Battlefield: Bad Company 2 – hands-on

Can the bad boys get out of Modern Warfare 2's shadow?

If you%26rsquo;re reading this, then you%26rsquo;ve managed to find a spare few minutes to drag yourself away from Modern Warfare 2. Yes, we know, it%26rsquo;s difficult %26ndash; you%26rsquo;ve just got the Ninja perk and launched your first Tactical Nuke. But you also have the intelligence to appreciate that Modern Warfare 2 isn%26rsquo;t the absolute and final word in war-based online multiplayer.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 was always likely to be dogged with comparisons to Call of Duty. But the simple fact is that the Battlefield series has always presented multiplayer on a much grander scale, and for a longer period of time.

The dusty, bleached-looking level we sampled, set on America%26rsquo;s Pacific coast, has typical Battlefield magnitude. An evolution of the original Bad Company%26rsquo;s %26lsquo;Gold Rush%26rsquo; mode (now just called %26lsquo;Rush%26rsquo;), your mission to defend or destroy two important locations will, as always, rely as much on transport as on-foot soldiers.

Gordon Van Dyke, producer of numerous Battlefield titles, admits to us that vehicles have felt a little fragile in past games. Not so here %26ndash; tanks feel thunderous and weighty (not to mention devastating), while armored trucks and quad bikes are rapid but not quite so unstable. Of course, the finely honed %26lsquo;paper, scissors, stone%26rsquo; nature of Battlefield games (Bad Company 2 being %26ldquo;the best tuned Battlefield to date%26rdquo;, according to Van Dyke) means these vehicles aren%26rsquo;t invincible.

Each of the four classes (Medic, Assault, Recon and Engineer) has explosive methods to dispatch armor. Plus, tactically maneuvering the fight from open, treacherous land to intense street combat is a specialty that DICE have been perfecting nicely since Battlefield 2 back in 2005%26hellip;

In our hands-on we got a chance to play in two teams of five (rather than the full 24 players), so the colossal maps did feel a bit empty. Respawning back in base could mean a huge trek to get back into the action if you%26rsquo;re an invading force. This did, however, give us the opportunity to try different approaches of attack; storming in with a tank, sneaking round the flank on an ATV or advancing quietly up through cover on foot, for example.

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