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Battlefield: Bad Company review

Great

It’s finally arrived – and while the silly story, drab voice acting, contrived dialogue and limp characterisation made us wince more than once, the world that it takes place in is more than enough to compensate for said errors. For the uninitiated out there, the story of Bad Company is this: you play Preston Marlow, a new recruit in B Company (hence the title) working with a ragtag threesome of war vets in the midst of a fictional war in the equally fictional country of Serkozache in Eastern Europe. The war itself isn’t really the issue in the game here, instead your primary prerogative throughout the game is to track down and rob a cache of extremely valuable gold bullion Three Kings-style.

 

Marlow’s crew are what you’d expect: Sarge, the obligatory shouty boss man of the platoon, Sweetwater, the dorky, spectacle wearer who tends to stick to the background during heavy fire fights, and Haggard, the stoopid hillbilly with a penchant for blowing things up and thinking about the consequences later.

Normally the Battlefield franchise is best known for its multiplayer, so this is a step forward for the series in that DICE is really pushing its single-player campaign. The gamble has somewhat paid off despite the checkered storyline and characters, making for an immensely immersive experience thanks to a number of technical nuances woven into the gaming tapestry by the Swedish dev team. How so? By utilising HDR audio and lighting, DICE has added extra oomph to the standard shooter DNA.

What does this do? It alters the way you hear things like gunshots, explosions, reloading and speech depending on whether or not you’re indoors or outdoors. It makes an amazing difference in terms of heightening the realism of the various encounters. For example, launch a rocket from your grenade launcher inside a tight space and the blast will leave your ears ringing until they gradually normalise. Step outside and the sound shifts. It works in exactly the same way for the lighting, walloping the senses in multiple ways making for a full-throttle experience akin to the battlefield maelstrom of Infinity Ward’s COD4. And with the serious power of the Frostbite Engine, this is certainly a contender (technically, at least) for one of the year’s most impressive shooters so far, that will undoubtedly find slivers of itself in the DNA of imitators before the year’s end.

And like previous Battlefields that came before it, there are plenty of vehicles for you to get to grips with including jeeps with mounted guns, tanks, armoured trucks, helicopters and boats; all of which come armed to the hilt and operate fairly straightforwardly. Acceleration and braking are confined to both the left shoulder buttons while steering stems from the left stick with multiple point of view options, including third and first-person options – best for raging around the map. There’s nothing quite like running amok through a map in a tank, crashing through walls, crushing enemy troops and leveling entire buildings with deafening cannon blasts. There are more vehicles too; at one point in the game when we had to storm a grand palace via a golf course, we found ourselves hurtling down the green in a rickety golf caddy. Sure it’s silly, but it’s still a right giggle. The map itself is pretty extensive with each mission confined to particular zones on the expansive space with your objectives laid out on the map by way of a distinctive thrumming marker.

In order to keep the battle somewhat under wraps, the game requires you to stay within said designated battle zone – stray outside and you’ll have an allotted number of seconds to step back inside. Areas vary from huge open fields to small towns, the aforementioned golf course, a palace and long stretches of open rivers. One of our favourite levels was spent entirely in the air battling gunships, boats and ground troops on a mission to chase down and obliterate fuel trucks en route to your enemy – a team of mercenaries led by an elusive legionnaire, who is shamefully wasted as your arch enemy, re-surfacing in the game’s final moments alluding to an inevitable sequel. Good times.

Even though the key focus of the game is repeatedly nabbing the gold, each map comes complete with multiple hidden goodies such as bars of gold and weapons that can be unlocked for use in the multiplayer mode, so make sure you explore the empty shacks, barracks and raid enemy corpses for any new means of firepower. It’s always worth the effort. Aside from the obvious firearms, machine-guns, and explosives on hand, DICE throws in a few slick gadgets including a handheld device that allows you to call in mortar strikes and a laser guided missile launcher where you get to control the missile from the air once it’s launched. It’s tremendous fun.

These war toys come in really useful when you’re under attack from a barrage of tanks and enemy troops. And frankly, it’s just a whole heap of fun to steer a missile from the sky right down on top of an enemy’s unsuspecting dome. Another addition to the series is the inclusion of GTA-style radio stations in the vehicles. There’s a pretty diverse range of tunes on offer here from gospel stuff through big orchestral pieces and 60’s surf music. It’s not breaking any new ground, but it certainly adds a quirky personality to the shooting.

And while the single-player campaign can easily be finished in around six or seven hours depending on how much exploring you do, it’s the multiplayer that really draws you in and keeps you coming back for more. When we first heard that Bad Company would only feature one new multiplayer mode called Gold Rush, we were dubious. Sure, Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch are still in here, but we’d welcome some more ways to play. Not the case here. Still, that doesn’t detract from the fact the Gold Rush is a blast. The premise is this: you either play as an Attacker or a Defender with the sole purpose of obliterating your enemies’ stash of gold or protecting your own from enemy troops.

You can choose from a multitude of weaponry options at the outset, rolling out the standard machine-gun you come equipped with at the start, sniper rifles, heavy guns or advanced weaponry. This is why it’s best to make sure you collect and search for all the weaponry in the single-player campaign, as it’s unlocked for you once you jump online. From here, it’s just a case of standing guard, charging to the frontline, or, if you’re like us, finding a vantage point near your stash of gold in Defender mode, and laying waste to any incoming troops. Our initial concern was it would become very boring, very quickly. It didn’t. In fact, we enjoyed it just as much as Call of Duty 4. It’s kinetic, furious and with the addition of vehicles, it elevates the game beyond that standard shooter tag that so many others fall into the trappings of.

The more kills and skills you wrack up, the higher ranked you become – just like in COD4. Ranking up is then rewarded through codes that allow you to unlock new and devastating weapons for multiplayer, so it’s worth ratcheting up a few headshots if you want those bigger guns. Everything that you can do in the single-player campaign including blowing up walls, crashing through buildings in speeding tanks, ordering mortar and missile strikes, is all present and accounted for in multiplayer too and it all works seamlessly.

There’s no doubt in our mind that Bad Company can – and will – succeed in a month that’s usually reserved for shoddy film tie-ins and mediocre releases. Yes, it’s a little one-dimensional at times – but which decent shooter isn’t a little? Still, even these moments are elevated by the crafty use of destruction and the incredible HDR technology which will turn your head. Looking for fun in the sun? Bad Company is it.

Jun 23, 2008

More Info

Release date: Jun 23 2008 - Xbox 360, PS3 (US)
Jun 23 2008 - Xbox 360, PS3 (UK)
Available Platforms: PC, PSP, Xbox 360, PS3
Genre: Shooter
Published by: Electronic Arts
Developed by: DICE, Digital Illusions
Franchise: Battlefield
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Alcohol Reference, Strong Language, Violence
PEGI Rating:
16+

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15 comments

  • pat5556 - May 25, 2010 1:28 a.m.

    frankly, i can find every point infinite makes completely wrong. 1.maybe i just have really good eyesight, but they dont camo that bad. also, if you didnt notice in the tutorial, u can heal urself an infinite number of times, with a small recharge time to balance. 2.the vehicles usualy handle very well. you probably just suck at driving. 3.enemies usualy dont open fire until you are approx. 10-75 yards away, depending on if you are in a vehicle or not and the direction they are looking. 4.to defend the tank, just go into the building behind it and get in the machine gun. you can kill everything with it, and when the enemy tank comes you can call in a mortar strike. 5.in order to unlock the weapons, you have to have the patience to get them in campaign, and those 4 classes are customizable with them. 6.the game didnt break your x-box. you either positioned it incorrectly or used to too much at once. seriously, flamming the game wont make people turn it back, especially with those arguments. and if you even want to TRY flamming it, dont do it in a comments section where all but 2 comments are about how awesome the game is. also, for my opinion, i like it, and ive played CoD4 for a while before getting it. I do think CoD4 is a bit better, but this is a good contender FPS.
  • Sweetwater - January 26, 2010 11:25 p.m.

    It's sad when someone like infinite doo becomes so addicted to COD:4 that he can't accept any game that's better than it. I loved COD:4, it had some great moments, but BF:BC is hugely fun to play, over-the-top and funny. The one thing it lacks is a prone position when shooting. That is literally the only problem.
  • CMG - January 3, 2010 2:41 p.m.

    I have to agree with infinite on this one. BF bad company seemed like a good game to start with but in the end I just did not like it because of the intense gameplay eg. having to spend half of the game hiding behind a wall to avoid getting shot and dying too easily when you go to shoot at an enemy. So whatever you other gamer freaks say, which I dont really give a shit,BF bad company is not the most best game ive played.
  • Ricochet3438 - December 6, 2009 10:26 p.m.

    infinite doo you're not a game reviewer so don't go writing up reviews like that expecting people to care. And if you read any of the comments after that, you will see that they don't. Great game btw
  • oreomonkey - September 15, 2008 9:12 p.m.

    good job infinite you took up over half of a comment page and over half of your life writing that. The game is not crap by the way its actually pretty fun your just very negative.
  • infinite doo - September 11, 2008 11:15 p.m.

    I'm sorry, I have to rain on your parade of wrongness. I did not enjoy this game. I regret even renting it (thank god I didn't buy it!). I was looking forward to it all the way up to the moment I played it, then I went and played CoD4 again and never looked back. While I must admit that the destructible enviroments are awesome, and the HDR stuff was pretty "neat" to say the least, but the rest of the game was like a crappy rip-off of an even crappier shooter. The story was interesting at first, but they managed to make it boring by the third level; the enemies had the bullcrap 900-yard accuracy and *almost* perfect camoflage, because half the time I was hiding behind a wall and they would see me first (grey guys + crap aiming + grey enemies = 8/10 rated shooter?) and shoot me with thier tank and I would have to redo the whole assault; the guy ran only slightly faster when sprinting, and although the vehicles were the fastest transport they were hard to drive (I read the review first and thought it was clunky on paper, just wait till you try driving those deathtraps in battle); and the vehicle missions were almost impossible to do because the enemies would ambush you from a mile away, meaning you have to memorize where they are in order to win because all the enemies have RPGs and insane camo. I didnt play after the mission where you have to defend the tank you JUST RESCUED after it got scrapped and has to be repaired as bunches of dudes and tanks come to kill you, because it was just too unenjoyable even for me. Instead, I played one or two rounds of multiplayer, and I got four classes, no gun switching until you die, interminably long respawns for people AND vehicles, and no way to get into the action after spawning at base with no vehicles. The best way to describe the online is by saying it's halo with cheaper vehicles, bad respawns, very few guns, no real sniping (because everyone can blow holes in walls so hiding is next to impossible) and a look somewhere in between CoD4 and R6V. I wouldnt reccomend even renting it because it's just not fun. Stick to CoD4 and dont worry, you didnt miss anything worthwhile. I really wanted to like this game, but it's like really wanting to like getting kicked in the nuts, you can't do it. I hate to be the flamer of this game but this review led me to rent it and didnt warn me (gamesradar is awesome and will flame games like WALL-E but if they gave this game a bad review, then they might lose buddy-status with the developers and lose thier ability to get more games pre-release) so its (sorta) up to me. Dont buy it. Dont rent it. Dont bother telling me im wrong. PS I even wanted to give this game a second chance just in case I was too harsh, but when I put the game in my console it fried my Xbox, and now I have to send it in to be fixed. Gee.........Thanks.........
  • assaultjoker - September 2, 2008 10:19 p.m.

    this game i like alot
  • musty - October 27, 2008 3:11 p.m.

    i agree with the monkey, the game is amazing you are a very negative person its sound like you cant even play the game to be quite onest!...
  • mrandydixon - March 25, 2009 11:27 p.m.

    I'm sure this is a dead thread by now but I just bought this game used at Blockbuster for only $20 and wanted to add myself to the "anti-infinite doo" club. I've played this game for five days straight and it is incredibly enjoyable, especially the multiplayer, and would have felt just as good paying full price for it. Great review for a great game. Thanks, GR.
  • Drumdoctor - March 20, 2009 10:29 p.m.

    Geez someone sounds like he sucks at a game and is flaming it just to make it seem like it's the game's fault. But anyway this game is awesome! I love how everything blows up, sure it can make finding cover hard sometimes but not every walls in houses explode so it isn't that hard once you get used to it. Overall great game definitely worth buying
  • woot117 - February 21, 2009 8:58 p.m.

    Infinite doo is a retard. wow go play your gay ass COD by yourself because the game requires no teamwork.
  • 32joey32 - January 4, 2009 8:11 a.m.

    fuck you infinite, the reason you hate the game is because you suck at the game it is awesome. i rented CoD world at war and B.F. bad company on the same day. i loved CoD i played it for 3 hours until i played bad company. i never went back, i actually lost CoD. they made you able to blow up walls and buildings to make it look real and make it realistic. too bad you dont like that but theres ways to keep from getting killed when a wall goes out. they made the camo extremely good because camo is camo. camo is made to keep you from being seen from the enemy. he just sucks. stop crying infinite doo. all the creators were trying to do was making it the best game and they did. sorry for making a long comment but i had to. and sorry for your xbox you should stop crying on it.
  • BertTheTurtle - August 27, 2009 2:23 a.m.

    This game (with help from 1943) is slowly replacing CoD for me. Its just so addictive and full of pyrotechnics and destruction!
  • Belial808 - July 27, 2009 2:06 a.m.

    Totally AWESOME game! With the destructible environment it's hard to go back to a game without it.
  • yoreAtowel - June 5, 2009 2:14 a.m.

    i agree with they guy above me, this is def a dead thread, bud DOO sucks. bad company rules.

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