Appropriately enough Bad Company 2 begins by kicking the doors in and unloading a shotgun blast of thrills in your face. Following a brief, straightforward prologue you’re pitched into the snowy wastes of Alaska (not to mention 24-style intrigue) as the Bad Company boys stumble across a Russian plot involving a terrifying experimental weapon. Given that almost every gun you can pick up here doubles as a grenade launcher, that’s quite a threat.
Far from unbalancing the combat, the grenade launchers add an extra layer of strategy. For instance, if enemies are taking pot shots from behind cover you can literally blow that cover away. If you know a sniper is lurking on the upper floors of a building just take out the wall - or better yet the entire building. It’s an immensely confident opening and one made all the more exciting because the very same destructive tactics work equally well when used against you.
The result is a singleplayer campaign that at its best really challenges you to use your intellect as well as your trigger finger. It’s a system that works best in urban environments - later forays into South America quickly descend into the linear and restrictive territory of less inventive shooters. It also becomes clear that despite being part of a team you’re the only member of the squad using his brain. Your teammates are efficient but by-the-book, and often you’ll have to tow the line in order to trigger events and coax baddies to appear.
In short: Bad Company 2’s singleplayer mode struggles to maintain a balance between scripted events and a sense of freedom. The result is an inconsistent campaign that mixes moments of brilliance with long stretches of the merely competent.