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Review: Battlefield Bad Company 2

Jordan Deam | 11 Mar 2010 13:00
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Bad Company 2 adds a couple unique mechanics that help you better take advantage of these sprawling environments. The first is the option to join a squad of three other players in the game's Rush and Conquest modes. Staying with your squad gives you a huge tactical advantage, but there's more to it than that: If you die, you can opt to respawn next to one of your squadmates rather than a respawn point. As long as your buddy isn't taking fire when you click the button, you can stay right in the thick of the action without having to deal with much downtime. Just as important is the ability to spot and call out enemy locations to your teammates. Hitting the "social" button while a target is roughly centered in your reticle temporarily adds an orange marker above your enemy's head and shows his location on the minimap - once that happens, it's much harder for him to escape.

The game's multiplayer offers a slightly modified version of its predecessor's class and unlock system. By playing as one of the four main classes, you earn both general and class-specific experience that goes toward new weapons, gadgets and "specializations" that function pretty much like perks. Surprisingly, even some of the most basic class abilities aren't available to you until after you've reached a certain number of points: As the medic class, you start out with a light machine gun but don't gain access to your medkit ability until after you've ranked up once. It's a minor quibble, but when it can take over an hour to accumulate enough points to earn the Repair Gun as an engineer or the Sensor Ball as a recon, it's frustrating to pour your time and energy into leveling a class that doesn't interest you.

But the features that PC gamers will likely most appreciate exist off the battlefield, including dedicated server support and (at some point in the future, DICE assures) modding tools. It's possible to control every parameter in the gameplay - you can turn on or off friendly fire, allow/disallow vehicles and much more. It's perfect for the hardcore player who knows exactly what he's looking for in a server, but for more casual players who simply want to hop into a game without too much effort, Bad Company 2's multiplayer is a bit hit or miss: You may be dropped into a match on a European server, for example, automatically afflicting you with near game-breaking lag.

Bottom Line: In a field where developers are increasingly regulating every aspect of gamers' experiences, Bad Company 2 lets players tell more of the story. It's not always for the best.

Recommendation: If you primarily game on the PC, you'll probably appreciate the amount of control Bad Company 2 puts in your hands. If you don't, you may find the alternative more immediately engaging.

Score:

Jordan Deam would like to remind developers of another relevant Sun Tzu quote: "Though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays."

This review is based on the PC version of the game.

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