With its Spec Ops mode, MW2 managed to integrate a fully fleshed out mode for two players that required real teamwork and upped the intensity of regular multiplayer. Between Spec-Ops and Nazi Zombies, it seems like a solid co-op mode will be a requirement of all future FPSes, which is where BFBC2’s Onslaught mode DLC comes in.
Above: What happens when you try and complete a map by yourself
So far, BFBC2’s multiplayer has been its major selling point, with free updates and new maps augmenting the more tactical, squad-based gameplay. This squad mentality transfers over to Onslaught mode, a new downloadable co-op mode not covered under the VIP program; previous map packs and updates have been included free via a one-time use VIP code that ships with every new copy of the game.
The $10/800 MS Point DLC features four reconfigured multiplayer maps with capture points, essentially a round of Conquest but against a dozen or so AI controlled bots. The mode features adjustable difficulty levels and is playable with 1-4 players, though God help you if you try to solo a map. The round continues as long as one human player is left alive (or inedfintely if there's just one player), stressing the kind of patience and teamwork that makes multiplayer squads so successful.
Above: Looks like Pigpen joined the military after he grew up
The points can’t be recaptured by the bots and your capture progress doesn’t reset, so as long as you stay alive you can grind away at the points. This makes posting the fastest time the real challenge for experienced, organized players, who shouldn't have too much difficulty rolling through these missions. Players and enemies have access to vehicles and abilities they’ve unlocked in multiplayer, which makes it useful for getting used to a new gun or testing new loadouts you’ve created.
While MW2’s Spec-Ops had defined objectives and felt markedly different from the regular multiplayer, the same can’t really be said of Onslaught mode. As an independent game mode it stumbles; the enormous maps have been designed for human players who tend to think and flank, and make use of all the terrain. The AI controlled bots, on the other hand, tend to cluster around major roads and obvious choke points then act erratically, which makes outthinking them more of a guessing game than a tactic.
Above: "I guess getting eaten by a crocodile is better than burning to death."
The game is rarely unfair, but AI bots have a hard time acting like anything other than bots, sometimes they’ll stand in the middle of an open field and take potshots at you with rockets, other times they’ll snipe you from a mile away as you’re running. You can never shake the feeling you’re playing against the computer, which is problematic in a game mode that so closely mimics the regular multiplayer; outwitting and beating human players is far more gratifying than shooting wave after wave of unpredictable, sometimes idiotic bots.
Onslaught is ultimately an odd duck, it’s a good way to practice or try out new gear if you’re too timid to learn in a regular multiplayer match, but if you can get 4 people together to play Onslaught you may as well take the squad to a multiplayer match and unlock some weapons and skills.
July 8, 2010