insane level of destruction possible.
Right from the offset, be it single player or multiplayer based, you will find yourself firing grenades into brick walls or shooting off rounds into nearby fences, just to see them shatter into pieces. The simple concept of creating a different method of entering any building by blowing a hole into it is a magnificent one that truly brings gameplay of this nature to a new level. No one is safe, as even the stealthy sniper in the loft space of an abandoned house can be exposed completely with a single well placed shot.
This method of gameplay works differently in the single and multiplayer counterparts present. In single player you will find the bulk of your time is spent as a demolition man turning towns into rubble as you bring destruction on cities of enemies trying to keep you at bay. Multiplayer on the other hand often leaves you running from the explosions and chaos in sheer panic as there is no longer a single maniac, but 24 creating havoc throughout the maps. It is a thing of beauty to walk through environments after 5minutes of warfare, witnessing nothing more than rubble and scorch marks where once a camp or outpost stood.
The engine does not only get this single element right, as the game looks fantastic graphically and sounds sublime. Texture quality and anti aliasing let the engine down slightly, but the character models, detailed explosions and of course the scenes of warfare all make up for this small issue. Coming over flawlessly is the audio presentation, which is a superb quality all over. Whilst tracks are repeated often, they are extremely fitting of the title and completely original. The voice acting takes this a notch further and provides some of the best voice acting and characteristic lines found in gaming today.
Fans scared of change should worry not as this is still the Battlefield you know at heart, whilst borrowing heavily from other successful shooters, especially Call of Duty 4. Thankfully Battlefield Bad Company makes an attempt at creating a fully fledged story driven single player campaign, and does a fine job of it too! Whilst this games storyline or characters aren’t likely to stick with you long after you have finished, they are both very appealing and add to the games wit and charm well. Playing as Private Preston Marlowe you take the role of a rookie in a squad of four. Each of your three teammates have vivid personalities that typically come to life through cutscenes and general banter throughout the game; all of which is typically humorous and once again fantastically voiced. The story begins slow but thanks to these immersive in-game cutscenes, continual banter and a nice little discovery in the story, the game soon picks up for what is easily a worthwhile experience. Whilst you will not be left with goose bumps at cinematic acts of heroics or dramatic world saving moments, you are not meant to. Battlefield Bad Company is designed to be a fun gaming experience, and is exactly that.
The most important aspect to fans of the series is obliviously going to be how the game performs in multiplayer, which rest assured is fantastic. The pace of action has been increased significantly and the controls have been mapped beautifully onto the 360 controller to handle this. Imagine stepping into a battlefield with set paths to reach your objects, having a great range of classes and tools at hand, with the ability to craft your own path by destroying everything in your wake, be it with your trusty shotgun, grenades or a tank streaming through buildings. This is a battlefield. Explosions and destruction is strewn all around as you try to keep your head in-between all the chaos.
Classes of choice are Assault, Demolition, Recon, Specialist and Support; which are all pretty self explanatory and provide a varied style of gameplay with a range of tools each. Assault for example are equipped with an assault rifle and have the added tool of being able to boost their health, where Recon have the trusty sniper rifle and a laser guided air missile (yes, a little over the top there). As you progress through the ranking system put in place (think Call of Duty or Halo 3) or simply perform certain manoeuvres throughout the game you will be rewarded. These rewards come in the form of additional weapons, equipment, trophies, badges and the fan favourite – dog-tags (enemies which you have knifed). Each class will have a single primary weapon, which can be replaced with two weapons which require unlocking or two which come pre-unlocked. Each class also comes with a basic additional item (such as grenades or medi kit) and you can unlock a further item. Thanks to the reward and badge system put in place you will have a reason to achieve certain challenges and benchmarks, adding length and value to a package which is already brimming.
Battlefield Bad Company is something which console gamers have been crying out for, and to a certain extent have already been given with Call of Duty 4. Whilst Bad Company comes into the race a little late, the value and enjoyment available easily make the title worthwhile of a purchase, and give first person shooter fans yet another game to pick up their pad for. We certainly look forward to where the Frostbite engine will take future DICE games, and in the meantime we hope to see you on the battlefield!